Learn the basic common chord progressions with helpful exercises

This free piano lesson covers common chord progressions you will encounter while learning piano. You will also find some helpful exercises to get these useful chord progressions under you fingers. This is a must know lesson for aspiring songwriters and beginners as well.

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4 Steps to Learning How to Play Any Song on the Piano

1. Determining the melody - Melodies determine what chords will be played. If you can use your ear to figure out what notes are being played in the melody, you are 1/4 on your way to learning a song! More resources on learning how to determine melodies

2.Harmonizing the melody - Once you have figured out the melody (using some of my techniques on the resource page), it is time to harmonize it. This is simply choosing various chords to accompany the melody. There are several techniques and tricks to doing this. More resources on learning how to harmonize melodies

3. Altering Chords - This is the best part! Now that you have strategically figured out the melody to a song and have harmonized it, altering your chords to produce certain sounds is the next step. If you were playing gospel music, you would alter your chords differently than if you were playing classical or country music. More resources on altering chords

4. Listening - After you have determined the melody, harmonized the melody, and altered some of your chords, there are various techniques you can use to make sure that your song sounds right. More resources on listening techniques

I personally recommend "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course and through my relationship with Jermaine (the author of this course), I've been able to get him to throw in a few bonus items (3 additional piano software programs). He has taught literally thousands of musicians how to play the piano by ear. If you understood just half of what he discussed above, you'll definitely benefit from his 300-pg course. Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any song on the piano in virtually minutes! I highly recommend it.

The I, IV, I, V, I progression

This common chord progression can be heard in lots of different styles of music. It is the basis for the 12 bar blues progression and you will find it regularly used in country and folk music as well as rock and roll.

It is wise for any good keyboard player to be able to move comfortably and fluidly through this progression in both hands and in as many keys as possible.

The best way is by using the closest inversion possible when moving from chord to chord.

Exercise 1.

The exercise pictured below is an excellent way to start to get comfortable finding your way through this widely used chord progression.

The I, IV, I, V, I progression in the key of C will use the chords C maj, F maj, Cmaj, Gmaj, Cmaj.

The sequence is played starting on eact of the three inversions of the C chord


Watch your hands as you do this exercise.

Read it only until you get it under your fingers.

Watch for the patterns and finger motions.

Try the chord progression in as many keys as you can. All 12 would be nice! You will have come a long way in gaining the dexterity to quickly move from one common chord to the next.

The ii, V, I progression.

Another common chord progression you will encounter in your playing and you can use in writing is the II min7, V7, I maj7 progression pictured below first in the key of C and then in the key of F.

The Chords are D min7, G7, C maj7 in C and G min7, C 7, and F maj7, in the Key of F.

Again, keeping in mind the playing hints for the previous exercise, try to figure out the II, V, I progression in as many keys as possible.

Taking the time to figure it out on the keyboard rather than reading it will give you a solid songwriting foundation and add to your piano style.

A great ii, V, I, exercise.

The exercise below is excellent for going through this common chord progression in all the keys.

Notice the root motion but play the chords in both hands.

Watch your hands and notice the patterns that emerge.

The one chord becomes the ii min7 for the next key.

Try playing a melody through the changes.

The exercise below will take you through 6 of the 12 possible key signatures, C, Bb, Ab, Gb, E, and D major.

To include the remaining 6 possible keys, start the exercise with D#min7 and repeat the exercise to cover the keys of C#, B, A, G, F and Eb.

Many piano students spend too much TIME learning how to play
the piano and not enough time PLAYING THE PIANO!

Years upon years of studying various techniques, music theory,
and 'level' after 'level.

It makes piano teachers a lot of money but learning music doesn't have to be that way.

If you want to start playing ALL of your favorite  songs by ear right away, I've definitely found something that's going to help you do just that.

Jermaine Griggs,the pioneer of the award-winning Hear and Play
learning system, has come up with 3 simple steps to playing
you favorite piano songs so you won't waste any time at all.

In fact, it'll virtually cut your learning time in half! I
copied and pasted the most important parts below so you can get
a general idea.


Step One: Determining the Melody

Step Two: Harmonizing the Melody

Step Three: Adding the Bass

These three steps are not super complicated theories that
require several years of experience. In fact, they were designed
for the total beginner with absolutely no musical experience.

What most people don't understand is that most songs follow
patterns. If you've been mistakenly learning songs, one by one,
you're only exercising your ability to MEMORIZE chords --- and
that's exactly why it takes SO LONG to learn just one song.


If you concentrate on LEARNING PATTERNS, you'll never go wrong
because songs are built on repeating patterns.

You should NEVER EVER have to memorize over 100 songs when they all share thesame exact CHORDS, PROGRESSIONS, AND PATTERNS.

Click here for more information: Hear and play Gospel

More common piano chord progressions

For more of the most widely used piano chord progressions and helpful finger exercises click on the link below.

more piano chord progressions...

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