Beginners Blues Piano: Non-Theory Lesson #3

Blues Piano Lesson For BeginnersIf you have taken yourself through lessons #1 and 2 of this little series, you are playing the 12 Bar Blues progression with your left hand much like a pro player might approach it. By the way, if you ever hear anyone use the term “12 Bar Blues Form,” that person is referring to this progression that you now know how to play.  This 12 measure progression is the basic 12 measure blues form played again and again by so many of the greats.

I would like to devote this particular message to encouraging you to appreciate what you have accomplished up to this point. Please practice playing those chord voicings with your left hand as you become more and more confident with doing do.

In the meantime, I feel that it might serve you well to listen to two master pianists playing the blues. I’m referring to the excellence of Oscar Peterson and Count Basie as they both play a fantastic rendition of blues piano that anyone can look up to..

As a matter of fact, this video footage shows, when the camera was at just the right angle, that some of the chord voicings that each of them is playing with his left hand coincide with the exact same chord voicings that you using at this point:


You’ll notice that both Oscar and The Count are enjoying themselves tremendously as they exchange looks of mutual appreciation. You’ll benefit by allowing some of that to “rub off” on you… learn to fully appreciate yourself and your musical journey!

Yes, each of these accomplished pianists are putting their right hand fingers to great melodic and improvisationand use, too. You’ll be doing that also. However, let this be a time to enhance your appreciation of blues music. Really put yourself “in synch” with the feel of it. Notice how both Oscar Peterson and Count Basie “soak up” every beat as they live in the moment.

How you feel about yourself and what you play is far more important than how many notes you play. Please remember that. Learn to apply this truth during your early stages of playing. In short, make it a habit of feeling good about yourself.

As you watch this performance over and  over again, see if you can pinpoint when the chord voicings that you are playing are exactly what either Oscar or The Count is playing.

We will be having some fun with that right hand, too. Just remember the priority: feel your music and appreciate YOU.

 

Beginners Blues Piano: Non-Theory Lesson #1

Let’s Do, Not Think

Blues Piano Lesson For BeginnersAre you a piano beginner who likes the blues? Listening to blues music is undoubtedly a wonderful thing. Actually playing blues music is even more fun!

If you have little or no experience at those keys, my guess is that your reaction to just the idea of playing the blues is one of doubt. Am I right? Sometimes I’m wrong.

Well, okay, whether you believe you’re capable of it or not, suspend those doubts for just a little while and grab hold of these simple concepts.

There are three basic chords to the blues and they are all 7th chords. If we’re playing a C Blues, then those chords are:

C7

F7

G7

That’s it!

Alright, I admit it. That was theory. So you don’t have to pay attention to it right now.

Again, my intention here isn’t to get you to understand what you will be doing… just to DO IT! There’s plenty of time for you to learn about the “why’s” but the fun of it all is in the playing of it. Remember, you were able to speak before you could spell any of those words. You just know how to produce the sounds and you did it (from “goo-goo-gaa-gaa” to “I’m hungry!”)

Let’s Play Some Chord Voicings

So that’s what we’re doing here. The chords mentioned above don’t sound all that fantastic if played in a very basic so, as a beginner, you’re being introduced to the “pro” way of playing them. These are called “chord voicings” but don’t concern yourself with that now. JUST DO.

Simply look at the three images below and place the pinkie, index finger, and thumb of your left hand on the keys you see highlighted, okay?

Position #1

C9 chord voicing

Position #2

F13 chord voicing

Position #3

G13 chord voicing

All you need to do is get used to playing those three structures with your left hand. Play Position #1, then Position #2, then Position #3.

Once you are comfortable with this, practice these 3 chord structures in this order:

  1. Play Position #1
  2. Play Position #2
  3. Play Position #1 again
  4. Play Position #3
  5. Play Position #2
  6. Play Position #1 again

Do this over and over again. Just get used to doing this. That’s all you need to be getting out of this lesson. Copy what you see in those illustrations by playing them on your piano or keyboard. Here’s a quick flick of my playing them. In this video, I mention the names of the keys but that’s not important to you right now if you don’t know them (no theory necessary, remember?):


 


When you are comfortable playing these structures, you have already accomplished a lot! So, A +++++ to you.

I’m wondering if what you’re hearing is familiar to you. Is it? Would you do me a favor? Please use the information on the contact page to email me your experience with this. I want your input. Are you having a challenge with these positions? Did it come easy for you? Are you feeling comfortable playing them in the order shown above? When you email me, please include “Blues Piano Lesson” in the subject area.

I’m interested in knowing so do connect with me. The next part of this non-theory blues piano lesson will follow.

Have fun!