This page was last modified January 26, 2015


How to play the piano

Step 1 - Play simple diatonic songs by ear

The first step is to train your ear to pick out melodies and appropriate chords to a variety of simple tunes on the keyboard. The way to do this is to start out in the key of C major, learn melodies by listening and then repeating them on the piano, learn the seven basic chords in this key, and then establish a chord progression to fit the melody. Play melody in your right hand, play basic chords in your left. This should be done entirely by ear and with the help of an instructor if needed. The procedure for doing this, including a list of appropriate songs, is given here:

Step 2 - Spread chords between two hands

The second step is to take the tunes you worked on in step 1, and spread the chord voicing between two hands, with the melody note on top. The method (rules) for doing this is given here:

Step 3 - Add tensions to basic chords

Learn how to expand the basic triad chord into larger chords by adding the appropriate tension tones.

Jimmy Amadie

Step 4 - Comping

The next step is to learn how to comp. The best way to do this is to purchase

Learn improvising using blues scales

Dan Greenblatt

Improve your understanding of Harmony

Understanding and Implementing Harmony on the Piano. It starts with the simple foundations of diatonic harmony that form the basis of all popular music and builds from there to teach you how to improvise, reharmonize, voice chords and incorporate rhythm.

Please see my "How to Teach Music"

Please my explanation of Why I wrote these books

Bay Area Piano Instruction

I teach piano in Silicon Valley at $50/hour. You may contact me to arrange lessons.