Easy 3-finger Technique for Impressive Pentatonic Runs on Piano (that’s right, only 3 fingers!)

Hello improvisors and jammers: Here's a powerful way to play impressive pentatonic piano/keyboard licks when soloing in rock, blues, or jazz settings, using only three fingers in your right hand.  This video uses the famous "minor pentatonic" scale ("pentatonic" refers to a five-note scale). With a little work you will be amazed how fast you can fly across the keyboard using this simple trick of the trade!

The remaining content of this post is for supporting members. Your monthly membership is extremely affordable, and makes it possible for us to work full-time on the task of creating  FREE educational content, plus additional premium content, for members like you. This is a fast-growing site, and we really need your support as an "All Access" premium member   to keep this site alive.  (After signing up, you may need to refresh this page to open all the content.)

Für Elise and other Sheet Music with Letter-Note Names

Disclaimer:  The marking of letter-names on sheet music is a valid tool for learning piano, depending on how and when it is used.

Be advised that in the context of academic study, for example traditional piano lessons, this practice should be at the discretion of the professional instructor, and not of the student. This is because, when used in the wrong setting, or in the wrong way, letter-notes can actually become a hindrance to one’s learning to read music fluently!

A big focus of “Piano with Kent” is to get people to their pianos, and to bring musical experiences and knowledge to those who may not have the time, the funds, or the circumstances to be taking formal lessons.  Millions of people want to play piano, and also to play better and better, and most of those millions do not have the luxury of a private instructor.  The letter-name sheets provided here, are in that spirit.

That said, here’s the regular intro to this post:

Continue reading “Für Elise and other Sheet Music with Letter-Note Names”

Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)

Hi everyone!  I received a question online today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, and one which is subject to debate.  The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano.  (A link to the video is included below.)

I thought I would share the thread here:

VIEWER: Isn’t the D in Cadd9 supposed to be an octave higher? I guess I’m just confused as to why it isn’t Add2 instead.

ME: Hi Jordan, this is a very good question, and one that is subject to debate. Technically, the voicing of these add9’s that I am using here are really “add2”. In general practice however, add9 is favored in chord symbols found in sheet music, and is meant to imply add2 or add9, depending on the voicing choice of the player. It’s interesting to note that add9 chords played on guitar have the ninth tone on top sometimes, and sometimes the 9th is not the highest tone, often depending on ease of finger positions. This is also true in a piano player’s choice of voicing. Again, to recap, add9 technically has the 9th as the highest tone in the voicing, as you indicated, but when using chord symbols, add9 is preferred for either one.

 VIEWER: That definitely makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification.
ME: Certainly, your question is much appreciated! Two other interesting points: A very popular, jazzy left-hand voicing for the MINOR 9th chord (as in Am9) — which, by the way, is NOT an add9 chord, because it also contains the 7th (I talk about that difference in the video) — is this, using Am9 as an example: G, B, C, E, where the root is implied, and can be played before or after the first cluster (or covered by the bass player). I bring this up because here you can see that the “9th” is not the top note in that particular voicing. (You might try that out, it sounds very cool!) Another thing: In my full two-handed voicings in the video, such as Cadd9, left hand plays C and G, and the right plays C-D-E-G. On close inspection you will note that the 9th (the D) is actually voiced far above the root (the left-hand C). But that is not mandatory to voice add9 that way, just a certain nice-sounding choice.
****
 Here is the video lesson which prompted the question:
 See ya soon!
Kent

A Nice Technique for Smoother Scales

“SMOOTHER-SOUNDING SCALES” introduces a simple technique for making your scale passages sound more EVEN; that is, with a more consistent loudness across all the notes. The technique involves deliberately accenting certain notes, then removing the accents. The final result is a more even sounding scale!  Voila!

Video: Smoother Scales

See ya soon!

 

Update: Enrollment CLOSED for new PRIVATE students in the Mesa/Newport area (with Kent, that is)

Important Update

Sept. 12, 2018

Due to an increased focus on Internet-based teaching, I currently have NO new openings for private (local, one-on-one) piano or music theory students.  If you’d like suggested references for a local teacher, please send me a message via my Contact page.  Please include any helpful information as to the current age and experience level of the student, the type of lessons desired (classical, pop, rock, jazz, other), etc., as this kind of information will affect my recommendations. I can also give advice on seeking a good teacher if you’d like. Thank you for your interest!

///////////////////////////////////////////////

NO  LONGER CURRENT:

Hi folks, I have three new open slots for motivated piano students, in or near Huntington Beach, California (Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Santa Ana, or Costa Mesa).

I’m offering lessons in Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, R&B, Funk, Folk, Worship, Gospel, etc., piano or keyboards.  Sorry, no slots are currently open for classical piano, although if you want to learn to read music as part of your “pop” studies, we can certainly do that (learning to read standard piano notation is recommended, at least at the basic level, but is not required).

As part of these lessons, you will gain a mastery of reading, playing, and improvising from chord symbols, such as C7, Ebm7, Dmaj7, etc.  This is how the pros in rock, pop, jazz, blues, folk, hip-hop, country, etc., operate — it’s all about chords, man!

If you are simply interested in learning a few of your favorite songs, we can take a more direct approach to achieve that.

Levels taught: Beginner, intermediate, advanced.

Piano lessons are 45-minutes, once per week.  In-home lessons are available.

 

Contact me here!

Beethoven’s Für Elise – Slow-motion video for reference

Here's a slow-motion demonstration of the notes to Beethoven's Für Elise.  Shown here is the most well-known first section of the piece.

This is not a performance video.  Meaning, you can't take cues from this video on the phrasing, dynamics, tempo, pedaling, etc.  However, many people find it useful to have a reference like this, especially those who play by ear, and are simply trying to acquire the notes.

The remaining content of this post is for supporting members. Your monthly membership is extremely affordable, and makes it possible for us to work full-time on the task of creating  FREE educational content, plus additional premium content, for members like you. This is a fast-growing site, and we really need your support as an "All Access" premium member   to keep this site alive.  (After signing up, you may need to refresh this page to open all the content.)

A Good Way to Learn All Your “Thirteenth” Chords (by Pattern, NOT by Rote)

Hello again, piano people!

Todays’ post is about learning “thirteenth chords” on piano. In this video, you will learn a good way to learn and retain all twelve of the standard 13th chords without resorting to rote memorization.  In my experience,  I discovered early on that learning scales and chords by rote — that is, note-by-note, without any understanding of the patterns they all have in common — is the worst way to go.  Learning the underlying patterns that consistently define all scales and chords is absolutely where it’s at!

 

Honky Tonk

 

via Daily Prompt: Honk

So I’m responding to a blogging “prompt” here on WordPress.com. The prompt for today is “Honk.”

Honk…Honky-tonk…Honky-tonk piano!  I knew I would get to the piano sooner or later.  In this case, two degrees of separation.  Musically speaking, two half-steps?

Since my blog is mostly for piano players, here’s something I composed for piano a few years back, while thinking of a honky-tonk in the Old West.  I didn’t actually have time to learn the piece, so I just wrote it down and then created a MIDI file from that.  This video is just an audio capture of the MIDI file being played back on my PC.  In other words, I did not physically perform this version. Give credit to robots when credit is due.

Doc Holliday’s Waltz

via Daily Prompt: Honk