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Author: Kent of Piano With Kent
Kent D. Smith is a professional piano and drum instructor, and a professional pianist/keyboardist, based in Orange County, California. He holds a degree in music and piano performance from Fullerton College.
At age seven, Kent began formal lessons in drums. By age fourteen he was a part-time professional drummer in a popular R&B band, playing gigs in and around the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At that same age, he discovered piano and was hooked.
Having started classical piano lessons at age fifteen, Kent went on to graduate with honors from Fullerton College, with a degree in piano performance and general music, including jazz studies. Kent made his living after college as a pianist, keyboardist and sometime drummer in various bands.
Later in his twenties, eager to settle down with a more predictable income, Kent began a parallel career in software development. Now, recently retired from AT&T, he has returned to music full-time. Kent has gained a wealth of professional experience over several decades in teaching, performing, composing, and studio work.
Welcome to the very last lesson of the The Blues Piano Crash Course!
How to Play Blues Piano in Any Key
Learn how to transpose the chords, scales, and concepts you learned in this crash course into other keys.
“All the same things” apply to playing blues in any key. You will simply be learning the steps needed to move your musical patterns and shapes — that is, the three main chords, the blues scale, your favorite licks, etc. — into any desired key!
Especially good keys for you to learn to jam in are:
C, E*, A, G, B-flat, and F.
*Q: What new key to play in first?
A: For most contemporary keyboard players, I recommend that you first apply the concepts from this lesson (#11) to playing Blues in E. My main reason for suggesting “E Blues” as your next key to conquer is that most guitar players really like to jam in E. In standard guitar tuning, the key of E has lots of convenient hand positions, including especially comfortable fingerings for the E blues scale. I’m sure there are other reasons for the popularity of E in guitar blues, but I think this is a big one. (I’m going by my own limited guitar-playing experience, with that “E is easier theory.”) But regardless of the reasons, there is absolutely no doubt that E is popular with guitarists and rock/blues bands, so if you’re planning on jamming with guitarists, that’s the first new key for you to learn. (Tip: You can pick “E” up right after, or right along with, your current studies in C — I’m thinking “bilingual” studies here in a sense.).
Claude Debussy’s timeless and extremely popular piano piece, Clair de Lune, is well-known around the world. Its origins include influences from poetry, the music of Bach’s time (the Baroque period), and the artistic school of Impressionism.
The piece’s name means “moonlight.” It is the third movement of a four-part work called Suite Bergamasque.
Debussy’s music was a major departure from the Romantic music of the 19th century. He, along with composer Maurice Ravel, is regarded as a primary founder of what came to be known as French Impressionism.
This is an in-depth study of twelve blues licks, with extensive left-hand support tips. Each lick/riff is explored in detail, including variations, fingering, playing tips, and supporting music theory.
More than just learning the notes by rote, you will get insight into the patterns, scales, chords and intervals involved, including how to transpose each lick.
As a result, each lick will be mastered as RAW MATERIAL for endless variations, with applications in many musical settings (genres).
Lick #10 of this group is actually more than a lick; rather, it gives you a complete two-handed 12-bar opening groove, including a left-hand pattern to support your licks throughout your soloing.
Students can download and print optional sheet music for several of the licks. There’s also a sample solo piece with a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 12-bar piano solo that features licks from the class.
I recently received a question today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, the topic of 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.
“Rootless voicings” on piano (especially for left-hand support) are great for handling big jazz chords that normally can’t be covered by one hand alone. This video tutorial shows you how to play a rich sounding II-V-I in the left hand, while allowing the bass player (or you, on another beat) to cover the root. Continue reading “Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (Rootless, Left-Hand, Type B)”