Sheet Music: Lick #1 from A Study in Blues Piano

 

Blues/Improv Students:

How’s yo blues?

I’ve had requests for piano notation covering the blues licks in my course, A Study in Blues Piano.

That course is video-based, and teaches from a chord-based improvisation point of view.

I sometimes resist providing notation for improvisation-focused courses, because it can almost promote blind imitation, rather than creative playing.

That said, I’ve had a couple of convincing requests lately from students who wanted to have sheet music to supplement this class. As a result, I’ve decided to provide notation for several of the licks, plus notation for a complete blues piano solo (featuring licks from the course).

Here’s a downloadable PDF file for Lick #1, “Energy.”

“The Blues Piano Crash Course” Main Page

Course Description

Learn the essential elements of improvising blues piano, including the (minor) Blues Scale, the 12-bar Blues pattern, left-hand grooves, coordination exercises, and plenty of raw material for your own licks.

My goal is for you to start improvising great blues solos!

Although most of this course is in the key of C, there is a detailed lesson that covers transposing the blues scale, and the 12-bar blues progression, into other keys.

Is this what you’re looking for?

Students taking this course should be interested in learning blues improvisation.  Improvisation in blues usually has an underlying structure, a key center, and a chord progression that is being followed.  The rhythm and the chords give us that beautiful sense of a distinct groove, and the soloists do their thing “on top of” that.  In this course, you will learn the basic structural stuff, but you will also be given (taught) the popular raw materials for creating blues licks and melodies in general.  It will be your job to turn those raw materials into original licks.  I can give you expert guidance, hints and tips and raw material, which I do, but in the end, it’s your solo! That’s the beauty of studying improvisation. You get to own it.

Blues-inspired improvisation is at the core of, and will always have an influence on, countless musical genres. The blues scales, blues chord progressions, the “Blue Notes”…these are staples of so much great rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, gospel, and so on. That’s just to name a few of the mega-genres that have “blue blood” in their veins!

We can either forget about, or fail to recognize, the blues roots in so much contemporary music, but it’s everywhere.

So, back to the question, “Is this what you’re looking for,” I would suggest “yes,” because you read this far, still hanging in, after reading what’s what, so therefore you might like the class. That may be an odd conclusion.

Preview: To help you get an idea of how these videos might work for you, Lesson #4 (link below) is currently watchable as a full lesson preview.

Recommended knowledge or experience

  • You will need NO ability to read music (true for this particular course, and for most lessons on this site).
  • Knowing the names of the notes on your keyboard (like E, F#, G) is helpful in this class, but is not absolutely required.
  • We do start out hoping you already play “a bit of piano.”
  • Musicians who are already experienced with another instrument, including blues guitar, can benefit from this course as well. That is, you could potentially (1) pick up some keyboard skills and/or (2) learn new theory stuff and/or (3) get new ideas.

Helpful Course Documents

(Click document’s image below to download or view.)

Catalog of Chords and Scales
Catalog of Chords and Scales (for Blues Piano Crash Course)
Recommended Listening
Recommended Listening (Blues)

The Complete Course (video pages w/ text intros)

Lesson One – “The Blues Scale”

Supplemental (optional) from “A Study in Blues Piano” – Licks #1 and #2

Lesson Two – “A Left-hand Groove”

Lesson Three – “Five Must-know Riffing Devices”

Lesson Four – “The Classic 12-bar Blues Progression”

  • Attention visitors: Lesson #4 is available as a full lesson preview.

Lesson Five – “Put Your Hands Together”

Lesson Six – More tips and practice for the Two Fisted Jammer

Lesson Seven – A Walking Bass Line & More Coordination

Lesson Eight – Blue Notes and pitch-bending

Lesson Nine – The Melody Machine

Lesson Ten – Turn-arounds and Endings

Lesson Eleven – Playing Blues in Any Key

end of list (all core lessons)

Announcing “Piano Chords 108: Lose That Chord Catalog”

I’m excited to announce a new online lesson series, in progress here at Piano With Kent, called Piano Chords 108.

Since my site is blog-like, this course will be published in installments. (That’s also how we did things this summer with “The Blues Piano Crash Course” and “A Study in Blues Piano.”)

Piano Chords 108 (the series introduction  is further below)

Here’s the first few lessons I’ve posted for Piano Chords 108.  As with all full courses on this site, most of this material is premium content (accessible only to supporting members).

Half-Step, Whole-Steps, and Thirds on the Piano

Learn all 12 Major and Major Seventh Chords Together (24 chords)

Learn all 12 Minor and Minor Seventh Chords Together (24 more chords)

Learn all 12 Dominant Seventh Chords Together (12 more chords)

COURSE INTRODUCTION: 

Continue reading “Announcing “Piano Chords 108: Lose That Chord Catalog””

Memorize all 12 Minor Pentatonic Scales – Today. Yep!

The minor pentatonic is a five-note scale, comprised of selected pitches from the natural minor scale.  An extremely popular source of melodic and harmonic material in many cultures, the minor pentatonic’s distinctive signature can be heard “all the time” in improvisational genres like rock, pop, blues and jazz.

For those of you who like to put words to music: The word “pentatonic” comes from the Greek word pente, meaning five, and tonic, meaning tone.  Bring that up at your next book study group, and you will look like a raging party animal. Things will go right off the hook from there, bro, seriously.

The purpose of today’s lesson is to give you an easy pattern to memorize, and to show you how to use that pattern to construct any minor pentatonic scale. By “construct,” I mean you will visualize the correct five notes for the minor pentatonic scale, starting on any given root note.

As a result you will have “memorized” all 12 minor pentatonics on the keyboard today.

Continue reading “Memorize all 12 Minor Pentatonic Scales – Today. Yep!”

Blues Lick #12 “Chromatic Sixths”

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Congratulations! After finishing this lesson, you will have completed the entire course, “A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on 12 Licks!”

You will then have learned (1) a complete intro section, (2) lots of raw soloing material (specifically, those 12 licks and their endless possibilities), for you to copy, extend, alter, etc., (3) a solid structure for your soloing (that is, the 12-bar blues structure, with a supporting bass-line). Also (4), you now have a solid “turn-around” to use, which will keep that energy moving forward, into each new chorus, and finally, (5), that same turn-around can be used as an ending (and very effectively).

So, here we go, the final lesson: Lick Number 12, “Chromatic Sixths.”  This pattern is way-cool, and also quite versatile.  It has a traditional, honky-tonk sound you will probably recognize, a real staple of the “boogie/blues/rock/jazz” piano vocabulary.

Continue reading “Blues Lick #12 “Chromatic Sixths””

Blues Lick #10: “”A 12-bar intro, plus the start of a solo”

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This lesson is more than just a lick, I’ll tell ya!

We have here a two-handed intro section, a great setup for getting any blues jam started. This opening groove covers a full 12-bar cycle, giving your listeners an exciting intro (a.k.a. “head”) which leads nicely into the next 12-bars, where you can begin your right-handed soloing.  Note, you can use the left-hand (bass line) of this groove throughout your entire jam. It’s a simple and powerful bass line that keeps the beat going strong.  But wait, there’s more! This lesson also includes a sample opening for your solo. No way!

Continue reading “Blues Lick #10: “”A 12-bar intro, plus the start of a solo””

Blues Lick #7: “Flat Three to Five”

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You may hear this series of notes a lot in jazz and blues solos.  Which means, you could call this a cliché.  But in the Blues especially, we need to use clichés, in order to let listeners know where they are:  “You are in the Blues, thank you very much!”  Any time you venture off into highly original blues territory, a cliché is a great place to come home to!

Continue reading “Blues Lick #7: “Flat Three to Five””

Blues Lick #6: “Locked up”

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This is a really exciting technique for what I like to call the “Big Blues” sound.  By “Big Blues,” I mean dramatic, exciting, full, like you might hear from a jazz big band.  This kind of lick also works great for building to a climax in your “blues story” (a good solo usually tells a story).
The name of this lick, “Locked Up,” ain’t necessarily because what you’re saying with your fingers might be a story about going to jail. In this video, “Locked up” actually refers to the core idea of the lesson, something called “locked rhythm.”

Continue reading “Blues Lick #6: “Locked up””