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Blues Lick #3: “Boogie House”

Welcome back to A Study in Blues Piano!

Here’s one that feels right at home in a classic boogie-woogie piano groove, as well as in a hard-driving modern “boogie rock” or “boogie country” jam. At the end of the day, this lick fits in anywhere that is bluesy or funky.  So think of the classic boogie-woogie beat as you get the rhythmic feel of this pattern. The way that I’m demonstrating this lick keeps that boogie feeling in mind.  So, don’t just think of the individual notes; listen to the groove, and tap your foot while you work on this!

Oh, and make it fun, that’s part of the assignment, for all these lessons. It’s a very serious assignment I’m giving you, a requirement that there has to be a grand dose of fun in this mix. The fun aspect is also helpful when studying, writing, or performing “classically serious” kinds of music.  That’s why, in the end, even with much serious study, our most desirable and worthy goal with music is to play it, and never to work it.  (I didn’t make that one up, and I forget where I heard it first, but I have to remind myself of that important truth sometimes, so I’m reminding you here, too 🙂 Even the most focused and drill-like practice can be made better by remembering that it won’t be “perfect” until it really sounds like there’s some fun up in there.  OK so let’s jam!

VIDEO LESSON LICK #3

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Blues Lick #2 : “Da-boo-da, boo-dee-ooo”

Welcome to Lesson Two!

In David Sudnow’s classic book, “Ways of the Hand,” he describes his personal journey towards becoming an accomplished piano improviser.  Eventually, he discovers the secret to playing great jazz (or blues) lines:  Sing!  That is, above all, you must mentally sing the ideas (hear them in your head, as something you would sing). Then, translate that “sound” to your fingers.  You don’t need to be an accomplished singer to do this.  It’s really about the act of singing in your head, not so much your vocal accuracy.  Which brings us to the name of this lick!  If you sing “Dabooda, Boodie You”  with a solid rhythm, it will be much easier to adapt the idea behind this lick into your solos. (Each note in this lick is tied to one syllable in the name.)

VIDEO LESSON

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Blues Piano Crash Course #10: Turn-arounds and endings

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #10  (video)

Turn-arounds and endings for the 12-bar blues.

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Blues Piano Crash Course, #7: Walking Bass Line & More Coordination Practice

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #7  Walking Bass Line & More Coordination Practice (video)

Rhythm is never to be neglected in the Blues, even in performances that are so slow and sultry that it feels like we’re all just breathing, no real beat, just waves…oh sorry, I spaced! Ha. Thing is, even a very slow blues is going to rely heavily on rhythm to give us another undeniable take on real life. We all know how “slow” can sometimes be more alive than “fast” anyway. It all depends right?

I’m saying that about rhythm here because this is the third lesson in a row where we’ve been practicing two-handed coordination on the piano. And I think I’d better explain myself, before you get too bored or too frustrated or both.

First, the more fun work (fun work? yep) picks up again after this third lesson on coordination. I swear. Also, you will learn how to do a walking bass line in this one.

Finally, this maybe-less-than-fun stuff is truly important, this coordination work on piano, because if your hands aren’t “of one mind” — coordinated — then the exalted Rhythm Itself will suffer. And we can’t have that in the blues, not on my watch, dig? If you want to sound great, instead of just good or worse, then quite often it’s just a matter of fixing up that rhythm. Something that can mystify us sometimes — that frustrating sense of “it just doesn’t sound right” — can often be traced back to one thing: The Lack of a Solid Groove. Rhythm is King!

Lick #7 Video Lesson

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Blues Piano Crash Course #11: How to play blues piano in any key (how to transpose)

Welcome to the very last lesson of the The Blues Piano Crash Course!

 


Lesson #11


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.).

VIDEO LESSON

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The Blues Piano Crash Course – Lesson #5 “Put Your Hands Together”

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson Five (video) “Put Your Hands Together”

Tips and practice on two-handed coordination for piano, using notes from the blues!

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“The Blues Piano Crash Course” Lesson #3: “Five Must-Know Riffing Devices”

piano with kent

Lesson #3 of the Blues Piano Crash Course | Free Blues Piano Lessons with Kent


Welcome back to the Blues Piano Crash Course!

The Blues Piano tradition is full of tried-and-true “stock” licks, as well as many devices for creating endless original solos.

In this VIDEO lecture, you will learn to use five such “must-know” riffing devices you can use and adapt in unlimited ways for you own original solos!


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“The Blues Piano Crash Course” Lesson #2: “A Left-hand Groove”

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

Welcome back!

If you’re going to play solo piano Blues, or you want to add a strong supporting groove to a band, then this lecture is for you. Learn to use your left hand to play a dance-able, foot-tapping chord rhythm, while freeing up your right hand to fire off licks and lay down supporting chords. (Later in this course, you’ll master the art of putting both hands together as a dynamic duo.)

PREMIUM CONTENT VIDEO LESSON:

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