Blues Piano Crash Course #9: The Melody Machine

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

Lesson #9  (video) “The Melody Machine”

This thing I like to call the  “melody machine” is by no means a new technique for creating strong melodies. Singers, composers and improvisers have built melodies this way forever.  In a nutshell, it’s a specific way of using the underlying chord progression as a “generator” of melodic material.

Sometimes this “melody generating” concept doesn’t get enough of a spotlight. By spotlight, I mean pointing it out and teaching it, in places where students can fully appreciate the power of the results.

So here’s a great place for that spotlight:  the art and science of creating powerful blues licks!

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Visual Piano Chord Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords

108 Piano Chords
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Here is an interactive  eBook that I put together as a reference for my Piano Chords 108 series. As a member, you have 24×7 access to this feature.

 

IMPORTANT:

This book can serve as a stand-alone reference for checking your piano chords.

However:

The sole purpose of my Piano Chords 108 series is to teach piano students how to memorize all 108 of these chords as they appear on the piano keyboard.

Therefore, this catalog should be used, ideally, only to check your understanding of the memorization system taught here.

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A Study in Blues Piano – Lick #1: “Energy”

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Welcome to Lesson One

Lick number one, which I’m calling “Energy,”  uses the first five notes of the blues scale, with the right hand in a fixed position.  The repeating triplet figures build a sense of excitement!

Like all the lessons in this collection, there are tips for transposing this lick into the key of your choice.

 

VIDEO LESSON

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Jazz Improvisation: The Shortest Path from Novice to Expert

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Discovery <—> Refinement

When I was new to jazz, I spent years in the “discovery” phase. In the beginning, that was, for the most part, learning what scales go best with what chords, and also finding the “pretty notes,” as Charlie Parker once put it.

But I was so fixated on finding the coolest harmonies and scales, I forgot to practice playing what I already knew. In other words, I was skipping the “refinement” part.

Charlie Parker again, paraphrasing, “Play CLEAN and find the pretty notes.” So playing clean, that’s the refinement part.

The refinement part also – and maybe more importantly – means sticking with what you already know when you are coming up with your improvised lines. Which means you are saving the stretching out and the trying of new stuff for the discovery part. Both are obviously necessary for continuous growth.

WHY IS THIS A CIRCLE, NOT A STRAIGHT LINE,
FROM NEWBIE TO EXPERT?

The answer may already have occurred to you: We are forever learning, then refining, then learning, then refining, in an infinite cycle of growth. (Assuming we’re serious about things.)

And each activity feeds the other!

-Kent

New! Bach’s Famous “Prelude in C” from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book One – With Lettered Notes

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I’ve added a new custom sheet, Prelude in C by Bach, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book OnePrelude in C is an extremely popular piece that will never lose its appeal to piano players and listeners alike.

This sheet music has each note labeled with its musical letter-name, such as E, D#, A… Some markings (dynamics, etc.) have been omitted to make room for the added letters.

You can read about the pros and cons of marking in letters on sheet music, here.

 

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

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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!

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

Regarding Private Lessons with Kent

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UPDATE September 2020:

Hey everyone, until further notice, I am no longer able to give private lessons.*

*Piano With Kent is still up and running, right here…  Lots of free content!

-Kent


OLDER TEXT:

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Private lessons with me (piano, keyboards, drums, and general music) are currently being conducted online only.  Skype, Zoom, Facetime.

To learn more about my qualifications, education, and performing experience, click here.

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