“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.

To receive updates of all new posts on this site (including new blues lessons), you can provide your email address here (we never share your address with anyone, period!)

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)

 

Blues Lick #7: “Flat Three to Five”

Back to “A Study in Blues Piano” contents

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 #5: “Ba-do-dee You Bop”

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How are those blues licks coming along? Comments and questions are always welcome!

Today I present Lick Number Five, which is formally called the “Ba-do-dee you bop” lick. That is some academic terminology right there, and you know that I did not make it up.

Ha-ha. As with Lick #2, I named this lick with syllables that match each note of the pattern, so that you can sing the name of the lick as you practice it, which is a really good way to get the feel of it. You might want to read the lesson description for Lick #2 for more insight on that singing idea.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Blues Lick #5: “Ba-do-dee You Bop””

“A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on Twelve Licks”

Welcome to A Study in Blues Piano!

As an enrolled student of this course, you have 24×7 unlimited streaming access to all the lessons and related materials for “A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on 12 Licks,” designed and taught by instructor Kent Smith.

Enrolled students can ask questions and make comments via (1) the comments section of any lesson, or (2) by using the “Contact” form, which is accessible from the main menu of any page.  (Option 2 is for direct communications with Kent.)

ACCESS INFO: Visitors can go through the course listing below to read lesson intros and descriptions.  The video part of each lesson, on the other hand,  is the core material, and can only be accessed by enrolled students.

LESSON ONE (below) IS FREE TO ALL,  TO GIVE Y’ALL  A SENSE OF THIS CLASS’s EXPERIENCE LEVEL , TEACHING STYLE, ETC.

Course Description

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.

SHEET MUSIC

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.

Blues Piano Licks #1 and #2 from “A Study in Blues Piano — Focusing on 12 Licks”

Students of blues, pop, jazz, rock, et al:

This is the first lesson in my course,  A Study in Blues Piano: Focusing on 12 Licks.

BLUES LICK #1:  Energy

Lick #2, plus all the others, are available 24×7 to members of Piano With Kent (All-Access).

BLUES LICK #2:  Da-boo-da, Boo-dee-ooo

Continue reading “Blues Piano Licks #1 and #2 from “A Study in Blues Piano — Focusing on 12 Licks””