Chord practice

What’s the best way to teach/practice chords on the piano? I’ve decided to get back into learning and wanted to add chords into my practice time.

My playing isn’t fantastic, I’m still pretty much a novice but I’m getting there. Basically I did a pre-grade 1 exam and passed that and have passed my grade 2 in Music Theory so I suppose I find it a little easier picking up the theory.

I’ve fished out my grade 1 practical music and am working through that at the minute. But I want to further my knowledge around chords and get better at playing them. I know a bit about the structure of major triads, 4th/6th/7th chords, inversions etc and can do the theory work to understand those better but what’s the best way to get to actually learn about playing them better?

Can any one recommend any exercises/drills that can be done? Naturally I’d start off small/slow and work up but I have no idea what to do to improve this area of my playing.

Maybe practice simple 1-4-5 progressions like C-F-G, or G-C-D.

scale tone triads

I've been playing guitar for 25 years and know my theory and crap, but just within the past year or so gotten serious about playing the piano. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to learn it, but if I had to recommend one book it would be by Jordan Ruddess (Dream Theater) who went to Julliard. It is an excellent "modern" approach to learning contemporary keyboard "Total Keyboard Wizardry":

As far as learning chords and scales, what I practice every Saturday is all 12 major chords (all three versions) and all 12 minor chords (all three versions).

So for C major I would play:

C-C octave in the left hand and right hand play the arpeggio C(thumb)-E(middle)-G(pinky)-C(move up and play with pinky)-G(index)-E(thumb)-C(move down and play with thumb).

E-E octave in the left hand and right hand play the arpeggio E-G-C-E-C-G-E.

G-G octave in the left hand and right hand play the arpeggio G-C-E-G-E-C-G.

So that is C Major, now do that for the other 11 Major chords and the other 12 minor chords. If you can play the arpeggios, you'll easilly be able to play the static chords. Plus learning all 3 versions (root and 1st and 2nd inversions) is gold for making melodic chord changes.

I also every Saturday practice the chromatic scale, the whole tone scale, and diminished 7th arpeggios. The rest of the week I just work on learning songs. Mostly minimalist stuff like Philip Glass and Michael Nymam because I'm not that good yet. I want to start composing pretty soon though on the piano, that's my ultimate goal.

I've learned this Philip Glass peice "Glassworks" which is pretty simple, yet complex because of the 3 over 2 polyrythm:

I bought the Philip Glass piano works sheet music for the Metamorphasis stuff which is very simple, but very cool:

I just finished learning this Michael Nyman peice from the movie "The Piano" yesterday. I can't play it up to speed yet, but hopefully in a few weeks it will be up to tempo.

This is also a very good webpage I found about learning the piano:

Good luck, it's an amazing instrument. The guitar sucks balls compared to the piano IMO.

I learned that Michael Nyman song back in the 90's. I haven't played it in years, though.

I saw Holly Hunter (who played in the movie) play the song on a talk show years ago, too. She did a good job with it.

As for comparing piano/keys to guitar, for me, they both have their ups and downs, but I've always enjoyed composing on piano more.

I've played a lot of the same chord progressions in different keys, but not taking an actual song (like the 3 above) and trying to play them in a new key. That would take some heavy lifting. Cool idea though.

My next big challenge is learning to play all 12 major and minor scales with both hands at the same time. A long way to go on that one.


Nothing to do with chords but I recently got the Hanon piano exercises (from the advice of 3 great piano players) and it is REALLY helping my playing. I think there are 60 exercises or so, but I'm only on 5 and not ready to move on yet because I can't play it up to the tempo markings.

Lots of finger indepence things going on. Check it out, best $8 I've spent on musical education...probably ever.

Oh yeah I still can't play that fucking Nyman piece above. I'm pretty close, but not there yet. The Hanon exercises are helping though.