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Create and Motivate: Developing seventh-chord fluency

The ability to recognize and play chords without hesitation benefits all pianists. For improvisers, chord fluency enables practical skills such as learning tunes by ear, transforming lead sheets to arrangements, jamming with others, and creating one's own part in bands. For those who prefer to play written music, facility with chords improves learn...
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Developing triad chord fluency

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Like language students who have memorized vocabulary but are not yet conversant, pianists who have learned to construct chords may not yet be "chord fluent." So how do we help our students move beyond music theory worksheets to being able to interpret chord symbols and identify underlying harmonies in literature more easily? One approach involves a...
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Apps for teaching: Tools for triggering creativity with pop music

Why integrate popular or "non-classical" music into piano lessons? Retain students Integrating pop music into your curriculum can meet students "where they are." Encouraging them to learn what's on their Spotify or iTunes playlist may draw them to practicing more, which results in progress. Progress motivates, and will keep them on the bench. Devel...
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Expanding your vocabulary of chords

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  Do you think Johann Pachelbel knew how popular his Canon in D would become? When I discovered the same chord progression in a few familiar songs, my search for more examples began. As you play this chord progression are there songs that come to your mind?  This chord progression is often played with a scale in the bass:  The Canon ...
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The keyboard harmony course: Its need and importance

I am delighted to have been asked to participate in the inaugural issue of this ground-breaking publication, in the company of some musician/pedagogues whose work I admire very much indeed. I suspect (and indeed, I fervently hope) that many of my own homespun observations and suggestions will overlap with those of others whose views are represented...
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