Learn Piano for Beatmakers and Producers
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- Certificate of Completion
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- Play piano specifically for making beats
- Understand how chords (major + minor) and scales work
- Improvisation when playing the piano
- Learn extremely helpful techniques such as arpeggios, inversions, etc.
- Creating catchy melodies with confidence
- The basics of a piano
- Play piano with both hands!
- Tricks to stay super motivated to want to practice!
- Have a Piano/MIDI Keyboard to practice with.
- Be able to use your DAW at a beginner level
- Have a beginner's level of music theory and notes. (This is gently covered in the course.)
There are tons of videos on the internet in regards to learning the piano, but over my years of producing beats, I've realized we as beatmakers play the piano differently than someone trying to learn classical piano.
So why do we have to learn the piano from a classical standpoint when we're wanting to create awesome beats - whether that be beautiful piano beats, or just have a better understanding of chords and improvisation?
Cause here's the thing:
As a beatmaker, we create repetition.
We create loops which are on repeat over and over, and our goal is for these loops to be extremely catchy. (Also keeping in mind for our other instruments in terms of mixing for clarity.)
So in this course I cover with you:
- The basics of a piano to get everyone on the same page
- How keys, scales, and chords work
- Figuring out powerful chord progressions (and sharing some of my own personal favorites!)
- Thinking in terms of melodies and improvisation
- How to bounce around with your right hand
- Left hand techniques to add fullness to your composition
- Playing with both hands
- Popular note placement, counting beats, and different rhythms in the industry.
- How to stay motivated to practice piano as a beatmaker
I have been practicing piano almost every day for the past 5 years, and these are the things that I have discovered and want to share with you within this course.
By the end of the course you will have an in-depth understanding of chords/scales, and be able to improvise on the piano.
From here on out, it's up to you to practice with this knowledge to take your productions to the next level!
Hope this course is the tipping point in your productions! :)
- The intermediate producer wanting to take their piano skills to the next level
- A beatmaker/producer wanting to learn improvisation on the piano
Welcome to the course: Piano for Beatmakers.
My goal of this course is to introduce to you how we as beatmakers should look at the piano when playing/practicing.
By the end of the course, I hope to get you to a level of basic improvisation so you can be on your way.
It's then up to you to practice, but you'll now be aware of how to practice and grow with your improvisation!
I just wanted to show you my caliber of playing the piano.
Let's get into the course after this video, shall we! :D
In this video we walk through how I used piano to compose a beat.
I really want to stress watching this video, then going further into the course, but then coming back and watching this video.
You'll see how I applied a lot of the techniques in the course, and should give you one of those 'Ah Ha!' moments (everything clicks!)
Here's another example of a beat where I piano was the main focus in the track.
This time around I used C Major instead of C Minor like the previous video [Goals Shall Be Achieved].
You will again see a bunch of rhythms and techniques I used to compose this big emotional track!
Practicing is not fun!
But like the saying goes, 'Practice makes perfect'. And even though I don't really believe that lol, I like to think 'Practice makes you better' ;)
Over my years I've found it's important to set yourself up to want to practice.
If you can make practicing as fun as possible, you'll play for longer and get more out of your practice sessions.
Long story short - apply effects and use Release/the sustain pedal to add fullness to your playing when learning.
I feel this is a great place to get an idea of what you're actually looking at when you look at a piano.
You have all these notes and what are they!?
Well, in music, we only have 12 notes, but they repeat over and over.
And this is what you call an octave!
So for example, if we start at a C note, then move up to the C note above it, that is one octave higher.
So it's the same 12 notes, but just an octave higher or lower.
That's all! - Pretty simple, hey!?
This is a fundamental video for you.
This is what I've learned in regards to keys + scales over my years.
Each scale contains 7 notes! And we use these 7 notes to compose our beat.
Before making a beat, this is why it's crucial to pick a key and scale.
You first choose a key, which is the 'root' of the notes available to you to play.
Next, you decide if you want a major or minor scale.
Let's work with C, since that's what we use in the video!
If I choose the Key of C, I have to decide if I'm going major or minor with it.
Let's go Major:
Now, we start from the C note, and figure out what notes are available to us in C major. (There's online piano scale helpers, or you can watch the video!)
This leaves us with C, D, E, F, G, B and then it will repeat back to C, which is an octave higher!
What if we were to choose minor?
Well, we still start at C, but our notes are different because of the minor scale (2 notes in between the third, sixth, and seventh chords instead of 3 notes.)
That leaves us with:
C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, and then back to C!
You are introduced to the difference between major and minor scales + chords in this video!
So since our scale contains 7 notes, the difference between major and minor is the:
Third, Sixth, and Seventh notes.
That's all the difference between major and minor is!
And when dealing with chords depending on if it's a major or minor chord, it's just how many notes are between the first and third finger.
Minor will have two notes notes from your first to third finger, and Major will have three notes from your first to third finger.
I walk you through the C Major scale and show you how a scale works.
This prepares you for our future videos by giving you insight to improvise.
This knowledge alone will open your eyes by being aware of how to choose powerful chords and knowing what notes are available to you if you wanted to use a different key/scale at a later date!
This is the exact same idea as the previous video covering the C Major scale, but going over C Minor.
Now this video should get your mind stretching and leaving you a bit confused at times.
This is awesome!
This is because the C Major scale is super easy to understand. It's all white notes! - That's why I chose it.
Then I break you into a scale which is full of black and white notes - C Minor!
If you get confused, go back and watch the C Major video, and just apply the exact same theory you've learned to this video covering C Minor.
Once you understand this scale stuff, this is what makes the difference.
Please - make sure you understand these last two videos (C Major + C Minor overview) before going further, as they rely heavily on these two videos!
Note name degrees are used to describe where notes are within the scale. (The particular position of where that note is on a scale.)
So since we have 7 notes, each of these notes has a name.
As I mentioned in the video, I only created this video to bring it to your attention, it's not crucial to understand to improvising on the piano or creating amazing music.
In my opinion, this is used to have a more in-depth conversation and understanding of music theory.
From the root position it goes:
- Leading tone (Major), Subtonic (Minor)
Like I said, it's cool to know, but don't spend too much time studying this if you're just wanting to learn to improvise on the piano!
Just bringing it to your attention since we're in the 'music theory' section of this course.
Let's get you improvising ;)
On to the next video!
If you've never counted beats before, it may not be as simple as what I make it sound like in this video, but hear me out.
In music today, the most common time signature is 4/4 time. (Also called common time.)
And if we were reading sheet music, we'd see this 4/4 written on the left-side of the music score.
So what does 4/4 mean?
Well the first 4 is how many notes there are.
And the bottom number is how long those notes are played in that measure.
So we'd have 4 notes played at 1/4 beat each adding to our single beat.
To bring to your attention, there are different durations/lengths.
For example, we can have 1/8 notes, 1/4 notes, 1/2 notes, and whole notes. (Things can even start getting into dotted, and you have rests too..)
But I want to tell you right now.
This stuff is confusing.
It will take you hours of reading and studying music theory to understand, and even though it helps in terms of learning how mucis works, keep it simple!
Someone taught me this:
K.I.S.S. - Keep it simple stupid
Inversions can maybe be called 'Secret sauce' haha, just kidding.
But they're a really cool way to add a higher or lower sound in your tracks while playing the same notes.
Why is this useful?
Well this is what sets a beatmaker apart from a classical piano player.
We have to think in terms of our mix, too!
If we have multiple instruments going on all around the same frequencies, it makes it harder to mix and have clarity to each instrument.
Therefore, you can get away with an inversion sometimes of certain chords to help each instrument 'fit in its own space' inside your mix :)
In a short explanation:
There are three positions for your chord.
The root position (your basic triad)
Let's say we have C, E, G - that's a C Major chord.
Our first inversion is when we take C, and just move it to the C an octave higher.
This leaves us with E, G, C.
Then we have a second inversion, where we move the E up to another octave:
This leaves us now with G, C, E
And finally, if we move the G up an octave, we are at a C Major chord, but just an octave higher:
C, E, G.
Simple right! :)
Okay, okay, this is an important video.
Arpeggios are a very special technique we use to add unique melodies and fullness to a track.
Instead of playing all notes of our chord at the same time (which is called a block chord), we play the notes one after another.
Now how you play those notes of the chord one after another is what makes arpeggios special:
You can play the arpeggio up the scale making it like
Play C, then Play E, then Play G (and keep repeating that)
Or, you can play downward:
Play C, then Play G, then Play E, then back to C. (Again, repeating!)
Or this is where creativity comes into play for rhythm and special patterns:
You don't have to play the arpeggio in any order.
You could do it like
C, E, G, E, G, C, G, G, E for example lol
And inside your music program (DAW), typically they have options for up, down, up-down, and random! (You can even select the speed you want the arpeggio to play at!
By no means are these advanced chords lol - sorry if the title is misleading.
What I mention in here is lately I've been using the suspended 2nd and suspended 4th chords.
They're really easy to understand if you watch the video.
These have added a different dimension to my chord progressions!
Now we get into actually playing the piano after learning the music theory part of a piano.
Since you now know how scales work, we start with C Major. (That's the easiest scale to understand and a great place to start.)
Our chords are C Major, G Major, A Minor, and F Major.
It really is a beautiful chord progression.
Always be careful not to overuse your favorite chord progressions so your tracks will always sound different and fresh to your listeners.
Alright, this is it!
This is where improvisation starts for you.
I sure hope this video opens your eyes to improvisation and how to get started.
Remember, all I can do is show you what's available to you.
From here on out, it really is up to you to practice to build that muscle memory!
Now, this is what took me a long time to get better at.
In my experience, I was able to catch on pretty good with my right hand.
Don't get me wrong, all of these steps took me many months to become better at. So don't feel like you gotta consume all this knowledge all at once!
Anyways in this video is where we talk about the left hand.
The left hand is the foundation of your track.
I guess it defines the 'rhythm of the track', and the right hand defines the 'melody of the track'.
If you just play chords, sometimes it can make your beats feel like they're missing that little something, and that's where my left-hand tips come into play.
Things like adding in late notes, rolling notes, or even arpeggios.
You'll instantly find your beats becoming just a bit fuller with each tip I show you in regards to your left-hand!
This is something I threw in as kind of a bonus.. but realized it is actually going to be really good practice for you to see how I applied this theory into my own composition!
So this track is called 'Giving in is Giving Up', and was released on one of my free beat tapes called 'FREE BEATS By GratuiTous Vol. 5'.
The song was created in C Minor, and you get to see how I used the arpeggio in the left hand, and added notes on the right hand in because they were also in the scale of C Minor.
All the theory is applied in this track.
If you want to learn it, I show you step-by-step :)
This video was created just to keep in the back of your mind about repetition.
Since we beatmakers create loops on repeat, you have to think about long-term listening lol
Is it going to be catchy for long periods, or does it get annoying pretty quick?
Typically, the longer you create your loop the less monotonous it is, but that's not to say you can't make short loops!
Just something I wanted you to be aware of as you're creating your beats ;)
Building off of keeping your progressions fresh by changing up chords here and there, this video shows you some common patterns you can use for your tracks.
By no means is it an 'all the patterns available to you' kind of video, but is more meant to show you how you can apply the:
On beat, Off beat (Syncopation), and a variety of syncopation!
Hope this one is useful to you!
I tried to create this video as if I were going to try and find a chord progression for a track at that moment in time.
I tried to follow all the theory we've covered so far:
- Pick a key + scale
- Know what chords are in the scale in regards to major / minor
- Find a progression that I like
(Play around with it and see if you can change it up on the second time around - either by changing the chord on the left hand, or changing notes on your right hand!)
Thank-you so much for taking my course.
I sincerely hope it does help you with your piano and improvisation!
Feel free to contact me with any questions you have.
If you could leave a review of your thoughts on the course, I would really appreciate that!