Learn Piano #1 - Basic Harmony & 14 Piano Improvisation Tips

Piano for Beginners: Learn Basic Chords & 14 Piano Tips to Improvise with Right Hand using Finger Tricks + Handshapes
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  • Lectures 78
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

Rosa's Online School:

  • Teaching 22 Courses on Business Successes - Udemy, Kindle, Skillshare!
  • Teaching 42 Courses on Music & Piano Courses!

OVER 25,000 Successful students have already taken my online courses since July 2014 with 877 - 5 Star Reviews

Course Updated: Nov 1, 2016



PIANO FOR BEGINNERS: Learn Basic Music Harmony to harmonize a song with Basic Chords & 14 Improvisational Piano Tips for your Right Hand!

  • Have you ever wanted to know how to harmonize a song from scratch?
  • Do you have a method to harmonize a song?
  • Use my Easy Reharmonization Method!

Here's the Secret: You need to have a good firm foundation of music theory so that you can build color chords onto them. You will learn how to harmonize a song using 3 Basic Chords.

This course covers 7 aspects of Basic Music Theory and 14 Piano Tips to Right Hand Improvisation to the song Away In A Manger.

Another Piano Tip: Piano students have difficulty playing color tones with basic triad chords. In this course, I teach you 2T6 and 3T6 Secret Handshapes so that you can even add color tones to basic triad chords.

**3 Bonus Videos for Total Beginners who want to Read Music Quickly**


There are 2 Major Sections to this Course:

1. Basic Music Theory

a. Song Structure

b. Musical Form

c. Musical Pattern

d. 7 Diatonic Chords

e. Basic Triad Chords

f. How To Quickly Read Music

g. Harmony Rule to Harmonize a song with Chord I, IV, V7

h. Harmonize Away In A Manger with Chord I, IV, V7

2. Practical PIano Techniques for Right Hand Improvisation

This course concentrates on giving you a variety of creative way to improvise with your right hand. You need to learn how to make good use of your fingers, especially the middle finger: R3

1. Piano Tip 1: 5 Finger Trick - One tone melody

2. Piano Tip 2: R3 Finger Slide Trick to make Bluesy sounds

3. Piano Tip 3: R1 - R3 Finger Trick - Melody in 3rds.

4. Piano Tip 4: Roll the Melody in 3rds & Echo

5. Piano Tip 5: R3 Finger Trick to create Mordant Triplet

6. Piano Tip 6: R3 Finger to create 5 Note Turn

7. Piano Tip 7: Secret Handshape of 2T6 to play Melody in 6ths easily

8. Piano Tip 8: Roll the 6ths

9. Piano Tip 9: R1 Thumb Trick to mix Melody in 3rds and 6ths

10. Piano Tip 10: Secret Handshape of 3T6 to splash in color tones

11. Piano Tip 11: Easy Techniques to Play Chord Inversions

12. Piano Tip 12: Rosa's Secret Technique of Transfer Chord

13. Piano Tip 13: Add a Tag to the ending of the Song - Amen Chord

14. Piano Tip 14: Easy F Key and Chord Inversions

Have fun playing Away In A Manger in a creative way improvising around the melody tones.

Have Fun!



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  • Enroll into this course

What are the requirements?

  • A love to play piano
  • You want to make a start to play piano
  • You have never taken piano lessons and this is a good start for you
  • a keyboard or a piano

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn Basic Music Theory
  • Basic Harmonization to a Song
  • Chords Movement between Chord I, IV, V7
  • Learn how to start improvising with your Right Hand
  • Learn how to use your fingers in the Right Hand to make creative sounds
  • Learn to listen to the different sounds of chord progression in a song
  • Make a little change in the finger and you hear beautiful sounds
  • Add 3rds and 6ths to melody tones
  • Know how to harmonize a song with chords

Who is the target audience?

  • Total Beginners
  • Other students who do not know how to harmonize a song
  • Piano Players who want to learn some finger tricks to make playful sounds with the Right Hand
  • Piano students who need a quick start to go back to piano playing
  • Piano students who need motivation to get back to playing piano
  • Church pianists who need training to become more proficient in their performances

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction
Introduction & Overview of the Course
An Overview of the 10 Level Reharmonization Method
Part A: Level 1 Music Harmony
Part B: Piano Playing - Piano Styles & Techniques
Quick Survey - Needs of Piano Students
Section 2: Music Theory 1: Analyze the Song Structure

IN the video, I reharmonized a basic song "Away In A Manger" with lots of color tones.

Now the song Away In A Manger doesn't sound like a simple children song anymore.


In this Reharmonization Kit 1 - I want to take you step by step to different levels so that you can see how to turn a simple song to more sophisticated colorful professional sounds.

It took me years and years of study to understand "Music Harmony" in the academic studies.

My approach here is to take you on a "practical" level to 'Reharmonize" a simple song.


It is called "Reharmonization" because:

  • "Re" means again
  • Harmonization - using principles of music harmony.

We get bored when we play songs with simple basic skeleton.

Level 1 goes through all the simple basics that everyone needs to know, especially total beginners!

I don't want to lose total beginners and I want them to have fun and join in even if you know nothing about music!

Once you have this Level 1 foundation - you can then move on to Level 2 where I show you how to put color tones to turn your basic songs that is no longer basic anymore. It sounds professional.

Can you imagine where Level 10 will take you?

Truly, people will be amazed at your knowledge.

Move on slowly from one level to the next!

I am here to guide you along step by step! :)

Start With Lyrics of the Song
Poetic Form of Away In A Manger

It is important that you 'think' in these 4 musical lines when you play the song.

Don't think in 'long' sentences.

I've used 2 different ways to highlight these 4 sentences for you in the video so that you can capture 'how' I think in my head when I play.

Knowing how to think is as important as knowing the concept.

Many people know the answers to concepts.

But the 'thinking' in the mind is completely different!

While the outcome is the same, the 'process' of arriving the outcome is just as IMPORTANT!

Have fun!:)

Section 3: Music Theory 2: Look For PATTERNS in the melody
Secret Tip: Sing in order to See Patterns
Pattern Sections in Away In A Manger

Music has Form & Patterns

Understand the Section Structure of a Song.

Away in a Manger - A B A C

Section 4: Music Theory 3 - Basic Foundation: 7 Diatonic Chords

A song can be harmonized with all these 7 diatonic chords in C Key:







B diminished

In the Next 5 Videos, I will show you the following parts:

1. C Scale Tones

2. Triads are Formed on the Scale Tones

3. Chords Have Names

4. 7 Diatonic Chords

5. Roman Numerals

Triads - Triad Chords are Formed from the Scale Tones
Chords Have Names
7 Diatonic Chords in C Key
Roman Numerals
Name the Major Chords in the Key of C
1 question
Section 5: Bonus Section - Music Theory 4: Learn To Read Music - For Total Beginners
1 page

Download the Music Score Sheet of Away In A Manger.

You can use this score sheet at the piano!

For those of you who do not know how to 'read music',

I have prepared 3 EXTRA Bonus Videos for you to learn to read music quickly.

Reading music does not need to be complicated at all:

Step 1: Identify the Notes on the Piano

Step 2: Read the Treble Clef notes only

Step 3: Match the melody notes to the piano

That's it!

Step 1: Identify the Notes on the Piano
Step 2: Read the Treble Clef Notes

Download the Music Notes for Away In A Manger

in the download tab.

Section 6: Music Theory 5: Harmonize the Song with Basic Chords

Play these 3 Chords on the Piano.

If you are a total beginner, practice these 3 chords until you know them inside out.

C Chord: C E G

F Chord: F A C

G7 Chord: G B D F

Harmony Rule


Go to the piano and find out which chord goes with the melody tones.

RH: Play just the melody tone

LH: Play Block Chord Tones

C Chord: C E G C

F Chord: F A C F

G7 Chord: G B D F


Piano Tip:

1.Chords tend to change on the beat, so find out what chords are used at the beginning of the measure.

2.In the key of C, the song usually starts on Chord C and ends with Chord C.

You can check the answers in the video.

Match the melody tones to Basic Chords: I IV V7

C F G7

Watch the video in the next lecture!


LH: Play Chord Tones

RH: Play Melody Tones

Listen to the harmonizing sound of the Chords to the Melody tones!

Download the pdf - Lyrics with Chord Notations
1 page
Transfer the Chords to the Music Score
Away In A Manger - Lead Sheet
Section 7: Music Theory 6: Listen to the Sounds of Chord Progression
To Play By Ear: Learn to Listen to the Sounds of Chord Progression

RH: I just play the Chord Sounds.

LH: Chords

Even if you don't play the RH melody tones, you can hear the song Away In A Manger in the background.

This tells us that to recognize a song, the most important part is the Chord Progression of the Song rather than the melody tones.

For many of us, the melody tones identify the song.

**You need to know that it is the Chord Progression that identifies the song also**

Once you hear the Chord Progression, you will not have problem identifying the melody tones :)


This time, I just want you to use your ears to pay attention to the chord sounds as they move from one chord to the next.

Section 8: Music Theory 7: To Play By Ear - Listen to the Sounds of Chord Movement
2 Chord Movement Patterns

Chord 1 to Chord IV

You feel that the sound wants to continue.... It is not a restful sound.

The sound wants to go somewhere.

Whereas in the next video, Chord IV to Chord 1 has a 'restful' sound.


Chord IV to Chord 1 - Plagal Cadence.

It has an Amen Sound.

You hear a 'restful sound' as Chord IV goes to Chord I.


Chord 1 to V7 - C to G7

The sounds tell us that the music wants to continue to go somewhere to find a resting place.

The music is not finished..... it wants to to for a resting sound.


Chord V7 to Chord 1

Chord G7 to Chord C

You hear a Perfect Cadence Sound.

It is an "Ending Sound!"

It is a restful sound.

This is where music stops!

**Almost all songs end with V7 to I **

Section 9: Fun Activity - Test Time: Test Your Ears!
Fun Activity Test 1: Test Your Ears - What Chord Changes?



Answers to the 4 Fun Test Questions in Section 8
Section 10: Chord Chart & Music Score with Chords
Chord Chart - 4 Lines
Filling In the Complete Chord Chart
Answer Sheet to Chord Chart
The Numbers of Time Chords are used in a song
Section 11: BONUS: Simple Improvisation Demo

Improvisation is the art of making music.

Most people are scared of improvisation.

As soon as there is no sheet music in front of them, they can't play.


Some students have requested that I do an Improvisation Course.

This is in the pipeline.

In the meantime, I add this bonus video to give you a demo how you can play around with simple improvisation - train both hands to play chords.


Easy Improvisation:

1. LH - play Chords

2. RH - play the same Chords


Notice that this time my LH did not just play block chords.

I added movement to the chords.

I play broken chords: The tones are all chord tones.


RH also plays chord tones.

Improvisation Tip:

You do not need to think ahead of time of what you want to play.

Just play chord tones.


Piano Tip: Never be afraid to make mistakes.

Just play and ALLOW yourself to make mistakes! Yes.... you will love hearing your mistakes! :)

They are not mistakes after all....

Section 12: FUN Piano Techniques: Finger Tricks for RH - 1 Tone
Use All Your Fingers To Play - LH & RH Notations

When you want to play with 5 fingers in the FLOW:

Follow these Piano Tips:

1. When the melody moves down, start with R5.

2. When the melody moves up, start with R1 and let R1 guide you.


R5 - come down

R1 - move up

One Tone Melody - R3 Finger Trick - Bluesy Style

Blue Scale has these bluesy tones: b3 b5 b7

Slide down on blue note with R3


The 3rd Finger Trick - Slide Down from the Black Keys

Slide down on blue note with R3

RH: R3

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Broken Chord – Simple Arp


After you practice using the R3 to slide down from the Black keys, you can now apply to Away In A Manger.

Here is a demo video!

You can play along!

Section 13: FUN Piano Techniques: Finger Tricks & Secret Handshape for RH - 2 Tones
Piano Tip 3: R1-R3 Finger Trick - Embellish Melody Tones in 3rds

Notice I didn't just play the sounds together.

I roll them sometimes to make it more interesting.

I go up an octave to make some echo sounds.

Try experiment in this way!

This is fun.


You can vary the R1 + R3 fingers:

1. Roll from R1 to R3

2. Play R1 + R3 an octave higher to create an echo sound


Make your R3 Finger Playful.

Create a Triplet Sound by Adding in R4.

Fingering: R3 R4 R3


Piano Tip:

Mordant Triplet R3 - Sounds great on the 3rd Beat!

Practice along!


This time I will not say the names of the notes of Mordant Triplet.

You can just follow along and let your R3 & R4 create these fun triplets sounds.

RH: R3 R4 R3

Quick Triplet on the 3rd beat

R3 plays melody note

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Broken Chord - Simple Arp


Take advantage of the R3 Finger:

R3 is a very strong finger when you play the melody tone.

Create more fun sounds by adding in 5 Note Turn:

RH: R3 R4 R3 R2 R3

5 note turn in the space of one beat

R3 plays melody note

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Broken Chord - Simple Arp

Piano Tip 7: Secret Handshape - 2T6

RH: R1 + R5

Melody in 6ths

Practice the RH first.


Melody in 6ths - Roll them

Rolling the sounds with the handshape give the audience the impression that you are playing a lot of notes. With the 2T6, the handshape already gives you harmonizing tones. So you might as well take advantage of it and roll out more sounds.


RH: R1 + R5

Roll R1 + R5

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Broken Chord – Simple Arp


You can mix Melody in 3rds & 6ths into the song.

There are no fixed rules when to do 3rds and when to do 6ths.

For beginners: Let your R1 (Thumb) guide you along!

Melody in 3rds - can change the fingering that is comfortable for you.

If you can't, then just use R1 + R3.

Melody in 6ths - for now, always use R1 + R5

1 question

What is a 2T6 Handshape?

Section 14: FUN Piano Techniques: Finger Tricks & Secret Handshape for RH - 3 Tones
Piano Tip 10 : 3T6 Secret Handshape

RH: R1 R2 R5

R5 plays melody tones

1. Play all the tones together.

2. You can Roll the Tones for Variation


RH: R1 R2 R5

R5 plays melody tones

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Broken Chord – Simple Arp


You don't always use the same handshape throughout the whole song.

Since we are practising this handshape, you can train your hand by using 3T6 throughout the song for practice!

Piano Tip 11: EZ Chord Inversion Techniques for RH 3 Tones

Chord Inversions:

C Chord:

Root position: C E G

1st Inversion: E G C

2nd Inversion: G C E

F Chord:

Root position: F A C

1st Inversion: A C F

2nd Inversion: C F A

G7 Chord:

Root position: G B D F

1st Inversion: B D F G

2nd Inversion: D F G B

3rd Inversion: F G B D


RH: Play 3 tones with R1, R2, R3, R4, R5

Closed Voicing: Chord Inversion

LH: L5 L2 L1

Keep Left Hand Simple


As you can see it is more difficult to play Chord Inversions because you need to think about which notes to hit on the Right Hand.

This is where 3T6 Handshape comes in handy for beginners.


I have always played Chord Inversions from Traidtional Piano Lessons.

It takes about 2 to 3 years for you to get good at it.


When I saw the frustration students had with practising chord inversion, I came up with the 3T6 Handshape for them to play easily.

Once they learn the 3T6 Handshape, they make use of the tricks that I show them to embellish the RH with good melody tones w/o ever practising chord inversion, and yet people think they are playing chord inversion.

Isn't that neat?


Again, I coined this name: Transfer Chord

When I started to learn to improvise, I had no idea how to improvise in the flow.

AS the years went on, I discovered this 'Transfer Chord' technique that allows me to make music!

At church, whenever I saw those long notes, I just improvised with Transfer Chord and it creates easy flowing movement to my songs.


RH: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5

LH: L5 L3 L2 L1

Use 2 Hands to Transfer Chord tones from left to right


Here is a run down of the demo of the Transfer Chord in the Video:

Transfer Chords:

RH needs to know how to play inversions with melody on top.

LH plays the chord tones.


00:27 Playing C Chord starting on the LH.


RH: E G C (if the melody tone is C)


RH: G C E (if the melody tone is E)

**Tip** The Left Hand begins the C Chord playing and the RH carries on with the same chord tones of C Chord until you hit the melody tone.


O0:38 - I started showing you how to apply to the song Away In A Manger

LH: C G C - block chord here

RH: C E G - broken chord (the melody tone is G)


O0:45 - Here I only apply this transfer chord to the long measures so that it is easier for students to apply this transfer chord technique:

So from 00:45 to 00:53 - I was just playing normal chord inversions


At 00:53 I played Transfer Chord with the melody tone G




From 00:59 to 1:06 - I was playing plain chord inversions


1:06 - in the long measure - Chord Transfer


RH: G C G - the melody tone is a G note


1:11 to 1:18 - chord inversion playing


1:18 to 1:23

For a 2 beat note:






You can improvise with transfer chord as there is a lot of variety way of doing this.

The idea is to transfer the chord tones from LH to RH


1:34 to 1:40 - chord inversion


1:40 - Transfer Chord Demo for the ending of the song!




Piano Tip To Add a tag to the ending of a song:

  • Put in IV – I Plagal Cadences (Amen Sound)
  • At the end of the song, put in an extra ending tag:
  • IV – I

I show you 2 variations:

a. Use Root Bass for the Ending: F C

b. Use C Bass for the Ending: F/C C

Section 15: Venture Out to Key of F

Chord I = Chord F: F A C

Chord IV = Chord Bb: Bb D F

Chord V7 = Chord C7: C E G Bb

Voicing Tip: Familiarize yourself to the following chord inversions for Basic I IV V7 to Key of F.


Piano Tip: Chord Inversions:

F Chord:

Root position: F A C

1st Inversion: A C F

2nd Inversion: C F A

Bb Chord:

Root position: Bb D F

1st Inversion: D F Bb

2nd Inversion: F Bb D

C7 Chord:

Root position: C E G Bb

1st Inversion: E G Bb C

2nd Inversion: G Bb C E

3rd Inversion: Bb C E G

1 page

This song is actually written in the Key of F.

Key of F is in a good range for people to sing.

Key of C is either too low or too high.


Download the Music Score of Away In A Manger.

Try playing Away in a manger in F Key and apply the 14 Piano Tips you learned about improvising with the Right Hand.


Follow the demo and watch how I apply the RH different techniques into Away in A Manger to Key of F.

You can actually apply all the 14 Piano Tips of Right Hand improvisation to any of your favorite songs!

Have fun,


Section 16: Conclusion & Future Updates
Conclusion & Updates
F Key
1 question
End of Course - Write a Review
Section 17: Bonus Section - Resources for Students
Cool Resources for Students

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Instructor Biography

Rosa Suen, Best Seller Music Teacher, 35 Years Pianist, 25,00+ students

Rosa is the Pastor and Church Pianist for a local community church in Hong Kong for over 30 years. She graduated from University of British Columbia and received her teaching certificate specializing in Chemistry and teaching English as a second language. She taught public schools in Canada for a couple of years and then went on to receive her Master's degree in Christian Theological Ministry at Ontario Theological Seminary in Toronto. She started full time ministry with her husband in 1989 and received intensive Pastoral Counselling and Discipleship Training at Christian Disciples Church. They were ordained to become church ministers as Pastors in 1996 in a local church in Tsuen Wan and have been ministering to this same congregation for almost 20 years now.

Over the years, she has gone on church missions to Mongolia, Sydney, Nepal, India and expedition trips to the Holy Lands: Israel, Greece and Turkey. Wherever she went, she found herself taking up the music ministry and became the church pianist for that church.

Many people at church have asked her to teach them to play piano. As a result of her passion in playing piano, she started developing piano courses initially for church pianists online since 2008. The piano courses are very unique because she was finally willing to share her Unique Piano Method: Color Chord Improvisation Method known as CCI. The CCI method works for all types of music: Gospel, Pop and Standards.

This Piano Method is easy, fun and creative that you learn to play piano not only from music score sheets, but to play chords from fake books and eventually to play by ear. Students all over the world have requested for courses to teach them play standards and popular songs. As a result she developed 3 Great Reharmonization Method courses for them to play from fake books and play by ear. The Dreamy Piano Techniques courses, especially the one on Autumn Leaves is her students favorite. She has a piano website at Learn Piano With Rosa where she continues to offer new courses to her students. She also holds piano workshops for her local students and train church pianists.

With her education and expertise in teaching, her students love her piano courses and found her piano lessons extremely easy and fun to play piano. They are highly motivated to play piano and playing piano had never been more fun and satisfying for them. You can read their testimonies on her website.

She is now an instructor at Udemy. Come and join her hundreds of students to play piano in a fun and creative way.

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