The Blues Piano Crash Course++

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Instructed by Kent Smith Music / Music Techniques
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  • Lectures 20
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 8/2014 English

Course Description

CORE LECTURES:

Learn the essential elements of playing blues piano, including the world-famous Blues Scale, the 12-bar Blues pattern, left-hand grooves, powerful coordination exercises, and plenty of hot licks! Best of all, my goal is for you to start IMPROVISING your own exciting blues solos, as well as be able to sit in on jam sessions.

You will need absolutely no ability to read music, and zero prior experience with musical improvisation. It will be very good, however, to have "some" basic piano experience. For example, I sometimes refer to the letter names of certain piano keys. I recommend using the preview feature for this course to get a feel for what you can understand and learn from these lessons.

In my private teaching practice, many of my piano students are very excited to learn blues improvisation, no matter what their main focus of study happens to be. Blues was the very first thing I learned to play on the piano. It hooked me so strongly to the piano that I soon began formal lessons in classical and jazz, ended up playing in lots of great bands, and earned a college degree in music.

This course also includes supplemental downloads: A visual catalog of the chords and scales used in the course, and a list of suggested listening.

There are also several supplemental video lessons after the core lessons.

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"it is what I seeearchedddd forrrrrrrrr - these absolutely awesome simple ideas will give a huge variety of my own improvisation in the future. I am soooo inspired & delighted, really!!!! Verryyyyy grateful to the Universe for choosing right this course with this particular Tutor!!! Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you, Kent!"

-- Anastassiya K.

"Kent, Just finished your Blues Piano Crash Course and thoroughly enjoyed it. Am hoping you decide to add more courses soon. I'll definitely sign up if you do. Thank you very much!" -- Art C.

"Kent, your course is really great! Please let me know if you are offering future or additional courses. Best, Joe"

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Here's a complete summary of the eleven core lectures (not including the supplemental lectures):

1. In this first of eleven Blues Piano lessons, discover how a simple six-note scale -- the famous "Blues Scale" -- is a musician's gold mine for creating original blues sounds. Immediately after this lecture, you can sit down at your piano and start creating bluesy licks and melodies that are all your own. Even more exciting, a player who knows only the Blues Scale can start sitting in on blues and rock jam sessions!

2. If you're going to play solo piano Blues, or you want to add a strong supporting groove to a band, then this lecture is for you. Learn to use your left hand to play a dance-able, foot-tapping chord rhythm, while freeing up your right hand to fire off licks and lay down supporting chords. (Later in this course, you'll master the art of putting both hands together as a dynamic duo.)

3. The Blues Piano tradition is full of tried-and-true "stock" licks, as well as many devices for creating endless original solos. In this lecture, you will learn to use five such "must-know" riffing devices.

4. By far the most common framework for a Blues song (and countless other songs) is the "12-bar Blues," a repeating chord progression which is known and loved throughout the musical universe. In "pure" Blues, the 12-bar progression contains just THREE CHORDS! This lecture gives you a thorough grounding in these chords, and illustrates their fixed place within the 12-bar Blues progression.

5. It's time to overcome any fears and frustrations you may have about getting those blasted hands to work together! This is the first of a pair of lectures, in which you will run through a series of progressive drills to gain confidence and skill at two-handed synergy.

6. More drills to get your fiercely independent hands playing together as a dynamic duo.

7. Learn a new way to groove using a "walking bass line" for Blues piano. This lecture includes several more coordination drills, each one coupled with a toe-tapping walking bass line.

8. Learn how to approximate the sounds of Blues singers and other instruments who can "bend" their notes (slide between pitches). You'll learn all about "blue notes," and also the "slide off," a very popular device associated with blues, rock, and jazz piano.

9. Here you will learn a powerful technique for inventing licks and melodies on the fly, by using only the notes of the chord being played at any given moment. With this technique, your available notes will change with each new chord, which lends an "automatic" sense of order to the resulting solo. Of course, this device can and should be mixed with other sources of melody, like the Blues Scale.

10. You will learn how to maintain a level of excitement in a Blues jam, with a staple of songwriting called the "turn-around." In addition, you'll learn how to use any turn-around pattern as a powerful ending.

11. So you've finished the Blues Piano Crash Course! Congratulations! You're all set to become a Master of Blues Piano. In this bonus lesson, you will learn how to transfer everything you've learned in the key of "C Blues" to any other key. For example, Blues in "E" is popular with guitarists. All the concepts are exactly the same, but you will need to move that C Blues Scale to another starting note, and move those blues chords to a new place as well. Here's how to do it!

Now you can dig into the supplemental lessons (optional).

What are the requirements?

  • A piano or keyboard, plus a PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet, etc., for viewing the course. It will be very helpful if you are able to have your computer, smart phone or tablet in close proximity while sitting at the piano, so that you can try things out as you go through the videos.
  • An intermediate level of piano playing experience -- either self-taught or formal -- is highly recommended, although not absolutely required . You do NOT need to read music. It is helpful, though not required, to know the letter names of your piano keys (C, G, E-flat, etc.).

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course, you will be able to improvise basic blues and rock piano solos. There is enough raw material here for you to take your blues piano playing to a professional level.
  • Master the famous "Blues Scale"
  • Learn the 12-bar Blues Pattern
  • Develop rhythmic skills and develop hand coordination
  • Learn some hot blues licks
  • Learn some music theory
  • Extensive training on how to create your own blues licks and solos
  • Learn how to take what you learned here and transfer to any other key
  • Practice improv and learn new stuff, via "Moondance" case study
  • Go "Beyond the Blues Scale" (in Supplemental Lessons section)

What is the target audience?

  • Basically, anyone with "at least a bit of piano playing experience" who wants to learn blues piano (whether solo or in a band) will enjoy this course. It is not necessary to read music or to have prior experience with improvisation. A basic knowledge of general piano playing is very helpful, but with diligent study, you could technically start from scratch. For example, the first thing I ever learned on piano was the Blues, in the key of C, which is the prime focus of this course. I only needed about 10% of what is in this course in order to play some decent Blues. The rest comes from the knowledge and insight I developed over the years. This course will save you a heck a lot of trial and error, to say the least. NOTE: If you have already been playing blues piano, you will find plenty of advanced concepts and licks in here as well.

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.

Curriculum

Section 1: Let's Jump Right In!
03:10

In this first of eleven Blues Piano lessons, discover how a simple six-note scale -- the famous "Blues Scale" -- is a musician's gold mine for creating original blues sounds. Immediately after this lecture, you can sit down at your piano and start creating bluesy licks and melodies that are all your own. Even more exciting, a player who knows only the Blues Scale can start sitting in on blues and rock jam sessions!

04:19

If you're going to play solo piano Blues, or you want to add a strong supporting groove to a band, then this lecture is for you. Learn to use your left hand to play a dance-able, foot-tapping chord rhythm, while freeing up your right hand to fire off licks and lay down supporting chords. (Later in this course, you'll master the art of putting both hands together as a dynamic duo.)

02:43

By far the most common framework for a Blues song (and countless other songs) is the "12-bar Blues," a repeating chord progression which is known and loved throughout the musical universe. In "pure" Blues, the 12-bar progression contains just THREE CHORDS!

This lecture gives you a thorough grounding in these chords, and illustrates their fixed place within the 12-bar Blues progression.

06:53

The Blues Piano tradition is full of tried-and-true "stock" licks, as well as many devices for creating endless original solos. In this lecture, you will learn to use five such "must-know" riffing devices.

3 questions

A review of key points from Section One.

Section 2: Put Your Hands Together!
05:12

It's time to overcome any fears and frustrations you may have about getting those blasted hands to work together! This is the first of a pair of lectures, in which you will run through a series of progressive drills to gain confidence and skill at two-handed synergy.

04:30
  1. More drills to get your fiercely independent hands playing together as a dynamic duo.
08:04

Learn a new way to groove using a "walking bass line" for Blues piano. This lecture includes several more coordination drills, each one coupled with a toe-tapping walking bass line.

Section 3: Hot Licks, Turn-arounds, and Endings
06:31

Learn how to approximate the sounds of Blues singers and other instruments who can "bend" their notes (slide between pitches). You'll learn all about "blue notes," and also the "slide off," a very popular device associated with blues, rock, and jazz piano.

08:59

Here you will learn a powerful technique for inventing licks and melodies on the fly, by using only the notes of the chord being played at any given moment. With this technique, your available notes will change with each new chord, which lends an "automatic" sense of order to the resulting solo. Of course, this device can and should be mixed with other sources of melody, like the Blues Scale.

06:28

You will learn how to maintain a level of excitement in a Blues jam, with a staple of songwriting called the "turn-around." In addition, you'll learn how to use any turn-around pattern as a powerful ending.

12:14

So you've finished the Blues Piano Crash Course! Congratulations! You're all set to become a Master of Blues Piano. In this bonus lesson, you will learn how to transfer everything you've learned in the key of "C Blues" to any other key. For example, Blues in "E" is popular with guitarists. All the concepts are exactly the same, but you will need to move that C Blues Scale to another starting note, and move those blues chords to a new place as well. Here's how to do it!

6 questions

Test understanding and emphasize key points.

Section 4: Going Forward - Supplemental Lessons
Supplement to Lesson One -- Blues Scale Practice Exercises
Preview
07:34
06:31

After playing the Blues for a while, many players become interested in adding new colors to their solos, beyond those available in the tried-and-true "blues scale." This course describes a powerful way to do that.

15:15

More tips and examples for adding notes to your blues licks that are not restricted to those of the standard "Blues Scale." The primary focus here is a scale (or "mode") called the "Mixolydian." NOTE: This particular video was made quite some time ago, so I do apologize for the occasional "clicks and pops" on the narration track.

05:24

Here's a powerful way to play certain fast piano/keyboard licks when jamming in rock, blues, or jazz settings.

03:58

Learning tons of scales and chords -- a necessity for playing in other keys -- can be a daunting task, if done by ROTE. This process is greatly simplified by learning the PATTERN shared by any particular type of scale (or chord). In this lesson we look at the pattern shared by every "minor pentatonic" scale (the "parent" of the famous Blues Scale).

02:56

Learning tons of scales and chords -- a necessity for playing in other keys -- can be a daunting task, if done by ROTE. This process is greatly simplified by learning the PATTERN shared by any particular type of scale (or chord). In this lesson we look at the pattern shared by every "Dominant Seven" chord.

04:54

The "Melody Machine" concept, first introduced in core lessons of this course, is further demonstrated in the context of a jazz-influenced rock tune called "Moondance," by Van Morrison. This lesson gives you a chance to learn how to improvise in a different setting, outside of the 12-bar Blues.

04:03

In this lecture, we continue using Van Morrison's "Moondance" as a vehicle for learning how to improvise piano licks and solos. The raw soloing material for this session is the A minor "Blues Scale." The use of blues scales is covered extensively in the core lectures of this course.

04:55

Wrapping up this 3-part improvisation study, we use the "Dorian mode" as raw material.

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Instructor Biography

Kent Smith, Music Instructor, Composer, and Performer.

I want to bring the joy of learning piano to as many people as possible.

The topics covered in my videos come from my teaching, and from my experience working with other musicians. When producing a video lecture, I think of a familiar student or colleague who would be able to understand the material, based on the level of experience required for the topic at hand. Then, throughout the recording, I imagine I'm teaching directly to that person. I try to recreate the feeling of us together at the piano, as I do with my local students. 

I started drum lessons at age seven. My first paid gig was a regular job on drums with an R&B/funk band in Philadelphia, at age fourteen. It was insane, so much fun!  Later, after a fellow drummer turned me on to blues piano improvisation, I became hooked on piano. Again, I had found a new kind of happiness. I went on to take formal lessons in classical and jazz piano.  At this point, I have a college degree in piano and composition from Fullerton College, and many years of professional teaching and performing experience, mostly in California.  

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