Piano Made Simple - An Easy Approach To Piano Chords For Beginners, Singer/Songwriters and Bands | Rob Pember | Skillshare

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Piano Made Simple - An Easy Approach To Piano Chords For Beginners, Singer/Songwriters and Bands

teacher avatar Rob Pember, Multi-Instrumentalist and Music Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Session 1 - Quickstart Music Theory

    • 3. Session 2 - Right Hand Piano

    • 4. Session 3 - Left Hand Piano

    • 5. Session 4 - Rhythm

    • 6. Session 5 - Using Sustain

    • 7. Session 6 - Playing In Different Keys

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About This Class

If you've ever dreamt of playing piano without having to rely on reading music, this course is for you!

Using some practically applied music theory, this course shows you an approach to playing chords on piano, equipping you to play your favourite 4 chord songs or come up with your own.

This course covers:

- Looking at the notes and chords in musical keys, along with the idea of chord progressions using Roman Numerals. A downloadable PDF chart is provided (see "Class Project" section).

- 2 shapes for the right hand for playing 4 chord songs

- Left hand bass notes and how these work with the right hand to produce chords

- Rhythm ideas

- Using the piano sustain pedal

- Playing in different keys (transposing a chord progression from one key to another)

Meet Your Teacher

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Rob Pember

Multi-Instrumentalist and Music Educator


Hi, my name's Rob and I'm a multi-instrumentalist, music enthusiast and educator.

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1. Introduction: hi and thank you for taking a look at this course. If you've ever dreamt of being up to play the piano without having to read music than this course is for you. Using some basic music theory on a simple approach, I'll see how to play court to both hands so that you can play your favorite four chord songs or even make up your own. I'll also cover some rhythmic ideas on how to use the piano sustain pedal to create a beautiful, delicate, ringing sound. So thank you for watching, and I do hope that you'll sign up. 2. Session 1 - Quickstart Music Theory: before we start playing the piano, that's quickly look at some music theory that will actually make our lives easier. So the attached chart shows notes and chords in each musical key, and a key is a group of seven notes and chords that work together. So if you know a song isn't a particular key, you know what notes and chords to look for. If we're in the key of G, the first note or the root note is G, and then we have a bay see de he on F shop, and these correspond to the cords of G major, a minor B minor, C major D major or D dominant. Seven. We're not gonna worry about dominant sevenths today. E minor on F Sharp diminished and diminished chords often turn up in jazz, blues and funk again, we're not gonna worry about that. We can also refer to the notes and chords in Roman numerals so G would be the one court and then a minor would be the two chords. And so on, say, De would be the fifth e minor would be the sixth chord. We also then have core progressions where we refer to the Roman numerals. So if we had G d e minor see, we'd have one five six full on. This is a very common progression. For example, UT swivel without you uses that core progression, as do many other songs. If we want to change the song into a different key or we're told, this song is in the key off, see on we're using the progression 1564 that we can just look at the relevant line for the key on. We can work out what chords we need to play. Also, if you're unsure what care song is in, the first thing to do is look for minor chords, as if there's only one minor chords. The likelihood is it will be the six. It will be the right what's known as the relative minor. So if we see only an e minor chord, we can take a pretty good guess that it's probably in the key of G. But then it's a case of looking at the other chords on seeing whether they match that line or not. If if his other chords, then it could be in a different key. So that's enough there, Ethan. Now let's stop playing the piano 3. Session 2 - Right Hand Piano: Let's first look at what we're going to play in the right hand. This consists off two shapes. The first shape is going to have the root note of the key. The first note and then the fifth notes played underneath it in the key of G. The root note The first let is jig on. And if I play the G major scale, we got Gene A B C D. D is the fifth note in the major scale, the G major scale. And then we have a shop also which, on sixth and seventh names. So we're going to start off the first shape is the root, and the fifth on the fifth is played underneath. So we have G, which I'm gonna play my forefinger and Dean, which I'm going to play my some And this will work for all the courts with the exception off the D major called. So when you see a d major chord, um, in Seoul, use em one to drop down theme top notes this G notes to the F sharp. So the seventh note in the scale, um, and this will work much better for the d E major chord So we have all two shapes. We have B D and the G notes, which for our first shape, which works with the G, C and E minor chords. And then we have a second shape, the D and the F sharp for the D major chord on. What will happen is that when we're playing D and the G lot's the first shape, what will determine the cord is the notes that were playing in our left hand, and we'll cover this in the next session. 4. Session 3 - Left Hand Piano: Now we move on to the left hand and this is where it gets clever. Because by playing one note, one bass note in our left hand we can define what court were playing and for free of those courts were actually playing the same shape in all right hand on therefore, is the left hand that is changing the court and therefore changing the sound that we're hearing. So if we're playing the chords of Jeanne d e minor and see what we want in our left hand are the notes of G de in and see I will demonstrate so g de e with my middle Singa on See my pinky And then if I put that together with the right hand shapes So we got shape one which is the GMD and play that for the G called Then we go to the day play shape to in our right hand and a denote in our left. Then go to e minor and we play the first shape in all right hand on an e note you know, left and then see on all we have to do is change to the seat. So if I play for the four chords we got G. Dean E minor and see. And if I just played the g e Minor and See cords, where the right hand sheep is the same for all of them, You able to hear how the bass note changes the course She a minor quest, sat sound and see again, say E minor and see now if we want to make the sound more powerful and deeper, What we can do is we can play those bass notes and talkative down. So it's the same notes, but just shifted down. So we got G Day A and see played out with the right hand g. Okay, e minor, see? And if we want to develop this further, we could play octaves in a left hand. So we use our thumb on our pinky to play the notes. So there it's the same note with both the thumb and the pinky on. So you get a sound like that e and see which, together with the right hand g e minor and see 5. Session 4 - Rhythm: in this session begins to look at rhythm, which is incredibly important for giving a sense of timing and feel to the music now. Previously, we just played each court once, right and left hands together like this J e minor sick. But I thought I just present a few options of how you might plane the cords differently to give us a different sense of timing and feel. So if it's more of an upbeat song, you might decide that you want to play the right hands on each beat of the bar. So if we're playing a rock or pop song, chances are there's four beats to the bar on. So what we'll do is we'll play the left in this. We did before on the first beat, but will play on the right hand on 1234 like this. Three D three e minor three c three. A second option is to alternate the right in their hands on. So this time I'm gonna count the bar in eight rather than four. So I'm gonna count one and T and free and four and and play the right and left hands together for one and on to play the right hand On the end of Tur play. The left hand on will do the same thing on tree and four, alternating between the right and left hands to demonstrate this G t on a three day two on three and four and 23 and four c three so little bit faster. It might sound something like this and I first started. 1/3 option is to play each note to the court individually, which will mean that will play the note in the left hand first and then the notes in the right hand, individually like this. 6. Session 5 - Using Sustain: in this session, we're going to look at using the piano sustained pedal, which on a conventional piano is usually the right most pedal. I use a digital keyboard set up, and therefore my pedal is separate, and I have it to the right of me here. So far, I haven't bean using. Sustained. When player sustain helps to smooth on blend the notes together and therefore it helps to add to the beauty of the sound. If I play without sustain, Asai have being doing so it sounds like this. And then, if I add sustain in, we'll hear how the cords blend together with no gaps. And it's particularly noticeable when playing the chords broken up. See, that's without my name with. So it's important to get the hang of using the sustain pedal. And really, it's a case of keeping the pedal down on only lifting it momentarily when you change cord. So if I play the courts really slowly, um, this G day on, you'll see. I lifted the pedal as I was playing the notes. So again, so as I put my fingers down, listen, put the notes down. I briefly, very briefly with the pedal up and put it straight back down again. I don't see you again. And really, it's just a case of getting used to doing that because we think that we put the pedal down as we need to sustain. But it's really a case of lifting off where we don't need it. Um, so there may be times where critical if you're playing more of a funky type of rhythm when you don't want to sustain it all because you want the notes to be ready. Choppy. But a lot of the time when we're playing piano, we want it to be a nice, smooth, beautiful sound on DSO. It's conventional to leave the sustain pedal down on lift as we don't need it. And then you fall was to play, um, more of an alternating risen on there because we're playing the same chord multiple times in the right hand. It sound kind of builds on itself. Um, if I play without the sustain pedal to start and that's with sustained, you can hear 7. Session 6 - Playing In Different Keys: So far we've played in the key of J. But now let's look at playing a different case. What we can do is take the approach that we've used so far to play in the key of G and transpose it, which basically means taking each of the cords. I'm working out what it is in the key that we want to play in. Therefore, if we look at the chart of musical keys, if you see the attachments are, you can download the PdF. So far, we've been playing in the key of G and the first chord history. The full chord is C. The five chord is D on the six chord his e minor. Let's say we want to play in the key of C. Our first chord becomes C. The four chord, which was previously see, now becomes F. The fifth Court D becomes G on the e minor. The six chord becomes a minor now toe work out what we need to play in our right hand because before we played the root note with the fifth underneath, um, if we look at the line for the key of C, the fifth note is G So what we need to do is play see on the top on aje note underneath like this Then, um we can take the same approach is before so we have C um we then go to the fifth Corgi and we drop down three top note by one semi time. So we have V A G in the right hand and G in our last hand. We then go back to the first shape of CNG in our right hand and changed to an a minute for the A minor. And then for the f we just change. He left hundreds to an s and that gives us the F court. So where is before? We had g d e minus c. This time we have C g a minor f like this g a minor. See she a minor? Yes. Now what if the song is too low for the singer Amany to raise it up a bit? Perhaps Let's go from the key of C to the Kiev dig So our C chord needs to become a day. So what we need to do is shift each note up two semi tones. Eso if I take the left hander at first. See note. C Sharp is one semi tone. Empty is two semi tones and then we do the same thing in the right hand. So the GI becomes a on the sea becomes day and now one chord is D Then if we take thesis, Amy approaches before. So we have, um 1564 is the core progression. We can go. He is one the one chord we then goto a which is the five chord on for the five course. We need to drop down at the top note here by one semi tone. So we have a major. We then go back to our first shape, you know, right hand on. We go up to the B notes in our left hand for being minor, and then when we play the G major chord or we need to do is play the ji notes in our left hand. So we have de okay, be mine. She So by using the attached pdf chart, um, you should be out to take any soul in any key and transpose it into a different key by looking at the relevant lines for the key that it's in on the key that you want to go into