Level Up in Piano: Create Your Own Musical Arrangements | Elijah Fox-Peck | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Level Up in Piano: Create Your Own Musical Arrangements

teacher avatar Elijah Fox-Peck, Pianist, Songwriter, Producer

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Practice Techniques


    • 4.

      Accompaniment Patterns


    • 5.

      9th and 11th Chords


    • 6.

      Altered Chords


    • 7.

      Rhythmic Displacement


    • 8.

      Repeated Note Arpeggios


    • 9.

      Advanced Voicings


    • 10.

      Voicing Practice


    • 11.

      Producing and Recording


    • 12.

      Releasing Music


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Learn to arrange the song of your dreams!

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer Elijah Fox fell in love with piano when he was a child. Now a successful professional musician with more than eighteen years of experience, he’s here to show you how to do the same! In this illuminating class, Elijah shows you step-by-step how to put together your own arrangements to accompany a band or vocalist, or express your perspective through song. 

Hands-on lessons will cover:

  • The best chord voicings to use for accompaniment
  • Finding chords in specific keys using the circle of fifths
  • The art of recording your own music 

As the culmination of the aspiring pianist or songwriter’s journey, arranging music will allow you to put all your skills into practice at once. By the end, you’ll have the tools you need to unleash your creativity through the keys—one original arrangement at a time!

This class is geared at intermediate-advanced pianists, who understand core concepts like chord progressions, scales, and arpeggios, and have some practice in sight-reading, composition, and improvisation. If you need to revisit those skills, check out the previous classes in Elijah's Complete Piano Learning Path. Since learning music takes time, this class is designed to complement your own self-guided practice or lessons. All you’ll need is a keyboard or piano (ideally one with a sustain pedal).

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elijah Fox-Peck

Pianist, Songwriter, Producer


Elijah Fox-Peck is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and singer who grew up in Durham, NC and graduated with a bachelors degree from Oberlin Conservatory in 2017 where he majored in jazz studies with a focus in piano performance.

Elijah began playing piano at age 9 and by 13, was touring with the NCCU Jazz Ensemble as a guest soloist and recording professionally with top jazz musicians in the area. He was nominated the North Carolina All-State jazz pianist his freshman through senior years of high school and at age 15 received a full scholarship to the Berklee School of Music 5-week summer program. He has been teaching for 8 years and is currently teaching of studio of 21 students through Keys to Success in Brooklyn Heights, ranked one of the 15 best music schools in NYC.  ... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I love playing piano because of the infinite possibilities of expression and inspiring others to play their favorite songs and compose is something I'm very passionate about. Hi, I'm Alicia Fox, pianist, producer and songwriter. I've been playing piano for 18 years and have performed internationally and produced with artists such as tape McCrae, schoolboy Q in music, sole child. If you're excited to learn different approaches for playing your favorite songs in creating arrangements. This class is for you. We're going to look at ways to create advanced accompaniment patterns that will work for pre-written songs or when writing original music. We will also look at recording and releasing original music and different approaches for these, you'll need either a piano or a keyboard and ideally a sustained pedal. By the end of this class, you'll be able to take a simple chord progression and turned it into an advanced arrangement with numerous techniques. Join me as we learn some fundamentals of creating arrangements. 2. Getting Started: Many of the most in-demand PNS and keyboardist are those who are able to create an effective arrangement out of a simple chord progression. When I play with live artists, many of them looked to me to take the recorded version of their song and transfer it into a piano arrangement or something that will work well with a live band. Mini songs have similar chord progressions in being able to transform them in add your own voice is a great way to stand out as a pianist by practicing concepts over multiple songs, we strengthen our ability to approach new material, which is helpful for songwriting, studio work, and live performance. In this class, we'll explore more advanced accompaniment patterns, different voicings for extended chords, such as ninth and 11th voicings. How to use altered chords to create tension, and how to use rhythmic displacement to create excitement when creating an arrangement. We will also discuss releasing original music in different strategies for how to get your music heard by a larger audience. Join me as we dive into some advanced arrangement concepts. 3. Practice Techniques: In this lesson, we're going to be looking at practice techniques in different ways in which you can apply the concepts to become a more well-rounded pianist and composer. Since much of this class is based on concepts, it's important to be applying these in as many ways as possible so that we can become a more well-rounded player and have more options when approaching new material to establish an effective practice routine, it's important to figure out what time you feel most inspired and what time is best for your creativity. Personally, I feel most inspired in the morning. So I've developed a morning routine in which I wake up, have a cup of coffee, and read the newspaper before playing piano for an hour without looking at my phone or introducing any extra distractions. I think of it almost as a meditation or journaling session in which I'm letting ideas flow and getting comfortable with the instrument this morning routine is the foundation of my day and it's important for me that I start this way. You may find that you feel most inspired at night and that's okay as well. It's important to try different methods of practicing to see what works best for you. Since a lot of piano is visualizing different shapes and chords, I'd like to introduce a practice technique for grouping chords by how they appear. For this, let's dive into seventh chords. We'll start by looking at major seventh chords. C major seven. F major seventh are similar in that they both use all white keys. In this way, we can classify or group these chords together. D major seventh, E major seventh in a major seventh are similar and they all start with a white key, followed by a black key, followed by a white key, followed by another black key. In my mind, I visualize these chords the same way because they're layout on the piano looks the same. In the same method, D minor seven, E minor seven, and a minor seventh, all use all white keys. While F minor seven, G minor seven, and C minor seventh start with a white key, followed by a black key, followed by a white key, followed by another black key. It's helpful to group these chords so that we can get used to visualizing them and have them at our fingertips quicker. There are a couple of chords that are one-of-a-kind in their composition, such as B dominant seventh, which is a white key followed by two black keys followed by a white key. So it's important to remember these outliers and get used to recognizing them so that the cords are at our fingertips. And as soon as we see a chord symbol, It's almost like seeing a color in which we don't have to think, Oh, that's green or red, but we instantly know that is this chord. So you want to practice to a point where it becomes second nature. So you can easily read through core charts by seeing a chord and having your hand instantly know what to play. Another important part of developing your own sound on the piano is anytime you come up with something you like, It's very important to transpose it to all 12 keys so that you then have it as an option for any song or key signature. But first, let me again explain what transposition is. If you remember, we looked at the Circle of Fifths, which shows that there's 12 unique keys. You can play any phrase or melody in all of these keys. And it's important to get used to transposing something in case you're performing with a singer who's used to singing a song in a different key. For this example, I'll look at a short phrase and then transpose it across all 12 keys. I'm going to play a minor 11th voicing, starting on D minor in moving an inner voicing with thirds. So let's say I was playing and I discovered this and oh, I like the way that sounds. So instead of just having that as an option in D minor, I'm going to move it across all the keys. So I'll move up each node a half-step to E-flat minor. So now I'm playing the same relationship, but it's in a new key. I'll continue moving it up the piano. So now I've got it in E minor, move up to F minor. Then I'll move it to F-sharp, followed by G minor, A-flat minor. If this is a lot, just bear with me. A minor, B-flat minor, B minor, C minor, C-sharp Minor. And finally back to D minor, where we started. Now I'm visualizing this because I'm very familiar with the chromatic scale, which is all of the semitones. So each time I'm moving the chord up, I'm moving one semitone in one direction. This way, if I now have this concept, which is a third roll on a minor nine chord. So I started in D minor, but if there's a song and F minor, I'm now able to apply this to any song because I've learned it in every key. So let's say I was approaching a song that was F minor to C minor. If you'd like, you can improvise over this using the C minor scale or the sea blues scale, which is C, E-flat, F, F sharp, G, B flat, and C. So now I'm going to try demonstrating this technique over these chords, which is F minor to C minor. So now I'm taking a simple concept and I'm turning it into more of a full song or arrangement just by moving that one concept through keys. A lot of times when I'm playing piano as part of my morning routine, I'm simply moving a concept around into different keys as an exercise. But then occasionally, I'll like it and want to develop it into a full composition. To wrap up, we've looked at the importance of establishing a routine for practicing. And I'd like to emphasize again that a daily practice, even for ten or 15 min, will yield better results than practicing for 4 h one time and then leaving it alone when you're beginning at piano, it can be overwhelming because it's introducing a whole world of concepts. In this way, learning piano can be similar to learning how to bike, in which it's a bit of a steep learning curve. But once you get going, you remember these skills for life. In conclusion, it's essential to be applying these concepts in as many ways as possible. In anytime you come up with something that resonates with you to transpose it to all 12 keys so you can effectively have it as a tool at your disposal. In the next lesson, we're going to be diving into some more advanced accompaniment patterns that can help strengthen your skills when approaching a new chord progression or song structure. 4. Accompaniment Patterns: Now that we've discussed practice habits, let's jump into some accompaniment patterns that can help bring a simple chord progression to life. There's a lot of freedom and creativity that comes with creating a pattern. In anytime you come up with a pattern you like, it's important to apply it to as many songs or chord progressions as possible. So you can internalize that pattern and have it at your disposal when approaching new music. To begin, I'd like to start with an intermediate pattern over the chord progression, C major, E minor, a minor, and F major. For this pattern, we'll only be using triads. So let's first play the chords with our right hand. We've got C major, E minor, a minor, and F major. For this pattern, I'm going to start by playing the top two notes, the third and the fifth of the triad, and then moving down to the first note. Once you're comfortable with that, we can add in our left-hand playing the root nodes. So this is an example of a basic pattern that then can be applied to any chord progression. If someone gave us the chord progression, D minor to G major, we could take the same pattern and apply it there, which would be you can come up with your own patterns or find patterns in popular songs or classical music. Another great technique for coming up with accompaniment patterns or compositional tools, is to use a common tone, also known as a pedal tone. In this case, we come up with a chord progression that can have three or four chords, all share one common node, which we pedal on top. For this example, I'm going to use the pedal tone F, which will remain the top note on all of these chords, even though they move through different keys, I'll start out with a chord, G minor. Then I'll go down to G-flat major seven, which is in a different key, but it's still uses f, followed by f minor, and then followed by E-flat minor, which also uses f. Now a pedal, that tone, which ties the cords together. So even though the chords in this progression came from multiple keys, the f or pedal tone helped as a glue to tie them together, giving the listener something to hold onto. Now, I'm going to take a new progression and look at ways of using inversions to bring it to life. This new progression is going to include the chords, a flat major seven, D flat seven, C minor seventh. In a dominant seventh, flat five. I'm going to play that progression now and experiment with some different accompaniment patterns using inversions or rearrangements of the same grouping of notes. You might notice that occasionally when I'm playing a pattern, I'm repeating a note like I did for the guide tone exercise. In this case, I was playing in a flat major seven chord and repeating the note G, because that acts as a pedal tone between all the courts. Watch again as I pedaled G throughout the progression. We can use pedal tone or common tone exercises when approaching a new progression to add a note that can link the courts together, connecting them for the listener. Now that we've looked at some more advanced accompaniment patterns, I'd like to return to our first progression and invite you to practice that. Once again, that progression was C major, E minor, a minor, and F. And we started by playing the third and fifth of the voicing, then going down to the root. Like this. If you'd like another accompaniment pattern, we can take the same chord progression, but applying arpeggio starting from the top of the chord and going down. For both examples, I was using the same triad in court, but finding two different accompaniment patterns or different variations of playing the chords. Now this may take some practice, and it's important to remember that this is an ongoing journey. In the next lesson, we're going to move on by looking at some upper extension ninth and 11th voicings that we can apply to the pre-existing major and minor seventh chords we've already learned. I'll see you there. 5. 9th and 11th Chords: In this lesson, we're gonna be looking at how you can use ninth and 11th upper extensions to add color to our pre-existing minor and major seventh chords. Let's begin by taking the example of a D minor seventh chord, which includes the notes DFA, and see, if we remember, the seventh note of this chord was referred to as a seventh because it's the seventh note of the corresponding scale. In the same way when we add on our ninth, which is e. It's called the ninth because it's nine notes up from the original root, 123-45-6789. So a D minor ninth chord would include the notes D, F, a, C, and E. If you think about it, this cord actually includes two chords we've already looked at. It has an F major seven, as well as a D minor seven. So you can think of a D minor ninth as a cousin of F major seven. Let's now familiarize ourselves with a couple of other minor ninth chords. So to start, we'll look into G minor seventh, which would include the notes G, B-flat, D, and F. When adding on the 9th, we can think of it as the second node of the corresponding scale, which in this case would be a whole step higher than g, or two semitones higher than the root g. So for G minor ninth, we would have G, B-flat, D, F, and a. This court also includes a B-flat major seventh, as well as the G minor. We can tell that the minor ninth has a bit more of a characteristic sound. It's not just happy or sad, but it has a bit more dimension to it. Now let's practice switching between D minor ninth. In G minor ninth. Adding a little melodic variation. Excellent. After getting familiar and comfortable with those two chords, Let's look at one more example, C minor nine. For this, we'll start with C minor seventh, which we know includes the notes C, E flat, G, and B flat. And then we'll add D on top, as this is the second or ninth note of the corresponding scale. For these ninth chords, I'd recommend using both hands. Your left hand can play the triad, and your right hand can play the upper extensions. If you want. It's important to go through the root position ninth chord by going through every note of the chromatic scale, I'll demonstrate that now briefly. If we started with D minor ninth, would move up a half step to E flat minor ninth, followed by E minor ninth, followed by F minor ninth, followed by F sharp minor nine, followed by G minor nine, followed by a flat minor ninth, followed by a minor ninth, then B-flat, then B, and C, Then C-sharp. And then we reach back to D. Once you've gotten more familiar with the concept of minor ninths, let's add on the minor 11th. Let's go back to D minor ninth, D F-A-C-E. and look at adding on the 11th, which in this case would be G. A D minor 11th chord has five notes, D, F, a, C, E, G. And you can see it includes a C major triad and a minor triad in F major triad and a D minor triad. So it's a very dense chord with a very open sound because it has many major and minor chords giving it a complex character. Let's look now at G minor 11th, which would be G, B flat, D, F, a, C. In practice now, moving between these two chords. So we've got D to G. If you want, you can try the arpeggios of these chords, which would be as another way to get familiar with them. Now, let's talk about major ninth chords. Let's look at C major seventh. To add on a ninth to this, we would go to the second or ninth note of the major scale. Since there are seven notes, these end up being the same note, which would be d. So a C Major nine would include the notes C, E, G, B, and D. Now let's look at F Major nine, which would include F-A-C-E. and then the ninth note, which would be g. You can tell that for these chords, we're always leaving one white key off in playing the next note. Moving up in thirds. In the same way, to create a major 11th chord, we would add on one more note. For an F, This would be b. So this is considered a sharp 11th chord in F major seven sharp 11, which includes many triads as well. E minor, C major, a minor. And these chords have a very bittersweet quality to them and can be very useful when creating effective chord progressions. To recap, we looked at how we could create a minor ninth and a minor 11th by adding on those upper extensions from the corresponding scale. And also how we can create a major ninth or major 11th. These minor ninth chords will become very useful as we move to our next lesson, introducing altered chords, which can be used to resolve to the minor ninths, creating tension before release. In the next lesson, I hope you'll join me as we discuss altered courts. 6. Altered Chords: Now that we've discovered how to find minor ninth and 11th chords, I'd like to discuss a new topic in introduce altered courts. Altered chords are great for creating tension before the release of going into a minor ninth chord ulcer. Courts can also be used to expand on a basic chord progression and add more depth in story plot to it. First of all, let's look at what an altered chord is. We'll start by taking a dominant seventh chord. In this case, I'll start with the a dominant seventh, which includes the notes a, C-sharp, E and G. In altered chord is a dominant seventh with a raised 5th and a raised ninth. So we would raise the fifth scale degree and move the e up to F. And we would also add a sharp knife, which is also known as a minor third adding see on top. So for an altered chord, we would have a C-sharp, E, F, G, and C. Now this is a very dissonant in open sound and can be used to create tension before resolving back to the minor ninth. Let's imagine we have a basic progression of D minor ninth to a minor ninth. We can think of these as r to home bases. They're both constant sounds that are pretty. So for the D minor ninth, we've got D, F, a, C, E, and the a minor ninth, we've got a CBGB. We can think of this as a roadmap, and these are our two destinations. Now, we're going to expand on this progression by placing an altered chord in front of each of the minor ninths to enhance it and give us somewhere to resolve two. Anytime you have a minor ninth chord, you can place an altered chord in front of it and find the altered chord based off the fifth that would resolve into that corresponding minor nine. So we're starting with D minor nine. And we know we're gonna go into a minor ninth. Sort of find the altered chord that would go before that. I would look at the fifth of a minor ninth, which is e. So now let's find e altered. We'll start by finding the E dominant seventh chord, which is E, G-sharp, B, and D. And then we'll raise the fifth, moving to be up to see an ad on a G on top, giving us E, G-sharp, C, D, and G. This is an e altered. So now I'll try playing the D minor. And instead of going straight into the a minor, I'll play the E altered before, which will increase tension, thereby making the resolution even sweeter. So now we've got D minor. Then e altered a minor. So we still, it helps set up the landing for us to get to a minor. Now, before we go back to D minor, as this is a looping progression, will need to find the altered chord off of the five of D, which in this case would be a. And we already learned a altered chord. But once again, we would start with the a dominant seventh chord. Then we'd move up the fifth to F sharp, the ninth, which is C, giving us a C-sharp, E, F, G, and C. So now we've turned a two chord progression into essentially a four chord progression. We're still landing on our home basis of D minor ninth and a minor ninth. But we're placing an altered chord before them to increase the tension before the resolution. I'll play just the minor ninth chords, and then I'll add in the altered chords so you can see how it sounds and how this is basically an enhancement to the pre-existing progression. We'll start out with just D minor to a. Right. I'm just rolling the courts. Now we'll add in the alternate courts DNA altered. So it adds a bit more story plot. D, e altered, a altered, leads back to D. Then he also then a. Again. Let's look at one more example and how we can apply all three chords. Let's say for this example, we've got a progression in C minor, which starts with a C minor nine, then goes down to a B-flat, then goes down to an a flat and an F minor. So once again, our original progression is C, B flat, a flat, then F minor. So we know if we're going to lead back into C minor, we can place an altered chord coming off of the fifth of that key. Of C minor would be G. So let's find a G altered chord. So we'll start with a G dominant seventh. Then we'll raise the fifth, the half-step, and add the sharp nine, or minor third of that key, giving us GB sharp, F, B-flat. Now I'll try placing that altered chord before the C minor to add some dimension to the progression. G. Alternatively, you can improvise over this with the sea blues scale. She altered, finished with an arpeggio. To recap, altered chords are an effective tool for increasing tension in adding to the contour of a progression. Anytime you have a minor ninth chord, you can place an altered chord before it coming off of the fifth of the minor ninth that it's leading into. In the next lesson, we're going to look at how we can use rhythmic displacement to increase excitement when creating an arrangement. 7. Rhythmic Displacement: In this lesson, we're gonna be looking at how we can use rhythmic displacement to increase excitement in add variation to our arrangements. In most popular music, the common time signature is 44, meaning there's four beats in every measure. In this next example, we'll be looking at ways to add up different subdivisions of time to imply different time signatures while still staying in for, for, for the first example, I'd like to take two simple chords and imagine that we have eight beats. I'll be moving between a D minor nine and a G7 chord. I'll start out by playing four beats of each chord. I've got 1234, 1234, 1234, 1234. So a basic way to add variation to this would be defined two odd numbers that still add up to eight, but give us the illusion of other time signatures. For this example, I'll use five beats and then three beats. So we'll still be in 44 time, but we'll be switching to the second chord slightly later. Now I'll demonstrate 123-451-2345. So instead of playing four beats of each, now we've added some variation by playing the first chord for five beats and the second for three. Let's take another progression. We've already looked at, C major, E minor to a minor to F. And I'll play five beats of the C, three beats of E minor, five beats of a in five beats of f1234512, 12345123. You can add a bit of variation to any progression by instead of doing four for adding 5.3. Now another subdivision of 44 would be 16th notes four times four is 16. So for the next exercise, we're gonna get more advanced and look at a 16 note phrase. For this example, I'm going to use two chords that we use in a previous lesson, a minor nine to D minor nine. I'll start out by playing four groupings of four for each chord, adding up to 16. For this exercise, we'll be using arpeggios. One-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four. The goal with this next exercise is to take subdivisions of 16, but use odd numbers that will add up to 16, but will give us the impression of other time signatures. You can think about what numbers would add up to 16. And it's great to use numbers such as 57.9. We could use 556, which would add up to 16, keeping us in 44 time, but implying a five. So for these progressions, I'll use a five-note arpeggio, 12345. So I'll do one pattern of 51, pattern of five and then a pattern of six. So we're staying in 44 time, but implying other time feels 123-45-1234, 512-34-5612, 1234 5123 4512 3456 1234 5123 4512, 3456, 1234, 5123, 4512, 3456. Let's look at another example. I'm thinking of numbers that will add up to 16. And I know that five-sevenths and nines are odd numbers, so they create a good sense of time field. For this example, I'll do 754, which also adds up to 16. This rhythmic displacement exercise is a great way to create excitement and variations with our phrases by adding an odd numbers while still being enforced for are common time. For this next example, I'll use a pattern of nine and then a pattern of seven, which will add up to 16. I'll use the same two chords, a minor ninth to D minor nine. A pattern of nine can also be thought of as three patterns of three. So I'll be using that here. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. This concept is similar to programming hi-hats when you're producing, in which you can use different variations to imply other time fields while still remaining in 44. It's important to remember that the piano is a percussive string instrument. And we can take a lot of concepts from drums and apply them to piano. To conclude, in this exercise, we looked at ways you can create different subdivisions that will still add up to 16 or eight. So we remain in common time, but imply different time fields. In the next lesson, we're gonna be looking at how you can use repeated note arpeggios or runs to create variation when approaching an original song or an arrangement of an existing song. I'll see you there. 8. Repeated Note Arpeggios: In this lesson, we're gonna be looking at how you can use repeated note arpeggios or runs to create a nice texture for an arrangement or as a vehicle for an original composition. Repeated note arpeggios or runs deal with using a couple of repeated notes to create a texture that moves across the piano. Anytime you come up with a repeated note arpeggio you like, I'd encourage you to try it. It all 12 keys so you can have it at your disposal. We'll start by coming up with a sixth note phrase over the chord D minor seven. Since D minor comes from the C major CTL scale, I'll be using the C major scale when I'm thinking about which notes to use for my arpeggio. For this one, I'm gonna be coming up with a sixth note phrase, or two repeated three note phrases. I'll start on the note E, and I'll go E, F, C, G, a G. It's important to remember with these, we want to end the phrase near where we started in octave higher so that we can repeat it across the octave. So for this I'll do EFC GAG, which lines me backup to E, E fc. So I'll try playing that now. I could also go back down starting on the GAG and then the CFE. So even though it's just six notes repeating, it sounds like a much longer phrase because we're moving in across the octave. If I like this phrase, I'll then try it in every key so I can get the most out of it. Now I'll move this same phrase up to F minor. So for this, I would start on G and try it in this key. Now we'll try playing from D minor to F minor in turn this into a basic composition. Back to D. The down. A lot of times when I'm practicing piano in the morning, I'm running through different phrases in trying to apply them in as many ways as possible, in seeing what chords they work over as a compositional tool. Now, let's come up with an eighth note phrase over another chord. For this example, I'll come up with a phrase over the chord G minor ninth, G, B-flat, D, F. And since this is a chord that comes out of the F major scale, I'll be using that scale when I come up with options for my melody, I'm going to start on the note C and come up with an eighth note phrase that will end near the C, an octave higher so it can repeat. So I just came up with, see, a, B-Flat, C, D, F, B-flat, which lands me close to the sea in octave higher, so I can play it across the octaves. Here we go like this. So we repeat it moving across the piano. I'll try it again slowly starting lower. It's important when practicing these phrases to start slowly and then gradually increased tempo using a metronome online or a physical one. I'll start practicing it a little more quickly and see if I can move through it. If I like this, I'll try moving it to another key. Let's do B flat minor. So basically, I took one concept and then to get it to come out in my playing, I've moved it around into different keys. So if I'm playing with friends and someone has a composition that needs an ending on B-flat minor, I can use the same phrase that I came up with in G minor and have multiple options. I'll continue practicing this way so that every time I see a chord and I want to come up with a repeated phrase. I've moved through dozens of variations so that I have lots of things that I'm able to go to and I'm not locked into one option. These repeated note phrases are great for ending songs, but can also be used in soloing or improvising and as a compositional tool. Now, I'd like you to try creating your own six note phrase over the cord, E minor ninth. For this, you can use the key of D major as E minor is a cord that comes out of the CTL scale for D major. In our next lesson, we're gonna look at how you can take drop-two voicings to take a pre-existing melody and really make it sing. 9. Advanced Voicings: In this lesson, we're gonna look at how we can use drop-two voicings to take a pre-existing melody and turned it into a chordal pattern. Drop-two voicings refers to a concept in which you use two chords, a C major chord and a B diminished. And we alternate between the inversions of these chords, creating a CTL scale. This is a great method for developing coral melodies because we can take any melody and apply drop-two voicings to it, thereby bring it to life in adding another dimension. This is a similar concept to how choir directors or arrangers would take a melody and arrange it for four voices. In this example, we're gonna be using the key of C major, and I'm going to explain how you can find drop-two voicings in this key, we're going to be starting with a C major sixth chord, which includes the notes C, E, G, and a. A is the sixth note of this scale. We'll start by moving through all the inversions of this chord. So we've got CGA. Then we'll move this C up an octave, giving us e GAAC. Move the e up an octave, giving us g ACE, and then move up again, giving us ACG, which is similar to a minor seventh, before finally landing on the same court in octave higher. For this exercise, will always be playing in inversion of c major six, or a B diminished seventh. Now let's look at that. Be diminished seventh, which includes the notes B, D, F, and a flat. Let's go through the inversions of this chord. So we'll move the b up, giving us D, F, a flat, and B. Move the bottom note up again, giving us F, a flat, B, and D. And then we'll move up again, giving us a flat, B, D, and F, before returning to the same chord, an octave higher, F and a flat, we'll start with the C, E, G, a chord. Then we'll move to the next version of B diminished, which is D, F, a flat B. Before moving to the next version of the C6 chord, again, E GAAC, before moving to the next version of B diminished, F, a flat BD. Before moving to the next version is C6, GAAC. On to the next version of B diminished, a-flat, B, D, F. The next version is C6, a, C, E, G. And then the next, the final version of B diminished B, D, F, A-flat. So once again, this looks like this with just right hand. So whatever note we have on top, we can apply that voicing, whether it's a C major six or a B diminished, and fill in the chord underneath, I'm going to take a basic melody in C major and demonstrate how you can play it with these courts. It's important to remember that the B diminished chord always resolves back to the C major six. So this technique creates an intrinsic tension and resolution, thereby enhancing the sound of this progression. I'll take a basic melody like Mary Had a Little Lamb. And try it with these drop-two voicings. Anytime there's a note, C, E, G, or a, I'll use some version of the C major sixth chord. Anytime the melody note is D, F, a flat, or B, I'll use some inversion of the B diminished chord. So since we started on e, i filled in underneath with E, C, a G. For the next note, D, I realized this was the B diminished, so I filled in with dB, a flat F, followed by C, a, G. So I was able to take a melody and bring it to life. Let's take another example of a melody, e.g. this G, F, E, C, D, with drop-two voicings, that would sound like this. So you can see we're taking a simple melody and then applying these voicings, whether it's an inversion of the C major six or the B Diminished. This can be a great technique for bringing melodies to life if we're playing with our left hand. And also for creating substitutions for pre-existing chord progressions. I'll play that melody again with a stride pattern with my left hand. We can now bring in our left hand. And these are called drop-two voicings because you can take the second note from the top and the right hand is playing and drop it down the octave. For our left hand. To demonstrate, we'll start with this chord, E GAAC. We can take the second note from the top, which is a, and move it down with our left hand, giving us now pattern. These are shapes that choir directors will use a lot when arranging for voice, as there's a natural movement between the nodes. In once again, I'm explaining the drop-two voicing concept in C major, but you can use it in any key by using the one root major and the seven diminished chord. Now I'm going to take a simple progression and show how it can be expanded by using drop-two voicings. For this example, I'll use a progression we've looked at before, a minor seven, D minor seven. Since a minor is the relative key of C major, I'll use the C major drop twos we just learned to create a substitution from getting from a minor to D minor. We know we're going from a to D. So I'm going to add in a drop to Melody in-between, creating more tension and more movement before we get to our home-base. So instead of just going today, I'm now gonna go. I'll do another example. We're still landing on D, but we've created an entire world of getting there by moving through the drop-two voicings. Let's do another example. You can notice that time I played in a altered chord before the D minor, a lot of times it's easier to visualize this by writing down all the notes of the two chords you're using. So you can have that as a reference when creating a chordal melody. Anytime you have a melody, you can use these drop-two voicings to alternate between the one major six and the seven diminished and bring the melody to life with a full CTL arrangement. As an assignment, I'd like for you to take a melody in C major in orchestrated, given the drop twos that we just went over, after you've done that, you can upload it to the project gallery. And I look forward to seeing what you create. 10. Voicing Practice: Welcome back. In this lesson, we're gonna be looking at how you can use inner voicings to create more movement inside of your courts. Inner voicings refers to a concept in which you move notes inside the cord while the outer voices remain the same. In this lesson, I'm going to demonstrate multiple concepts that you can apply for inner voicings over a D minor seventh chord. When creating inner voicings, it's great to use intervals such as thirds or six, which are consonant intervals in sound good for harmonies. Let's look at an example of a D minor ninth chord, in which case we will have D, F, a, C with the left hand, and AGC with my right hand. The C note is going to stay on top, but I'm going to move these thirds in-between to pivot from E and G to F and a back to E and G. So as we can see, the cord stays the same, but there's an inner voice movement moving from E to G, up to FNA and back down. Or if I find an inner voicing I like, I'll move it and transpose it to different keys. I'll transpose this around, moving it up to F minor. Now, let's look at another example of an inner voice, and we could use over an F major seventh chord. For this chord, Let's start with this voicing, C, G, and then the right hand will play a and E. The interval between the top note on both hands is a sixth, meaning that we can move this around and it will sound like a great harmony. So I'll go up and play. My right hand is playing EDC, while my left hand plays G, F, E. So once again, it's so this inner voice is moving while the outer voices are staying the same. I'll demonstrate that, moving it around to a couple of keys. Anytime I come up with an inner voice saying that resonates with me, I tried to apply it in as many ways as possible. So then I have it as another concept that I can go to. Let's look at one more example of an inner voicing. This time over a C minor ninth chord. For this, I'll be playing C, E flat, and G, The triad with my left hand and B-flat, D and F with my right hand. I'll be pivoting between B-flat and D, and C and E flat. So let's try that now. I'm switching between B-flat and D, and C and E flat and then moving back to b flat and d. So the F on top is staying the same, but the voicing is moving inside of the chord. One song I wrote, Grand Canyon uses this concept. It goes like this. You can see the outer notes stay the same while the movement is inside of the chord, creating a very nice texture. Listen again. To conclude. Inner voicings are great concept for creating movement inside of the chords while retaining the outer structure. Anytime you come up with an inner voicing pattern that you like, I encourage you to transpose it to all 12 keys so that you can have it at your fingertips when approaching new material. In the next lesson, we're going to look at how we can take some of the concepts we've learned on piano and apply them towards producing with a digital audio workstation. I hope you'll join me. It's gonna be a lot of fun. 11. Producing and Recording: Welcome back. In this lesson, we're gonna be learning how we can use some of the concepts we've learned on piano and transfer them to a production contexts. For this example, I'll be using Ableton Live, which is a DAW or Digital Audio Workstation. There are a lot of other options of Dawes you can use such as GarageBand, Logic Pro, or Fruity loops, all of which do similar things. For this lesson, I've got a midi keyboard, which is plugged into my computer, meaning that all of the sounds I play on the keyboard can then control the sounds on the computer and record them into the project. When starting producing, I like to come up with a chord progression first, then add in a baseline melody in additional elements such as drums and other things. For this example, I'm going to start by recording in a chord progression in the key of C major. I'm going to start by setting my tempo to 83 beats per minute and make sure I have my metronome on so I can play in time. I'll now record the basic chord progression, which is F major seven, E minor seven, D minor seven chords from the C major CTL scale. I'm going to count in, and then we'll start. Now that we've got the chord progression, I'm going to add in a baseline. So I'm going to switch to a bass instrument and use the techniques we learned about baselines, playing the root nodes, and using other parts of the C major scale to fill in. Now that I've got the baseline, I'm going to add in some additional arpeggios on a road sound, which is an instrument from the seventies. In this case, I'm using a model of one. So here we go. Now that I've got my baseline, I'm going to add in some drugs. I'll be playing the drums on the keyboard. So this is sometimes a difficult task, but I'm going to try my best. Now that I've got a basic outline, I'm going to improvise using a Synth Lead, and I'm gonna be soloing using the C pentatonic scale. Here we go. Now that I've got the basic elements, I started with a chord progression. I found a baseline that worked by playing the root notes in introducing other notes in-between, I then added arpeggios on the roads. I didn't play it in a drum part. And then I finished by adding in a pentatonic improvisation or a melody using the C pentatonic scale. Now that I've got some basic elements of my song, I'm able to fine tune it from here. The goal of this demonstration was to show you that a lot of the possibilities and concepts on piano can also be applied in a production or songwriting context. If you have a digital audio workstation, I'd encourage you to try using some of the concepts we learned in writing and producing your own original music. I'd love for you to upload your original music to the project gallery. I can't wait to hear what you create. In the next lesson, we're gonna be looking at some methods for releasing original music so that you can get it heard by others around the world. 12. Releasing Music: Now that we've looked at how we can take some of the concepts on piano and apply them towards producing music. It's time to talk about releasing music so that others around the world can hear our compositions. One of the exciting things about the age that we live in is it's never been easier to record your own music and to release it so that others can hear it and share it all around the world. There are a lot of great platforms such as TuneCore, destroy kid, stem in many more, where you can take a final as song and then release it on Spotify, apple Music, and across other streaming platforms. A lot of times musicians will put in a lot of work towards creating their music, but then fall short when thinking about a release strategy are different ways to market their music with social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. There are a lot of resources so that you can take a recorded song and get it out there. One of the things that's most exciting to me about making music is how endlessly collaborative it is. We can use the skills we learned on piano to amplify an accent, other people's voices and their messages, the skill set of playing piano can open up endless possibilities and can lead to collaborations with vocalists, instrumentalists in rappers. It's led me to performing across the world and being able to work in the studio with many artists such as schoolboy, Q, BJ, the Chicago kid, and Tom Mish. These classes are merely an introduction or opening the door to a whole world of possibilities with the piano in collaboration in the class resources, I provided a guide with some helpful tips for releasing your own music. 13. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, we've made it to the end of the class. If you've been with me since the start of the journey, you know, we've covered a ton of topics involving many different concepts. In now, we've combined all the elements from the previous classes to finally be able to release original music out into the world. It is my hope with this class that you'll feel inspired in new possibilities will be opened up that you can use when playing your favorite songs or creating original compositions or improvising. It's been my pleasure and honor to be your teacher throughout this process. And I really look forward to seeing what you contribute to the world of music until next time.