Teaching Tip Tuesday: Teach those chords!

Teaching Tip #10: Teach those chords!
I have recently discovered the importance of teaching chords. Lately I have been really trying to get all of my students, all ages, playing major and minor chords all over the piano and in different inversions. A huge help in this has been in using my technique booklets – My Muscle Builders Book and My Muscle Builders Book 2. My students have amazed me in their chord-playing and I really think it is helping them become overall better musicians.
Understanding and being able to easily play chords, in different inversions, helps students in learning their pieces. SO, so often their method book pieces have a melody line in the right hand and chords in the left hand (whether block chords, broken chords, or whatever figuration the notes are in). When students don’t understand chords well, each measure can be a struggle to learn. Many students need to stop and “figure out” the notes of each measure. BUT, if they are good at chord-reading and have a good understanding of primary chords used in a key, all you need to do is have them take a look at the piece and point out the basic harmonies. They will see that a piece may only consist of C, F and G7 chords, and will be able to learn it SO much faster because they are already pros at playing those chords.

Many of my students have also started playing a bit from fakebooks, and it is so fun to see them use their chord-playing knowledge to fill in the harmony (all on their own!!) of a fun, familiar song. I really have been enjoying this awesome Disney Fake Book (Fake Books), and it has a great variety of songs, some easier ones that my students have been enjoying, and some harder ones that I have been having a lot of fun with as well!

So teach those chords! Let’s create a generation of great, well-rounded musicians, shall we?

Jennifer Boster

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