How to Learn Piano Chords Fast

Whether you are just beginning or ready to jump to the next level of expertise, you can accelerate by learning piano chords.  There are many who believe that playing the piano is difficult and takes years to fully grasp. 

However, there are simple and fast ways to move beyond the basics and to showcase your talent.  You can apply basic theories while playing what you love.  Certain approaches help you to take a shortcut from unnecessary and tedious practice, allowing you to play professionally in no time at all.

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Can You Learn Piano Chords Quickly?

There are special methods and unique tricks that every pianist knows to learn music faster.  You can use shortcuts to learn piano by applying specific theories and practices.  Instead of focusing on learning one song, focus on theory that is applied to any piece of music.  These are the building blocks of piano chords and every song.

The theories introduce you to easy reading of any score sheet and helps you to improvise diverse types of music.  By focusing on the theoretical ideas, you will be able to cut your learning time in half.

Music theory serves as a staple across every genre.  Before you start playing a new song, look at the chords being used.  You will want to understand how the music changes from one chord to another as well as what the rhythms are.  The theory also includes basic building blocks for any piece of music, allowing you to cross genres and play with any band. 

To learn at a faster pace, keep the following in mind:

  • Break the chords into basic, theoretical concepts
  • Focus on segments of a song
  • Learn the building blocks, such as intervals and scales
  • Combine your motor skills with theories by practicing repetitively
  • The slower and more focused you are at learning, the faster you will process information

The building blocks of piano chords provides you with a strong foundation to accelerate learning.  The theories and applications you learn in the beginning offers a foundation for every new song you learn and is associated with the classics to new pop songs.  With the basic techniques, you can enjoy entertaining your friends with new songs for years to come.   

Simple Steps For Faster Learning

Learn Your Intervals.  Intervals are the foundation of musical chords and formulate the unique sounds that you hear in different genres.  An interval is the space between two notes, used to create the sound and chord you are interested in.  There are two basic intervals that every pianist should know. 

Half Step: Every interval begins with a half step, moving up one space or key on the piano.  This is usually a white key to a black key.  Play some half steps to hear the way they sound.  You may notice that there are two parts of the piano that don’t have a black key in between them; E – F and B – C.  These also form half steps and have the same effect as the other half steps. 

Whole Step: The whole step is two half steps pieced together.  The whole step means that you will take one note, skip the next note and play the one after this.  A simple way to practice is to skip the black keys in the middle to form the whole step.  Don’t forget that the E – F and B – C are half steps.  This means that a whole step that starts on these notes will use a black key to keep the same tonality.

These two basic intervals form the foundation of every scale and chord in music.  By calculating your half and whole steps, you will take one step forward to playing complete chords. 

Scales.  Your next step to learning chords fast is to break the myth of scales and key signatures.  There is only one trick to understanding the scales required for a chord; intervals.  A scale starts at a root note.  It then uses the same interval sequence to formulate the scale and key signature. 

The major scale is the most used option and offers a simple way to learn.  Your interval sequence is:

Whole – Whole – Half – Whole – Whole – Whole – Half

Try this sequence starting on any note.  For instance, your C scale would be:

C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C

You will notice that when you start on other keys, you will need to keep the same sequence by jumping to a black key instead of a white key.  These are known as sharps and flats and are designed to keep the structure of intervals while altering your root or first note. 

The minor scale is the second most common form of intervals.  Most describe minor scales as sad or melancholy because of the sequence of intervals.  Your minor interval sequence is:

Whole – Half – Whole – Whole – Half – Whole – Half

Try this sequence with the C sale.  Your notes will be:

C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab – B – C

A simple way to remember minor scales is that the third and sixth note are always lowered by a half step.  Try starting on a different note with the minor scale to hear the similarity in sound from the interval sequence. 

Key Signatures.  From the intervals played, you can find any key signature.  When you look at sheet music, you will see that the first part of the score has symbols, including a “b” or “#”.  The “b” is known as a flat and the “#” is known as a sharp.  When you take a note and lower it by a half step, it becomes a flat.  If you raise it by a half step, it becomes a sharp. 

To keep the interval spacing consistent, key signatures are introduced at the beginning of a song.  It is the flats and sharps that allow you to use the black notes, specifically because they will change the intervals by an extra half step.  For instance, start on the key of D and keep the same interval sequence for a major scale.  You will have this sequence:

D – E – F# – G – A – B – C# – D

To keep the whole steps and half steps complete, you need a F# and C#.  You can determine the scale that you are using by looking at the key signatures and intervals being used. 

Forming Your Basic Chords.  Add in your next step by forming your chords.  Take the same intervals and change the steps for unique sounds. 

Each chord starts with a root or bottom note.  The other notes form from this root note by moving up intervals.  Create the second note in the chord by going up four half steps, or the third of the scale, and another four half steps, or the fifth of the scale, often seen as 1 – 3 – 5.  Try a chord in the key of C.  It will look like this:

C – E – G

1 – 3 – 5

In the key of A, it looks like this:

A – C# – E

1 – 3 – 5

Try starting on different keys while keeping this chord pattern.  You will find that this formulates the basis of harmonies in any song. 

Adding in Extras.  Of course, not all chords keep the simple 1 – 3 – 5 sequence.  If you want a different flair of sound, then you will want to add in new intervals.  The most common used for genres such as jazz is to add a 7th interval.  This is simply another four half steps above the 5.  Try it in the key of C:

1 – 3 – 5 – 7

C – E – G – B

Of course, you can also add in a 9th interval for a very discreet sound by adding in four more half steps above the 7th.  In the key of C, it would look like this:

1 – 3 – 5 -7 – 9

C – E – G – B – D

The additional intervals of a 7th or a 9th create tension with the chords.  You will want to experiment with the sounds that are used with these and understand how these extras sound in different pieces of music.  For instance, the 9th has a lot of tension from the C – D.  However, it is also a larger space from the two notes.  Experiment with the placement of the chord to create tension and effects with the chords you are playing.

3 Easy Steps to Becoming Proficient

Timing is everything with music.  Become proficient by practicing specific techniques that allows you to learn chords at a faster pace. 

Step 1: Pick three chords.  Start with the scale of C and take three common chords that are in music.  You will find that many songs will use the first of the scale, fifth of the scale and the fourth (I – V – IV).  For the scale of C, it would include these three chords:

I – C – E – G

V – G – B – D

IV – F – A – C

You then repeat the sequence of chords to create what is known as a chord progression.

Step 2: Start counting.  You will want to count to 4, holding each chord for a complete set.  On the count of 4, prepare to go to the next chord and start moving your hand.  In music, thinking ahead, even a little, will build proficiency. 

Step 3: Speed Up.  After you have become comfortable with your counts, speed up, change beats and add in different chords to your sequence.  The continuous movement and the way this is processed cognitively will create memory between chords, allowing you to remember different pieces of music. 

Try the same approach with any piece of music.  Find the piano chord in a score sheet and learn the basic structure.  Practice the sequence using time as a marker between each chord to learn the sequences and chords quickly.

Time Requirements for Piano Learning

Once you know the theories and basic practice techniques, you can learn how to play in a short period of time.  Practicing for as little as 15 minutes every day will get you playing with the band.  The more you practice, the faster you learn.  However, consistency every day will help you to process the information and learn quickly.

Many emphasize time for learning piano chords and practicing.  Keep in mind that playing the piano also means you need to process information.  It is more effective to practice for 5 minutes and understand the theories of your practice then to focus for 2 hours at the piano without understanding the theories of what you are doing.  By applying practical techniques, you will learn at a faster rate and have a deeper understanding of piano chords.  This allows you to progress more while using similar theories in different types of music. 

Mastering Piano Chords

With the basic theories under your fingers, you can learn your favorite songs.  Jazz, pop and contemporary music provides you with the first steps to enjoyment with playing piano.  Theories and consistent practice are key to mastering piano chords. 

When you focus on specific applications, you will easily be able to learn the greatest jazz or contemporary hits while progressing rapidly.  The theories will not only apply to the basics, but remain consistent in every piece of music that you decide to learn. 

  • If you’re still interested in learning how to play piano or keyboard, get your copy of Piano for All today, which features 10 eBooks, 200 video piano lessons and 500 audio piano lessons!

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You Might Also Want to Read:

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  3. 5 Crucial Tips for Learning Jazz Piano
  4. 5 Adult Piano Lessons to Master the Piano
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