Home
Videos uploaded by user “Bill Hilton”
Jazz Piano For Beginners || Tutorial #1: starting to improvise
 
08:40
Info about my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Next tutorial in the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZxYMVef6Kc Train Your Piano Brain tutorial #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SMZwAQHBuI This is the first tutorial in a series on jazz piano for absolute beginners. In it, I take a very gradual look at the skills and theory needed to improvise jazz on the piano, focussing on easy improvisation exercises that develop improv skills and hand independence while at the same time being enjoyable to play.
Views: 380227 Bill Hilton
Easy Piano Improv: The 4 Minute Jazz Piano Tutorial
 
04:21
Check out my book: http://bit.do/billsbook Want to learn about jazz piano in more detail? Check out my series of easy but in-depth tutorials for beginners: http://goo.gl/wgd3Zl The point of this tutorial is to show you how easy piano improv can be. There's a lot of mystique surrounding jazz piano, blues and other keyboard improvisation styles. And it's true that to improvise at a high level takes a great deal of skill and practice. However, getting started with piano improvisation is dead easy. The trick is just to realise that you don't have to use the whole keyboard at once. You can start with just one note. The way I get started here is by improvising different rhythms on middle C. I then add a single note at a time, working my way up the blues scale. If you take this approach it allows you to start improvising with something very, very easy and push your boundaries gradually. In the whole tutorial I only cover five notes in the right-hand. But you can do an enormous amount with those five. For example, you don't have to play just one note at a time -- you can form simple chords and use them to create rhythmic effects and jazzy licks. It's important to remember that the piano is a percussion instrument, so you should really explore what you can do with rhythm and the quality of sound you get from hitting the keys in different ways. So far, so easy. Piano improvisation needs left-hand work as well, though. What I do in this tutorial is used a simple repeating left-hand pattern. There's quite a good lesson here: you can achieve an awful lot with a very simple left hand. As long as it provides some harmonic context and perhaps a little bit of rhythm, you don't need to go overboard. So there we go -- blues and jazz piano and other forms of piano improvisation don't need to be difficult, at least when you're getting started. If you want to become a competent improviser at the keyboard, you will of course have to do a lot of practice, and in the end the amount of effort you put in will determine how successful you are. But you shouldn't imagine that improvisation is some sort of magical skill that's only accessible to elite pianists. Anyone can do it!
Views: 828332 Bill Hilton
A couple of piano hand independence exercises
 
05:25
http://bit.do/billsbook Plenty of people have trouble developing their hand independence (i.e. getting their left and right hands to do different things at the same time on the piano keyboard). In this tutorial I deal with a couple of exercises you can use to develop independence and improve your piano playing. If you’ve ever had any classical piano training, then playing some classical music should be your first port of call. Classical music promotes hand independence since your left hand has to work almost as hard as your right. This makes it impossible to rely solely on your right hand to do all the work. You can also have a go at this series of exercises. If you lean to play these with confidence you should find that your hand independence will improve rapidly. Firstly, try playing a basic 12-bar blues pattern in your left hand. For each beat in the left hand, hit 3 beats on the same chord with your right hand. You could also try increasing the difficulty by playing a slightly more complex pattern with your left hand while keeping the right hand part the same. This is tricky at first, but is a really useful exercise. Even if you’re not particularly interested in playing blues piano, these exercises are brilliant for promoting hand independence. You could also adapt the exercises for rock or pop piano. Just make sure you choose a fairly simple left hand part with a little movement and keep up those rapid chords with your right hand. Focus on precision with your left hand while maintaining the right hand part. If you found this video useful, take a look at some of my other videos (try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEmjNnRdifw for more hand independence exercises). You might also be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano. As well as being full of useful tips on chords and learning basic harmony, it has the second exercise from this video written out in full.
Views: 163506 Bill Hilton
Train Your Piano Brain || Session #2: targeting hand independence
 
08:38
My book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Previous video in the Train Your Piano Brain series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SMZwAQHBuI Next video in the Train Your Piano Brain series: https://youtu.be/P0Hndv9Hwh0 In this second session in the Train Your Piano Brain series I'm looking at the tricky issue of hand independence. As human beings we've evolved to use our hands in co-ordination with one another, and getting them to do very different things simultaneously can be challenging. As in the last session, I take you through an exercise that has five levels of difficulty. This one is based on a very simple blues piano movement. When you're playing it remember to aim for precision and a good, even, musical sound, but try to avoid overdoing it - little and often is best, both for your brain and for your hands!
Views: 43519 Bill Hilton
Train Your Piano Brain || Session #1: improvising syncopated and swinging rhythms
 
08:48
Check out my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Next tutorial in series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcb_Skht3eM My Patreon crowdfunder: http://www.patreon.com/billhilton Blues piano tutorials (ignore the bluespiano.tv links): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFE7C89C720566CCD This is the first in a serious of piano tutorials called Train Your Piano Brain. In them, I'm going to look at ways you can help your brain adapt to the process of playing the piano, which should help you become a better faster learner. Playing the piano is a complicated skill that makes a lot of heavy mental demands when it comes to making decisions about which notes to play, how hard, with what rhythm and so on. In this session we look at the tricky skill of improvising swinging and syncopated rhythms, especially in the context of blues and jazz piano. The tutorial takes the form of a game with five levels, each one slightly harder than the last, designed to gradually build your up your rhythm improvisation skills and your hand independence. The great thing about this game is that you can play most of it more or less anywhere - you don't necessarily need to be sat at the piano.
Views: 86037 Bill Hilton
Comping Pop Piano, Part 1
 
07:02
Check out my piano book! http://bit.do/billsbook Piano tutorial: improvising comps for piano; comping based on a simple chord sequence for contemporary pop and ballad-type songs. Part one of two, created to tie in with my book, How To Really Play The Piano
Views: 104975 Bill Hilton
Piano chords basics - make your progressions flow
 
08:29
http://bit.do/billsbook Playing piano chords effectively in comps and improvisations is all about choosing the right inversions and voicings to make progressions flow smoothly. The most important technique I look at here is choosing chord inversions and voicings on the piano keyboard that help your progressions flow naturally.When you first start learning chords, it's very easy and tempting to play them all in root position. Root position is when note the chord is named after is played as the lowest note of the chord; for example a C major chord with C as the bottom note. The problem with doing this is that you can end up with jumpy, disjointed sounds.  In styles of music such as 12-bar blues this is less of a problem, because jumping around between chords is a recognised style in that genre of music. However, with other styles such as modern pop ballads, you really do need to try to make your progression as smooth as possible. By using different inversions of chords you should be able to keep the different chords of your sequence closer together on the piano keyboard, which in turn will make your progression smoother. This should also make the chords easier to play because your hand stays in a relatively fixed position. Whenever you learn a new chord on the piano, try to play it in as many different inversions and voicings as you can. It’s really important to get to grips with inversions, particularly if you’re interested in jamming, comping or songwriting. If you’d like to know more about jazz, blues, or pop piano, go ahead and take a look through my earlier videos. If you liked this video you might also be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which is full of tips and guides on chords, harmony and improvisation.
Views: 504422 Bill Hilton
Piano scales - why bother?
 
09:27
http://bit.do/billsbook A video tutorial on the basics of piano scales, and why they're useful - even if you're mainly interested in improvisation styles rather than classical piano. Though knowing your scales isn't essential to become a good pianist (especially if your focus is on jazz or pop piano rather than classical) they're definitely worth the effort required to learn them. Though they may seem boring and pointless, playing scales is actually one of the best ways to improve your control, flexibility and hand independence on the piano keyboard. When playing a lot of improvised piano, it's easy to become reliant on just a few fingers. This leads to weakness and lack of control in your other fingers, which in turn means you use them less, creating a sort of vicious circle. The best pianists will use all of their fingers equally, which makes for better control, as well as a greater range and more freedom when improvising. If you've had classical lessons in the past, you may be able to play a lot of scales from memory. If you've never played scales before, don't worry - you can find all of them on the internet. There are also plenty of scales books available for purchase; just make sure that you choose one which gives the fingerings as well as the notes. Try to integrate scales into your usual practice regime, even if it's only 5-10 minutes a day at first. Start by playing one-octave scales using one hand at a time. As you gain more confidence you'll find that you can play scales over several octaves. You should also try playing your scales with both hands at the same time. The key is to make sure that you don't play too mechanically. You may find that the notes you play with your thumb sound more accentuated, whereas the notes played with your other fingers are weaker. It takes a lot of practice and focus to make each note completely even. It's really important to listen to what you're playing in order to make your scales as smooth and even as possible.
Views: 166926 Bill Hilton
Piano chords for beginners: learn four chords to play hundreds of songs
 
16:02
There's more on chords in my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Learning piano chords and chord progressions can seem pretty daunting, but you can get a long way on the instrument by knowing just a few. In fact, you can play hundreds of songs if you learn just four easy piano chords. In this tutorial I'm going to assume you're a beginner and that, while you know the basic notes on the piano keyboard, you know little or nothing about chords, harmony and improvisation. I'll teach you four chords and a simple progression in the key of C that you can adapt to help you play very many different songs. You can also use this easy tutorial to start learning some bits and pieces of piano improvisation, and as an intro to some of the other piano tutorials on my channel. The chords I look at are C, F, G and A minor. The first thing I explain is the importance of being able to play these chords in many different voicings and inversions - the piano offers hundreds of different ways of playing simple chords, and it's important that you really get comfortable with find chord shapes quickly on the keyboard. From there we take a simple chord progression and begin to play it to time, starting with just single chords and moving on to slightly more complex, but easy piano comps. We also look at ways that you can start improvising on the chords to create more interesting effects, and also mention playing in different keys and learning how to pick out melody at the keyboard. A really important point that I make several times is that you have to practise this pretty hard - learning piano isn't easy, and it's really crucial that you give your brain time to adjust to the complex stuff you're asking it to do. However, with a few hours or days of practice it shouldn't take long for you to get pretty reasonable at playing chords on the piano. It's all about determination and sticking to it! If you've enjoyed this tutorial you might also like my book, How To Really Play The Piano - there's a link at the top of this description.
Views: 2537317 Bill Hilton
Slash Chords Explained in Five Minutes || Piano Questions Answered
 
05:50
Slash chords come up pretty regularly in the comments underneath my piano tutorials, so I thought this first episode in my new Piano Questions Answered series was a good place to explain them. More on piano chords in my book, How To Really Play The Piano: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Slash chords aren't massively complicated: they're just a quick way of specifying which bass note should be played under a particular chord. If you see a chord without a slash, it implies that the root is the bass note - i.e., the note that the chord is named after. If a slash is used, it's usually the third or the fifth of the chord that becomes the bass note (or the seventh in dominant or minor seventh chords, rarely in major sevenths). Specifying bass voicings of chords is useful because of the importance of the bass note in any chord: it's the single note that above all other (OK, maybe equal with the top note) gives a chord its particular flavour and feeling. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook: http://fb.me/billhiltonpiano And on Twitter: http://twitter.com/billhilton
Views: 10912 Bill Hilton
Shell chords for jazz piano left hand
 
04:41
http://bit.do/billsbook A quick tutorial on using shell chords - a very simple technique that uses the tonic and seventh (or alternatively the tonic and third) of left-hand chords to simplify and clarify jazz piano bass. In even the most simple of jazz chord sequences, moving your fingers between the chords and landing on the right notes can be a bit of a challenge. This problem is especially apparent when playing quickly. The second, more important issue is that full chords in the left hand can sound quite muddy and dark. At best, this will make it hard to distinguish the notes. At worst the left hand part will actually start to detract from the right hand. Shell chords provide a simple solution to both of these problems. The removal of notes from the chord to leave just the tonic and the seventh creates a clearer sound and makes it easier to play. Since we keep the two most important notes, the character of the chord isn't lost. Difficulties can arise when it comes to more complex chords, since turning them into shell chords can make the identity of the chord a little ambiguous. Augmented chords are the trickiest of all - they're built on major thirds and have no seventh. The simplest solution is to play the root and the augmented fifth instead. Shell chords are mostly useful in jazz piano, but also work well in genres that have a lot in common with jazz, for example funk and R&B. Play around, experiment, and try to incorporate them into your playing when you can. If you found this video useful, take a look at my other videos on jazz piano. You might also be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which is full of useful information on improvisation, chords and the basics of harmony.
Views: 47442 Bill Hilton
Chord resolution, part 1
 
08:31
Overview of chord resolution, designed to tie in with my book, How To Really Play The Piano
Views: 36762 Bill Hilton
Learn blues piano: the basics, part 2
 
08:52
The second part of the Jamcast.co.uk piano tutorial for aspiring blues and boogie woogie players. Blog post here: http://www.jamcast.co.uk/learn-blues-piano-the-basics-part-two/
Views: 20358 Bill Hilton
Piano for Beginners, Lesson 1 || The Piano Keyboard
 
11:39
The first tutorial in my series of piano lessons for beginners. These lessons will take you from being a complete beginner on the piano just learning the names of notes on the keyboard through easy steps to the point where you can read piano sheet music for right and left hand and begin to play complex and musically rewarding pieces. You'll learn a lot of music theory on the way, including music reading, scales, rhythmic concepts as well as tips on good piano technique like fingering and legato. If you're thinking of learning piano or keyboard, these are the beginners lessons' you need! Support me on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/billhilton Resources page: http://www.billspianopages.com/beginners Lesson 2: https://youtu.be/3BULT0-joT0 Follow me on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/billhilton +++Some straightforward tutorials you might like to explore now you know the note names....+++ Piano chords for beginners: learn four chords to play hundreds of songs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmvwZRwn-j0 Easy piano improv: the 4 minute jazz piano tutorial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg68eElpmn4 A fun pentatonic improvisation and finger exercise for smoother, quicker piano playing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYGl90jiLpQ&lc Train your Piano Brain series playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpOuhygfD7QnKq5P3mf7TiofvItxhuM2i ++++ This is the very first tutorial in my new series of lessons for absolute beginners on the piano. Starting from very first principles, the series will teach you the basics of playing the piano and reading sheet music. In this lesson we learn about the piano keyboard, the names of the white notes and the way we number our fingers. The lesson also includes a game that you can use to challenge yourself and learn note names as quickly and instinctively as possible. It's really important that you're comfortable will the names of the white notes on the piano keyboard before you move on.
Views: 265136 Bill Hilton
Chord voicings and inversions explained on the piano
 
11:30
My book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Support me on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/billhilton http://fb.me/billhiltonpiano http://www.twitter.com/billhilton Chord voicings and inversions are fairly basic music theory concepts that are important to pianists. However, because they are closely related to one another they can sometimes be confusing to people in the early stages of learning the instrument, or to those who have have piano lessons but are learning to improvise. So in this tutorial I set about explaining the difference between voicings and inversions, and how they’re related to each other. Every chord has a voicing and an inversion. Inversions are perhaps the slightly trickier concept, but working out the inversion of any chord basically just involves looking at the bass note and having an understanding of the structure of the basic chord.
Views: 9420 Bill Hilton
Compound licks for blues and jazz
 
06:50
http://bit.do/billsbook In this piano tutorial I look at some techniques for stitching together simple blues licks into longer, more interesting, phrases. This is a useful development technique if you already have a few piano licks in your toolbox, because it helps you to explore them further and create something more than the sum of their parts. Something you’ll really have to master here is getting fingers in right place. The secret is to make sure that you’re pivoting over your thumb at the right point. This ensures that you don’t run out of fingers halfway through longer phrases. There’s no need to work out the fingerings in detail though - with plenty of practice you should find that your hand starts to fall naturally into place. Learning in this way will also help to develop your flexibility far better than if you work out the fingerings in detail in advance. The extended lick that I cover in this tutorial consists of three basic sections based on three licks that I’ve used in the past. With each small section it moves a little further down the keyboard, since moving downwards when improvising is far easier than moving up! After learning the licks individually, try sticking them together and gradually developing your licks and making them longer. As usual, the only way to master more complex licks and other tools like this is to practise, practise, practise and to ensure that you're always experimenting. Rather than copying exactly what I do, learn the basic pattern then take it to the keyboard and make it your own. Playing around and experimenting are the best ways to improve your piano playing and really cement new techniques in your mind. If you enjoyed this video, take a look at my others. You might also be interested in my book, how to Really Play the Piano, which is a useful introduction to improvisation, chords and harmony.
Views: 35240 Bill Hilton
Learn blues piano: the basics, part 3
 
09:05
Third and final part of our blues basics tutorial. Read the accompanying blog post at http://www.jamcast.co.uk/learn-blues-piano-the-basics-part-three/
Views: 12647 Bill Hilton
A simple tip to improve your piano practice
 
07:19
http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really This tutorial covers a very simple technique that professional pianists (and other musicians) use to make their practice sessions as efficient as possible. When you're practising the piano it's very easy to play fairly mindlessly, grinding through endless repeats of a particular piece trying to get it just perfect, when in fact most of it *is* perfect (or, at least, near enough). The problems often lie in just a few bars. The trick is to focus down on those bars are really grind away at them during your piano practice sessions - attacking the problem until you've solved it and can drop it back into the piece as a whole. If you're trying any new practice technique, remember to always start off with scales and warm-ups - running through just a few scales every time you sit down at the piano will help to protect you from injury and give you a much smoother, more controlled command of the instrument. By the way, if anyone's wondering, the little practice snippet is taken from Mozart's 12 Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je Maman" (K265) -basically the same tune as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). It's the first eight bars, to the repeat, of Variation III.
Views: 71942 Bill Hilton
Pentatonic scales for improvisation - piano tutorial
 
11:28
My book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Pentatonic scales are useful things to know if you want to learn how to improvise on the piano, and especially if you're interested in jazz and blues. In this piano tutorial I take a quick look at both major and minor pentatonic scales, and look at how you can use them to improve your improvisation. The great thing about pentatonics is how universal they are, and one of the points I make here is that they usually sound "right" whenever you play them against a given chord progression (as long as the scale is in the same key as the progression, obviously!) That means when you're improvising on the piano you can use pentatonic scales as a kind of safe haven. They will almost always sound good, irrespective of the chords you are playing underneath. By the way, if you're not sure how to get started with basic improvisation, have a look at my playlist of blues piano tutorials. These feature the basic techniques you need to get started with improvisation. In the near future I'm also going to post some videos that approach basic improvisation using other styles of music. It's also worth saying that a thorough knowledge of basic piano scales will help you here. It may seem strange, but having a regular run through of the major and minor scales that your piano teacher taught you will help you master both pentatonic improvisation and more elaborate forms. The pentatonic improvisation exercise I've included in the tutorial uses the chord sequence from the verse section of Georgia on my Mind (by Hoagy Carmichael, made famous by Ray Charles, of course). I'm not playing the tune here - just using that section of the progression because it uses several chords that are outside the natural key (F major). This is useful, because it illustrates how you can use pentatonic scales against more or less any chord to get a good (and often quite jazzy) effect.
Views: 542614 Bill Hilton
A close look at some piano comps
 
13:10
http://bit.ly/billsbook Several people have asked me to make a video taking a close look at comps. So in this video I’ll break down some of the techniques that I use when comping, with a focus on two genres: cocktail, and pop/ballad. You’ll notice that I play very basic chord shapes, and that I don’t play many notes outside of the chords themselves. It’s important to remember that you can create really effective comps without using complicated runs or improvised melodies. Often, the best comps are very simple. You could also try the thumb technique I use. Just before changing chords, I hit the bottom note of the right hand chord and the top note of the left hand chord, while holding the rest of the notes. This gives a sense of rhythm and movement. Other techniques which can help develop some progression in this type of comp are stabs and arpeggios. To create some smoothness and flow, give some attention to the fingering you’re using. Avoid jumping around too much with every chord change. The pedal can also help to stick things together, but it’s important to avoid overusing it! As with almost all aspects of improvisation and comping, the very best thing that you can do to improve is to practice and develop your own style. This will give the most natural sound. With enough time spent playing the basic chord progressions, you’ll find that your subconscious brain will figure out what works and what doesn’t. If you enjoyed this video, you might also enjoy my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which is a great beginners’ guide to comping, improvisation, jazz and blues piano. You should also check out my earlier videos, and my website at www.billspianopages.com
Views: 23782 Bill Hilton
Chord progressions explained on the piano
 
07:13
http://bit.do/billsbook How do chord progressions work on the piano, or indeed on any chordal instrument or in any piece of music? In this tutorial I explain chord progressions and sequences, with particular focus on tonic - dominant - tonic progressions. If you're just getting into music theory then you can do pretty well just by learning the individual chords on the piano keyboard and then following other people's progressions. But to be a really good improvising musician or songwriter, on the piano or otherwise, you need to be able to make sense of the underlying harmonic logic of what you're doing. The great thing about the piano is that you can see the chords and their notes laid out right there in front of you on the keyboard, which makes understanding easier. Once you've grasped how chord changes work it becomes much easier to adapt existing progressions and come up with your own. In this tutorial I also deal with progressions that include key modulation - which is especially handy if you're interested in pop or jazz, or in writing your own songs. Once you've understood the basics of what I'm talking about in the lesson, the best thing you can do is sit down at the piano and just play around with different chords: watch what you're doing on the keyboard, listen to the sounds you're making, and experiment with different chords. You can even take existing progressions from songs you know and try changing the chords around: what effect do you get? As ever with stuff on the piano, and with music theory, the trick to really understanding how chords work is to play around and practise. If you'd like to know more about piano chords, do check out my book, How To Really Play The Piano. You need to be able to read simple music in treble and bass clef, and to know which notes are where on the piano, but apart from that it takes everything from first steps, including the real basics of how chords and constructed and how you can use chord progressions as a pianist.
Views: 109516 Bill Hilton
Eight killer tips to improve your piano learning
 
14:03
My book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really http://twitter.com/billhilton http://fb.me/billhiltonpiano Tutorial on ear training: http://youtu.be/EJNH5nSEEIo Piano for absolute beginners series (reading music): http://goo.gl/5UqKP2 This tutorial focusses on eight tips that will help you learn the piano, especially if you’re teaching yourself. If you’re learning to play it’s all too easy to get focussed on the very narrow activity of learning particular pieces or scales, and ignore wider musicianship skills that will actually help you become a better pianist, faster. Much of this is about internalising key skills, like aural skills, knowledge of harmony and intervals. There are fairly simple things you can do to do those things, such as branching out beyond the piano music you’re learning from, singing, watching other people play, working things out on the piano, writing your own basic compositions and more.
Views: 307609 Bill Hilton
All the basic piano chords in one epic tutorial
 
20:44
Check out my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really EDIT: one chord I missed out was the minor ninth (-m9). After watching the tutorial you can probably work it out pretty easily: it's the -m7 with an added major third. Several people have asked me to make a tutorial revisiting all the basic piano chords - so here it is! There's a little bit of theory, covering how piano chords are constructed, and how you can voice and invert them on the keyboard. Most chords are built of thirds, and once you've figured out how to make major and minor thirds, and understood a couple of other basic intervals, it's pretty easy to work out all the chords you need, even if you're a relative beginner on the instrument. As always, the secret to really mastering this stuff is to spend time sitting at the piano practising the techniques I talk about. One thing you could do is dig out a song book that has a vocal line with the chords written in. Practise reading the chords, and soon you won't need the written piano part :) Here are those timestamp links, by the way (hat tip, Ollie!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=6m0s - Basic major and minor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=7m30s - Dominant seventh (chords ending -7, e.g. G7, Eb7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=8m30s - Minor seventh (chords ending -m7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=9m05s - Major seventh (-maj7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=9m45s - Sixth (-6 or -m6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=11m50s - Ninth (-9) - NB, I don't mention this in the tutorial but the minor ninth (-m9) is the -m7 with an added major third. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=12m29s - Major ninth (-maj9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=13m16s - Added ninth (-add9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=14m25s - Suspended fourth (-sus or -sus4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=15m48s - Diminished and diminished seventh (-dim or -°; -dim7 or -°7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=17m43s -Augmented (-aug or -+)
Views: 476834 Bill Hilton
A fun pentatonic improvisation and finger exercise for smoother, quicker piano playing
 
12:31
http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Ever got frustrated with how slow your fingers are when you play the piano? This exercise not only helps you improve your improvisation skills, it develops your finger dexterity in much the same way that playing scales does. Scales and arpeggios are still incredibly important of course, especially if you want to learn classical piano, but if you want to mix things up a little, or if classical playing isn't your main aim, you can have fun and make a lot of progress playing this. It uses two chords in the left hand that you can play entirely at will - there's no fixed chord progression - and a pentatonic improvisation in the right. Remember to make sure you're always listening to what you're playing and that it's musical (because the piano makes the sound for us, it's easy just to focus on pushing the keys on not concentrate on how musical we're being). It's also good to mix things up in different keys: C major is great when you're learning the exercise or if you're really new to the instrument, but once you have some skills in other keys you should transpose this exercise into them, so you're getting maximum flexibility and fluency on the piano keyboard.
Views: 115446 Bill Hilton
Piano practice introduction
 
06:11
www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really/ How to practise the piano to improve your improvisation and comping, with some thoughts about using chord sequences and exploratory improvisations to improve your piano playing. Good practice is all about really focussing on repetition, playing piano sequences over and over until they've really sunk into your subconscious. This video is also an intro to my book, How To Really Play The Piano.
Views: 19107 Bill Hilton
Stride piano - basics of the left hand stride
 
06:46
http://bit.do/billsbook Stride piano technique is really useful for pianists who are playing quite traditional or mainstream jazz, blues, show music and other stuff from the middle of the twentieth century. It basically involves "striding" between a bass note and a chord, creating rhythm, bass line and harmony all in one. You can also incorporate scale runs, block chords and tremolos to add depth and character. One important thing to remember is not to play chunky left hand chords too far down during the stride sequence - or they'll sound muddy. Also, stride doesn't work very well for more modern piano styles (though it's great for the styles I listed above) and you don't want to get "trapped" into playing it and no other left hand style!
Views: 127149 Bill Hilton
Three Left Hand Patterns You Need To Know || Piano Questions Answered
 
14:24
Left hand patterns are a really popular way of starting to develop your hands-together improvisation skills on the piano or keyboard. In this tutorial, I take a look at three patterns - block chords, arpeggios and stride - and their strengths and weaknesses. The tutorial also covers how to move beyond left hand patterns as a pianist, because it's very easy to get "trapped" playing patterns and lose focus on the the real job of the left hand, which is to bring bass sounds, texture and harmony to the overall mix of your piano sound. Mixing up block chords, arpeggios and other patterns can give you a much more satisfying overall sound. Check out my piano book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Amazing Grace leadsheet (mentioned in tutorial): https://goo.gl/J9zUtM Tutorial on working out chords to a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilcfgQ3lZus If you want to learn more left hand patterns and general techniques for the left, be sure to subscribe to my channel and follow me on Facebook and Twitter: http://fb.me/billhiltonpiano http://twitter.com/billhilton You might also take a look at my Patreon crowdfunding page... http://www.patreon.com/billhilton
Views: 129308 Bill Hilton
Really basic harmony
 
08:40
Part one of a series of screencasts on basic harmony, including information on what makes a chord, how chords are defined and how they work with the melody to form a song. This screencast is designed to tie in with my book, How To Really Play The Piano - but you don't need to have the book to make sense of the content.
Views: 133933 Bill Hilton
Seven Studies in Pop Piano: available now!
 
02:29
http://www.billspianopages.com/seven-studies/ A short promo video for my new book, Seven Studies in Pop Piano.
Views: 9415 Bill Hilton
More cocktail piano - arpeggio runs
 
04:59
Check out my new ebook on cocktail piano: www.billspianopages.com/cocktail Owing to popular demand (!) here is another tutorial on cocktail piano. This one is in response to a question about arpeggiated runs, which are a common feature of cocktail or lounge bar piano style. Basically, an arpeggio run is a fast run up the piano keyboard using a broken chord. They have an interesting kind of shimmery effect which works really well in the relaxed context of a cocktail piece. If you've had classical piano lessons in the past these will stand you in good stead, since you were probably forced to play arpeggios and broken chords over and over. However, unless you're an excellent classical pianist, you'll probably struggle to play a really fast, basic arpeggio run without it sounding choppy. As such, I tend to use a 'fake' method that involves playing each arpeggio twice in each octave, which gives your hand time to steady itself and your thumb time to get under. Since the run is so fast, it's actually quite hard to hear the doubling of the arpeggios, so this technique is hardly distinguishable from a full arpeggiated run. Though they may take a little practice (especially if you haven't had classical piano lessons in the past) it's really worth having a go at these runs. They create a really lovely effect and look pretty impressive and difficult. These kinds of arpeggiated runs work really well with rich, lush chords typical of cocktail piano, such as maj7, maj11 and min9. If you enjoyed this video, check out some of my others. You might also be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which teaches improvisation through the medium of 12-bar blues, as well as the basics of chords and harmony.
Views: 76227 Bill Hilton
How Pentatonic Scales Work || Piano Questions Answered
 
14:45
Pentatonic scales are really useful if you're improvising on the piano, because they're very reliable - if you have a regular chord progression then if you use the right pentatonic to solo over it you'll always have something that sounds at least OK. In this episode of Piano Questions Answered I look at the relationship between pentatonic scales and diatonic chords, and also explore how and why pentatonics work. My book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Support me on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/billhilton Facebook: http://fb.me/billhiltonpiano Twitter: http://twitter.com/billhilton You'll find this tutorial useful if you're starting out with piano improvisation, learning jazz, blues or pop piano or you just like noodling around on the keyboard. As usual, if you have any questions about this or any other piano or music-theory related subject, don't hesitate to post them in the comment thread underneath the tutorial.
Views: 31468 Bill Hilton
Tips on piano chord voicings
 
11:46
http://bit.do/billsbook In this video I explain how to choose chord voicings when improvising, comping or playing a piano solo. Knowing how to choose an effective voicing is very important for jazz, blues and especially pop piano. When I'm talking about playing chords, I usually use two terms: inversion and voicing. Chord inversions are the specific ways in which a single, joined up chord of consecutive notes can be moved into different positions on the keyboard. Chord voicing involves using the whole piano keyboard to create a chord's particular character and identity, and is a much broader topic. If you're trying to choose chord voicings, whether you're improvising, comping or playing a solo, there are three factors to consider: Firstly, it is good practice to make sure that there is wider spacing between the notes in the left hand (generally below middle C) than the notes in the right hand (generally above middle C). To understand why this is important, you need to know a little about how the piano makes notes. Every note on the piano produces a 'primary tone' as well as many 'overtones'. This is because the strings vibrate over fractions of their length as well as their whole length. A chunky chord made up of a lot of notes in bass sounds quite messy and unclear because a lot of overtones are being produced. However, the same chord further up the keyboard will sound a lot clearer. This is because at the top of the keyboard, the overtones are weaker and go beyond the range of human hearing. Secondly, there shouldn't be any ambiguity about the chords that you are playing. Typically, problems occur when playing four or five note chords- if you only play some of the notes, your chord could be one many different chords! In most cases, it's important to make sure that you're including all the notes of each chord somewhere on the keyboard. Thirdly, what really affects character is the choice of bass note. By and large in a chord progression, you should play the root note in the left hand. As you get more confident you'll learn how to vary left hand notes to give a chord more character. To practice, try making use of the three factors I've described on a chord progression of your choice to play around with different chord voicings. Be sure to use your ears and play voicings that run into each other naturally, rather than voicings that create large jumps between the chords in your progression. If you're interested in learning more about chords and harmony, check out my other videos as well as my book -- How to Really Play the Piano -- which has loads of chord charts as well as sections on chords and harmony.
Views: 87100 Bill Hilton
Piano chords: diminished and diminished seventh
 
06:30
http://bit.do/billsbook Diminished chords and how they work, including the difference between the diminished and the diminished seventh, how to form them from ordinary -7 chords, and the role they usually play in chord progressions.
Views: 67891 Bill Hilton
Choosing chord inversions in a comp
 
11:12
http://bit.ly/billsbook In videos such as my rock piano tutorial, you'll see that I often play chords with different hand positions rather than the chord in its most simple 'root' position. In this simple tutorial I explain how to choose chord inversions in a comp, as well as the reasons for choosing different inversions of a chord. Chord inversions are the three different ways in which simple triads can be played. The root chord is the one often given if you search for a chord online: the note the chord is named after comes at the bottom. The other two positions are called the first and second inversions. The same notes are played whatever the chord inversion, but they are played in different places on the keyboard. The reasons for choosing to play an inversion instead of a root chord are for convenience but also for musical effect. For example, in my rock tutorial I use inversions with common notes to keep the chords close together on the keyboard and to avoid large leaps between chords. This in turn improves the phrasing of the sequence of chords, and creates a more musically pleasing sound. There are other musical reasons for keeping the chords close together, which are connected with the overtone series and the way harmonies sound. If there are too many jumps between chords, your listener will perceive the chords differently. This comes under the heading of 'voice leading' which you should look up if you want to know about chord inversions in more depth. A more simple rule of thumb when it comes to choosing chord inversions when improvising is simply to avoid making two jumps between chords in succession. Try to stick to common notes or notes that are very close together. It's also useful to make sure that you learn the different inversions of triads rather than just the root chord. It's worth learning the different voicings of the chords too- though that is something that applies to bigger chords rather than triads. These are different from inversions and I've discussed them in another video. When you're finding the chords for a song, rather than simply playing the chords as they're given to you in their root form, have a go at inverting them for better progression and flow. More information on chords and their inversions can be found in my book, which includes a section on chords and basic harmony
Views: 12017 Bill Hilton
Ballad-style pop piano: improvising on broken chords in a simple progression
 
10:58
NEW: check out my new book, Seven Studies in Pop Piano: http://www.billspianopages.com/seven-studies My book How To Really Play The Piano: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really
Views: 157900 Bill Hilton
Comping: a question answered
 
06:29
Piano comping - a short vid answering a question about comping styles from one of my channel subscribers
Views: 8802 Bill Hilton
My New Book: How To Really Play The Piano
 
04:11
An overview of How To Really Play The Piano by Bill Hilton
Views: 15714 Bill Hilton
Comping Pop Piano, Part 2
 
08:45
Remember to check out my book: http://bit.do/billsbook Piano tutorial: comps for piano, improvising piano comps and comping for pop songs and ballads. Part two of two, created to tie in with my book, How To Really Play The Piano.
Views: 51737 Bill Hilton
Blues piano tutorial, part one - structure of 12 bar blues
 
06:49
http://bit.do/billsbook. The structure of 12 bar blues is one of the most important concepts in blues piano. This video covers how 12 bar works, which chords it's made up of and how to start to approach it on the piano keyboard. In the following tutorials I'm going to take a look at how you can use 12 bar blues structures in various different ways on the piano. Whatever key you’re in, the 12 bar blues only has three chords, based on the first, fourth and fifth notes in the scale. So for example, the basic structure in the key of C: Bar 1-4: C Bar 5-6: F Bar 7-8: C Bar 9: G Bar 10: F Bar 11-12: C Something that's really important here is that you have a good grasp of the I - IV - V chord pattern - sometimes referred to as tonic, subdominant and dominant chords. It's a really good idea to familiarise yourself with this structure on the piano keyboard in a wide variety of different keys (not just C)! Some keys - such as B major - are very impractical for playing blues, but it’s certainly worth getting used to as many different keys as you can. If you do that, you'll find that 12 bar just falls right under your fingertips. If you’re not sure about the I - IV - V chords for a key, there are some really useful online tools for working them out (such as www.pianoworld.com/fun/vpc/piano_chords.htm). If you enjoyed this video, watch the rest of the blues tutorial series as well as the other videos on my channel. You can also check out my website (www.billspianopages.com). You might also enjoy my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which is all about blues piano, improvisation, and chords.
Views: 77397 Bill Hilton
Chord theory epic: functional harmony, secondary dominants, substitutions and diminished 7ths
 
28:52
Want to know more about chord theory and how harmony works? This tutorial takes a look at some of the more exotic chords you might find in a progression. It reviews the basics of diatonic chords and how to generate them and the different functions of important chords. Then I talk about secondary dominants, an interesting chord substitution and the notoriously tricksy diminished seventh chord. Check out my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really Support me on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/billhilton The jazz/blues piano tutorial I reference in this tutorial: http://youtu.be/67LabSzL32g If you'd like to know more about harmony, music theory or piano, be sure to check out and subscribe to my piano channel, where you'll find hundreds of massively popular tutorials explaining key concepts in a clear, straightforward style!
Views: 92945 Bill Hilton
Choosing and using piano chord fingerings
 
11:17
http://bit.do/billsbook This tutorial looks at chord fingering in general, including how to break away from limiting 1-3-5 chord fingerings in favour of approaches that offer greater flexibility and comfort at the keyboard. If you're playing classical music - where the fingers are often written in - it's generally a good idea to try to follow what the composer intended. However, when improvising, the main thing that should govern your chord fingerings is comfort. This will mainly be governed by the size of your hands. Pianists with very large hands will probably use different fingerings to those with smaller ones, in order to make their hand position feel more natural and comfortable. When people are first given piano lessons, they are usually taught 1-3-5 fingerings for three note chords. Though these are perfect for playing piano when you're a child, they can cause wrist strain as your hands get larger. I tend to use 1-2-3 or 1-2-4 fingerings for triads, as they leave you with your fourth and fifth (or third and fifth) fingers free. This makes small jumps between chords more smooth and legato, and also helps to decrease large jumps slightly. Using the pedal is still important, but you can make legato playing easier just by changing your finger positions. With chords of four or more notes, the fingering is often more dictated, though you should still take comfort into account and see where your fingers fall naturally. It's also useful to bear in mind that you can move vertically along the keyboard as well as horizontally. Moving further in to the keys can make chords using black notes feel more secure. It requires a little extra leverage, but this will help you to develop strength and flexibility in your hands. I would recommend that you sit down at the piano, practice playing some progressions and simply see how your hands fall on the chords. Finding the correct hand position will really help you to make your chord transitions smoother and improve your legato playing. If you've found this tutorial useful, you might want to check out my other videos as well as my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which is full of useful information about chords, improvising and piano playing in general.
Views: 64283 Bill Hilton
Learn blues piano: the basics, part 1
 
09:05
http://bit.do/billsbook This is one of my old tutorials about blues piano. I've made updated versions that you'll find more useful. The playlist is at: https://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FE7C89C720566CCD
Views: 79171 Bill Hilton
Jazz piano: how it works
 
20:25
http://bit.do/billsbook Here are the chords: F | D7 | Gm7 | C7 | F | Dm | Bb6 | C7 | F | F7 | Bb | Bbm| F,D7|Gm7,C7| F | F | This tutorial gives an overview of some of the techniques used in jazz piano. I use a simple 16-bar chord sequence to demonstrate five basic concepts. These include chord extension and substitution, using the left hand to create rhythm and harmony, and the use of scales in improvisation. In subsequent tutorials I'll look at some specific jazz piano techniques developed from this improvisation. Firstly, take a look at the chords themselves, and try to create richer chords. There are two ways to do this: extensions and substitution. Extending chords means adding notes to the basic chord, and are a useful way of making much jazzier sound. For example, in this improvisation I took the basic chord of F and experimented by changing it to other chords of F (such as F major 7, F6 with an added ninth, and F11). Substitution is a more dramatic way of making a chord sequence more interesting. It’s important to avoid sequences that sound too simple for jazz, and we can do this by completely replacing a chord. Tritone substitution is one useful substitution technique to use when playing jazz. Secondly, we need to use the left hand to give the sequence clarity. The left hand defines the harmony, and we use it to give the basic identity of the chords in the sequence. It’s often best to use shell chords, since the large number of overtones further down the keyboard can lead to full chords sounding muddy. The third basic concept is the role of the left hand in suggesting a sense of tempo and rhythm. It is not, however, necessary for the left hand to do all of the work here such as in ‘walking bass’ left hand parts. Try using ‘stabby’ chords to hint at rhythm, and your listener’s brain should fill in the rest! Fourthly, it’s important to think about what you’re playing with your right hand. Pentatonic and blues scales are a very good place to start. In this example, I mainly use F and A minor pentatonic and the F blues scale. The handy thing about using these scales is that you can play pretty much any note from them with almost any of the chords in the sequence. If you’re a beginner, you might want to start out just playing one note. Once you’ve mastered that, try adding in more notes to create an improvised melody. Finally, a crucial aspect of improvisation is making both hands work together. If you’ve ever had any classical training, a really good way to do this is to take a look at classical music. Baroque music in particular - in the tutorial I use some Bach - will force you to use both hands together with good fingering technique. When you return to jazz piano and improvisation you should find that your technique has improved massively. If you enjoyed this video and you’re starting out with improvisation, you might be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano. It’s full of handy stuff on improvisation taught through blues piano, harmony and chords.
Views: 351815 Bill Hilton
New index of all my piano tutorials - a work in progress!
 
02:26
www.billspianopages.com A quick video intro to my new index of tutorials, which I'm in the process of building. You can find it at bit.ly/billstuts. If you find any problems, please let me know :)
Views: 9366 Bill Hilton
Extending piano chords in a simple progression
 
12:11
http://bit.ly/billsbook In this tutorial I discuss a question I've been sent- is there a formula for adding extensions to basic piano chords? The straightforward answer is no, but there are a few basic guidelines that you can use to extend you chords and make your chord sequences more interesting. In this video I use a simple chord sequence in the key of C major, which uses 1, 4 and 5 chords (C, F and G), to demonstrate how adding different extensions can completely change the feel and style of a sequence. Whether you're writing or improvising, you should think about the sort of style and sound that you want your chord sequence to have. It's important to play around with various extensions and see what feels right for the context and the type of song. Sixths and ninths generally create a rich, jazzy sound, whereas dominant sevenths will often sound quite bluesy. Try adding a variety of extensions to your chords and then decide what works best. Your most important tools when deciding on chord extensions are your ears. You'll hear that some extensions just don't sound right or gel with the effect that you're trying to create. For example, a major seventh added to a fifth will sound pretty 'out there'! If you didn't understand anything in this video, please feel free to leave me a message in the comment thread, or check out my earlier videos which give a more basic introduction to chords and improvisation. You might also like to have a look at my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which has a whole section on chords.
Views: 19685 Bill Hilton
My new website - billspianopages.com
 
03:28
http://www.billspianopages.com Just a quick introduction to my new site, which is going to act as a backend for everything that happens here on the channel.
Views: 7813 Bill Hilton
Blues piano tutorial, part 5 - riffs
 
04:01
http://bit.do/billsbook Understanding the role riffs (or "licks") play in blues piano and how you can incorporate them in your own improvisation. Riffs play an essential role in blues piano, and help you create really complex, cool improvisations without having to work too hard.
Views: 45832 Bill Hilton
Blues piano tutorial, part 4 - starting to improvise
 
08:33
http://bit.do/billsbook Part four of six in my series on the basics of blues piano. In this one we're going to look at starting out with blues piano improvisation, using the left hand techniques and the information about the blues scale that we learned in the previous videos. The technique I use for teaching improvisation rests on one very simple principle: it's easier to improvise on just one or two notes rather than with all 88 keys on the piano keyboard. So we start off with a basic left hand (see previous tutorial), and restrict ourselves to just a single note in the right hand - in this case, a C. We play around making rhythmic patterns with that note for a few times through, then introduce another note - Eb. Then it goes to three notes, then four, and so on until you're using the whole blues scale. The secret to making this technique work is to have a confident left hand you don't need to worry about, and then to practise like mad. If you play each version (1 note, 2 notes, 3 notes, etc.) through a couple of hundred times each, that might just be about enough. Like all forms of piano improvisation, mastering the blues is all about practice and dedication. Once you've mastered improvising in C, be sure to try this out in other keys - work out the blues chord progressions and scales for other keys, and practise just as hard in those. There's nothing worse than being brilliant in just a couple of keys. You'll find that improvising this kind of music is much easier in some keys than others, though!
Views: 75192 Bill Hilton
A jazzy cocktail piano improvisation exercise against a four bar chord progression
 
12:17
http://www.billspianopages.com/cocktail (Links to other useful piano tutorials at the bottom of this description.) This tutorial teaches you a jazzy cocktail piano improvisation exercise that you can use to improve your right hand improvisation over a relatively complex chord progression. The chord progression itself is a pretty interesting one to improvise on, because it contains a couple of diminished seventh chords which you might expect to be a bit 'clashy' with regular scales over the top. In the tutorial, I show you how you can actually use ordinary pentatonic and major scales to improvise over chords like these and get a good sound. If you're relatively new to piano improvisation, make sure you get the left hand chords practised thoroughly before you start working on the right hand. If, at first, you find using both hands tricky, limit the notes you're using for improvisation in the right hand (this is the secret to building you skills at jazz, cocktail and blues piano - in fact, in most melodic improvisational piano styles). If you're still learning the basics of piano improvisation and cocktail, here are some links to other tutorials and resources you might find useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az1c_5A5cYI&list=PLBF7D1C98E441233F (really basic harmony playlist) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E48HNXpys4Y&list=PLA9A28AAB35AE39F8 (piano chords tutorials https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg68eElpmn4&list=PLpOuhygfD7QkAet_PLBrT94Ziqzz_WWgn (a selection of jazz piano tutorials) www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really (my other book, How To Really Play The Piano)
Views: 47073 Bill Hilton
Piano improvisation exercise - minor pentatonic
 
10:24
http://bit.do/billsbook Building on my last tutorial about pentatonic improvisation on the piano, in this video I look at the minor pentatonic scale, along with an improvisation exercise you can use it with. These scales are particularly handy for blues and jazz improvisation, as well as other styles such as rock and funk. Pentatonic scales are really useful because of their universality. When improvising, you'll find that regardless of the chord sequence being played, the pentatonic scale of the same key will sound great almost all of the time. Minor pentatonics are used in the same way as major pentatonics, but are constructed a little differently. A major pentatonic is made up of the root, second, major third, fifth and major sixth notes of the scale. A minor pentatonic is slightly different, and is made up of the root, minor third, fourth, fifth and minor seventh. For those who know a little more about music theory, it's useful to know that the notes of a minor pentatonic scale are exactly the same as the notes of the major pentatonic of the relative major key. If you're familiar with your chords, minor pentatonic scales are often easier to figure out than major ones: simply play the minor seventh chord, add in the fourth, and you're playing all the notes of the minor pentatonic scale! The exercise that I demonstrate in this video is based on a simple left hand chord sequence with a jazzy, bluesy feel to it. If you're new to improvisation, make sure that you're really comfortable with the chord sequence before starting to add in a right-hand part. For the improvisation in the right hand, just play around with the notes of the minor pentatonic scale. Try to use some of the improvisation techniques that I've covered in the past to make it a little more interesting. The best way to learn improvisation is to play an exercise repeatedly until you can play it without thinking about it, whilst experimenting and expanding on what you've learnt. It's also really good practice to try transposing the minor pentatonic exercise into different keys. If you're interested in learning more about jazz, blues or pop piano, check out some of my earlier videos. You might also be interested in my book, How to Really Play the Piano, which teaches improvisation through the medium of 12-bar blues.
Views: 43385 Bill Hilton