Eli Brown's Piano Outline 101
l’ll try my best to get you mad sick with piano in a matter of months. Hopefully going over this outline will make the piano less intimating and much easier.
Goals: Understand scales and chord structure, Easy enough to not only create vibes but also play during sessions.
You will learn:
All twelve keys both Major and Minor.
Circle of Fifths (how you can add it to your compositions)
Chord Progressions with Samples
Daily Practice Routines
7ths, 9th, and 11th chord structures.
The relationship between scales and music genres (Pierre Bourne, Travis Scott, etc…)
Section 1: Basics
Fingers and Hand Shape
*The layout of this outlying will be. Video , key words/info, exercise + breakdown.
Hand shape - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_6y7MPW_Ek
Play with the tips of your fingers. Your thumb will be relatively straight while the rest of your fingers curve loosely over the keys.
A good way to get the position is to hold a tennis ball in your hands.
This technique will help you keep a spring like feeling while you’re playing and will help you play more complex and fast passages cleanly when the time comes.
It may not seem like it but you can hurt yourself playing for extended periods of time. Avoid chronic pains by practicing good form.
Hand fingering -
This is a really important stage in terms of building a foundation of chord structuring. Your finger numbering should become second nature as quickly as possible, it’ll really help when you want to play more complicated sequences. It will also help you build finger independence (the ability to control multiple fingers without thinking about it). Think about them sexy chords you want to lay-down.
Follow the instructions in the video and keep them in mind whenever you’re playing until you don’t have to think about it consciously anymore.
Section 2: The Grand Staff and Reading Music
If you aren’t interested in reading music that’s fine but it’s good to know if you’re trying to get ideas from other people and can’t figure it out by ear. At the end of the day you have to catch the vibe anyways, this’ll just help you get there faster.
Your midi keyboard might only be 25 keys but you can still access the entire grand staff in your DAW and with the octave shift buttons on your controller. Basically, there’s a middle C (which is C4) and a ton of notes around it. If you go above middle C you’re in the treble clef, if you go below you’re in the bass clef. Not crazy important, just good to know.
We’ll keep this section short cause it’s not super important you spend time on this right now.
Section 3: Modes, Scales, and Chords
If you’ve ever heard somebody talk about a mode of music they’re just referring to a type of scale that has a feeling or vibe attached to it. For example, The Knowing by The Weeknd is in F# Minor. So the mode of that song is minor, which you would expect because minor modes are dark and moody.
Check this out: https://inwhatkey.com/ you can find the keys of a lot of popular songs here if you ever want to use it as a starting point for a vibe. Pick the key you want to be in and then pick the mode (or type). Then go here: https://pianoworld.com/fun-stuff/piano-scales-and-chords/ and you can find all the keys in that scale to work from.
Scales are the alphabet of music, literally. I urge you to start with all the major and minor scales and just practice them as often as possible even before you even cook up. Trust me your melodies and progressions will benefit so much.
(H) Half step: Is just moving a semi-tone. Example C to C#
(W) Whole step: Is just moving two semi-tones Example C to D.
https://www.pianoscales.org/major.html This site will be your best friend.
Either memorize all the major scales or learn the pattern so you can play them easily.
Here’s the pattern for major scales:
W W H W W W H
Basically, this means whatever note you start on if you play the sequence above you will get a major scale. For example, C major is all the white keys on the piano so:
Note: you’re seeing one full octave here (C4 to C5 is an example of a single octave)
LEARN A SCALE A WEEK.
When I say learn I don’t mean you can play it up and down. I want you to be able to improvise with it. Go on YouTube, or find a song you already like on YouTube, figure out the key and then just play with it.
It’s helpful to see how far you’ve come so keep a log of what you learn every week from C major to B major and C# to B#. This part too is mad crucial if you want to learn them sexy chords.
Scales have a numbering system this will also be brought up when you start composing chords and progressions.
SCALES ARE NUMBERED FROM 1-7 (9-14 are the same but an octave higher)
Octaves – Group of pitches
DON’T CONFUSE SCALE FINGERING WITH FINGER NUMBERING
Relative Minor (Explain)
The main reason I don’t tell you to learn minor on its own from the start is because Major is Minor both scales are relative.
Ex C major is actually A minor. They both have the same notes within the scale.
Best way to find the minor scale within a major is looking at the 6th noth within a scales
So example. C major is A minor. F major is E minor etc etc
This part of the outline is crucial for developing your skills in piano. This is the layup of piano.
Without hindering your regular daily beats I suggest that you begin your routine.
BREAKDOWN YOUR TASK - Don’t need to squeeze in a huge practice session, consistently doing 5 mins will help you out so much you wouldn’t believe it. I recommend you guys do atleast 20mins a day to see crazy weekly progress.
Weekly scales – Bread n butter or piano you should have scales drilled into you. If you can’t play a scale 3 times without making a mistake, then you haven’t memorized it.
Playing alongside your favorite songs – This is something my friend iv polymath taught me, You will slowly pick apart music elements with your ear in term help you play it too.
Practicing incorporating what you learn – obtaining knowledge without using it will have no value to you. You will overall lose the little skills you developed.
Circle of Fifths – This is a solid practice to drill in those chords into you as well.
Overtime once you get a grasp of what you are doing you will be able to customize this
to fit whatever you want to learn. This is just to help you build a foundation in piano and develop real important piano skills.
Circle of Fifths.
This concept will be a little difficult to grasp at first.
This wheel is essentially 5th chords following each other starting from c major. There is a circle of fifth for both major and minor.
Use this wheel to help learn each scale and chord. As you can see going clockwise on the circle of fifth increases the number of sharps without the scale.
C has 0, G has 1 D has 2 (This will help for when you are trying to memorize scales)
Exercise: Practice chord types from the video for each scale on the circle of fifth.
I suggest you do the (MAJOR – DOMINANT – MINOR – HALF DIMISHED – DIMISHED)
So for example you would press
C MAJ – C DOM – C MINOR – C ½ DIM – C DIM then move to
G MAJ – G DOM – G MINOR – G ½ DIM – G DIM etc.
You want to memorize all scales and chords both ways on the circle of fifths.
Scales and genres.
So in good faith that all of you learned most of the scales and chords dust far. We will move into scales relationships.
Travis Scott’s sound – Harmonic Minor or Phrygian dominant
Pierre bourne - doesn’t this thing where he plays a chord then simple plays chord that’s a
HALF STEP ABOVE IT. This is simillar to neo-soul.
Zaytoven – Blues scales
There isnt much to this last lesson. You will develop this part of your theory with your journey.
Good luck to you and your musically journey
STAY DILIGENT AND STAY WORKING. BLESSINGS.