How to Use Upper Extensions – Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of our “Upper Extensions” article we discussed the terminology and theory that students often find confusing when studying this concept. Here in Part 2 we will discuss how and when to use upper extensions by examining a few specific examples: Available upper extensions; left hand chords for comping (specific to piano comping);…

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Rhythm Exercises – Part 1 (Easy)

In this article we’re going to highlight some specific rhythm exercises that all musicians can use to improve their rhythmic understanding. The really great part about these rhythm exercises is that you can practice some of them away from your instrument, meaning that you can work on rhythmic training while you’re at the gym, in…

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Rhythm Exercises – Part 2 (Intermediate)

Building off of our previous article (Rhythm Exercises Part 1 – Easy) this article features the next level up in our rhythm exercises. But let’s get some important points out of the way before jumping in. First, you really need to be using a metronome for these exercises. Many students think “oh, I have a…

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What Are Intervals?

What are intervals? “Interval” is simply the term we use in music when we want to measure the distance between two notes.  There are two components to identifying intervals. The first is the quality, whether the interval is major, minor, perfect, augmented, or diminished. The second is the number, whether the interval is a distance of a…

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Diminished Chords: Dominant Chords in Disguise? Part 2 of 2

Now that we’ve examined the specifics of what makes dominant chords special in Part 1 of this article, lets continue by taking a look at a diminished chord and noting some particular observations. What do you notice about this diminished chord? Well, we could call this a “C# diminished 7th” chord. A diminished 7th chord is…

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Diminished Chords: Dominant Chords in Disguise? Part 1 of 2

Diminished chords can certainly have a spooky and nefarious sound, but they also have a lot of functionality. So much functionality, in fact, that besides simply being a diminished chord it can also function as one of four different dominant chords. That’s right, those diminished chords you thought you knew so well have in all…

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How To Play Chords on the Piano

There are lots of different things to practice when learning to play the piano. But learning how to play chords on the piano is perhaps some of the single-most powerful information that a student can master. Being able to accurately and quickly find and play all of your major, minor, and dominant chords will tremendously…

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What Does the Term “Enharmonic” Mean?

Have you ever been in a musical environment, perhaps a class, lesson, rehearsal, or jam session, and heard someone use the term “enharmonic”? What does the term “enharmonic” mean? “Enharmonic” is a fancy word that means something quite simple – an alternate musical spelling. We use the term “enharmonic” in music when we want to…

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Modes and Chord Scales (Part 2)

Now that we have learned to identify the various modes of the major scale, let’s turn our attention to how we would use this information in a real-life musical situation. Take a look at the chord progression below: What information can you deduce simply by looking at these two measures of music? A few things,…

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MUSIC THEORY QUIZ

Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to school? Recess, lunch with friends, quizzes… Yeah, quizzes. Sounds like fun, right? I was recently putting together a music theory quiz for a new lesson and thought to myself, “I should share this with all of our students out there who are music theory fans.” (I don’t…

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