Tremaine Parsons
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How I Learned to Play the Piano
Tremaine Parsons

Access over 60 Videos and Training Documents for the Cost of One Lesson
(complete list below)

Lessons 1 and 7 Below are Free!

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I am not a professional piano player. However, I am a professional Piano Technician and have been tuning, repairing, and rebuilding pianos since 1973.

My most active years playing piano, semi-professionally, were between 1970 and 1990. During this time I played with a 4 or 5 piece jazz band playing Clubs, Bars, Weddings with an occasional Solo Engagement at some function or another.

Since 1990, I have mostly just played for a few minutes after most piano tunings or "sat in" for a tune or two and played intermissions at a coffee house on Jazz Night three or four times a year until the pandemic. However, I have been asked many times if I give lessons. So, Here I am, finally!

When I think back to the early days when I was learning to play the piano, I really had to do things piecemeal. I would grab tips from friends, fellow musicians, a few books, and just by experimenting.

Recently, it occurred to me that I might be able to put together a series of video/audio piano lessons that would really simplify a method to gain the understanding necessary to play, or figure out, songs by ear.

While my playing has leaned jazz, latin, blues, rock in about that order, the methods in these lessons can apply to all styles of music (gospel, country, folk... whatever).

In retrospect, the overall picture is really not that complicated.

You will find the following presentations rather informal with far too many "ands", "ums", "ahs", and "anyways". Also, plenty of botched notes here and there but you'll get where I am going. My main objective is conveying content rather than technical presentation polish.

I also suggest that all items be reviewed multiple times (learning by rote).

I would say that these videos are targeted toward beginners as well as intermediate players.

For the cost of about one piano lesson ($50.00) you will have access to all of the below videos and documents. You can also download everything as a zip file to save bandwidth at any time.

You are welcome to listen to my compositions here. Or, listen to an improvisation by me here.

10 minutes a day, I'll help you learn to play! Sign Up Here

All Materials (c) 2020 Tremaine Parsons

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Introduction to the 88 note Keyboard
(Where did the black keys come from??)
(6 Minutes)




Posture and Bench Height posture.pdf
First Keyboard Exercise
BTW: We hate exercises and promise to keep them to a
(2 Minutes)
Note: Absolute beginners might take a week or so of the above octave exercise once a day before attempting the Scale Tone 7th Chords below. The Scale Tone 7th Chords may be a heavy lift right off the bat but when you get to playing these, it's half the battle. Also go ahead and view the additional lessons without necessarily trying to play them while practicing previous exercises. Multiple views of all lessons will help things "sink in".
The Scale Tone 7th Chords
Correction: At 2:45 into this video I identify a 6 (VI) chord as an E Major 7th when I should have identified the chord as an A minor 7th chord.
Addl. Note: This exercise may be difficult for beginners. Do the best you can to step through the chords, up and down, both hands, once a day. This will get easier in time. You could also drop the left hand index finger note or the right hand middle finger note for starters if it makes things a little easier.
(5 Minutes)
A little more on The Scale Tone 7th Chords
and the scale tone Triads
(3.5 Minutes)
Why use the "The Scale Tone 7th Chords"
This is sort of a "Must Read"
(revised 01/02/21)
Short Demo of my 2 basic playing styles

This is just a basic II  VI chord progression in the key of C Major
with a few variations
Note: In section where I am playing melodies in my right hand at one point I'm just running through the notes of the VI scale tone 7th chord.
(3 Minutes)




Introduction to Simple Song Structures
Pardon the Oooops at the end of the 2nd video
(and the Rooster voice)
(3 Minutes)
(2 Minutes)
Developing a sense of Time/Meter/Tempo/Rhythm
(3 Minutes)
Plus: Two printable documents
Note: Time/Meter/Tempo/Rhythm/Syncopation are as important as any notes that you play on any instrument.
Review of Scale Degrees/Note Names/9th,11th,13th
(5 Minutes)
A little more on the 9th and the Root with the Scale Tone 7 Chords
(5 Minutes)
A little more on Intervals
(3 Minutes)
The Dominant 7th Chord
Note: When I mention the "alternate dominant" it is also referred to as the "substitute dominant".
(4 Minutes)
II-7  V7  I Maj7 Chord Progression Review
A little more about the previous chord progression
(2 Minutes)
Common Scale Tone 7th Chord Alterations
On I and IV chords lower 7th 1/2 step (makes both dominant 7)
On II, III, and VI chords raise 3rd 1/2 step (makes all three dominant 7)
Plus: An example

(5.5 Minutes)
(1.5 Minutes)

Chord Inversions
(5 Minutes)
Song Chord Notation Variances
(updated 12/29/20)
Reading Music (please read) reading_music.pdf
Playing Solo, Solo with your Voice, or In A Band svb.pdf
Common Chord Progressions
Printable PDF
Common Song Forms (A, AAB, AABA...) song_form.pdf
Play the Blues!
Left and right hand starter pack (l and r)
Another simpler Blues example
A Blues "Turnaround" (Also used all the time in jazz)
Scales and Patterns on top of blues_simple
Scales and Patterns (tri pul et)

Scales and Patterns (3/2 and 2/3)
(Now you'll know I'm crazy - and a little out of practice)
1] (3 Minutes)
2] (4 Minutes)
3] (2.75 Minutes)
4] (1.5 Minutes)

5] (4.5 Minutes)
6] (3 Minutes)
7] (2.5 Minutes)
1] blues1l.mp4
2] blues1r.mp4
3] blues_simple.mp4
4] 1625_turnaround.mp4
5] blues_patterns1.mp4
6] blues_patterns2.mp4
7] blues_patterns3.mp4
A little Theory - The TriTone
(5.5 Minutes)
More on the III  VI  V  I progression
Correction: At 1:18 into this video I refer to a chord as the 1st inversion of the V Dominant 7 when it is actually the 2nd inversion.
(4.5 Minutes)
The 79 Million Dollar Chord Progression
A copyright lawsuit based on a chord progression that has been around for eons

(4 Minutes)
More on the Substitute Dominant Chords
Also note that I am dropping the 5th degree of the chords (the index/first finger of my left hand).
A 2nd different song with same basic chord progression
(4 Minutes)
(1.5 Minutes)
Anticipation - per Berklee College of Music Glossary
A technique of melodic or rhythmic alteration which changes a note or chord that occurs on-the-beat to be played early resulting in syncopation. The most common anticipations occur one-half beat early (an 8th note anticipation), a quarter-of-a-beat early (a 16th note anticipation), or one-third of a beat early (a triplet anticipation). When the anticipation occurs in the melody, it is a melodic anticipation. Anticipations are sometimes also called "pushed notes" or "pushes."
(2 Minutes)
Lets look at a piece of Sheet Music
Note: Read the pdf first
(2 Minutes)
Let's do a song - "Calm"
The first video will just play the song/progression

(Please ignore the sticking blue F key at 1:18 in)
The 2nd video will attempt to explain the chord progression
(1.75 Minutes)
(3 Minutes)
You can also hear this song Solo or with Bass, Drums and Flute at:
What the heck is a Sus 4?
Or #11?
Correction: In this video I refer to the sus 4 as a sustained 4th when I meant to say suspended 4th
(4 Minutes)
Another Progression
IM9  III7#9  IVM7  III7b9  VI-79  II79  V7sus4  IM7  (b = flat)
Correction: At 2:04 and 3:11 into the 2nd video I say:
"seven minor seven" and should have said "six minor seven"
(1 Minute)

(3.5 Minutes)
I7  VI7  II7  V7 Stride Vamp (all dominant chords)
Stride can be loosely defined as laying down a bass note and then a chord in your left hand.
Song Form: AAB (8)(8)(12)
(1 Minute)
A III-7  bIII7  II-7  bII7 ditty  (b = flat symbol)
(1.5 Minutes)
What the heck is a Diminished Chord?
(2 Minutes)
What the heck is a Augmented Chord?
Correction: At 0:30 into this video I say "half step" and should have said "whole" step.
(4 Minutes)
A great scale to ride on top of dominant 7th chords
My "Magic Scale"
(5.5 Minutes)
Yikes! Which fingers do I use where when playing melodic lines
(3.5 Minutes)
More II-79 V7 IM69 bIII9 with some magic scale and bVII713 VI-79....
(5.75 Minutes)
Another snippit with some magic scale
(1.5 Minutes)
Ahh, what about songs set in a Minor Key?
Some Comments with a Link Document (pdf)
(6 Minutes)
A Minor Key Snip
I use this in the B section of one of my compositions
(3.5 Minutes)
A Little Latin piece...
Stolen from the 79 Million Dollar progression! (yeah right)

(1.75 Minutes)
Two Right Hand Dittys with a little magic
On the VI7 and V7 Chords
(3 Minutes)
Left Hand Chord Demo/Experiment
Not sure if I like this one...

(3 Minutes)
Sloppy Stride
Similiar to above chords but played in stride style. Follow the bass notes and see if you can sense the patterns and hear or see when the cords are going Major, Minor, or Dominant. There are a couple of Diminished chords in there as well.
(2.25 Minutes)
3 More Tips, Tricks, or Snips
(4.5 Minutes)
And another one similar to middle tip of the above video
(3.5 Minutes)
When chords get too muddy
(4 Minutes)
Arpeggiate Chords Example
(2 Minutes)
Build Any Chord
This is one good way to build any chord
Please read and print the pdf
Correction: At 5:17 into this video I say "F minor" and should have said "F# minor".
(7 Minutes)
Time to start branching out from the C Major Scale
Spread our wings...
All of the above X 11 other Major Scales
Actually, it's not nearly as bad as this might seem...
Any Major Scale
(2.75 Minutes)
Chromatic Chord Exercise
and, we hate exercises!
(3 Minutes)
Ascending tritone progression
Available as "279" song on my compositions page
(2.5 Minutes)
Lets doodle in the key of D minor
Clarification: Initially I refer to the D minor 7th as the VI minor 7th of the relative Major scale of F Major. However, I then switch and refer to the chord numbers based on the scale of D minor.
I = D minor 7   IV = G minor 79   V = A Dominant 7 (or bII79  b = flat)

Also: you may notice an F# C interval leading into the IVmin79th. This would represent a bV dominant leading into the minor IV chord.
(3.5 Minutes)
End of Lessons included in initial zip file download download.html
Sunshine - V Augmented Example
(3.25 Minutes)
Wholetone Scale Solo Example (snippit)
(2.25 Minutes)
Another Whole Tone Scale example
Stevie Wonder
(1.5 Minutes)
You've Changed
Form: AABA - 8,8,8,8
Note: I muff the timing a bit in a few places but what the hey
(4 Minutes)

© 2020 Tremaine Parsons
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