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#1601181 - 01/19/11 10:58 PM How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing?
josuff247 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 169
Hi,

I have started to learn how to play from a fakebook. My goal is to be a cocktail pianist (I have posted in the other threads on that topic)

Anyway, I would like to know what the best approach to practicing this style is.

Now I know taking a song, and working out the arrangement is probably the best way to go, but what about warm ups?
I know scales are a must, and it is best to learn chords.

What I have done so far is learn the Major and Minor Chords(and major and Dominat 7ths) and commited them to memory in root position.
One approach is to practice chord progressions mased on the circle of 4ths/5ths, using inversions to get to the next chord.
I have also thought of practicing common progressions.

These are all random Ideas that I have.
Can anyone recommend a mock practice routine. I have about an hour a day to practice.
Sorry if this post seems scattered.
Thanks.
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#1601567 - 01/20/11 03:57 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
Steve Nixon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 216
Loc: Chicago
Definitely practice common chord progressions. You mentioned you're only practicing root position chords. It's very important that you learn all your chord inversions as well.
Make sure you're learning as many tunes as you can in addition.
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#1601665 - 01/20/11 06:24 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 676
Loc: Chicago
You need to learn a voicing so that you can easily play a II-V-I progression because you'll see that in loads of standards. Here how my teacher taught me to practice this. Pick a voicing and play a II-V-I in any key. After playing the I, turn that into a minor chord, and play the II-V-I that begins with that minor chord. (You'll be moving down by wholesteps.) You'll end up coming back to the minor chord you started on, at which point, you'll have played half of the 12 keys. Now start a II-V-I a half step down, and you'll get the other half of the 12 keys. The benefit of this is that you learn the progression all keys, your hands don't move a lot around, and a lot of standards do this: turn a major chord into a minor and use that to start a II-V-I.

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#1602127 - 01/21/11 11:08 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 795
Loc: Northern, Northern California
I go around the circle:

Dm7-G7-Cmaj7
Gm7-C7-Fmaj7
etc.

If you can't think of the next progression quickly, arpeggiate the triad in between. For example,

Dm7-G7-Cmaj7
(Notes:) C-E-G
Gm7-C7-Fmaj7

Like this:
http://www.box.net/shared/2l76yi4v59

Someone told me abobut this great way to get more bang for your practicing buck: Play the progression in the left, and some kind of improvisation in the right:

http://www.box.net/shared/4kyfza4rj2
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#1604971 - 01/24/11 10:36 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
josuff247 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 169
Thanks for the tips and the audio sample.
I am fairly new to this style so I am practicing the inversions,
but I cant get them as quicly as root, excpet for C,G,F,D,E and A.
I'm working on it though.

I guess i will go around the circle of 5th, maybe in different inversions.

Any tips on how to aquire speed for runs?

I guess the answer is scales and arpegio's.

I really need to come up with a good daily routine.
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#1605249 - 01/25/11 11:29 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 676
Loc: Chicago
Be careful if you are practicing your chords separately, rather than as part of a chord progression. For example, you may learn every inversion of C major, and every inversion of G dominant, but in a real piece, the C will often follow the G dominant. So learing one good combination (voicing) for playing G dominant then C (wihout your hand moving very far) is more important than learning every inverstion of G and C.

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#1607809 - 01/28/11 11:34 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
bluespianofan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 102
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
+1
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#1608198 - 01/29/11 02:44 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3273
For warm-ups, many people use Hanon, in addition to scales and arpeggios. Playing a Hanon exercise in all the keys is great.

As for speed for runs, that is a result of good technique, which practicing Hanon, scales, arpeggios, and more advanced technique regimens such as Pischna will develop. Make sure you play those things in a relaxed way. Doing technique exercises with tension is counter-productive.

In addition to learning chords & their inversions, and scales and arpeggios, learn lots of songs, and transpose them into different keys.

And make sure you completely learn a song, and polish it.

All of that will sink in, and eventually come out as an ability to play.
_________________________
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#1608641 - 01/30/11 07:03 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
Bill.Alexander Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/29/11
Posts: 10
Loc: UK, London
One great practice method that comes from Berklee (I didn't go by the way, but my pal did..!) is as follows:

Play Major 7 (four notes) chromatically up and down, through four inversions each, as block chords, Right Hand

Repeat for Left hand

Play Major 7 (four notes) chromatically up and down, through four inversions each, as arpeggios, Right Hand

Repeat for Left hand

Now repeat the entire procedure but substitute Minor 7 chords (block then arpeggio, both hands)

Repeat again using Dominant 7 chords

You can expand this to include other chords also. But these will develop useful muscle-memory, accuracy etc. whatever your level.

With a bit of practice you can do 12 keys both hands, M7,m7 and 7 fairly quickly. It's also a good exercise when you maybe don't feel like playing so much.

Good luck..!
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#1612468 - 02/04/11 04:43 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: Bill.Alexander]
Eric Dobson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Bozeman, Montana
I use a similar technique to this for practicing inversions and voicings.

I start by playing up and down each inversion of a chord, but in block chords, not arpeggiated. I think it helps train your hand to go directly to a chord shape if you practice them in blocks. Arpeggiating cheats a bit by letting you find each note separately.

Then I'll do what you mentioned, playing a single inversion up and down chromatically, but then I got up and down a few more times, increasing the interval each time. So I'll move up and down in whole steps (2 sets to catch all the notes), then minor thirds (3 sets), major thirds (4 sets), and then into the circles of fourths and fifths.

I've found this to be invaluable in mastering new chords and voicings. It allows you to build familiarity when you're moving chromatically, when you can more easily see how to move to the next, unfamiliar chord. Then as you learn more, and start increasing the intervals, you have less chance to figure out where you're going, you just have to know where you're going, so by the time you're jumping around the circles of 4ths/5ths, you've got the chord down and you've trained your hands to immediately go to the correct position when you see a chord symbol. Incidentally it also builds a great familiarity with intervals.

Hope this was clear, it's a lot more confusing to write it out than to demonstrate it.

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#1688073 - 05/31/11 08:40 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
Bradley Sowash Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 96
Loc: Columbus, OH
See my article on pop/jazz chords in Clavier Companion digital edition. http://www.claviercompanion.com/
_________________________
Bradley Sowash
Jazz pianist, Composer, Educator
www.bradleysowash.com

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#1688264 - 06/01/11 03:01 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
.


Edited by etcetra (06/01/11 03:24 AM)

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#1690466 - 06/04/11 02:22 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: Eric Dobson]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 294
Originally Posted By: Bill.Alexander
One great practice method that comes from Berklee (I didn't go by the way, but my pal did..!) is as follows:

Play Major 7 (four notes) chromatically up and down, through four inversions each, as block chords, Right Hand

Repeat for Left hand

Play Major 7 (four notes) chromatically up and down, through four inversions each, as arpeggios, Right Hand

Repeat for Left hand

Now repeat the entire procedure but substitute Minor 7 chords (block then arpeggio, both hands)

Repeat again using Dominant 7 chords

You can expand this to include other chords also. But these will develop useful muscle-memory, accuracy etc. whatever your level.

With a bit of practice you can do 12 keys both hands, M7,m7 and 7 fairly quickly. It's also a good exercise when you maybe don't feel like playing so much.

Good luck..!

Originally Posted By: Eric Dobson
I use a similar technique to this for practicing inversions and voicings.

I start by playing up and down each inversion of a chord, but in block chords, not arpeggiated. I think it helps train your hand to go directly to a chord shape if you practice them in blocks. Arpeggiating cheats a bit by letting you find each note separately.

Then I'll do what you mentioned, playing a single inversion up and down chromatically, but then I got up and down a few more times, increasing the interval each time. So I'll move up and down in whole steps (2 sets to catch all the notes), then minor thirds (3 sets), major thirds (4 sets), and then into the circles of fourths and fifths.

I've found this to be invaluable in mastering new chords and voicings. It allows you to build familiarity when you're moving chromatically, when you can more easily see how to move to the next, unfamiliar chord. Then as you learn more, and start increasing the intervals, you have less chance to figure out where you're going, you just have to know where you're going, so by the time you're jumping around the circles of 4ths/5ths, you've got the chord down and you've trained your hands to immediately go to the correct position when you see a chord symbol. Incidentally it also builds a great familiarity with intervals.

Hope this was clear, it's a lot more confusing to write it out than to demonstrate it.


I do a similar thing out of the Berklee Jazz Piano book:

Inversion Practice: 2 Hands Parallel over the cycle of 5ths.

LH Chorded Inversions & RH Arpeggiated Inversions over lead sheets.

With the second one you play variations of it over a tune 17 times:
1. LH plays a different chorded inversion on each beat, RH plays melody.
2. LH plays root position, RH arpeggiates from the root. Repeat with LH playing 1st, 2nd & 3rd inversions.
3. Like 2 but RH plays a different order of notes e.g. 1,3,2,4
4. Like 2 but LH voice leads.
5. Like 4 but RH plays melody

Later on you can do the same exercises but with tension substitutions(substituting extensions for the root & 5th)

That's a good point about practicing in intervals of chromatic, 2nds, minor 3rds, 3rds and 4ths. That'll be good for when you find a voicing you like.
_________________________
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#1690595 - 06/04/11 08:09 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: TromboneAl]
Newman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 704
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
I go around the circle:



I was thinking about this and just sat down to quickly work out the following, as a sequence. Any comments?

C(Root), F(1st Inv), Bb(1), Eb(R), Ab(2nd inv), Db(1), F#(R), B(2), E(R), A(2), D(R), G(2)

(edited for typos)


Edited by CaptainKawai (06/04/11 08:10 PM)
_________________________
Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.

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#1690976 - 06/05/11 03:12 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: etcetra]
wayne33yrs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1872
Loc: Sheffield UK
Originally Posted By: etcetra
.
?

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#1692442 - 06/08/11 10:05 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1216
Loc: London UK
Remember that, on solo piano, the LH's first priority is a strong bass line. It will very rarely play close position chords except, perhaps as the top half of an "oom-pah" vamp. Chord voicings often fit under the melody in the RH.

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#1692525 - 06/08/11 01:22 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
In addition to the above you can learn jazz theory from Mark Levine's book "The Piano Jazz Book". This will help you with a lot of the color/flavor that jazz piano chords have. I was classically trained, but needed to understand the theory of why jazz piano sounded the way it did. The book was very helpful. It also will assist you in reading the chord symbols in jazz lead sheets, fakebook.
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http://www.anonymousinventions.com

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#2402144 - 03/24/15 02:53 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
DeadPoets Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/01/14
Posts: 159
What is the best chord progression to practice in?
I've seen II - V - I mentioned

What about I - IV - V ?

Is there a strategy with picking a chord progression for practice purposes?

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#2402171 - 03/24/15 03:52 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1808
Loc: uk south
I would sooner grab hold of a fake book and painstakingly work out the chords one by one until they begin to seep into the memory. Rather than spreading the attention too wide making memorizing difficult, try and pick songs/tunes in the same key to begin with (so start working in C,F or G) so that more frequent repetition will bring the same smaller set of chords to the attention.

ii - V - I is certainly a commonplace in jazz but much less so in modern pop music.

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#2402459 - Yesterday at 11:49 AM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 238
Loc: USA
I can't drill chords without having the context of a song or tune. Sometimes i'll get chord progressions from a guitar site. Sometimes not. Most times it doesn't sound right to me so I make my own chart by modifying. Also settling on a key. I don't chart out things in Nashville notation, though I may note the motif.
I'll add, I don't think you can play your current repertoire too much.

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#2402514 - Yesterday at 03:37 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 676
Loc: Chicago
Dead: Unlike some of the others, my teacher did have me practice chord progressions and I think it was very beneficial. We worked on actual tunes,as well, but it was good to get the key progressions down without the complications of a piece, and then when I looked at tunes, the basic progression was already under my finders. As to which progressions, it depends on what kind of music you are seeking to play. ii-V-I for jazz is certainly the way to go. For pop music I really can't advise you.

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#2402553 - Yesterday at 05:43 PM Re: How do you practice chords piano and fakebook playing? [Re: josuff247]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 795
Take a realbook tune and when melody and chord change fall together work out a spread voicing. Work out every chord like that. Work on one tune until you can play song at a tempo, starting out as slow as you need, but keeping the time.

My biggest problem is/was playing tunes without a pulse. Just record yourself to see if you do this.
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