Easy Way to Improvise On The Piano!

Hello! Today, I am focusing on improvisation by utilizing a often used chord progression that can provide a “pain-free” way to noodle around without any wrong notes.

I will be using a ii7-V7-I7 (2-5-1) chord progression. I am also going to be using the key of C. A standard chord contains three notes. We are going to turn these chords into 7th chords by adding a fourth note. Instead of having to jump up and down the piano finding the different chords, I’ll move down an octave and stack them in a different order. In this way, you barely have to move your hand and simply have to find the notes with your fingers.

Now, with your right hand, you can move all the way up and down the white notes and see how each note can mesh with the chord you are playing with your left hand. Progress up and down the scales, use chromatic runs, and more, while keeping the whole idea of improvisation and creativity in mind. You can do it!

The last chord is a nice transition chord called a C sharp diminished chord that helps lead you back into the other chords. Finally, Combine everything and see how you can use these chords and scales to get creative and improv on your own!

Again, it is a 2 5 1 progression, and the more you practice – and there is not need for speed or accuracy – the more you can use your brain to make music. That is the focus of my online pianoinalfash.com piano lesson learning environment – learning how to play music, not read music.

We hope this helps! If you are interested in going further, visit https://learn.pianoinaflash.com to learn more about my full Course offerings.

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10 Comments
  • Karron Lee
    Posted at 09:52h, 23 February Reply

    Scott, i struggled for years to make the transition from reading music to improvising and your technique and demeanor and explanations surpass any others out there trying to teach us “readers” not to read but to enjoy the music! Thanks a million!

  • Charles Fletcher
    Posted at 12:26h, 23 February Reply

    Hi Scott,
    I always enjoy your ideas. I have a teacher who is helping me develop a jazz approach to music. I learned the “family of 7th” and that’s permitted me to be much more comfortable in this quest. I also learned how to do the inversions for the cords. That’s not simple but after a year, I’m increasingly at home in the work. Have been working at the piano for 20 years……starting at 70 (my claim to fame). Best regards,

    Chuck

    • Pinky Lee
      Posted at 22:49h, 05 March Reply

      Greetings to you Mr Charles, my name is Ms Pinky just wanted to encourage you to continue your lessons I am 67 and also been trying to play about 30 years and still can”t get it right but I will not give up.I read your comment to the piano in a flash guy and was very impressed. May God Bless. Ms Pinky.

  • Steve Humphries
    Posted at 19:12h, 23 February Reply

    Scott I have just signed up for your course , it has not arrived yet. Music, well Sir I cant even whistle but have always been interested in the piano and you look like you make it fun…I will give it a crack and let you know.

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 12:29h, 06 March Reply

      Sounds good! Have fun… you can do this.

  • Elaine Scott
    Posted at 23:32h, 26 February Reply

    I don’t know the first thing about playing but I’m very Interest to learn my husband got me a small keyboard because I told him I will love to learn how to play I do sing at our small church because my husband is the pastor we don’t have a musician and we know having a keyboard will ready Enhance our service that’s why I’m trying to learn to how to play thanks for sharing and doing what you can to help others

  • Janet Mayeaux
    Posted at 08:34h, 05 March Reply

    Scott, This is the best lesson in improv! I can do this! I took the on-site course with you in Fort Myers–best thing I ever did for myself- but still stumble a lot and have never gotten jazzy. I’m going to get good at this! Thank you so much!!!

  • Pinky Lee
    Posted at 00:14h, 06 March Reply

    Hi Scott, Ms Pinky Lee here,Scott I am so excited about what I just learned.Scott I have been trying to play piano for years and years about 30 more or less.And to tell you the truth it’s been very hard for me.I play a little,I can read beginners music a little not quite able to play good w/both hands.I get discourage sometimes and stop. That’s what ‘s taking me so long 30 years. But Scott I saw a light at the end of the tunnel today w/ your improvising lesson .I do believe this pulled me out of the hole that I had fallen into and I just wanted to say thanks. This lesson made all the sense in the world to me. Again thanks and may God bless. Pinky. God opened my eyes to playing piano,and Lord I thank you,I can and want to do this. And I will.Praise you Jesus.And thank you for Mr Scott.

  • Jim
    Posted at 18:54h, 07 April Reply

    Hi Scott
    I like your style.am 87 years old,been playing
    about 10 years,self taught.one dummie teaching another. not really progressing so I am going to stick to playing out of fake books of my era and the heck with studying all that stuff I should be working on. Am kinda
    satisfied with my right hand but need chord playing betterment,any suggestions

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