Piano in a Flash Syllabus

Our private lessons draw on extensive experience gained through teaching thousands of people (literally) our style of Lead Sheet based piano playing appropriate for all non-classical styles of music. The online environment coupled with the physical course materials have been crafted to leverage the best of both online instruction and traditional private lessons. That combination will take you the furthest in the least amount of time all while having a ton of fun in the process.

Courses 1 & 2

These two courses provide a great start to beginning students and will fully immerse you in the core tenets of how it is we go about playing piano in our style using Lead Sheets. We will be playing 10-15 actual songs in 4 or 5 different genres as we work through the new concepts and gain confidence in our ability. Absolute must-have info for players in our style…

Course 1

  • Differences in notation styles
  • Finding your way around a keyboard
  • Middle C
  • Your first chords: C, F and G Major
  • How to handle fingering
  • Getting hands to work together
  • Pick up measures and N.C.
  • How long to hold notes & tied notes
  • Reading Lead Sheets
  • Playing a tune vs. reading a tune
  • The three parts of every tune
  • Time signatures, bar lines & measures
  • Waltz pattern with your left hand
  • New chord “flavor”: minor
  • Chord inversions vs. root position chords
  • New chord “flavor”: 7ths
  • Latin pattern for your left hand

Course 2

  • Hearing music vs. reading music
  • Chords in the right hand
  • Learning the “road map” of a tune
  • Rock-n-Roll pattern for your left hand
  • Learning the Blues changes
  • Learning Roman numeral chord changes
  • More fun left hand chord patterns
  • Learning how chords are constructed
  • Whole steps and half steps
  • Understanding sharps & flats
  • Introducing chord substitutions
  • Riffs and signature licks
  • Accompaniment style vs. solo style
  • I – vi – IV – V chord progression
  • Passing tones in bass lines
  • Tricks to jazz up the right hand melody
  • Even more Major, minor and 7th chords
Courses 3 & 4

With the basics fully under hand from Courses 1 and 2, you'll advance at a pace pretty shocking to many previous students of traditional lessons. We really get into more advanced ideas and tips and tricks that pros use to sound like they do. You'll begin to really understand the theory behind why it is that different styles sound like they do, and be able to apply that knowledge to the many songs we continue to learn and work through.

Course 3

  • New chord “flavor”: Major 7th
  • More chord substitutions
  • Da Capo, Dal Segno, Fine – road map signs
  • New chord “flavor”: minor 7th
  • Deciphering rhythmic values with notes & rests
  • More rhythmic patterns for the left hand
  • Authentic bass lines for the left hand
  • More accompaniment styles
  • Technical explanation of time signatures
  • Introducing “slow stride” for the left hand
  • Pedaling to the rescue!
  • Changing things up at the bridge
  • Authentic ballad ideas
  • 6/8 Arpeggios for the left hand
  • Transposing
  • Using a glissando as a right hand technique
  • More Major, minor & 7th chords & substitutions

Course 4

  • Understand intervals
  • Ear training – hearing intervals
  • Continuing chord substitution suggestions
  • Continuing inversion training
  • New chord “flavor”: Augmented
  • Intro & ending ideas
  • New chord “flavor”: Diminished
  • Octave melody right hand trick
  • Amen cadence ear training
  • 6/8 March feel
  • Playing a vamp for variety
  • More on AABA song form
  • Turnarounds using Roman Numerals
  • Blues notes for color
  • Defining triplets technically
  • Learning a “faux stride” technique
  • Musical terms: legato, rubato, crescendo, etc.
Courses 5 & 6

In these courses we'll cover even more advanced concepts that open the doors to being able to sound truly professional - things like playing by ear, transposing, chord substitutions, and scales used in improvising. This info can many times only be found by studying with a professional pop/jazz musician - which is in fact exactly what you will be doing!

Course 5

  • Why scales matter
  • Major & pentatonic scales
  • Blues and minor scales
  • Ear training with minor intervals & scales
  • Introduction to voicing
  • 1-5-7-3 voicing
  • Playing more chord tones with the right hand
  • New chord “flavor”: Major 9th
  • Boogie Woogie left hand pattern
  • New chord “flavor”: minor 9th
  • The “Duke Ellington” ending
  • The “Count Basie” ending
  • New chord “flavor”: half-diminished
  • Chord identification ear training
  • Identifying bass notes “by ear”
  • Gospel style I – IV walk up
  • Intro to developing your own arrangement

Course 6

  • New chord “flavor”: sus2 & sus4
  • The “Floyd Cramer” lick
  • New chord “flavor”: 13th
  • mMaj7, altered & slash chords
  • “Mystery” Ending
  • Substituting more advanced chords
  • Introduction to improvisation
  • Walking bass lines
  • Playing “by ear” with chord recognition
  • iii7 – vi7 – ii7 – V7 – I∆ progression
  • Modulation & more on transposing
  • “That’s All Folks” turnaround/ending
  • How to play with a bass player
  • Bossa Nova 2-hand pattern
  • Inserting ii-V7 substitute chords
  • Learning patterns as starters for improv
  • Vince Guaraldi “Peanuts” lick