• The Most Practical Way To Master All 12 Keys

    by Jermaine Griggs

    I’m often asked the best way to learn all 12 keys and while I’ve advocated many methods in the past, the most practical way is to adapt my “3 x 12″ rule.

    Simply put: Take 3 songs you know and learn them in all 12 keys.

    It helps if they are songs that utilize a variety of different chords. That’s why picking 3 is important because between them, you should get a good mix of chords off every tone of the scale…

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    Another Approach To Modes & Improvisation (Advanced)

    by Jermaine Griggs

    Yesterday, we briefly introduced modes.

    We learned that although they have fancy greek names and sound all intricate, they are no more than individual scales that simply start and end on a different tone of the major scale.

    So you literally play ONE scale but you start and end on different notes of that scale, depending on the mode you want to play. It’s that simple.

    What I’ll show you now isn’t quite as simple…

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    A Quick & Easy Way To Add West Coast Flavor To Your Playing

    by Jermaine Griggs

    Over the years, we’ve brought you many west coast gospel musicians – Jonathan Powell, Jason White, Kevin Nickelson, Mike Bereal, to name a few – and without a doubt, they all share a commonality in their playing.

    Don’t get me wrong… they each have their own distinct way of doing things but there is, undoubtedly, this west coast “feel” underlying their playing.

    One simple technique that is common out here is to take a chord, pull out the middle note, and simply…

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    Ask Jermaine: “2-5-1 Of The 4… What Does That Mean?”

    by Jermaine Griggs

    We’re back with another “Ask Jermaine” session — this time, focusing on the phrase, “2-5-1 Of The 4.” This question comes from Bill in San Antonio, TX.

    “Jermaine, I’ve heard you and others talk about how important 2-5-1 progressions are and I understand all this. What I don’t get is when you say the 2-5-1 of the 4 or the 2-5-1 of the 6. What does this all mean?”

    My answer…

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    Who Else Wants To Learn What Borrowed Chords Are?

    by Jermaine Griggs

    Today, let’s talk about borrowed chords.

    They are chords literally borrowed from what we call the “parallel” minor or major key.

    Let’s not mix up “parallel” with “relative.”

    If we were in the key of C, as we’ve learned in other lessons, A, the 6th degree of C, is the relative minor of C. Likewise, C is the relative major of A. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

    Parallel keys have the same tonic note… or home base. That means…

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    A Quick & Easy Way To Play Suspended Chords

    by Jermaine Griggs

    In a post last week, I talked about quartal chords — which are chords built off fourth intervals.

    But here’s an interesting discovery with quartal chords. They are actually inverted suspended chords. Yup, suspended chords! Here’s why…

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    What My 4-Year Old Could Teach You About Chord Placement

    by Jermaine Griggs

    I knew I had to share this story because there are some lessons about chord placement here.

    So Jadyn, our oldest daughter, comes in our room this morning and while I never noticed, Sarah says “Jadyn, you have on your little sister’s pajamas!” We all busted out in laughter.

    Now, Layla, our youngest daughter is cute and chunky! Probably in the ninety percentile weight and height for 1 year olds so I’m not surprised Jadyn could fit into her pajama pants.

    How does this relate to chord placement?

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    Master the Diminished Scale In 2 Seconds

    by Jermaine Griggs

    The other day, I answered a question regarding popular gospel scales one can play — and the diminished scale was on my list.

    But it haunted me because this is a pretty big scale… 8 notes to be exact. It’s what we call an octatonic scale. And I knew people wouldn’t want to take the time to learn it in all 12 keys. So here’s a 2 second method I came up with to learn it fast…

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    The Secret Chords That Work Almost Anywhere… Quartal Chords

    by Jermaine Griggs

    quartersmall.jpgMost people haven’t heard of quartal chords.

    That’s because they are chords built off fourth intervals, whereas the most familiar chords (like major, minor, dominant, diminished, augmented) are built of thirds — aka “tertian chords.”

    Here’s how and where to use them…

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    Ask Jermaine: “How To Play Gospel Piano Scales”

    by Jermaine Griggs

    We’re back for another “Ask Jermaine” where I choose a student’s question and give my personal take on it — this week on gospel piano scales.

    It comes from Ade: “How many types of gospel piano scales are there and which ones do I really need to know to progress as a gospel player.” My answer…

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