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  • 12 Reasons To Learn All 12 Keys

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    Since I’ve been promoting my “Instant Transposer” software lately, I thought I’d share this list of 12 reasons to learn all 12 keys. Check it out! Reason #1 - Versatility: Nothing feels better than knowing you can play a song or accompany a singer in any key you want. If the singer cannot reach certain notes and […]

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    Introducing Music’s Favorite Motion

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    If you take inventory of all the songs you know and analyze what your left-hand bass is doing, you’ll undoubtedly discover that most movements are that of fourth intervals. A perfect fourth to be exact. What is a perfect fourth interval? The easiest way is to think of it is the 4th tone of any […]

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    How To Figure Out The “Natural” Chords Of Every Key

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    In the 300-pg course, “The Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear,” we cover the diatonic chords of every major scale. Don’t worry if you don’t know what “diatonic” means — it’s just a fancy way of saying “pertaining to the major or minor scale,” the most common of all scales. Each major key has a set of diatonic chords that naturally occur on each tone of the scale. To figure out these chords, just…

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    Ask Jermaine: “Why Some Chords Break The Rules”

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    This question comes from Gospel Music Training Center member Larressa: “Hi Jermaine, my name is Larressa. I go by mrslsj in GMTC. I am a beginner. I am taking on the challenge of transforming the song “I Give Myself Away”-Take 1. However, after listening to JP I decided as a learning experience to transpose the chords to all 12 keys, which has been great. I have done this but I have a few questions…”

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    Why The Number System Is So Important

    by Jermaine Griggs

    numbergame-small.jpgI find it surprising the number of musicians who don’t understand or haven’t mastered the number system.

    It is one of the single, most important elements of playing by ear.

    On a grander level, it allows musicians to speak on a “universal level.” We can describe what we’re doing in a song without relying solely on letters. It’s not, “D minor to G dominant 7 to C major 7″ anymore. Now it’s, “2-5-1″ in C!

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    The “What Key Am I In” Game 8

    by Jermaine Griggs

    After reviewing older posts on the blog, I’ve decided to bring back the “What Key Am I In” lessons.

    If you understand major scales, the number system, and which chords fall on each tone of the scale (aka – “diatonic chords”), you have what it takes to crack the code.

    But just in case, let’s review…

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    Ask Jermaine: “What One Thing Would You Learn First If Starting All Over?

    by Jermaine Griggs

    This week’s question comes from Michelle S in Oregon: “Jermaine, I’m enjoying your material immensely. I have a fun question for you that I’m just curious of. If you had to start all over, looking back, what one thing would you learn first to make you excel the fastest?” My Answer…

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    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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    Ask Jermaine: “When To Use Sharps or Flats?”

    by Jermaine Griggs

    This week’s question comes from Bob Myers in Alabama.

    “Jermaine, I’m loving your lessons but I have one question that’s been on my mind for a while. When are you supposed to use sharps or flats? Sometimes I see flats, other times I see sharps. Thank you in advance for your answer.” My answer…

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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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