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  • Using the Circle of Fifths To Learn Your Primary Chords

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    Every key has primary chords and secondary chords. In fact, without even knowing they are called “primary chords,” you’ve probably realized certain chords appear in certain keys more than others. Yup, those chords are the ones built off the 1st, 4th, and 5th degrees of the scale. Consider the C major scale: If you numbered […]

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    Major and Minor Chords – “If You Know Your Major, You Know Your Minor” (Part 2)

    by Jermaine Griggs
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    To pick up where we left off yesterday, I’d like to talk about the connection between major and minor chords. You now realize that you can form any minor scale by knowing the relative major scale it’s connected to. In other words, you can play the “A minor” scale if you already know the notes of the “C major” scale because they’re related. Here’s how to apply this same understanding to chords…

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    Major and Minor Scales – “If You Know Your Major, You Know Your Minor” (Part 1)

    by Jermaine Griggs
    major and minor scales

    Learning the connection between major and minor scales is really simple when you understand the shortcut we’re going to cover in this blog post. There’s absolutely no reason to approach minor scales separately from major scales if you know this trick. I repeat — throw what you’ve learned about forming minor scales out the window unless you want to go at it the hard way. Why?

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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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