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  • The Secret To Smooth Playing

    by Jermaine Griggs · 6 comments

    in Chords & Progressions

    If your playing suffers from lack of smoothness or your chords sound choppy or disconnected from one another, here’s one technique you can practice and employ almost immediately to enhance the flow of your playing.

    The secret is “INVERSIONS.”

    Granted, you may not always have the liberty to change the inversion of a chord, especially if you’re learning a song exactly as it’s played on an album. But in most situations where you’re accompanying a singer or playing in church, you can rely on inversions to smoothen out your playing. In fact, if you play organ, this is an absolute MUST!

    When you progress from one chord to another, there’s always an inversion of the next chord that will be easier and closer to your existing chord, as opposed to playing the next chord in its original root position.

    For example, a beginner may play a “1-4 progression” in C major with these chords:


    This creates a sizable gap between the chords. But what if you inverted the F major chord and instead of playing F+A+C, you played C+F+A?

    What makes this chord so much easier to play is the “C” remains the same. It is the common note between these two chords and in the first example, it went from being the lowest note to being the highest note an octave away! What’s more, the other remaining movements in the chord are just one “next-door” note away!


    Let’s try another one.

    What G major chord inversion could you use to make this progression easier to play?


    Answer:

    So, as a general rule, determine which notes are constant between your chords. Then, try not to move those notes. Move all other notes and you’ll most likely have the closet, easiest inversion to play. Again, organ players must master close movements like this as they do not have a sustain pedal to help with transitioning from chord to chord.

    Until next time.

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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    { 6 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 princewill

    the secret of finding the key center of a song without playing more than a few note

    Reply

    2 Anthony Woodson

    Hey Jermaine, I thought I saw an email with the song “Cant Beat God Giving”. Is there somewhere that I can get that song? I thought it was on GMTC but I dont see it.

    Thanks in advance

    Reply

    3 Sally

    Dear Jermaine, I am a 75 year old women who always wanted to play the piano.
    I took lessons for 4 years then fell and broke both wrists. Dropped the lessons
    then bought a fake music book and learned to play by chords. Suddenly, the sun came out and I loved to play, no more forcing myself to practice. When I accidently
    found your webpage I knew yours was the GREATEST teaching method around.
    Bless you for sharing your insights and incouragement.

    Reply

    4 Maryna

    Hi Jermaine, I started on Tuesday, Practising my fingers only. Your first lesson was great! The second will take me a week or so to memorise as I am taking this opportunity very serious. No use of ‘playing’ when I feel I only have 10 toes! I’m practising a minimum of 2 hours a day. It is a life dream to play. I am 64. I only have an entry level keyboard. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Maryna

    Reply

    5 Joel Brown

    Great tip Jermaine. This definitely helps in the early stages until you master moving your hands around the keyboard faster

    Reply

    6 Harold

    I love the way you teach sir. You have mentored me since 2003. How do I get to become a resource writer to be able to share with others what you’ve taught me?

    Reply

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