HearandPlay.com Monthly Newsletter --- June 2004!
Serving 68,464 Musicians Worldwide!
I. Welcome
II. Exciting Announcements!!!
III. Online Classroom:
       "Exploring Fancy Chords and Progressions!"
Dear Subscriber,
Welcome to June's newsletter! Since I've gotten so many questions on how to construct, alter, and invert fancier chords, I've decided to cover it in this month's online classroom section. You're sure to benefit from the tips and tricks in this month's newsletter.
It has also come to my attention that many of you haven't received my newsletters since December 2003. So what I've decided to do is compile the last six months of my newsletters at the website below. You can visit this site to view newsletters all the way back from January 2004:

Newsletter Archive - Click here or visit https://www.hearandplay.com/newsletters.html

2004 Theme: Chord Progressions
(starting with most basic to most advanced)
January 2004 Newsletter: "Using 5-1 Progressions to Enhance Your Playing!"
February 2004 Newsletter: "Opening and Closing Your Songs with 2-5-1 Progressions!"
March 2004 Newsletter: "The Incredible Power of 6-2-5-1 Progressions in Gospel Songs!"
April 2004 Newsletter: "How to Add Bigger 3-6-2-5-1 Progressions to your Songs!"
May 2004 Newsletter: "The 7-3-6-2-5-1 Progression and How to Use It!"
June 2004 Newsletter: "Exploring Fancy Chords and Progressions!"
Feel free to take your time and explore each newsletter, month by month. In fact, it might be more helpful to start with January 2004 as it covers a more basic chord progressions (the "5-1" progression). Notice, as the months continue, the progressions become bigger ... i.e. - "5-1," "2-5-1," "6-2-5-1," etc. So take your time and enjoy!!!
Exciting Announcements!
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HearandPlay.com Chatroom: Visit: https://www.hearandplay.com/chat every Monday and Thursday night as I answer your questions, share new chords and progressions, and help you to overcome any issues you're facing.
HearandPlay.com Volunteers: We are looking for volunteers to monitor certain sections of our website.
Rewards include: Free products, free exposure (if you have a website, album, or anything needing publicity), one-on-one lessons and help with our staff.
Open positions:
1) Message Board Monitor: Answers questions on our discussion board, creates enthusiasm and topics, promotes sense of community on board.
2) Chatroom Hosts: Currently, I host Monday nights and Ernest Walker, a very knowledgeable musician and educator, hosts Thursday nights. It is our goal to have the room open every night! If you'd like to host Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, we'd love to have you!
I know you're thinking ... "but I can't answer all those questions." Don't worry about that aspect of it. I'm not expecting every night to be advanced. For example, Tuesday nights could be for beginners ... or Thursday nights could be for people interested in midi files and recording. There are many interests and we'd love to hear your proposal and how you'd like to help!
3) Music Consultants: This is a paid position for someone who is knowledgeable and has experience in playing by ear. We have a one-on-one phone consultation program that is growing tremendously! Students who take advantage of it can tell you how beneficial it is. It would only take one day out of your week and you'd be compensated for your time. A phone interview and audition are required for this music consultant position.
How to apply:
Simply visit: https://www.hearandplay.com/contact.html and feel out the online support form. Just tell us what position you'd be interested in and how you'd like to contribute (i.e. - "host a Tuesday chat on beginning fundamentals" or "monitor the message board," etc.).
I look forward to hearing from you!


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"The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" is full of easy-to-understand tricks, tips, techniques and secrets to playing piano by ear! For this month only, I've also been able to throw in a few bonus items (3 additional piano software programs). Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any song on the piano in virtually minutes! You won't regret it!


Online Classroom:
"Exploring Fancy Chords and Progressions"
Note: You might want to print this lesson out for easier

I get tons of e-mails asking me how to spice up old chord progressions. So this month, I will introduce a couple of "spicy" progressions that you can play in the place of classic progressions like "2-5-1's" or "6-2-5-1's!"

I will start by giving you a basic way to play the progression. I will then show you how to "spice up" the same progression.


#1) Key of F major

This example is based on a "7-3-6" progression. If you remember, last month (May), we covered "7-3-6-2-5-1" progressions. A "7-3-6" is simply an abbreviation of the larger progression.

For simplicity, I will post one of the progressions that you learned last month. Now... keep in mind, that this progression is pretty contemporary in and of itself. However, there are ways to take an "already-contemporary" progression and spice it up as you'll see below.


Common Example of 7-3-6 progression:

Left hand

E + B + D    ("7")

Right hand

G + B + D + F# + (A)


A + E + G    ("3")


Db + F + G + C


D + A + C   ("6")


C + E + F + A + C


Now... let's spice it up a little bit!

Ok, to start:

For the "7" chord above, let's replace the left hand with a tritone: "G+Db."

BUT INSTEAD OF PLAYING JUST A TRITONE ON THE LEFT, we will add an "F" to create this three-fingered triad:

G + Db + F

TIP: When spicing up your chords, sometimes the lowest note won't correspond with the traditional way to play a progression. You'll be playing things like "tritones," various inversions of the left hand, altered chords, and more! So don't worry about trying to decipher why a "G" is the lowest note instead of an "E" (like in the common example above). As you'll notice, the same type of sound will be produced, but more jazzier. The end result is always more important --- that is, you'll still end up going to the "6" chord, which is on "D."

So, let's continue:

On the left, we will play G+Db+F, which is like a G7 (b5), but very abbreviated.

On the right hand, we will simply play a Gbmaj triad (Db + Gb + Bb) in its second inversion. Let's look at the whole chord now:

Left hand Right hand

G + Db + F


Db + Gb + Bb


The next chord is pretty simple. Just take the left hand chord you're playing and move the "F" to "E" so that you get this chord:

G + Db + E    <<<<<<<<<<<< Left hand.

Now for the right hand, simply move the Gbmaj triad to an Fmaj triad. That means moving (Db+Gb+Bb) down to (C+F+A).

C + F + A      <<<<<<<<<<<< Right hand.

The entire chord will look like this:

Left hand

Right hand


G + Db + E


C + F + A


Now, we will look at the last chord of this series.

Very very simple again.

Tip: With a lot of these "spicier" voicings, it's not all about playing huge chords. In actuality, a lot of these "spicier" voicings are simply two small chords combined (aka "polychords"). Play around with smaller chords until you come up with sounds that you've never heard before. You'll surprise yourself!

Left hand Right hand

D + A + C


C + E + G

So as you can see, this last chord is simply a D7 on the left and a Cmaj triad on the right.


Now, let's combine all three chords for our final "7-3-6" progression:

Left hand

Right hand


G + Db + F


Db + Gb + Bb


G + Db + E


C + F + A


D + A + C


C + E + G


#2) Key of Ab major

The following progression can be used to replace a classic "6-2-5-1." So that you understand how a "6-2-5-1" might normally be played, I have listed one below for you:

A "  /  " slash means that the note to the right will be played on the bass (left hand).






Bb Eb Ab / Db

Ab C Db F / Bb

Gb Bb Db F / Eb

C F A / Ab

Bb Eb Ab / Db

Note: The "1" chord has been added above just to give you a sense of what chord a "6" would proceed.


Now replace the same chords above with these:

Left hand Right hand

Eb + Ab


Db + F + Ab + Db


D + Ab


C + E + G + C


Eb + Bb + Db


G + B + Db + Gb


Ab + Eb + Gb


Gb + Bb + C + F


... So can you tell the difference?


What do I do next?

Start learning these progressions in all twelve keys! Just because I played them in F and Ab major doesn't mean you have to be confined to those major keys. Use our 300-pg course to figure out how to transpose these chords into other keys.

Remember, chords have different functions. Try using the chords above in other keys. For example, though the second example I listed was posted in Ab as a "6-2-5-1" progression, isn't it true that an F to Bb to Eb to Ab is also a "3-6-2-5" in the key of Db major? So in essence, what might be one progression in one key WILL BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PROGRESSION in another key! Try those same chords out and see if they work. You'll be surprised at the results.

So once you learn the progressions in all keys, then start mixing and matching their roles. Use them as "2-5-1s" in some keys but as "1-4" progressions in others! You'll see the power of this technique as soon as you start using it!

Well, I hope you enjoyed June's newsletter and I'll be back in July! Take care!

This concludes June's Online Classroom Lesson
If you were intrigued by the online classroom lesson above,
then you would definitely benefit from my course!
*** “The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear” 300-pg Course ***
With 20 chapters and over 300 pages, the home piano course provides several resources, techniques, tips, principles, and theories to playing the piano by ear. Along with hundreds of chords and scales, you'll also learn how to turn them into gospel, jazz and blues chord progressions and better yet, how to use them to play ABSOLUTELY any song you want ... IN VIRTUALLY MINUTES! Again, don't miss this opportunity. I've even added an additional bonus if you purchase the course this week --- You can read more about the course at:

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Yours Truly,
Jermaine Griggs

Further References

"The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course

[5] Chord Progressions: pgs 65-78, 105-130, 147-165, 182-227.

Do you know what a2-5-1” or "3-6-2-5-1" progression is? Or perhaps the famous 12-bar blues chord progression? In this piano course, you will not only learn how to play gospel, blues, and jazz progressions, but how to recognize them in songs. In addition, you will learn the simple techniques to playing these progressions, hymns, and songs in all 12 major keys! ... Enjoy learning:

The famous "2-5-1" Chord Progression: pgs 114-120, 153-156, 208, 235-236.

I - IV - I - V - I Chord Progressions: pgs 66-70.

I - IV - V - IV - I Chord Progressions: pgs 77-78.

Techniques behind the famous "5-->1" progression: pgs 68-72.

I --> IV,  I --> V Chord Progressions: pgs 74-75.

"Circle of Fifths" Chord Exercises: pg 78.

Major and Minor Chord Progressions: pgs 105-130.

"6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 121-122, 157-159.

"3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 122-123, 160-162.

"7 - 3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 124-125, 190-191.

Gospel Chord Progressions ... ranging from "up-tempo praise" chord Progressions to "worship-oriented" chord progressions: pgs 65-78, 105-130, 147-165, 182-227.

Various Blues Progressions ... 12-bar, seventh chords, diminished chords ... and others: pgs 163-165, 192.

Jazz Chord Progressions ... using dominant ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords: pgs 193-240

Study the different types of Root Progressions --- closing, opening, circular and other types of progressions: pgs 121-122.

Study how chord tones and scale degrees relate to each other [which chord progressions are most likely to be compatible]: pgs 122-130.

Learn various "turn-around" progressions [used in gospel music]: pg 213-214.

If you don't have the 300-pg Course, click here to read more about it.