Learn theory behind chord progressions, the circle of fifths, memorizing scales, and improving your sight reading abilities.
Learning an instrument is difficult, especially if it is a new instrument! But this is the case with most things that you are new to. It’s okay for something to be difficult at first, you’re just a beginner! Don’t get discouraged so easily, you will always have challenges and more to learn throughout the entirety of this journey.
What I’m here to do is help guide you along this journey, to share my perspective on what is important to learn and understand. There are many areas to cover, so much so that it will be impossible to outline everything into one blog post. I plan on updating this post, as well as providing more topics in the future.
Major and Minor Scales
This is probably the first thing you should study as a musician. These scales are everywhere, and they outline the fundamentals of chords, improvisation, sight-reading, and familiarity. You should practice these for 10 minutes every day as a beginner. Start with C Major and go up and down the scale with your right hand following this fingering Up(1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Down(5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1). Work on memorizing all of these scales, they will be very important to your growth as a musician.
Major and Minor Chords
Now that you know scales, lets build on the scales! If we start with C Major, we will be playing (1, 3, 5) (C, E, G). This is called a C Major Chord. This is as basic as you can get with a chord, yet it sounds beautiful. You can use the (1, 3, 5) technique on any scale, and that will give you the Major Chord of that specific scale. For example, G Minor would be (G, B flat, D). Try playing every major chord type by following this pattern. You will find that this is actually quite fun, and pretty easy! To go even further, play the chords with your left hand while going up and down the scales with your right hand. This will blend the harmony (left hand) with your melody (right hand).
Now you will have honed your skills enough to begin improvising. In fact, you already have been improvising! Jazz is a form of playing something original, sometimes making it swingy. There also tends to be a lot of seventh chords in jazz progressions.
Here are all 12 major seventh chords and their notes.
- C major seventh – C E G B
- C♯ major seventh – C♯ E♯(F) G♯ B♯(C)
- D major seventh – D F♯ A C♯
- E♭ major seventh – E♭ G B♭ D
- E major seventh – E G♯ B D♯
- F major seventh – F A C E
- F♯ major seventh – F♯ A♯ C♯ E♯(F)
- G major seventh – G B D F♯
- A♭ major seventh – A♭ C E♭ G
- A major seventh – A C♯ E G♯
- B♭ major seventh – B♭ D F A
- B major seventh – B D♯ F♯ A♯
Here are all twelve minor seventh chords and the notes which form them.
- C minor seventh – C E♭ G B♭
- C♯ minor seventh – C♯ E G♯ B
- D minor seventh – D F A C
- E♭ minor seventh – E♭ G♭ B♭ D♭
- E minor seventh – E G B D
- F minor seventh – F A♭ C E♭
- F♯ minor seventh – F♯ A C♯ E
- G minor seventh – G B♭ D F
- A♭ minor seventh – A♭ C♭(B) E♭ G♭
- A minor seventh – A C E G
- B♭ minor seventh – B♭ D♭ F A♭
- B minor seventh – B D F♯ A