Learning Musical Concepts

When we learn concepts, we attain and RETAIN knowledge! True Understanding of a concept is knowledge. Knowledge is lifelong, you don’t forget it! Let me give you an example: Most all of you understand the concept of “ addition”. You don’t have to “ add” everyday to be able to add a year from now. You have mastered the “ concept” or “ theory” behind addition. The same applies to learning to play the piano.

If you understand the “ concepts” of chord construction you can apply them at anytime. Let me give you an example: Take an “ augmented” chord for instance. “ Augmented” means raise the 5th a half step, and is indicated by a “ +” sign in a chord symbol. Once you have knowledge of this you can play any augmented chord. You can play Bb + today or 20 years from now! The speed at which you can readily see that chord on the piano will depend on how much you practice, but you will always understand the “ concept” of an augmented chord.

This is the key to learning to play the piano. Learn 2 or 3 “ concepts” every week and apply them in songs so they become second nature , all the while playing beautiful music! It’s really that simple.


Here are but a few concepts need to play the piano with “ understanding” knowledge, not “ rote memory”

Sus 4
Circle of 5ths ( chord movement )
Tetra Chords
Closed Position Chords
Open Position Chords
Tertian Series Chord Construction
I, vi, ii, V7 , I progression
7 diatonic triads in any respective key
7 diatonic 7th chords in any respective key
iii for I Chord Substitution
vi for I Chord Substitution

All but a few of these “concepts” are ever discussed in “ classical” lessons, let alone practically applied in songs! However, if you are “ in the know”, or understand the “ concept” of the “ Circle of 5ths”, for example, you will be astonished at how many times it is used in popular music as well as Classical music, in fact it is the single most pervasive harmonic tool in WESTERN CIVILIZATION MUSIC. Knowledge of this harmonic progression will expedite your ability to memorize 10 fold! What a shame most students couldn’t even tell you anything about it.