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My teacher always asks me to practice chord progression at different keys, as she demoed in this video.


However, I feel it is pointless. With all the inversions, it becomes very confusing.
Are musicians really follow these progressions? Would not it sound boring this way?

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Yes its very useful, and yes it's confusing. When dealing with all the inversions, even a simple progression gets more and more complex so its better to just start with a simple 2 chords change. But on the long run (years of practice) gives you deep understanding of music.

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Yes or no depending on what sort of music you want to play or create. Sixty years ago I was heavily schooled by my teacher in chords and progressions but its purpose was to get some sort of keyboard vocabulary into my brain, not to imitate music of the past. For myself I see it as a temporary learning strategy, the danger being that you might come to view all music as a series of chords, keys and scales, which is far from the truth. There is also the fact that, as you have discovered, this mental arithmetic approach to improvisation can indeed produce boring results. In short I suggest it is a useful means but a long way from a musical end in itself.


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The benefits of chord progression / all-keys practice come when you reach the point of not "thinking and calculating" but just "know it" without all the thinking and calculating. But the "thinking and calculating" is the road to get to that point; so it can take time. And the by "knowing" - I don't mean just a mentally, it's a physical "knowing" as well. In the long run, I've found that it has helped to think more broadly and more effectively about the music and my playing. To help things along, you could focus on popular keys so they come on-line faster.

For me, the trick was to start with simple phrases and slowly progress up to complicated pieces. You may have to start with triads and basic inversions to make sure your fundamentals are sound. And you may not even start with chord progressions, you might have to take a step back and do simple "circle of 4th/5th" exercises first, before tackling chord progressions. It's important to "know" those fundamentals before jumping to more complicated things, if you're still "thinking and calculating" the level below the one you're working at, you're not ready for that level.

To keep things interesting and musical, adapt simple phrases from your repertoire. This process of adapting repertoire into small exercises is part of that road from "thinking and calculating" to "knowing".

IN PRACTICE
To repeat the good advice above, this stuff should be temporary. My personal habits are to practice each phrase 'round the keys' in a chord progression for 7 practice sessions and then put it away. For important phrases I that I want to get more fluent, I will extend the practice time by 7 days at a time. Also important, I limit myself to phrases/exercises that I can finish in under 3 minutes. If it takes longer than that, the phrase is too difficult for my current level - so then I break it down or find an easier phrase.

My main goal is to accrue the benefits of spaced practice and not to polish the phrase to a performance level. Though many times my 3 min / 7 session schedule gets the phrase it fluent enough that I can easily throw it into an improvisation.


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Originally Posted by scientistplayspian
However, I feel it is pointless.

Sorry ... but you would be wrong about that.

When you get comfortable with "seeing" familiar chord progressions as you play, learning pieces will feel like you have already played something even though you have not.

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With all the inversions, it becomes very confusing.

It is only confusing until you have learned them.

Quote
Are musicians really follow these progressions?

The good ones are.


BTW .... You keep referring to her as "my teacher".

In what way is she your teacher ?

Skype ? Zoom ?

Or .... just by watching her videos ?

Last edited by dmd; 09/30/21 08:58 PM.

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I have never been taught to practice chord progression but I think it's super useful to learn recognise them in music. The common one is the circle of fifth progression. Please watch the video.



Eg in the Handel example we have the following

G -C - F - B flat - E flat - A - D - G

You can see every chord goes down five notes in its key. The exception is to the perfect fifth is when we get to E flat it is a diminished 5th (E flat to A) and not to the A flat. I can't remember why this is the case - does anyone know?

There is other music where harmonic analysis is interesting and I think a good teacher points this out whilst you are learning music.


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I think this one is clearer




. If you follow the circle you can see that you jump across to the other side for the diminished 5th and the full progression makes half the cycle.

Eg use the previous example - G -C - F - B flat - E flat - A - D - G

Last edited by Moo :); 09/30/21 09:45 PM.
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Actually the guy did another video where explains in detail


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Since she is your personal teacher, why don’t you ask her the reason you are learning the chord progressions?


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Thank you for all the suggestions. Yes, I should have asked my teacher why I practice this. But I already got some ideas by seeing the comments here.
I only take lesson once a week, and there are many things I need to catch up, usually chord progression is the thing I always forget. That's why I asked.

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Originally Posted by scientistplayspian
Thank you for all the suggestions. Yes, I should have asked my teacher why I practice this. But I already got some ideas by seeing the comments here.
I only take lesson once a week, and there are many things I need to catch up, usually chord progression is the thing I always forget. That's why I asked.

Maybe ask your teacher how often and how long you need to practice these. Once you get that information, you can create a ‘to do’ list to leave beside your piano so you don’t forget


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Okay, I'm fully versed in comp chords for playing and singing. But that video is like drinking from a fire hydrant for a newbie. Maybe a pop tune at the beginning would be better context, for I, IV, V, progressions? After all there are hundreds. The Roman numeral system was always referred as Nashville numbering. Google that. Then chord inversions, to me, is a separate thing.


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Originally Posted by scientistplayspian
Are musicians really follow these progressions? Would not it sound boring this way?
I don't know what your teacher is about. Is she teaching jazz (lead sheets & transposition on the fly) or classical?

Why would a student at the level of Clementi sonatinas need to learn to transpose such chord progressions into E flat (or whatever) to accompany a saxophonist who wants/needs to play in that key?

I'd say, on a scale of 1 to 10 of usefulness for a classical pianist at beginner-intermediate level, that video is pretty close to zero.

(If you're into jazz, just disregard my post.)


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It would be interesting if you can find out from your teacher why she has suggested this and let us know. Maybe I am not familiar with chord progressions but I-IV-I-V7-I is not something I knew about. I think it is of a little interest as the base line doesnt move much as with the inversion the base line is only moves one tone above and below the tonic note (C, F/C, C, G/D, C). I am not sure it is super useful to spend time transposing this but as said it may be because you are learning jazz. still, why would you need to transpose this for a jazz player and would a jazz player really learn a clementi sonatina ?

I would have thought it was more interesting to learn cadences which are the ending of the phrase. As far as I remember the end of the first phrase in the piece is a perfect cadence Dm - G - C. I think it sounds a little different beileve and has a suspension which resolves. I have to be honest here and cant really testify if this is useful or not as as most of the time I cannot recognise. It was something I was taught rather than chord progressions so maybe this is why I thought to mention this.

My teacher tends to point out important aspects of music. For example, I am quite new to classical period music but am learning a rondo by mozart which he said was in sort of sonata form so he went over what was a sonata form and a rondo form. Similarly a sonatina such as your piece, it maybe an interesting discussion to see whether if follows a form of a sonata in the classical period. The sonatina piece I am learning had 3 movements. even the term sonata changes with the periods. a scarlatti sonata and a classical sonata is not the same. and now later it may mean something else. Music can be super confusing as it keeps changing with time but it may be worth knowing what sonata form is as it can help you play and understand music.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Why would a student at the level of Clementi sonatinas need to learn to transpose such chord progressions into E flat (or whatever) to accompany a saxophonist who wants/needs to play in that key?

I'd say, on a scale of 1 to 10 of usefulness for a classical pianist at beginner-intermediate level, that video is pretty close to zero.
Well, to be fair the sonatina she mentions (Clementi op. 36 no. 6) is actually listed as level 7 in the RCM syllabus and the same syllabus lists for that level's requirements the I-IV-V-I cadences in the keys of C, D, F, A-flat, and G-flat (and parallel minors), so I don't think this is totally irrelevant.

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I read it many times from jazz player,

If you want to learn jazz practice 2 5 1 in every key.



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Originally Posted by Serge88
I read it many times from jazz player,

If you want to learn jazz practice 2 5 1 in every key.
Yes.

Moo those videos are fun. My favorites are autumn leaves and all the things you are. I started my piano journey there before moving to classical.

I-IV-I-V7-I is a rock and pop progression.


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