Tutorials referenced in How To Really… and other resources

Below is a full index of videos relevant to my book, How To Really Play The Piano. All the videos are hosted on YouTube and completely free to watch – so if you’re wondering whether to buy the book, why not check out some of the videos first? The blues improvisation and introduction to comping series should give you a flavour of the style!

The list below is divided into three sections: first, the video tutorials specific to each part of the book; second, some bonus videos that build on the material in the book and offer extra examples; and third, links to videos of some of the performances I reference in the book.

Videos marked with an asterisk (*) were created before the book was written, and don’t contain specific page refs.

Visiting from Piano World?
Welcome! This page has had a ton of traffic from Piano World since Starr Keys very kindly recommended it in a recent thread. The listing below is actually designed for buyers of my book, and isn’t a full list of all the tutorials I’ve made. The best way to check out my full range of videos is by going directly to my my YouTube channel or by visiting the full tutorial index on this site.
Main tutorials

Intro: Getting started and some thoughts about practice
Part 1: Really basic harmony 1
Part 1: Really basic harmony 2
Part 1: Really basic harmony 3
Part 1: Understanding the dominant seventh
Part 1: Chord resolution 1: dominant, subdominant and tonic
Part 2: Chord resolution 2: strong and weak resolution
Part 1: How chord progressions work
Part 1: More complex chords 1: 6 and m7
Part 1: More complex chords 2: maj7
Part 1: More complex chords 3: 9, maj9, m9
Part 1: More complex chords 4: sus/sus4
Part 1: More complex chords 5: augmenteds
Part 1: More complex chords 6: diminisheds
Part 1: Understanding bass voicings

Part 2: Playlist of blues tutorials

Part 3: Introduction to comping
Part 3: Comping early pop/jazz, part 1
Part 3: Comping early pop/jazz, part 2
Part 3: Comping more recent pop (parts 1 and 2)

Appendix: Intervals explained

Bonus videos

There are many extra videos on my YouTube channel page. They include extra tutorials, plus answers to questions people send me. Right now there are 200+ videos on there, and I add new ones reasonably often. Click here to visit the page.

Here are five of the most popular:

Easy Piano Improv: The 4 Minute Jazz Piano Tutorial
Piano chords basics – make your progressions flow
Pentatonic scales for improvisation – piano tutorial
A rhythm exercise for pop piano comps
Piano chords for beginners: learn four chords to play hundreds of songs

Performances mentioned in the book

Nerina Pallot – Geek Love This isn’t the best version available, but several of Pallot’s YouTube vids have been removed recently. If you can find it, there’s a superb version called “Geek Love Live” which is just Pallot in a studio with a piano. This version is still pretty good.

Nerina Pallot – I Don’t Want To Go Out. Song starts about three minutes in.

Tori Amos – Winter.

Ben Folds – Landed. Complex and rhythmical – brilliant stuff.

Ben Folds (with Guster) – Not The Same. Listen to the rhythm! I love this song.

Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ – not as hard as he makes it look. Check out the glissandi.

Stevie Wonder – Superstition

Fat Boy Slim – Praise You. No keyboard shots, but a great example of a piano loop.

REM – Nightswimming. Fantastic semi-looped piano part.

Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me. If you want to see a really incredible version – albeit one that doesn’t use the vamp I describe in this book – check out this one, with some of the most incredible quasi-classical improvisation you’ll ever see. Bravo!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

JimG April 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Hi Bill,
The tutorial links above do not work (the performances are okay though). I have to use your old ‘deprecated’ site to access these links… take a look when you have a chance.
-JimG

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Bill April 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

Yep, we’re still a work in progress here – they will soon!

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Alec Brooks September 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

Hi Bill,
I’m new to your tutorials and would just like to say how useful they are and how I am enjoying them. I haven’t seen them all yet, but I do notice that you haven’t made a tutorial for some months. I hope everything is alright. I belong to the category of people that you say you’re targeting most, because I am a classical musician with Music College some 30 years behind me and although I have always liked Jazz, I have only played printed solos and never tried to improvise.
My question regards learning song structures. I try to practise things in a variety (perhaps not always all 12) of keys and always find that the usual way of printing chords as C7, F7 flattened 5, more difficult to translate to other keys than I7, IV semi-diminished. That is, until you get to modulations. I just wondered what your thoughts were on which would be the best way to memorise structures?

Hope all is well.
Alec

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Bill October 2, 2015 at 10:25 am

Hi Alec – thanks for the kind words :)

I’ve recently made another tutorial, and more are planned for the coming weeks. Part of the difficulty I have these days is that I’ve become so fussy about getting the things just-so that it takes the best part of a week’s work to get one planned, shot, edited, annotated and posted. That means life inevitably gets in the way! However, as I say, more are coming: I’m hoping to spend most of Nov and Dec on piano-related stuff, though right now I mostly seem to be dealing with financial admin (see the latest blog post…)

Anyway, enough moaning, and to your question: you’re absolutely right that transposing and learning chord extensions is tricky. What I tend to do is learn the basic sequence (e.g., if the “official” progression is Cmaj9 – A7sus9 I’ll pretty well just remember C – A). What tends to happen then is that the extensions you need to use on any given chord are logical and (hopefully) obvious given the style, genre etc. Much of the time you have to do that anyway if you’re playing from commercial arrangements, which tend to use simplified chords.

Does that make sense?

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Roger Gough September 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

Links are still not working.

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Bill September 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

Bah – knew I’d forgotten something! Right, it’ll get done this week, I promise!

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Bill October 1, 2015 at 8:28 am

All updated and done – let me know if you come across any breakages :)

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Roger October 2, 2015 at 8:49 am

So far, so good. Many thanks, Bill. Really enjoying the book and your style!

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Bill October 2, 2015 at 10:27 am

Thanks Roger! As I said, let me know if you run into any more problems.

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Tobias December 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your commitment and the great effort you put in your tutorials.
I just checked the YouTube links to the Performances mentioned in the book and some unfortunately are not working anymore:

- Ben Folds – Landed (not broken, but doesn’t work in Germany -> rights, alternative link to live version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZicgQZrJT0c)
- Ben Folds – Not the same (maybe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBKwXqMCOFg)
- Jerry Lee Lewie – Whole lotta shakin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xraIf_cYRQE)
- Nina Simone – My baby just cares for me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE1VrzT6RrQ) => don’t know which version you mean with the improv tho…

Best regards,
Tobias

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Bill December 21, 2015 at 9:36 am

Hi Tobias: thanks very much indeed for doing that so methodically! One of the plans for 2016 is a second edition of the book, incorporating some revisions, corrections and changes. I’m going to change that section so it’s less vulnerable to the vagaries of YouTube. When I first wrote it (in 2009) I had no idea it would still be so popular six years down the line. If I had, I might have made it a bit more future-proof! Thanks again!

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