I have just spent the last little while just playing just for fun. No expectations, no learning new music, just playing what ever comes. Some times, that’s a Mozart sonata, some times a Bach chorale. But some times, it’s just a simple chord progression. Today, I was doing just that when suddenly, I had one of those moments where I decided to see if I could change keys on the fly. I’m not talking about transposing; I’m talking about going from the tonic to the dominant, or from the tonic to super tonic (from c for example to d).
I can do this by just going up a semitone from the tonic, but to me, that just didn’t flow. I discovered that I can change the key by inserting a 7th chord or other chords too. I’m still learning exactly how to do it.
I’d also discovered that using minor 7th chords can really add a whole new dimension to things. For example, instead of playing c, g, a minor e minor f g c. Try c, g a minor 7 e minor 7, f g7 c. It really changes the whole feel of the progression.

tips for practicing

I was reminded recently that practising effectively is extremely important, especially for those who are struggling with a passage of music. Mindlessly playing the entire piece of music from beginning to end several times not only wastes time, but doesn’t help consolidate and improve problem areas. I know I used to do this partly because I didn’t know what else to do, but also because it felt good to play parts of the music that were already polished.
So what to do? First, play or sing through your piece of music, taking careful note of any problem areas. It could be a whole section, or even just a few beats of a given bar. Once you have those sections, work on one of the problem areas only. Keep working on that area until it is perfected and polished. Then move to the next problem area, polishing that same until it’s perfected. Do this with every problem point, until every thing is polished.