4.65 out of 5
90 reviews on Udemy

Pop & Jazz Keyboards & Harmony (beginner)

Intro to Pop and Jazz Piano chords, progressions, inversions, seventh chords, melody, tensions, bass-lines and the Blues
Duncan Millar
786 students enrolled
English [Auto] More
• Play different types of three and four-note chords commonly found in pop and jazz styles, understanding their construction and how they relate to a particular key
• Play and create chord-progressions, understanding chord-function and how progressions work
• Play chords studied in different shapes and apply this to achieve musical playing of chord-progressions
• Understand special qualities of dominant 7ths chords, including secondary and extended dominants, and also other types of 7th chord
• Understand the relationship between a melody and its accompanying chords and be able to use this practically
• Understand how to create different kinds of left-hand bass-lines and play these to accompany right-hand chords
• Understand the different characteristics of a Blues; creating and playing one, and improvising over it to a basic level
  • In this course you’ll study pop and jazz keyboards both to improve your playing in those styles and at the same time get to the heart of what makes the music tick, its chords, scales, keys, melodies and more,  – simply put, all the things that make up its Harmony. The aim is for you to immediately be able to use the theory practically and creatively in your own playing and writing

Study Pop And Jazz Keyboards and Really Understand How The Music Works


  • Play many different kinds of chords (triads and sevenths) in both hands,

  • Use chords in chord progressions, and understand how they work

  • Play chords in inversions and play chord progressions smoothly

  • Learn how to write a chord progression

  • Write effective and interesting melodies to chords

  • Learn about left-hand Bass-lines and The Blues

Learn and Play Like a Working Pop or Jazz Musician


Learning to play keyboards can be an end in itself, but is also a great way to understand how music works, an aim of this course.

Instead of learning set, notated pieces, you’ll be using the keyboard to play and study chords, progressions and other harmonic-elements, learning how they work together. Then, apply this to your playing so that you improve not just your keyboard-playing, but can develop skills vital to the pop and jazz keyboardist.

That could include playing from a chord-chart in a band; creating an accompaniment to a singer; making keyboard arrangements using chord-symbols; writing songs and keyboard music, jamming, and starting to improvise and solo.


Many working pop and jazz musicians learned to perfect the same skills in the same way, all things that require as good an understanding of Practical Harmony as possible.


Content and Overview

The course has 12 lessons and 2.75 hours of video, starting with basic concepts and progressing through more sophisticated ones in a logical way. The aim is to keep playing ability in line with what has been learned theoretically.

The first few lessons explain simple chord-types  that can be found in different keys, also how these work together to create strong chord-progressions. Later, you’ll learn to play them in different shapes, enabling smooth playing of progressions.

Subsequently, you’ll study richer, more advanced four-note seventh chords, and what they can do within a chord-progression.


In the final few lessons, you’ll branch out to explore how right-hand melodies relate to the left-hand accompanying chords, and what are the components of a melody. Then, how a left-hand bass-line (or one played by a bassist) relates to a chord progression and in general the different types there are.


Lastly, you’ll study how a Blues works, a musical-form that exists in many styles and one which, in a clear way, brings together all the different topics studied in the course.


Please note: “Pop” as used in the course-title is a loose-term  for many possible styles, e.g.  rock, country, r&b etc. “Jazz”, similarly.


Theory-content is stated succinctly, and accompanied by keyboard demonstrations. How chords can be used in a typical progression is always shown. Details spoken are reinforced by written text, and lessons conclude with a “practice” segment listing things to work on.


The Beginner level course is part of a larger course, including Intermediate and Advanced levels (not yet published), structured in the same way.




Understand the Fundamentals of Pop and Jazz Piano and related chords and harmony

Introduction to course: 
  • What will you get from the course
  • Who is it suitable for
  • List of lesson-titles
  • Course Overview
  • Downloads and Practice Sections
Lesson 1: Some Basic Chords, Major and Minor

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    Simple major and minor chords in one major key (C)

2.    Right-hand fingers to use, and hand position

3.    Simple intervals, and finding the root, 3rd and fifth

4.    Playing other chords in the key: F, G and A minor

5.    Playing the chords in the left-hand

At the end of this lesson, you'll know how to construct 3 major triads (three-note chords) and one minor in the key of C, and play them in both hands, separately and in a short chord progression.

Lesson 2: Playing Basic Chord Progressions

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    Playing simple chord progressions in both hands, chords in right hand

2.    Playing simple chord progressions in both hands, chords in left hand

3.    Basic Chord Functions: Tonic, Subdominant, and Dominant

4.    Finding the same chords studied in other keys, e.g. G, D, F and Bb

5.    Alternative ways to find chords

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to play simple chord progressions in different ways and in both hands, understand the meaning of basic Chord Functions, and find the triads already studied in other common keys.

Lesson 3: More about Minor Chords

In this lesson we'll study:

1.     Turning a major triad into a minor one: the minor 3rd

2.     More intervals: major and minor 3rds, perfect 5th, tones and semitones

3.     Finding a simple minor chord in a major key (C): D minor

4.     Finding more minor chords in C: E minor and A minor

5.     Roman Numeral identification of all Diatonic chords studied so far

6.     Finding the same chords studied in other keys

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to construct and play all minor triads in the key of C and other basic keys, understand the Roman Numeral system of analysing chords and find triads that are Diatonic to  other common keys.

Lesson 4: The Diminished Chord, and Chord Functions

In this lesson we'll study:

1.     An example chord progression using some major minor chords and a diminished chord

2.     One more chord: the diminished triad; perfect 5th, diminished 5th

3.     Functions of the new minor chords and diminished chord

4.     The VII diminished chord and its relation to the V chord

5.     About Chord Functions, Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant

At the end of this lesson you'll be able to play and construct a diminished triad, know the Functions of all Diatonic triads in a key and understand the way a chord's Function determines its behaviour in a chord-progression.

Lesson 5: Writing Your Own Chord Progression

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    Basic nature of a chord progression

2.    Making use of Chord Functions in a chord progression

3.    Simple chord substitution

4.    Turnaround

5.    Deceptive Resolution

6.    Alternating chord functions

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to write your own 8-bar chord-progression, making use of your understanding of different chord Functions and techniques such as simple Chord Substitution, Turnaround, Deceptive Resolution and alternating chord Functions.

Lesson 6: Chord Inversions, Part 1

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    What are inversions, and why are they used: demonstration

2.    How do we form inversions of chords, and how many types are there?

3.    How to use inversions to go smoothly from one chord to another

4.    Inversions: it’s all about the bass

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to play triads in different inversions and use them within Chord progressions, understanding how they are used in conjunction with Voice-Leading,  and also two different ways of using chord-inversions.

Lesson 7: Chord Inversions, Part 2

1.  A chord progression example specifying a definite inversion

2.    Recap: Two different "uses" of Inversions

3.    Why do composers use Inversions?

4.    Example of ways of playing inversions in both hands

5.    How to practise inversions

6.    Getting familiar with how Inversions are constructed

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to construct and play triads in "true"  Inversions (in which the lowest note is one other than the root), know how to use these in your own chord-progressions and also an effective way to practise chord-inversions.

Lesson 8: Dominant Seventh chords and Secondary Dominants

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    The Relation of the Dominant 7th V7 chord to the VII diminished triad

2.    Nature of a Dominant Seventh chord

3.    Primary Dominant Sevenths and Secondary Dominant Sevenths

4.    Inversions of Dominant Sevenths

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to play a four-note Dominant 7th chord in root position and three inversions, understanding its construction and Chord-Function, including the special way it behaves within a chord-progression and why. You'll also be able to construct and play Secondary Dominants on Diatonic chords, understanding their purpose and use in chord-progressions.

Lesson 9: Other 7th chords

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    Forming Major 7th chords

2.    Forming Minor 7th chords and Minor 7th flat 5  chords

3.    Summary of Seventh Chord Formation

4.    Functions of all seventh chords studied

5.    Seventh Chord Inversion

At the end of this lesson, you'll be able to form and play other seventh-chords (major, minor and minor 7 b5) that are Diatonic to various basic keys, both in root position and inversions, and also understanding their chord-functions.

Lesson 10: Melodies, Chord-tones, and Tensions

In this lesson we'll study:

1.    What is a melody, and what does it have to do with Harmony?

2.    Chord Tones

3.    Tensions

4.    Correct use of Tensions in melodies

5.    Approach Notes

6.    Using melodic-theory in understanding and writing melody

At the end of this lesson, you'll understand how a melody relates to a chord-progression, what are the components of a melody (chord-tones, tensions, and approach-notes), and how you can melodic-theory creatively in writing melody.

Lesson 11. Bass-lines, Augmented and Sixth Chords

In this lesson we'll study:

1. Root notes only

2. Root and Fifth 

3. Chord Tones

4. Walking Bass

5. Melodic Bass lines and Riffs

6. Augmented and Sixth Chords

At the end of this lesson, you'll understand how to write and play various types of bass-line that you can play in the left-hand to accompany a melody (or have a bassist play). You'll also lean to construct and play Augmented triads and Sixth chords, understanding ways to use these in chord-progressions.

Lesson 12. The Blues

In this lesson we'll study:

1. Blues Form and Structure

2. Blues Chords

3. The Blues Scale and the Blue note

4 .Melodic Tensions in the Blues

5. Modifying the Blues Progression (with Secondary and Extended Dom’s)

6. Improvising on a Blues

At the end of this lesson, you'll learn to play and create a Blues, basing this on an understanding of its Form, Chords, and the Blues Scale and how this can create rich melodic Tensions. You'll also learn to add interest to a Blues Progression by using Secondary and Extended Dominants, and an approach to improvising on a Blues.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
4.7 out of 5
90 Ratings

Detailed Rating

Stars 5
Stars 4
Stars 3
Stars 2
Stars 1
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee


3 hours on-demand video
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion