Useful Tips

How to learn a lot of piano chords using shapes and numbers

In the past few months, I have taught myself to play the piano, using my experience in playing the guitar and the basic knowledge of music theory that I got from this. I am having difficulty remembering seventh chords and inversions. I know how to technically formulate any type of chord, but I want to be able to play chords quickly, and I don’t need to understand every note.

To be more specific, I will list what I already know and try to explain the next step I want to take. I would really appreciate any advice on how to achieve this next step, or what intermediate steps I skip.

It’s already comfortable for me to play the piano “fast”:

  • 12 major scales starting from the root
  • 12 main chords in the root position
  • And of course, squeezing the middle finger (third) to play 12 minor chords

By quick, I mean that my hands can instinctively find what I'm looking for. If I want to play B flat, I don’t need to think about which third major and which ideal fifth of the BBC, I just know what form to make. I have problems expanding to the seventh chord. If I play the seventh using my left hand, I am currently making a shape using my little finger (root), middle (third) and thumb (fifth), then move my thumb to (major or minor) seventh and awkwardly move my the ring and forefinger to the notes that I held with the middle and thumb fingers earlier. This is clearly untenable. Two methods that I know for memorizing chords are either memorizing four-finger shapes (which seems a little scary, but maybe I should give up and try to do this), or using a combination of chords, for example, to play major. seventh, I would play the root and then play a minor chord based on the third. However, during the game it seems that you need to think about it a lot, and therefore I am concerned that this is the wrong way to get closer to “remembering” chords in order to be able to play them quickly. Is there another method, or should I just try one of these two (or both) and slowly continue practicing?

Does anyone have a practice routine that they prefer? Just learn a few sevenths at a time? How can I enter the memorization of inversions, ninth chords, supplemented chords, etc.? In short, my brain knows what it wants to play, but my hands are too clumsy to move my fingers quickly, and without the comfort of the moving chords that I ruined the guitar, I found myself at a dead end to continue to teach myself how to play the piano. Thank you (and sorry for the verbosity).