piano with open strings and hammers

Secret Tip: How to Play (and Practice) Inversions!

Want to know a secret tip for learning how to play inversions on a piano?
In this video, Scott will teach you how to quickly and smoothly play inversions and give you a good way to practice them.

  • Michael OHalloran
    Posted at 00:21h, 22 November

    Thank you so much for the hours of enjoyment you have given me.
    I stumbled on the Piano Guy materials and started with “imagine” I never ever thought I could understand enough to play a tune. In the past twelve months I’ve down loaded all the leads sheets , bought the fake book and having a ball.
    Then to receive this slow blues was fantastic and then the inversion exercise came and guess what, I gave it a quick go and it actually made sence… I can’t stop smiling.
    Thank you for your easy to listen to presentation. I’m 53yrs young which includes 52yrs of being envious of piano players.
    I’m having so much fun. Thank you.

    Michael O’Halloran

  • Ben
    Posted at 08:52h, 24 November

    Thanks, Scott! Perfect timing of this lesson for me!

  • Marilyn Misner
    Posted at 09:26h, 24 November

    Scott…Thank you for the hours of enjoyment and brain cell maintenance, I hope, from playing the piano using your chording technique. (I took your workshop 14 years ago when I first retired.) I especially love it this time of year when I play Xmas carols for all our grandkids. I enjoy your e-mail videos which challenge me to learn and improve. I practice the boogie woogie each day…it’s a great warm-up exercise.

  • Dick Maddux
    Posted at 09:27h, 24 November

    Thanks Scott ! With the slow blues and now this (inversions) it gives me more to do.
    I had written to you earlier about playing pianos at various hotels on my airline layovers (am retired from a major carrier) I usually would find a deserted piano in a corner at the hotel and would ask to play it. I really enjoyed that.(only got kicked off once…for not having a musicians union card !!! …good grief)
    Now that I am retired I decided to go to an assisted living home nearby to see if I could play for the residents. Well, I have my first “gig” next week and am looking forward to it.
    My mother in law was in a facility years ago so when my wife was visiting her I found a nice grand piano and started playing it. Soon I had all these folks sitting in front of me enjoying the music. It was really gratifying (missed notes and all)
    So now,I get to do it again. The activities director is happy to have me play and the music I play these folks know(Broadway,standards,etc)
    Thanks again !!!
    PS: Prior to incorporating your method I could not read a note I still am not very good but am determined to get better. Being in public gives me motivation. Your tips are SUPER !

  • barbara
    Posted at 09:45h, 24 November


  • Charles Rountree
    Posted at 10:07h, 24 November

    Some years back I decided to refresh my two years of piano lessons. I started this journey on a Hammond organ using a “Jean Baker” chord chart. My question is about diminished chords. I learned, of course that there are only three for the entire scale. Her chart shows four notes in each of the three chords. Most all others that I have seen only show using three notes. Is this fourth note an organ thing? I mostly play piano now but I still use the fourth note.
    I attended your workshop in Chapel Hill several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to your “tips”.

    Charles Rountree

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 09:14h, 27 November

      It’s the difference between a diminished (3 notes) and a diminished 7th (4 notes) … No big deal.

  • Carole Wells
    Posted at 11:09h, 24 November

    I look forward to Tuesdays. It happens to be piano day. A friend and I always call each other Tuesday morning to play one of the pieces we have been working on during the week. It keeps us motivated and gives us an opportunity to play for someone outside of family members each week. Your wonderful weekly mini lessons delivered to my e-mail each Tuesday cements this day as piano day. Thank you for making them a regular feature of the week. With all this practice and the lessons from Piano In a Flash, I can finally feel confident saying, “Yes, I do play a little piano.”

  • Tomt
    Posted at 14:18h, 24 November

    Scott this is BRILLIANT 🙂
    but then you are !

    Thank you


    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 09:16h, 27 November

      I keep trying to tell my wife that, but she just doesn’t buy into it (yet…)



  • Tomt
    Posted at 14:43h, 24 November

    Scott – Do you have a suggestion / exercise to improve speed and smoothness in chord changes using these inversions as a base ?


    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 09:17h, 27 November

      Trust me, by practicing the inversions like I talk about in that vid, your speed and smoothness WILL get better. It’s a no-brainer. The more you move from chord to chord (accurately) the easier and faster everything will get very naturally.

  • Brenda Graves
    Posted at 17:02h, 24 November

    Thanks Scott,
    I can see that this is really going to exercise my brain waves. I like your suggestion about practicing a little before or after playing my piano tunes or lessons. BG

  • Regina from the Bronx
    Posted at 18:05h, 24 November

    Hi Scott!

    Another fabulous tip!!! As usual, this video is going into the “piano” folder on my computer which I created so that I can review it now and in the future.

    Regina from the Bronx

    • Libby Bonpua
      Posted at 02:53h, 28 November

      Dear Scott
      You make life easy. Your ideas are user friendly. I may have a long way to go because I take my time seriously focusing everything you share with us and this works for me . How I wish I could thank you enough.
      Brookside, Stockton, CA

      • Scott Houston
        Posted at 12:38h, 28 November

        Just spread the word! 🙂

  • Irene A. Gillard
    Posted at 11:39h, 02 December

    I, too, enjoy the musical emails I receive from you every week, Scott. You have an amazing Gift and you share with all of us students so Generously. How could we be anything other than extremely Grateful!!
    I have asked Santa for your teaching DVD of Holiday Carols for Christmas, so I know my family Holiday season will be exceedingly Merry and Bright.
    Christmas Blessings to you and Yours and all the Best in 2016!
    Irene A. Gillard
    Ontario, cANADA

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 10:00h, 08 December

      Thanks for the nice words. Happy holidays to you and yours as well!


  • George E Wells
    Posted at 12:48h, 05 December

    Got it!! Thanks for the great ideas, Scott.
    Student 80 years young

  • Frank Graves
    Posted at 15:32h, 30 May

    I have had your fake books for several years. Although I am old enough to have the accordion as my first instrument. I taught myself to play the piano. The accordion gave me a good understanding of chords and progressions. But your Fake books were a Godsend. I liked the larger font that was easy on my eyes. Also because each song was transcribed in the key of C, it allowed me to practice chord voicings and to better see key changes relative to C. Although my left arm is not quite as strong as in my younger days due to an injury, I find that your fake books allow me to experiment myself and for a change let me decide what sounds best. I am not a professional by any stretch but have some grounding in music theory. Yet I find your books to be the two I use the most. I have struggled with various arrangements of “Misty,” but your version in Fake Book 1, I can actually play. I wonder what would be a logical next book for me?

  • rohit aggarwal
    Posted at 01:40h, 10 January

    Thanks for the information