Piano Fingers

Piano Fingers is a continuing series of tutorials for pianists written by Dean Slocum. Tutorials 1 and 2 are downloadable without charge as PDFs at the bottom of this page.

General Topic:
How to create piano/keyboard parts from simple chord charts in various commercial and jazz styles. Anyone studying this series will also gain arranging and compositional skills.

Offer helpful tips for use in everyday performing or recording situations.

Target Audience:
Professional pianists/keyboardists or anyone who uses keyboards for MIDI sequencing.


  • solo piano
  • ensemble playing
  • accompanying a vocalist
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    • Embellish chords with altered notes and extensions in context with the style.
    • Add passing chords to follow an instrumental or vocal melody.
    • Think like an arranger to create parts that work well with what the vocalist or ensemble is doing.

      Format:     STEP ONE
                         Each tutorial begins with a chord chart and minimal instructions:
                         a. tempo
                         b. musical genre
                         c. whether it is to be played as an accompaniment or a solo

                         STEP TWO
                         The chords used are spelled in root position along with a few voicing examples.

                         STEP THREE
                         A notated version with text explaining the musical and rhythmic choices made.

                         STEPS FOUR, FIVE, ETC.
                         a. There will often be additional alternate approaches to the original chord chart.
                         b. There may also be a second chord chart to help explain the topic more completely.

      To download, click on a lesson: tutorial 1   tutorial 2    For complete solo piano arrangements of "jazzy" hymns and other jazz arrangements, please visit the Music Library. It's all free of charge!
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