How to Teach Chord Progressions to Beginners – Video Tutorial

How to Teach Chord Progressions to Beginners – Video Tutorial

Teaching Chord Progressions

To start the year off with a bang, I’ve been teaching most of my students about chord progressions and how easy they are to construct.

For my junior kids and those who like pop music, I tend to stay away from music reading for at least a week to get everyone having fun and being musical without the pressure of reading.

In fact, for my complete beginner students, I don’t use a method book for at least their first 10 weeks of piano lessons. 

Everyone loves playing chords – they are the easiest way to sound good on piano, especially when a student’s reading is still slow.

With a bit of rhythm and pedal, even the simplest progression can sound pretty epic!

Read to the bottom for 27 free, easy and great chord progressions to inspire creativity in your students. 

Teaching Video

In this lesson, I show you a little trick I like to use to spice up chord progressions.

I show you how to add a common tone to a chord progression, but change the notes around it to make it sound more interesting.

Check it out and try it out!

Teaching Chords to Beginners

If you’d like to see an older video I recorded on how to teach chord progressions to beginner piano students, check out this video.

This will take things back a step for you.

Also don’t forget to check out my No Book Beginner framework for more great resources.

More Chord Teaching Resources

If you’re new to teaching chords, then please check out some of my other resources including:

  • My B.S. Method for teaching any chord on the piano
  • The introduction lessons in my 4 Chord Composing course, which also covers teaching a chord-based approach

Free Download

I have put together a handout featuring 27 easy chord progressions your students can play.

These aren’t based on real songs, but are just chord progressions I have played and taught over the years.

They range in difficulty, so there is always something for one of your students!

Print these out and take them out on a rainy day, or use them as a part of your creative lesson starter ideas.

To get your copy, please enter your details below.

Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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  1. Looking forward to receiving my chord progression download!

  2. Can I get the chord profs pls…hard to fill this in on your page with the great big sidebar…

  3. Would love the chord progression book please.
    Thank you so much

  4. This is exciting

  5. I’d love the free download of chord progressions you use with your students. Thanks Tim!

    • Great Jessica – just leave your name and email in the box above.

  6. Please, teach me to play the piano… I know nothing about it. Please ????.
    Thank you

  7. You’re a really good Teacher. I was looking for some new perspective in teaching this private class and this was wonderful. Thank you. 🙂

    • Thanks Chatty – glad to hear it was helpful 🙂

  8. […] Chord Progressions for Beginners – Teaching Video […]

  9. The lesson video was super helpful–thanks for sharing. I did not know about “slash chords” before this; I am excited about using them with my students.

    • Great news, Diane. Slash chords add so much colour – I hope your students enjoy them!

  10. The link to the progression is not working. If you have a moment, would you mind posting a new copy of the chord progressions? Really enjoyed the video and how much progress this bright young man made! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thanks Tim – very useful! I am a music teacher in a primary school with lots of Orff tuned percussion – I can see myself using your techniques and chord progressions to start my classes improvising.

  12. […] we’ll generally add chord inversions. At the same time, we’ll be developing our understanding of chord progressions and harmony so that they can start to guess the movement of the LH before it even happens! Learning […]

  13. […] Chord progressions for beginners […]

  14. Excellent lesson, Tim. Would be interesting to see what the student brought back next lesson as his improvisation!

  15. Thanks Tim. I really enjoyed watching this. This is just the sort of thing I need to do with some of my boys and I had been wondering how to go about it. I have had very little experience of improv so this is so helpful.
    Many thanks
    Julie Foxall, Bristol, England.

  16. This was amazing! My students are all still beginners (I started my teaching studio in October)… I can’t wait till they’re at the level where I can do this type of activity with them!

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