Simplifying Chords

Elizabeth teaches piano online as well as in a live setting through As part of the lessons, she coaches her students through this book.


Celebrating the release of the book in Houston with family and friends.

Winner of a drawing for the book at Barnes and Noble.

Introducing. . .a new educational music book, Simplifying Chords:  A Textbook For the Classroom and a Reference For the Road.  This book is a practical resource for music teachers, piano students, songwriters, band members, music theory and ear training students; and it can benefit both those who have a background in music theory as well as beginners.

After presenting basic musical terms, the book shows you how to play triads as well as seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, sixth and suspended chords.  It includes using inversions, reading chord charts written with both letter names and numbers, and learning to play confidently in any key.  



PREFACE.  "It is with excitement that I present to you Simplifying Chords, a unique approach to learning chords!  This material has evolved as I have taught private piano lessons, ear training classes, and a seminar session called "Simplifying Chords," and as I have observed music theory students who needed help in applying their knowledge in a practical way.  Maybe they once learned how to write an augmented eleventh chord on a staff in a theory class but at this point could not readily play the chord. It also developed from a desire to help my musician friends who had not studied music theory understand and be able to teach the concepts.

Many highly skilled musicians don't think in terms of chords simply because they don't have to.  An oboe player in an orchestra, for example, only needs to focus his attention on his own single line of music as he is playing.  I believe, however, that any musician will benefit from a greater fluency in the language of chords and from listening to music more actively and analytically.

In each chapter on chords, I begin by giving you the basic "formula" for forming each type of chord as well as some shortcuts so you can learn to form it yourself.  In every example I give you a clear explanation of each chord tone and then walk you through each half step and whole step by name.  To give you practice playing the chords and to help you learn to use them tastefully, I have included chord progressions as well as various arrangements of the hymn "Amazing Grace" by John Newton (public domain).

This book is best used at a piano, not at a desk.  On a personal note, one of the greatest joys in my life is playing the piano. In fact, it seems that the piano is always calling my name!  I find it both energizing and calming, healing and inspiring to spend an hour or two alone at the piano.  It is invaluable to me as a songwriter, teacher, singer, and especially as a worshipper.  Just as I enjoy playing the piano by note and by ear, I also enjoy teaching both skills to students who, in addition to having a natural gift for music, understand the need for disciplined practice.

I hope this book is an encouragement and help to you no matter your age, musical ability, or level of musical education; if you are working alone or in a group setting; and no matter what style of music you prefer.  Enjoy!"