Playing keys

I’m at a point where I’m happy playing mono synths, comfortable with my most used scales (G/F/A minor mostly) but I do struggle with playing chords.

Note that I’m not talking about ‘programming’ chords or using various built-in chord modes, nor I’m asking about the theory of how to build chord, but about the manual/habit/play side of it.

Anyone has any suggestion on how to build ‘comfort’ around playing chords? Did you learn a few chords, practice those, add more to your arsenal?

Did you start to play/learn chords related to your favourite scale?

What helped me was practicing my finger action. What I struggled with initially was that I couldn’t get my fingers to all hit notes near the same time. I just started by focusing on that and improved from there.


I can advice you to register at and maybe ask there . There are a lot of musicians there. But if you ask me how play piano is just practice and play how you like. I mean just press some keys but i think you already knew that.

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Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. Repeat and fade. Every day.

Younger I would play guitar, even until my finger bled (at the beginning). Exercises, scales, chords, everything is fair game. I wish I had played a keyboard then because now I really can’t be bothered to learn anymore.

As @White_Noise says, making every finger do what you want it to do & in rhythm is 90% of the battle. Once you’re comfortable with your fingers, the rest comes easy.

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In terms of approach how would you tackle learning? Learn chords based on my fav scales or based on how common they are?

All I really know is intervals. I just guesstimate my chords and scales for the most part. I’m not saying it’s efficient by any means, I rarely get what’s in my head on the first try and it can take me 5-10 minutes to figure out what someone who actually knows the theory can probably get in one. But I get there in the end and I get to spend more time playing and mixing and less time memorizing or studying.

As a terrible keyboardist, I can say this is a bit of a mystery to me. I have played guitar and other string instruments for about 35 years, so in a general sense I think there’s a couple of phases of learning things like this:

  • get the physical dexterity and control to make your fingers do what you want, like what white noise and morphic mentioned

  • get used to the shapes until they’re muscle memory…that’s the practice, practice, practice bit

  • tie those shapes to the progressions you want, and use your newfound abilities for good

  • learn to transpose those progressions into the correct key (and thus chord shape) on the fly as you play

Ironically, I can do the last two pretty well because I can do it on guitar and notes are notes, but I never learned to do the first two very well, so it all comes out sounding like unadulterated shit anyway.

Were it me, I’d start with the scales you favor and play around with all the chords you can find that support those scales. That’d likely give you a wider variety of chord shapes under your belt as well as being able to support the keys you’re likely to be composing in.

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I’m deffo not a keyboardist, but, and I’m not sure that anyone has mentioned this point, full sized keys with a nice action, will make life much easier.

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I don’t play much keyboard, but I do play a lot of guitar and my best advice is to cover songs, watch people covering songs, and even check out some chord shapes that people like to use on youtube. Sometimes a simple 5-minute video makes you think, “Wow, I didn’t even know you could even do that”.

And of course, play everyday and all of that shit

and if possible set the keyboard up like so, maybe not at such an extreme angle but a little bit forward really helps the wrists

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That’s a cop out, he just wasn’t confident enough for a keytar

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And it looks rather terrible, like the DX7 is falling and he just managed to grab it