Stride Piano For Beginners
In the last lesson we explored some basic voicings for the A Section of the tune “Georgia On My Mind”, and now we are going to apply a simple stride left hand style.
If you are new to stride piano, then this lesson is a perfect fit for you. Step-by-step we will create a stride left hand style for the A Section of “Georgia On My Mind” and we will explore some useful beginner stride piano drills using the harmony of the tune.
Beginner Stride Piano Technique
In the first demonstration I show how to construct a simple left hand stride style. Let’s break down the core components of this style:
- The left hand plays the root in the lower registers of the piano. We can also play root and 5th for a stronger sound.
- We then move our left hand up one octave to play a rootless voicing around the middle registers of the piano.
- The simplest left hand voicing is to play just the 3rd and 7th of the chord which can be played in any inversion.
- We can also add the 5th for a thicker sound.
Stride Piano Exercises For Beginners
If you are new to the stride piano style it can be challenging to move between the chords whilst keeping a steady pulse. The exercises outlined in the lesson will help you to gain confidence in switching chord types in an even and fluid manner.
- First just practice the stride over a single chord. Using the first chord of the tune Fmaj7 is a good place to start.
- Alternate the inversion of the 3rd of 7th whilst keeping the F bass consistent. Focus on accuracy and play as slowly as needed.
- Next we add the A7 chord and cycle around just these 2 measures
Stride 3625 Practice Exercises
A more advanced exercise is to take the 3625 chords and cycle around this progression in a stride piano style. We outline the following drills in the video:
- Start with a stride style using the regular chord changes A-7 D7 G-7 C7
- Next turn all of the chords into dominant chords
- Next introduce dominant chord colours and try to apply these in a spontaneous manner to develop a sense of harmonic freedom when playing stride.
Enjoy practicing these stride piano drills, and in the next lesson we are going to add some simple blues licks and ornamentation to get that soulful bluesy sound.