How to play 'The Blues.'

Blues and Jazz are personally two of my favourite genres and I want to tell you all about it in today’s lesson. They originate from the early 20th century and are heavily influenced and originate from the south of North America. Using a series of technical improvisation and pre-determined structure, the blues and jazz have some similarities.Today, I’m going to show you a little bit about what that improvisation is and how it interacts with the ‘12 bar blues’.

Using the simple key ‘C major’, see below how the scale is structured;



As a starting point for any beginner, I would recommend learning this scale as it forms the basis of our improvised treble clef (right hand). Learning this will allow you to play and experiment with different note combinations and chords (two or more notes played together) all adding to the blues style we are aiming for.


Whats the 12 bar blues?

Using a 4/4 time signature and simple key signature, the C major 12 bar blues can often sound really cool and be very easy to perfect. Essentially we only play the first, fourth and fifth notes of the scale in the bass clef. This is the same for every other key signature, play on the first, fourth and fifth to keep things simple.

However, you need to follow this pattern;

First note of the Scale (C) = I

Fourth note of the Scale (F) = IV

Fifth note of the Scale (G)= V




There’s a couple of guys and girls on the internet that have created great videos for the 12 bar blues and you should definitely check those out. I have included a few below. 

I love to play the blues and a few little tricks using the structure at parties and in front of friends. It's a great way to show you know a bit about the piano whilst at the same playing it cool and keeping it simple.

As ever, please comment and like the lesson to give me feedback and tell me how to improve in future lesson! Please carry on asking me questions using the email symbol at the bottom of this page.


These YouTube videos are not mine;