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Chord Roots the Summer of 2000

As a young pianist, I remember being sent away from lessons one summer with the challenge to finish my theory book. By then I had taken lessons for 5 years and my teacher was ready to send me on to a more advanced teacher. I practiced diligently and couldn't understand why she didn't want me as a student any longer. The first round of tears.

It got to be about August and I realized I had done nothing with piano since my last lesson in May, so I set off to work on this theory book. I was at the intermediate stage of lessons and somehow never managed to retain chord roots. The end of this theory book was ALL ABOUT chords and roots and inversions. "What are chord roots?" I remember thinking, very frustrated. The word was in every sentence and every direction of the book. The second round of tears.

I tried so hard to figure it out. Every day I would come back to the book and try to figure it out. I showed it to my family with no avail. My sister, who was a fine pianist tried to explain them to me, but it just came out as the bottom note. Not correct, and round 20 of tears by this point!

It took until high school to finally understand that roots are the bottom note when stacked in 3rds... I cried and skipped out on my theory assignments in middle school and therefore never learned. When I was showed how roots actually worked, a lightbulb went off and chords were all the sudden not scary anymore! I missed out on a good 4 years of theory due to this tiny mistake in teaching, and I hope no one else falls into this trap!

This week, I made this game which will hopefully help hundreds of students over the course of my career (and yours!) to not have tears over chord roots! The basic rules are to find the root of each chord. I have chords in root position, first inversion, and second inversion. I hope to come out with 7th chords soon! Obviously the play on tree roots is to help the student remember that roots are the bottom of a chord stacked in 3rds. The game is currectly being offered for FREE here:

Keep checking in as a write more about my piano games! :)

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