A 2-chord piano improv exercise

Here’s a fun 2-chord piano improv exercise to try today.  It starts simply and gets hards and more expansive as you challenge yourself with more and more styles of music.  And it will (hopefully) inspire you to get going and learn as many of these musical styles as you can.

Start by playing these 2 chords:

Em/F (E minor and F major)

The idea is to improvise with them, any way you can, in each of the following musical styles. If you don’t know a particular genre, consider this an invitation to learn it. They’re all fun, and besides, even The Rolling Stones could play a jazz waltz if a song called for it. (Successful musicians are usually much more versatile than they might appear to be.)

Each chord can be played for 2, 3, 4 beats or longer, depending on the style and how you choose to play it.

Here are the genres:

Pop/Rock Ballad

Medium-tempo Pop

New Wave

Traditional Waltz

Classic Rock

New Age


Hip Hop or Funk

Jazz Waltz


Jazz Ballad

Bossa Nova

Alternative Rock

Progressive Rock

Progressive Jazz (a la McCoy Tyner)

This may take you an afternoon, or it may take you a year. Either way, have fun and challenge yourself!

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