How to Speed Read Piano Chord Symbols

The idea behind How to Speed Read Piano Chord Symbols came to me after several years of struggling to teach myself piano. I found it strange that when you read sheet music, chords are usually played with two hands spread out over two octaves. But when you grab a chord dictionary, they show you the notes all within one octave.

After I had taken some counterpoint and music theory classes, I started to realize that all the piano chord books had been getting it wrong. You should absolutely learn chords so they sound right right from the start. Also, most chords can be stripped down to two or three notes. So, if a typical C chord is the note C, E and G. It will sound better if you drop the C down an octave, and you can leave out the G. Why leave out the G? Wouldn't it sound fuller with the G? Yes, perhaps, but it sounds nearly as good, and it's easier!

Once you get the hang of moving from chord to chord, you can add back the extra notes.

Another amazing fact I discovered when I was learning chord piano. Often two amazing sounding chords were only slightly different. Move one finger up a key or down a key, and you have a completely new chord. Learning the differences between these variations will free you up to play lots of chords without having to move your fingers around as much. When you are still a lot awkward at the keyboard, these small steps become a great leap in your playing.