Practice with Me - 3

Updated: Sep 22, 2019


Week 3 - The final week! Our goal, I - IV - V in all 12 keys.

This week...Top-Two-UP and Bottom-Two DOWN

Remember - Play the chords when you have all the right notes under your fingers. Your ears hear the correct sound and they are learn to associate these chords with that sound. Very soon, when you see these chord groups on a lead sheet, your fingers will know what to do and your ears will anticipate the sound.

Start by voicing G (I), C (IV) and D (V)

1. I - IV - I - V - I

G - C - G - D - G


  • Play a G major triad in root position with your LH.

  • Top-Two-Up to C and E (say "C major" out loud) Back down to B and D (say "G major")

  • Bottom-Two-Down to F# and A (say "D major") Back up to G and B (say "G major")

Notice C and D surround G on the Circle of Fifths. They're best friends :-) They hang out in songs together, especially party songs and holiday songs. They introduce each other to other keys and make even bigger songs. It's the cat's pajamas!

2. I - IV - I - V - I in A

A - D - A - E - A


  • Play an A major triad in root position

  • Top-Two-Up to D and F# (say "D major") Back down to C# and E (say "A major")

  • Bottom-Two-Down to G# and B (say "E major") Back up to A and C# (say "A major")

Notice D and E are best buddies with A on the Circle of Fifths. ​​

By looking at the circle you can play I-IV-V in every key.

3. Play I - IV - I - V - I in all 12 keys using Top-Two-Up and Bottom-Two Down. If you play along with this VIDEO there are extra tips!

Day 1 – I - IV - I - V - I in the ALL WHITE chord keys (C, F, and G major)

Day 2 – I - IV - I - V - I in the MOUNTAIN chord keys (A ,D, and E major)

Day 3 - I - IV - I - V - I in the VALLEY chord keys (Ab, Db, and Eb major)

Day 4 – I - IV - I - V - I in the ODD BALL chord keys (B, Bb, and F# major)

WHOLE CIRCLE COMPLETED!

Day 5 – I - IV - I - V - I in the keys in the Circle of Fifths from G – Ab

Day 6 – I - IV - I - V - I in the keys in the Circle of Fifths from Gb – G

Day 7 – Day of Rest ( OR try the whole circle!)

That's the FouNDaTioN. You know the entire major chord alphabet and it's basic grammar.

Take any music that you are currently playing and look at the first two chords and the last two chords. How many are I, IV or V chords? Pick up a lead sheet and find all the I-IV, I-V or I-IV-V chord progressions. Circle them, play them, hear them.

Play these tunes by ear (you can do it).

You Are My Sunshine (melody starts on 5th note of home key scale)

You are my (I) sunshine My only (I) sunshine

You make me (IV) happy When skies are (I) grey

You'll never (IV) know, dear How much I (V) love you

Please don't (I) take my (V) sunshine (I) away

Hey Jude (melody starts on 5th note of home key scale)

Hey (I) Jude, don't make it (V) bad Take a (V) sad song, and make it (I) better Re (IV) member, to let her into your (I) heart Then you can sta (V) rt, to make it be (I) tter

Happy Birthday (melody starts on 5th note of home key scale)

Happy (I) Birthday to (V) you, Happy (V) Birthday to (I) you,

Happy (I) Birthday to (IV) everyone, Happy (I) Birthday (V) to (I) yooooooou

Check out more VIDEOS on chord progressions. In a few weeks we'll look at some popular variations of I-IV-V

Teachers: I would love to hear from you. Did you try this? Do you already teach this? What is your experience teaching I-IV-V? What Ah-ha moments arise for you or your students? Please send some video links of your students playing I-IV-V progressions. I'll post them on my website to encourage others :-)

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