Theory, Improv, and Arranging2019-02-11T07:46:49+00:00

Theory, Improv, and Arranging

Basic Music Theory Skills

Learn the basics of note reading, note values, key signatures, intervals, and triads.

The Staff and Note Values

The Staff

Learn the lines and spaces on the treble and bass clef staves.

Time Signatures and Counting

Key Signatures

Ledger lines, intervals, and scales

Ledger Lines

Learn to identify ledger lines above and below the staff.

Triads and inversions

Major Triads—Part 1

Learn how to build a root position major triad plus first and second inversions in the key of C Major.

Major Triads—Part 2

Practice playing major triads and their inversions around the circle of fifths. (You'll need to know major key signatures to enjoy this lesson.)

Minor Triads

Learn how to build minor triads and identify the sound between major and minor.


Learn how to build major and minor triads using intervals.

Types of Triads

Go beyond major and minor to build diminished and augmented triads, the building blocks for 7th chords.


Learn how to build inversions from a root position triad.

Beyond the Basics

Theory skills for improvisation and arranging.

7th Chords

7th Chords

Learn about the different kinds of 7th chords and how to build them.

Advanced Scales

Chromatic Scales—Part 3

Use Park's pedal technique to break the chromatic scale down into two whole tone scales for improvisation.

Irish Modes

Learn how to play the four traditional Irish modes.

Diminished Scales

Learn how to create diminished scales for use in improvisation. (To get the most from this video, we suggest first watching Park's tutorial on Diminished 7th Chords.)

Circle of Fifths

Practicing the Circle of Fifths

Learn Park's technique for understanding and practicing the circle of fifths using his sharp pedal method. (To enjoy this video, you'll need an understanding of key signatures and enharmonics.)

Circle of Fifths—Part 2

Learn how the Circle of Fifths relates to the whole tone scale. Note: to enjoy this video, you'll need to understand the concepts explained in Park's three-part Chromatic Scales series.

Chord Progressions

Voice Leading and Moving Between Keys

V7 Alterations

Learn how to create the four possible alterations to a V7 chord.

Understanding Rhythm

Celtic Rhythms

Learn the difference between an air, a jig, a hornpipe, and a reel as Kim Robertson describes basic Celtic rhythms.

Etudes and Exercises for Improvisation

Heartbeat Rhythm

Learn how to produce Kim Robertson's "heartbeat rhythm" for improvisation.


Learn how to create left-hand "drones" to embellish your own arrangements.

Wonder Thumb

Learn how to play Kim Robertson's "wonder thumb" left-hand technique. This technique works well with drones.

Chord Vamps

Learn Kim Robertson's technique for adding chord vamps.

Arpeggio Exercises for Improvisation

Arpeggios—Part 5

Go beyond the basics in the final installment of Sunita Staneslow's arpeggio series.

Tools for Arranging