Piano Tutorial

Improvising Know-How: Modes

  4.8   (45)  - log in to review
3 Videos | Length: 28min 49sec
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    Tutorial 1

    Maiden Voyages

    10:01

    Tom welcomes you and introduces you to simple theory and improvising in the Ionian Mode.

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    Tutorial 2

    Improvising Simplified

    9:59

    Tom now explores rhythmic ideas, clusters, fourth chords, and improvising in the Aeolian and Dorian modes for more colors and ideas.

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    Tutorial 3

    Putting it All Together

    8:49

    Tom concludes the series by introducing the Lydian and Mixolydian modes, using various modes as part of one improvisation, and emphasizes again how seven modes are derived from the palette of one scale.

In these simplified video tutorials, piano master Tom Regis explores different Modes as one of the keys to unlocking the art of improvisation, and includes a bit of approachable theory that can be immediately put into practice!

The goal of these lessons is to show the forest through the trees, and allow the viewer who may have blocks when it comes to improvising, a way through. This series can also apply to those more experienced, presenting a different approach to using modes.

See the individual tutorial descriptions below for more info. If you’re looking for some quick inspiration for your soloing and performances, watch “Improvising Know-How: Modes“ today!

vansweej
Submitted 1 month ago

good examples of simple improv

I think these videos more then others showed how to let loose when improvising. It is still a skill I try to work on, but in general I fall quickly back to repeated patterns. These videos showed how to let go on a keyboard and just play things.

I am a: Hobbyist, Musician, Reaper

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musikrisk
Submitted 2 months ago

Inspiring

Great angle on modes and improvisation!

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SimplyDennis
Submitted 4 months ago

Cleared a blind spot for me about mode playing

Very nice, BUT need more from this guy Thanx

I am a: Hobbyist

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Cap'n Spanky
Submitted 6 months ago

Definitely helpful.

At first this felt kind of "loosy / goosy" to me and I was a little disappointed it wasn't more structured. But it actually turned out to be quite helpful to me as a songwriter and an not so great keyboard player. It gave me some tools that I can use. I guess you can't ask for a lot more than that.

I am a: Hobbyist, Semi-Pro, Musician, Audio Engineer, Sound for Film/TV, Cubase, Reaper

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Jay38
Submitted 6 months ago

Actually inspiring!

Very nice for such a short series. It left me wanting more and more. His examples were so good and suddenly I wanted to compose a New Age song.

I am a: Professional, Musician, Audio Engineer

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Awesome!
Submitted 6 months ago

Very Helpful

Thank you

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mrscopdav
Submitted 6 months ago

Excellent!!!

I am thrilled to be able to apply what I learned here. I understand modes so much more now! It was simplified beautifully!

I am a: Semi-Pro, Professional, Musician, Producer, Sound for Film/TV, Digital Performer

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george1
Submitted 6 months ago

Very helpfull indead!!

It has helped me, it is a very practice way to learn.

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oznerol
Submitted 7 months ago

Simply helpful!

Very easy to understand and with a great flow... well done!

I am a: Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer

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rakwob
Submitted 7 months ago

Very Easy to get through!!!

Short, but as a beginner, I have got to know what Improvising is about

I am a: Semi-Pro

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1. When did you start dabbling in music? I sat on my mom's lap when I was three while she played Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu, Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique, and Flight of the Bumble Bee. I started classical piano training at age 6, about the same time I was hearing the music of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Drum lessons came at age 8.

2. What training have you had? New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, Bachelor of Music, with distinction award, Classical Piano with Nevarte Adrian, Madame Chaloff, Thomas Stumpf, Deborah Moriarity, Leonard Shure, and Yoriko Takahashi. Jazz Piano with Ran Blake, Charlie Banacos, and Jaki Byard. Schoenberg Theory of (diatonic) Harmony with Joe Manieri.

3. When did you get into recording? First recording was with a sound on sound 2 track reel to reel probably when I was 12 or so. Then later on to a 4 track Tascam cassette machine, an 8 track Fostex reel to reel, then 24 track 2 inch tape recording at Elias associates in NY, to 32 track Digital Mitsubishi (tape) in Los Angeles, and of course, on to the world of computers from Atari to Mac to PC back to Mac, and oh, wishing I owned a 16 track 2 inch!

4. People you have worked with/for? Michael Brecker, Will Lee, Phoebe Snow, Jeff Miranov, Sid McGinnis, Patti Austin, Tone Loc, Rafi, Rita Marley, Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Gilberto Gil, Celia Cruz, Eddie Gomez, Marcus Miller, Marianne Faithful, Ofra Haza, Ron Carter . . .

5. Why are you so good at training people? My outstanding personality! Studying both jazz and classical music has given me a broad understanding of the fundamentals of music. I try to convey these fundamentals as clearly as possible, and also to remember that music is primarily about inspiration - you get the technical understanding so that part becomes transparent, and the rest can flow.

Products by Tom

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Improvising Know-How: Modes

    In these simplified video tutorials, piano master Tom Regis explores different Modes as one of the keys to unlocking the art of improvisation, and includes a bit of approachable theory that can be immediately put into practice!

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    tutorial video

    Improvising Know-How: The Blues

    In these simplified video tutorials, piano master Tom Regis lays out the basics of the blues structure, simple left hand comping, and scales and blues expressions for the right hand so you can start playing authentic Blues right away!

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    tutorial video

    Navigating Chord Progressions

    Theory pro Tom Regis reveals some of the most common but most important chord progressions and how to train your ear to instantly recognize them, so you can better understand their structure and apply them to your own compositions!

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    tutorial video

    Practical Music Theory Know-How

    In this in-depth video series, theory wiz Tom Regis explains the essential components of harmony, and emphasizes the simplicity of a music system based on a seven note scale, all while providing inspirational musical examples and ideas!

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Improvising Know-How: Modes is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 45.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from good examples of simple improv I think these videos more then others showed how to let loose when improvising. It is still a skill I try to work on, but in general I fall quickly back to repeated patterns. These videos showed how to let go on a keyboard and just play things.
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Inspiring Great angle on modes and improvisation!
Date published: 2018-01-12
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Cleared a blind spot for me about mode playing Very nice, BUT need more from this guy Thanx
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Definitely helpful. At first this felt kind of "loosy / goosy" to me and I was a little disappointed it wasn't more structured. But it actually turned out to be quite helpful to me as a songwriter and an not so great keyboard player. It gave me some tools that I can use. I guess you can't ask for a lot more than that.
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Actually inspiring! Very nice for such a short series. It left me wanting more and more. His examples were so good and suddenly I wanted to compose a New Age song.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Helpful Thank you
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent!!! I am thrilled to be able to apply what I learned here. I understand modes so much more now! It was simplified beautifully!
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from Very helpfull indead!! It has helped me, it is a very practice way to learn.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Simply helpful! Very easy to understand and with a great flow... well done!
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Easy to get through!!! Short, but as a beginner, I have got to know what Improvising is about
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Good mode overview! I'm already familiar with most of what was covered but got some great ideas to try and things to explore.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great tutorial Very easy to follow and apply.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent course Short but very interesting and practical introduction to modes and improvisation on piano. Also, really beautiful music being played!
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Fascinating insight into the practical use of modes Opened my eyes to what can be achieved by pairing back the complexity of harmony
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from SUPER ... ---
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from 30 minutes well spent! I really liked this tutorial. Short, to the point, and with some great tips, particularly if you are starting out or not that familiar with working with modes or new to improvisation...or all three!
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Loved it - but why only three videos??? Tom explains the concepts very clearly and demo's them beautifully. He has a gift for teaching and inspiring. Having some theory beforehand helps a tiny bit but I think beginners to improvisation can get a lot out of the video coming in cold, even if they play another instrument because the concepts are the same. Regarding another reviewer's comments that he didn't get anything out of the video and rated it a 1-star, I think it was very unfair to do so. I noticed the reviewer claims to be a pro so it's quite possible he didn't get anything out of the videos because he has so much experience. However, any video series should be judged based on the target audience, not just how relevant it is to yourself, and in this case the target was clearly beginner players--or more accurately, beginner improvisers--who are not familiar with the concept of scale modes and how they vary in sound and feel. For that audience, I think Tom has done an admirable job. I only wish there were a lot more videos in the series. Three is incredibly few but I'll blame the producers for that, not Tom.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 1.0 out of 5 by from May not work for you. Certainly useless to me. I believe there is useable content in any tutorial often you may already have the information but you may discover a new concept or approach and learn something useful. This is not the case w this modal video.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent tutorial Tom is clear, straight forward and keeps an excellent pace, this is by far the best tutorial on improvisation and theory on the site, it is practical and makes you enjoy learning. Hope you enjot more videos by Thom, truly outstanding teacher.
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Superb Teacher Mr. Regis presents a very difficult subject in a crystal clear, easy to understand way. I would recommend this to every starting as jazz musician, as well as to veteran players who want a fresh view about improvising.
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Improvising Knowhow: Modes Been playing for over 60 years and found this video presents the mode concept in a clear and useable way.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great Course I found this helpful because I'm trying to sound like a more professional piano player and this course has shown me a bunch of tricks that I've found really useful!
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Practical first look at improviding wint modes Good improvisation suggestions regardless of modes, but also easy partial introduction to modes using C as the working scale. Not comprehensive, which is great for the purpose.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great, short, and to the point! I really enjoyed this training as it was three short lessons, but with much to walk away with. I was really looking for something to improve my own skills in playing and this really hit the spot. It was simple and yet had some great ideas to improve creativity in improvising.s
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Short, Sweet and Great A nice little run through and certainly inspiring enough to create some random sweet sounding music. Easy to listen to, great instruction.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Good starter lessons to understand modes Takes some of the mystery out of how modes are constructed. Nice clear explanation of how modes work and how to move between them within a song. I am not a keyboard player, but will be able to apply this to guitar.Would love to have this guy explain the cycle of fifths! (maybe he does, I haven't searched yet...)
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Inspiring and easy to follow! The author really makes the subject easy to understand. The way it is presented makes me feel it is really achievable, and it is.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from This was perfect for me at my stage of playing. Tom just enlightened me with this series. I was just grasping chords and theory and have been slowly trying to find my cadence in learning how to improvise. As a budding composer it is hard to find your path. Teaching someone how to play piano or any instrument is alot easier learned by doing. I really liked Toms simplistic approach and 'just play it' style of teaching. Im going to have to watch it a few more times and I hope there is more to come. Id love to see more of Toms content on here. About to dive in and see if I can make anything of this newfound perspective. A+++ ***As titled, this post is simply from my perspective. If you're just learning the notes and what a progression is then this content may not render you.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Simple and effective Îm very happy with this video, short and very instructive.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great intro to improvisation More please. Limiting the palette is great advice. Would love to see a series on more advanced improv, perhaps with specific styles in mind. The resultant improvisations in the videos are a bit too repetitive for my taste, but good for the purpose they serve.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Interesting modal approach Not being a keyboard player I found the approach to his style interesting. I only problem was that he moved along to fast. A little more explanation, especially the left hand, would have been much better. I gave it 4 stars because of the overview of modes and an interesting modal approach.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Great video on modal improvisation This is great knowledge for improvisation and getting different musical colors out of one scale.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great intro to modal playing for all musicians. Simple to digest and even if you are intermediate skill or above, keyboard player or not, there are some great tips to inspire creativity. If you are a beginner on the piano, this will remove a great deal of intimidation helping you to just hit the ground running. I hope to see a follow up to this with more theory and examples along with references to popular songs using the various modes as was done with the Dorian mode. Maybe Phrygian and Locrian next time. Made me want to dust off the keys and play.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Inspiring! Piano is not my first instrument, but over the last 2 years, it's been my main musical focus. The concept of modes has always intrigued me, and this short video series is an excellent introduction to their use. Even if you have to watch the videos a few times to grasp the ideas, there's lots here to inspire you in your own playing. I hope that Groove 3 will release additional tutorials from this excellent instructor. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent For Beginning Keyboard Players What a GREAT instructor. I learn so much in very little time to just start making neat improvisations with keyboard. I also learned some theory.... So impressed.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from A Lot Of Bang For The Time Spent I've been a professional musician for over 20 years. Piano was not my first instrument and I am mostly self-taught. This was a really great, accessible, actionable tutorial that I'll use for years to come. Simple enough on the surface, but it unlocked some new ways of thinking for me.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from gives a good idea of the content Excellent for beginners. Easy stuff but open a lot of doors. Good tips to go further ahead
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Brilliant - show us some more from this man. Learned more here in 3 videos than in the past god knows how long.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Informative Excellent, useful tips, nicely demonstrated in an easy to follow way.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Way to simplify the Modal view of Music I can't believe how simple Modal music can be and this video has inspired me to realize, stay in C Major and play around with the Modes. Go back and forth and truly listen to how they sound and then jam out! Thanks again for this simple course for those who truly want to make and break out of structured musical thinking!
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Improvising Modes Short and sweet and to the point with good examples.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Improvising Know How: Modes Nice tutorial about improvisation, clear, concise. Although a follow up with a bit more depth would be great.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent!!! I learned a lot from watching this, I have have been looking for a course like this. Everything in it is well explained. Thanks
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Improvising Know-How: Modes Excellent, after all these years finally understand modes. A very useful tutorial
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Tom Regis Improvising Know-How: modes perfectly tutored. Impossible not to benefit from the 3 videos. Tom is a master at making it simple, digestable. Thank you !
Date published: 2016-11-24