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  • How To Use Patterns To Improve Your Piano Playing FAST! (Video)

How To Use Patterns To Improve Your Piano Playing FAST! (Video)

Patterns are an integral part of the piano – the whole keyboard is built upon a single series of 12 keys, and piano sheet music naturally involves a number of patterns – both melodic (single notes) and harmonic (multiple notes).

In this video lesson, I’ll show you how you can use some very simple patterns to improve your piano playing FAST. They may take just a little practice, but once you learn these and start creating your own, I think you’ll begin to see the power of piano patterns

Patterns – for both one and two hands – are just one of the MANY topics I cover in my 4-week online/DVD video piano course, Improvise Piano… FAST!

If you have any comments, suggestions, or other feedback about this lesson, please leave a comment below – thanks!

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About the author

I've been playing piano for 50 years, and I love showing others how easy it is to make beautiful piano sounds of their own.

  • Dear Bill Romer:

    I play piano for many years I am not a beginner
    I am worship Leader in my church and play piano
    with other musicians and instruments.

    If you More advance Lessons Please send more
    Lessons by email.

    Thank you
    Brunilda Davila

  • Bill:
    Thanks for the video. Unfortunately it stops playing at about miinute 12. I’d like to see the whole 16 minutes. Any suggestions?

  • Thanks for the informative free lesson on patterns. I play piano by ear, but I certainly couldn’t make a living at a piano bar! Any tips you can send my way to help me improve are always welcome and appreciated.

  • Hi Bill

    Thanks for the Video on Patterns in Piano playing.

    I think your technique is quite unique and yet so easy to follow.

    Your method also shows how many styles can be incorporated in pattern playing. This video piece alone somewhat covers a full introduction to piano performance. Priceless!!

    I will be checking out your other videos, of course they are also very reasonably priced.


  • Dear Bill
    Thank you very much for your emails containing help for learning to play the piano. I am 67 years old so learning anything takes that much longer. I desperately want to be able to read music (mostly hymns) so I can play at my chapel, our lady who plays each week is not too well now and has been poorly for some time so I try and set everybody off by playing a few chords or just starting them off on the right key, but its embarrising when you can’t play the whole tune, however I will stick at it.
    Once again, Thank You.
    Kind regards David

  • Thanks for the free piano lessons. I watch anything available in the internet and interested in anybody who can play music. Of course I enjoy and appreciate your effort to please your students and music lovers, I must have had some difficulties or blocks in co-ordinations with my left and right hands . I miss the fluid rythem .
    You were teaching patterns for hands separately it was nice and music was beautiful but I want to be able to read music and control my fingers at the same time. My progress has been slow and there times that I am totally blocked. I envy you and all the pianists who can play fast and easy.
    thanks for the communications and video sudabhe

  • dear bill
    thank you so much for this video, it was so useful.
    can you do a video explaing salsa and merengue patterns please and also 11th and 13th chords

    thank you 🙂

    from Neil

  • Hello Bill,
    Thank you for making avaiable Pattern Piano.
    It is very concise, easy to understand and put into play immediately. Am enjoying your “Professional Piano Chords For Everyday Pianists” very much also. (especially the 9th, 11th, and 13th chords.)
    Please keep the video lessons coming. I have become a devoted fan.



  • Dear Bill:

    Let me apologize if I misled you. I’m sure your information is great for those who know how to play. Unfortunately, I am really a beginner wishing he knew how. What a wonderful gift it would be. I f you know some basic keyboard instructions that I could learn, please advise. You had a similar response from a 67 yr old. Well I am 74 yrs old and still wish I could larn. All the best, and tks for trying.

  • Dear Bill

    Thankyou very much for this very useful lesson on
    patterns and runs, I play at our church and taught
    myself to read music and recently I have been playing by ear. I rely alot on the new hymes that has been translated from Arabic to english.
    I would like to add more colour and runs in my playing. this lesson is a great blessing.


  • Hi Bill,
    I played classical piano for quite some time as a kid. I could only read music. All these years I have been afraid to get a piano for fear I would have to use sheet music as my crutch. I am in my late 50’s now and want to start over. I don’t want to look at a single piece of sheet music and I think your videos can help me hear and then play music without sheet music. I pray.

    I am in the process of buying a piano and will practice your chords and arpeggios. I am excited to change directions with the piano!

  • Dear Bill, I liked the video but due to stopping and starting I got fed up watching. It is down to streaming,runs for a couple of seconds then starts streaming again.
    I am particularly interested in right hand playing, improvising etc.

  • Thanks for your info, Bill, but I think I may be a bit ahead of what you are teaching. Sure, I know all the basic chords and their invertions and do all the things like adding a 9th or a 13th, 4th plus 4th etc., and that grace note trick, playing a 4th and sliding the lower note up to play a 3rd – gives the impression you are bending notes. The blues scale and all that stuff.

    The bit I am interested in is what I call the “bit in the middle” where, after the first chorus, modern jazz pianists will leave the harmonic structure of the song completely and go off on some ad lib of their own. The accompanying bass or guitar player, by some kind of thought transference, appears to instinctively ‘know’ where the guy is going next with it and can put in something that fits. Astoundingly, even when meeting each other for the first time !! This leads me to believe that there is some kind of recognised procedure going on here ( a language, perhaps ?) that all those involved in playing this type of jazz understand. If this is correct then it must be something that can be taught – yes ?

    So, that’s the only thing that interests me because I just can’t seem to do it. I am always too dependent on the harmonic structure of the song and, after some successful deviation, I keep getting pulled back to it, simply because I don’t know what to do next, and I don’t know what to do next because I don’t understand the language these jazz players share. Anyway, that’s my feeling about it.
    I don’t suppose your course covers this, does it ? It looks like it’s for beginners. What do say ?

  • Hello Bill, Thank you so much for the video on patterns and everything you teach, I love your technique, I’m learning how to play piano, it has always been a passion of mine and now that i’m 54 years young I really want to learn. I so can understand you playing Xbox with your son my son is 16 and plays all the time. Thank you Bill for taking the time to show us were to start and go from there. I can’t wait for more, I check my e-mail as soon as I can everyday to see if there’s one from you. I would love to here you play some songs yourself. Priase the Lord, Linda

  • Dear Bill:

    Nice to get a gift after Christmas! Thank you. You
    are a good teacher. I like the way you break down each part so it is possible to learn it. Those patterns were very interesting to learn and I enjoyed playing them. Tried challenging myself in different keys.

  • Hi Bill,
    I have enjoyed all your lessons and am progressing.

    Your videos however, are too intermitent due to streaming….That includes your pre Christmas ‘Amazing Grace’ video.

    You are good though Bill….keep up the good work.


  • Dear Bill, I really enjoyed the video on using patterns. At 80 years old I find I still learn quickly enough but I have to adapt for my very small hands – I can not stretch an octave on the keyboard simultaneously so I have to cheat a bit especially with some of the more advanced chords -I have to break them up. The patterns you describe in this video are well within my reach. The speed is something else again. Seems like the older I get the slower I play but I’m not complaining – I still enjoy it.
    Thanks again for all your great lessons!

  • Thanks Bill, the vidio was great and is exactly what I am looking for. Unfortunatly a streaming fault every six seconds made it difficult to view.
    I can read music and play with the old fixed chord tecnique, taught this way when I was a kid.
    I need left hand refurbishment just as you have shown me in this vidio.

  • Hi Bill,
    Tx for all the info. Like several of your viewers I am a bit beyond the basics and, in fact, teach students how to read “lead sheets” and how to quickly find M7, min 7 and dom7 chords (in open position). I am pretty much a jazz purist and hope that as you go along you will get into some of the “cooler” riffs and harmonics.
    Keep up the good work.

  • As for the arpeggio video, here’s the problem:

    As you illustrate the repeating arpeggios,
    speed of hand movements dissallows for freeze-
    framing of clear imagery; we cannot see ‘how’
    the fingering connects to succeeding arpeggios. You need to show and explain how those connections are being made.

    Duane Shinn, for example, would slow the process, thereby eliminating the time needed for ‘going back’ to explain again. Check out his free, two-year course. It’s amazing!

    • I thought I had illustrated the arpeggios slowly enough on the video – I’m sorry if I did not. Generally, 4-note arpeggios in the right hand are played with fingers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in succession – thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. You can also use finger 5 (pinky) for the last note of the 4-note pattern. Then, move your thumb to the root again and play the same pattern.

      • now I got it!!! My arpeggios are only with the three chord notes, so I need to practice what you were showing, but can I start with my left hand? Are arpeggios usually played at the end of a piece???

        • Arpeggios do make a nice ending, Mary Ann, but they can be used to improvise or add some flair any time within a song. Also, if you play a 6 chord arpeggio down low in your left hand, you have a very nice bass pattern that I use all the time for rock and roll or just about any style. So, C-E-G-A repeated until it’s time for the next chord, which would probably be F (play F-A-C-D) or G (G-B-D-E).

  • Dear Bill,

    Many thanks for the excellent video you have made for us. I have stepped into the new year 2010 with a beautiful and invaluable gift from you, which I will cherish throught my life.

    I have already started practicing on the patterns you have taught in the video. It is thrilling and fun to learn. The BEST part of your teaching method is continuously encouaraging the students to be creative while learning Piano.

    Many thanks and Best wishes from


  • Bill,

    The free video is much appreciated. Especially all the left hand exercises. The left hand was a mystery to me until I found your site.

    You have now given us chords, octaves which I use for 3/4 songs, boogie woogie, 10th chord voicing which is also good for 3/4 songs and more that I forget.

    I an asking a favor::::: With the left hand boogie beat you played a dynamite right hand boogie pass. Would you make a low cost video showing the right hand ,real slow, of the boogie for the whole song?

    Many regards you have made all the difference in the past four months. My kids, all adults, can’t believe it is me playing.

    Ed. Keifer

  • Hi Bill – the ‘patterns’ video is superb. Just what I needed. The tips have made an enormous difference to my playing already. The simple but very effective intro rather than the last four bars of the piece – brilliant. I’m good with chords but need to fill in the right hand a bit – single note melody is a bit boring – and the tips on patterns and slight variations is extremely helpful. Keep them coming please – and if they are free even better !!!

  • Dear Bill,
    I seem to be having the same problem as others, the video stopsand starts, making it difficult to concentrate. Your explanations are really clear and you show some fascinating patterns.
    I am enjoying it very much, apart from the stop/start problem.

  • Hello Bill
    I too enjoy your lessons, but get frustrated with the streaming which breaks up too frequently and I lose concentration. Other people have noted this too. It would be brilliant if this could be rectified!
    Best wishes

  • Hi Bill, your latest free video was well recieved,your style of teaching makes the lessons easy to apply.
    As to musicians I would like to see you feature, Eddy Duchin had a unique, easy to listen to style and pioneered the way for some very successful big jazz bands.


  • Hi Bill

    I am an ex proffesional piano player but have not played for 20 years, I have recently retired and have taken up the instrument once again, they used to call me Fingers Bottomley but I find these days I cannot make things go fast from brain to fingers. I find your lessons very helpfull and although the information is basic up to now, it has the effect of bringing all my previous musical education back to life. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your next instruction.


    Trevor Bottomley

  • A big hello from Scotland Bill.

    I have a Yamaha PSR E413 which I bought just before Christmas and I have to tell you that I have found your emails and Piano Video Lessons a must for someone like me just starting out to learn about playing this wonderful instrument. I play the b flat trumpet, however it is a bit loud and I upset to many family members with it.
    I think you are a gem and cannot thank you enough for the breadth of material you provide in a very professional manner.
    Kind Regards,
    Robert Douglas

  • Recently I received an email from Mr. Romer that told me
    “G is 3 white keys below middle C. Middle C is the white key immediately to the left of the group of two black keys right near the middle of the piano keyboard.”

    I am confused, all the books that I have read show that G is the note that is the second key in the 3 black key section.” Which is correct?

    • Actually, Don, the middle black key in the 3-black-key group is G# (“G sharp”). Perhaps you weren’t reading the ‘#’ symbol after the G, which is significant.

  • Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the video on patterns. Very helpfull. I need to start practicing to master
    this method. Anything you send is appreciated.

    Regards and keep up the good work.


  • Please do me favour i want to know how I can download your piano lesson video through internet the lesson is ok but, i still need the video guide thanks

  • Hi Bill,

    I’ve played and taught mucical instruments for many years. I’m now trying to teach myself the piano. I’ve learned more from your web site than I have from any other in such a short time. I applaud your site for providing information that is useful without overwhelming us with an enormus and confusing list of teaching products at exhorbitant prices. In regard to Thomas’s critisizim ( a lot of nerve considering your lesson was FREE) there is no problem following your video. Also, Duane Shinn’s videos are confusing and way overpriced. I ask thomas to show where he has a free two year piano course. The only thing amazing is the prices he charges.

  • Thank you for the free introduction on using patterns to improve piano playing. The mini video was easy to follow and view. I appreciate the excellent quality of your performance. Also, free piano lessons are wonderful; however, I sincerely feel someone who works as hard as you in preparing such a fantastic instruction deserves to be paid. I truly enjoyed the pleasant, relaxing sounds. Feel good music is the way to go. Ultimately, my goal is to make music in the way that the Beattles arranged “Let It Be”. I have heard rumors that they had critics, but their music has been awe- inspiring. Along those lines, your patterns are just as good. As long as your prices are affordable, do not hesitate to charge me for valuable lessons.

    Again, thank you for emailing me.

  • Bill, thanks for the lessons. I,m just learning how to play. you’ve given me lots of pointers thanks. I just need to practice what I learned so far. I wish I could play like you some day.


  • Sir Bill i realy want to thank you for your lessons may God bless you there are some informasion i have been looking for you just gave some to me and i will also love to buy ur book for more perfection.

  • Hi Bill!

    Happy New Year! Loved your latest video lesson on patterns. Will have lots of fun practicing those.
    All of your lessons have been invaluable and have changed my playing abilities. Keep them coming!

  • Bill: I have never had a chance to play music during my lifetime: noone to teach me. A year ago I bought a small keyboard (61 keys) and am trying to learn by myself.
    Your video is great and I have practiced over and over your lesson. At 70 years in April, I haop to be able to play a little thanks to you.

  • Bill: Actually, I haven’t bought your piano lessons but the video you have been sending me helped me a lot. There is a drastic change in the way I play piano now than before. Thank you very much

  • Bill: I took lessons as a child but for a long time I did play on the piano. Then recently the
    desire to learn to improvise was very strong and
    Bill: I started your lessons.The lessons were very
    helpful but then I started having trouble with
    my computer and then my printer therefore I fell
    behind in the lessons. I am now able to start
    again and am excited about the lessons. To my
    surprise am able to keep up and anxiously looking forward to the next lesson. Thank you!


  • Bill, I am always learning daily from your style of teaching. I don’t see how anyone can not do without getting your piano guide because watching the videos only will just render many of the lessons blank and the guide fills in all the gaps so it makes learning faster and easier. You have put in more time and effort in teaching us than I am sure you get from the modest cost of your guide. I for one, am very grateful.

  • There have been times when I’ve asked other musicians for help but they seemed to have no time and just downright refused. That’s why I was excited when I saw your link. I have really enjoyed this video. You have it paced so that an aged individual can catch on easily. There have been other companies that were just too fast for me to comprehend. Do you also have videos with patterns for Gospel music. Thanks for what you’re doing for no charge. God will bless you tremendously.

  • I am so happy to find you again, on FaceBk. I have some of your lessons fromway back thru my e-mail. I want to continue, any
    suggestions? Where can I find you?

    • Hi DJ, here or Facebook is a good place to start. I don’t sent a lot of emails out, but my email list (the free piano lessons at the upper right) is also the place where I let everyone know of new courses, etc. Thanks for saying hi!

  • hi bill graham here i just want to know what dvds do u have
    spricing up songs with chords and rythems i like the way you teach
    about taking the chords from your hands and playing thats just what i need
    so i would be intrested in a dvd on it get back and let me know
    keep up the good work am stuck in a rut bill so maybe u can help me
    hope to here from u soon

    • Hey Graham, thanks for your comments! I have a course on creating great sounding chords here: https://pianochordsfast.com, and I’ll be releasing a new course on left/right hand coordination and piano rhythms in just a couple of days. Just signup for my email lessons on the right side of the blog here, and I’ll keep you updated. Thanks again!

  • Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a piano in your life is also the one we’ve known about the longest–the uplifting effect it has on your spirit. When you sit on that bench and open the keyboard cover, you tap into a powerful way to communicate emotion, enliven a gathering or just relax.

  • I am always interested in improving on knowing how to accompany on the piano while singing. But I’m not happy with the way I play…sounds too rigid. So I watched your video two times, and will watch it again. I have always used the number method for my fingers: 1 (thumb) 2 (Index?), 3 (middle) 4th(?) and 5 (pinkie). So, at the very beginning of your video I was confused in connecting the right fingers to the right key. Yes, I am almost 83 so my brain is definitely slower, but I know I can learn because just in the last five years I have learned how to play music w/o the notes for the left hand. I only use the base note of the chord. My right hand plays the melody along with the chord. Which means I have to invert the chords because the melody note has to coincide with the note in the chord as the top note, so the need to invert. Which is still a challenge since I learned to recognize the chords on paper (like you mentioned in another video). I got overwhelmed when you started playing the patterns faster, then adding all the other wonderful parts to the music. When you started with “arpeggios”, that is a pattern I sometimes use for endings to a a song. Or, I will play a couple of the chords, then the arpeggio. I use both left and right hands as I move up the keyboard. I do not have a DVD player so cannot order your DVD’s, but you mentioned something that I can do “online”. I can put my Ipad on my digital piano and listen to you while trying to apply what you are teaching. We moved into a condo and I gave my baby grand to a piano teacher near the house we lived in and he added it to his other piano. He reminds me of you, and especially when he overwhelms me; however, I have learned so much about playing only with the chords from him.
    At this time he is not available. So, what do you suggest for me? I don’t pick up fast, prefer slow, methodical method. But when I catch on, look out!!!!!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Mary Ann! Most of my courses are available in online or DVD format. The one I usually recommend to get started is “Professional Piano Chords for Everyday Pianists,” which you can find all about here: https://pianochordsfast.com/

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