How to Play a Funk Piano Song

Playing the piano is a skill that is often cultivated through years of practice and instruction. Learning how to play different genres on the piano is a fun treat for the piano player already acquainted with the more classical styles of playing. Funk music is a wild and interesting genre that has captured audiences for over 35 years. Learn to play a funk piano song.

Learn the basics of piano playing and piano technique through formal instruction or private tutoring. Gain a solid understanding of music theory in both its written and played forms before attempting to learn funk genre styles.

Listen to some great examples of piano funk like Herbie Hancock or even Robbie Williams music to get an idea of the general style. Differentiate this music from other genres like rock, pop or jazz. Take note of the aggressive beat style of the music as compared to other styles.

Start with learning basic blues chord progressions to gain a solid understanding of the theory behind funk playing. Gain a working relationship with the C7 with a raised 9th chord technique as this will be utilized quite frequently in funk playing.

Learn the ghosting technique where you will play a melody in one hand and then ghost the melody in the other hand. Syncopate the downbeats and really emphasize the beginning of the C7 chords. Use a fairly strong style on the keys to emphasize the beats.

Add in an F7 chord for more variations and integrate the chord into both hands using the ghosting technique. Play with a seasoned funk player and a metronome at first to gain better control before you move on to playing the song at full speed.

Funk chord progressions usually utilize the I, IV and VII of any given chord to push the progression through the music.

Once you've gained a solid enough understanding of music theory, write your own music riffs using the standard funk progression for variation.

Play along with favorite funk recordings and add your own improvisation into the mix, since funk music is built on the notion of improv. See how easily you can progress the chords in the key while keeping the basic funk style.

Approved by Jesse Anderson