Am Sus4 X 2 / Am X 2 / Am Sus2 X 2 / Am X 2
When they can play that sequence with the RH, add the LH playing A octaves in the bass. I like to get them to play one LH octave for every two chords in the RH. With the LH on A, play the full cycle of sus and minor chords in the RH.
Then move the LH down to F and repeat the same RH pattern . Then move to D in the LH for a whole sequence and finally move up to E. I tend to change the very last two Am chords in the sequence to an E major chord in first inversion to give the progression a nice ending.
Heres a video explanation I just put together:
I find students eyes light up when they hear this progression and they can wait to get into it. I reckon it is a fantastic exercise as it uses both hands and pedal, teaches students to move around the piano, to keep a steady rhythm and to articulate each finger in the RH.
You might not get through all of that in one lesson, so dont feel you have to rush. You can get students comfortable with the Heart and Soul progression of triads first, then introduce sus chords the next lesson, then the epic progression after that.
Theres no right or wrong way and, of course, every student is different.
The best thing is that the above exercise naturally leads into playing chords in the RH with different bass notes. This really is the basis of a lot of cool musical progressions.
Asking a student to play any sus chord in their RH and to experiment with different bass notes in the LH uncovers some really great harmonies .
How cool is that?
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So, if you play the notes C-F-G with fingers 1-4-5 in your RH, you are playing a suspended 4th chord. Likewise, if you play the notes C-D-G with fingers 1-2-5, you are playing a suspended 2nd in whatever key you are in .
Suspensions, by their very nature, are designed to resolve to either the major or minor triad, and students have fun hearing this tension and resolution. Get them to try suspensions and resolutions in a few different keys before you go on.
Now for what my kids call the Epic sus chord progression! Its in A minor, so get students to start by playing an Am triad with RH just below middle C, octaves As in LH and of course using the pedal. That is their starting position. The RH simply follows a repeating pattern played slowly:
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