Friday, February 1, 2013

The Four Chords Song

A few days ago, I sent this video to one of my students. Silly YouTube videos are not typically part of my modus operandi when it comes to teaching, but sometimes you have to lighten things up, don't you think?

This student of mine is an adult beginner, and I give him so much credit. It is much more difficult to learn an instrument as an adult than as a child, and he's not just learning how to play the piano--he's learning how to read music, he's learning some music theory, and we've just begun some ear training too.

Last week, I gave him a simple introduction to three chords that are hugely important in all music (I, IV, and V) and mentioned that almost every pop song out there includes this chord progression. Of course these chords are foundational in classical music too, but it's much easier to hear the progression in pop songs because of the relative simplicity of the music.

So I found this video which displays just how prevalent this chord progression really is--the band jokes (in a live version) that you can't write a hit single without it! The progression actually contains four chords in this order: I, V, vi, IV (and I promised my student I'd explain to him what the "vi" was next week). The other three chords we'd already talked about and played together, so I thought this would be a fun way to show him how they are used in songs he's heard before. Listening to these four harmonies over and over is also good ear training for him.

Since it's pretty entertaining I thought I'd share it here on my blog today! I hope you enjoy it.

(Please ignore the one or two curse words.) 


  1. Kate, this is an AWESOME way to show the power of simple chord progressions! My 8th grade piano student will love this. Where did you find it?

  2. I'm so glad you can use it!! I just searched on YouTube and it came up....I think I typed in "I IV V pop song" or something like that...haha! I know so many songs use that progression but I'm not familiar enough with most pop music to know which ones they are. So I got lucky and found this medley.


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