There are nine piano skills that you must have to be considered an intermediate piano player.

In my latest YouTube video, I’m breaking down each of these must-have skills for you.

If you’re a total beginner, don’t worry—I’ve got you covered! This video is the perfect guide to help you understand exactly what skills you need to acquire to reach intermediate status.


Let me know in the comments which level you’re at!


What separates a beginner from an intermediate pianist? I’m going to be going over that today and be sure to say to the end, because if you are not quite at intermediate yet, you’re going to know exactly what you need to learn in order to get there. So let’s acknowledge that defining intermediate can really vary based on genre and your personal goals. But for our purposes today, we’re going to focus on adult learners who are looking to play their favorite songs, for example, the Beatles, Billy Joel, and so on. So let’s go.

Number one, intermediate players know all of their chords, major, minor, diminished, seventh and so on, and they can very smoothly and fluidly move between them. And not only that, they know all of their chord inversions and they can move very smoothly between those as well.

Number two, all intermediate players know all of their major and minor scales. They can tackle two octaves of every major and minor scale to about 80 beats per minute with the metronome. So I’m going to turn on my metronome and show you what that would look like. And when I say 80 to the metronome, I also mean with eighth notes. So two sounds per click.

Number three, intermediate players can pick up a chord chart and play their favorite songs pretty easily. So that means transitioning from one chord to another isn’t too challenging. They could easily go online, find their chords to the song and play it relatively quickly. So for example, here’s what that would look like with We are the Champions by Queen.

But also, number four, intermediate players can add some interest with rhythm patterns to their chords. That means they’re not just playing the chord plainly like I did, they’re adding some to it. So instead of just … it could be something more like this …

Number five, intermediate players know how to use the sustain pedal correctly. Key emphasis on the word “correctly.” They have a good clean sound with their sustained pedaling. They’re not playing the sustain pedal at the wrong time or just holding it the whole song.

Before I get to the next skills, let me know in the comments, are you a beginner or intermediate player? Let me know.

Number six, intermediate players know some very important piano techniques. For example, using your arm weight to play chords. So watch me play these chords. I’m actually using my arm. It is not all just coming from my fingers. We use gravity with our arms. Or on this arpeggio that I’m doing, I have a relaxed wrist. That’s another really important technique.

Number seven, intermediate players can infuse their music with emotion. They understand dynamics, which basically means how loud and soft the music is, and they can manipulate things like that to convey feeling. So for example, with We are the Champions, an intermediate player would know to make the verse quieter. But when you get to the chorus, we’re going to really get in there and make it loud like this when we’re singing, “We are the champions.” So quiet verse loud chorus, that really brings some power to We are the Champions.

Number eight, intermediate players have a decent grasp on reading music. So if you are that adult who wants to play their favorite songs, the best way to do that is through something called lead sheets. And a lead sheet is basically what jazz and pop pianists use to play these awesome songs. So you’ll see the melody written out for your right hand and the chords written out for your left hand.

Number nine, and finally, intermediate players can take on these lead sheets and jazz them up with their own improvisation and embellishments. So here’s how that would look with Yesterday.

So how many of these skills do you have? If you feel like you still have a long way to go, or maybe you’ve ticked off some of the boxes, don’t worry. I do have something special for you. I recommend checking out my free training. It shows you exactly what order to take you from zero to being able to have a lot of these skills, and it shows you how to learn these skills. Just like Nick who joined my piano accelerator program six months ago, he’s able to play tons of his favorite songs. He went from being a complete beginner who was very hesitant to play for other people, to someone who can sing and play for other people all at the same time.


So head to the link in the description below to access the free training and also a link to see Nick’s full video testimonial. So if this video helped you, be sure to like and subscribe, and I will see you next time.