The blues is an American art form. With a repeated chord pattern in twelve measures that the piano player can quickly learn, the blues is a fun style to play. This article assumes that you know a little bit about the piano and the notes, so here goes: Let's learn the basics of the blues!
The first thing you want to do is choose a key that is comfortable for you. Let's pick the key of C. In the blues there will be twelve bars consisting of four measures of the C7 chord, followed by two measures of the F7 chord, then two measures of the C7 chord, one measure of G7, one measure of F7, and then two measures of C7. To use this pattern in any key, you would simply transpose it using the roman numeral symbols I/I/I/I/IV/IV/I/I/V/IV/I/I with a seventh added to each chord.
Depending on your comfort level, start by just holding each chord for four beats as whole notes in your left hand. Then exchange the whole notes for quarter notes. Play the whole 12 bar pattern using first whole notes on the chords and then quarter notes. Keep a very steady tempo.
Next we will learn the notes of the blues scale. You will use these notes in your right hand. For our key of C, you will use three scales, the C blues scale, the F blues scale, and the G blues scale.
The notes of the C blues scale are: C, Eb, F, F#, G, and Bb.
The notes of the F blues scale are: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, and Eb.
The notes of the G blues scale are: G, Bb, C, C#, D, and F.
As you are playing the C7 chord in your left hand, you will want to use the notes of the C blues scale in your right hand. As you play the F7 chords in your left hand, use the notes of the F blues scale in your right hand. Same goes for the G7 chord - use the notes of the G blues scale in your right hand.
Start off your improvisation with very simple ideas. The most difficult part that many of my students face is trying to get their left hands to keep a steady pattern while their right hands are doing something different. To overcome this difficulty, go very slowly with simple rhythms in your right hand. Also keep in mind that you don't have to use every note in the blues scales. Start out with one or two notes to play over your left hand pattern with simple rhythms.
Play the pattern every day, and experiement with playing the blues scales in different registers of the piano. You will soon find yourself playing the blues