Advanced Jazz Courses - Roadmap & Syllabus

Hey everyone… welcome to the Advanced Jazz Roadmap!

To recap our Beginner & Intermediate Roadmaps:

  • In the Beginner Syllabus, we explored the basic theory, of jazz harmony, scales, chord formation, progressions, and extensions.

  • In the Intermediate Syllabus we introduced more advanced harmonic concepts including chord alterations, chord substitutions, unusual chord voicings, modal scales, & transcription.

The Advanced Courses on PianoGroove have a strong focus on improvisation.

After studying the previous courses you should be able to read and interpret lead sheets and find suitable ways to interpret the melody and voice the chords and progressions in any tune.

The first course in the Advanced Syllabus gives you guidance and insight for creating improvised solos, endings & turnarounds using the 1625 progression:

Course 1: Intros Endings & Turnarounds

If you are new to improvisation, this is a nice place to start.

We start by discussing the theory behind the 1625 progression and how to construct it numerically, in any key. We also explore an extended version of the 1625 which can be used to create lengthier introductions.

Creating introductions is best explained in the context of tunes, and so for the rest of this course we create improvised introductions for the following tunes:

Some of these tunes have been selected because the original changes contain many 1625 progressions. Learning these tunes will help you spot and identify this common progression in the tunes you are working on.

Course 2: Advanced Improvisation Concepts

For this course, Tuomo has removed ‘style’ from teaching, ie. you are not simply copying his style of playing. Instead, he outlines a specific process to help you find and develop your own sound when improvising. An exciting concept for students looking to develop their improvisation skills.

The lessons in this course should be watched in sequential order, as each lesson builds upon the previous.

You can complete this course using the melody that Tuomo outlines, or alternatively, you can do it with your own melody that works over a 251. After you transcribe a melody, follow the process that Tuomo outlines and you will understand how far just 1 melody can take you when improvising.

Course 3: Walking Bass & Bluesy Tunes

This course starts with a study of the major blues scales and a blues-inspired arrangement of “Georgia On My Mind”. If you’re looking for a bluesy jazz piano arrangement… this is a great number!

We then introduce the basic components of walking bass lines and apply this to “Autumn Leaves” & “Summertime”. For both of these standards we explore a variety of left hand walking bass patterns with an improvised right hand lines.

We finish with a study of the tune “Cry Me A River” where we apply the minor blues scale.

Course 4: How To Play In A Jazz Band

Welcome to this course on “How To Play With Other Jazz Musicians”. These lessons will prepare you for playing in a jazz band so that you know what to expect, and also what is expected of you.

Playing in a jazz band requires you to perform different roles than that of the solo jazz pianist. One very important role is to provide harmonic support to the soloists throughout the performance. This is known as ‘comping’ which is short for ‘accompanying’.

In these lessons, we explore the common jazz forms and how to numerically analyse tunes so that you can transpose the chord changes.

We then look at a selection of comping voicings that you can use in a trio or big band setting:

We finish this course by analysing a section of Red Garlands Improvised Solo over the tune “There Will Never Be Another You”.

Course 5: Improvisation & Soloing Jazz Standard Studies

This course contains a number of in-depth studies on improvisation over jazz standards. All of the concepts we cover are applicable to any jazz standard you are learning so the tips and concepts can be immediately transferable to any tune you want to improvise over.

We start with “Blue in Green” Improvisation . There’s lots of altered harmony which makes it perfect for applying the melodic minor modes in context. We cover some general concepts that you can apply to any jazz standard. These include arpeggio shapes, approach patterns, enclosures and choosing sustained notes carefully.

We further our study of the tune “Tenderly” by adding upper structure triads and also apply a number of important improvisation concepts including scale runs, chord tone soloing, inner voice movement and stride left-hand style.

This course finishes with a 3-part improvisation study of “Alone Together”. We begin by exploring the form with left-hand voicings and then explore the concepts of target tones, chromaticism, approach patterns, enclosures, locked hands and blues scale improvisation. This is a great tune for learning how to play over minor 251s.

Course 6: Block Chords & Drop 2 Harmony

This jazz voicings course covers an advanced selection of block chords.

The ‘Four Way Close’ is a distinctive style of chord where the voicing is built in closed position, directly below the melody. Block Chord Voicings are generally played in rhythmic unison with the right hand and work particularly well for stepwise melody lines.

Drop 2 Voicings are similar to the Four Way Close but instead of doubling the melody note an octave down in your left, instead we ‘drop’ the second note from the top and play this in out left hand.

Red Garland Voicings create a much fuller block chord sound with a brighter and cheerier quality. This is achieved by doubling the melody in the right hand and adding a note a perfect fifth above the bottom note in the right hand.

We then study Pentatonic Voicings. The important thing is to understand that 1 set of voicings can be used over many different chord types. The great thing about pentatonic voicings is that they are built from 4th intervals and this makes them great for coming chords.

In the jazz standard studies in this course, we apply these block chords in context to deepen our understanding:

Remember that block chords and drop 2 can be applied to any jazz standard. Use these tutorials to apply the concepts to other tunes you are working on.

Course 7: Diminished Harmony

Here we explore the construction of the diminished chord and it’s related dominant 7th chords.

The course then covers a selection of jazz standards containing diminished harmony where we can apply the theory and conepts:

20 Advanced Level Jazz Standard Tutorials By Difficulty

Here are the 20 advanced jazz standard lessons, roughly graded by difficulty, starting with the most accessible and moving onto the more advanced arrangements:

I have also added a * symbol next to my personal favourites. Enjoy!