Blues Piano Courses & New Blues Lessons 😎

Hey everyone :wave:

The folks in the PianoGroove Community voted slow blues lessons as the most in-demand style in this poll, and so I figured let’s tackle this one first before moving onto the other styles.

Earlier this month we recorded 3 blues courses. Each of the 3 courses contains 12 lessons and gives a different perspective into how the blues can be played and interpreted. I expect the editing stage to be finished around New Year time.

Find out more on the new courses below.

Blues Masterclass Course w/ Jon Cleary

This course contains 6 beginner-focused lessons on the 12-bar blues, and 6 more advanced lessons on the 8-bar blues; the more common blues form played in New Orleans. Here is the course overview video:

Jon also hosted his first live seminar on PianoGroove earlier this month, check that out here if you haven’t already:

New Orleans Blues & Ballads w/ Josh Paxton

The second course taught by Josh Paxton incorporates the blues and also more general New Orleans piano styles. We explore the playing styles of the most famous New Orleans piano players including James Booker, Dr John, and Henry Butler. Here are some excerpts from a lesson in this course which covers more general blues piano ideas and principles:

Soulful Blues & Gospel Piano Course w/ Kyle Roussel

The final course taught by Kyle Roussel is mixture of blues and gospel piano lessons. 6 lessons in the course are harmony-focused, and the other 6 lessons improvisation-focused. In this course we use the 12 bar form and gospel hymns to apply and demonstrate the theoretical concepts. In some of the improvisation lessons we also apply the concepts to a well-known jazz standard. Here is an excerpt from the lesson on passing chords:

If you have read this far, your opinion is needed :grin:

I have a question regarding the lesson graphics for these courses.

My view is that it is better to just show the basic 12 bar or 8 bar form with the substitutions and passing chords above the form where applicable (you will see this in the above lessons).

I feel that being able to clearly visualise the form and the potential ‘harmonic pathways’ is more useful that showing the (often very dense) notation examples above the keyboards.

Please note that every performance and demonstration will be fully notated and available in PDF format in the downloads section should they wish to be used. I will also add these files in audio and MIDI so that they can be studied aurally and transposed if desired.

There are some example where the actual notation will be used in the lessons, for example the demonstration of a specific bass line or voicing technique. However, for most performances I plan to use the basic 12-bar or 8-bar blues form as the graphics as seen above.

If anyone has any feedback/ideas/suggestions on this approach please let me know, and more updates to follow as the lessons are edited.



Thanks for continuing to add to the offerings on PianoGroove!

I think you’re right in your approach. “[B]eing able to clearly visualise the form and the potential ‘harmonic pathways’ is more useful tha[n] showing the (often very dense) notation examples above the keyboards”–especially if you’re making the fully notated PDF version available for download. Now that I’ve begun to work with Logic, I also see how useful is your including the audio and MIDI files.

1 Like

I agree with Scott.

There is a lot going on with this style of music, so showing the full notation above the keyboard could actually be distracting. As you said, the full notation will be available in pdf format.

Thanks for all you do Hayden!

I agree too. Especially if the pdf is there. You can always pull it up or print it if you want to look at it while watching the video. Looks like three great new courses!!!

agreee. looking forward to slow blues

Good idea. It’s a good reminder of the underlying structure no matter what approach chords and fills are chosen to embellish it.

Looks like Kyle Roussel can lay down da Funk on the organ too. Looking forward to digging into these.

1 Like

Hello :wave:

My suggestion is to have more the whole sheet moving with the fingerings, rather than only the basic form.
In my experience i love when having those video , taking a part to loop it . For the blues the basic form pretty obvious so not sure its really help much . Maybe just having a second color to add the basic chord at the top of the sheet music , if it could help ?

For me the great of those video is being able to loop some part , even not having to look for the chart . Without having to load the midi files into my DAW (not sure lot of student does it )
Seing the videos this way with only the hands moving for me looks weird, like the video feel empty without the full notes chart… I find even better to have only the pdf and an audio files … ye for me the videos seems quite useless without the charts sliding with the hands.

But if i am the only one … :innocent: :sweat_smile:

Whatever Those news lessons sound great again ! :sunny: Bravo

1 Like

Thanks Pierrot - we will keep that in mind with the editing.

As mentioned all of the performances and demonstrations will be notated and available in PDF format in the downloads section along with the audio files.

We have used some of the full graphics in the actual lessons, and I will share a few lessons here in the coming weeks before they are finalised and published to get any final feedback on the layout and structure.

1 Like

@Hayden Hey Hayden, is there any update on the eta of these courses? The live stream was awesome today.

Hey @TimD

I have just finished editing Kyle’s Gospel/Blues course, you can find it here:

The editing on Jon’s course is around half finished. With the above course published I will double up with the editor to get Jon’s course finished as a priority.

I plan to make the first 6 lessons available shortly which focus on the 12 bar blues - the other 6 lessons on the 8 bar blues will take a little longer.

Thanks for your patience… it’s been a bit of a juggling act this month with the editing and live seminars taking place.

I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the blues seminar yesterday.

On a related note we are creating ‘mini studies’ which are edited after the streams and additional graphics and transcriptions are added where relevant.

Here’s an example with the tune “True”:

PDF Transcription: True - Full Transcription.pdf (703.1 KB)

If there are any sections of the live streams that you think would be suited to these ‘mini studies’ send the timestamps over to me. It will be really nice to have these all in one place with relevant downloads and notation etc…


As I’m watching them I’ll keep it in mind. I know there are some spots that I really want to spend some time looping on in these seminars.

1 Like

Hey @TimD and other bluesy-groovers :wave:

We have just published the first draft of Jon’s 12 bar blues lessons here:

I still need to export and upload MIDI files and audio files of the performances and add these as downloads. The PDF notation for each lesson is uploaded as a single document in the downloads section of each page. I will split these documents into multiple PDFs.

There is also a final lesson in this course “Putting Everything Together” which will be added shortly.

This is just half of the footage we recorded but it sits nicely as a focused course on the 12-bar blues form. With the other 6 lessons we will create a focused course on New Orleans Style 8-Bar Blues - this is being edited, notated, and uploaded and I will post here as soon as it is ready.

In the interim, enjoy the 12-bar blues lessons above! :sunglasses:


Here’s a taster of Jon’s 8 Bar Blues Course which will be ready in the next week or so.

I really like this style of blues with rich harmony and lots of jazzy passing chords :star_struck:

For these lessons we will mainly show the 8 bar form with chord symbols for the graphics. Where relevant we will show the notation/voicings in a similar format to this lesson on 12 Bar Blues Passing Chords. The performances and demos will be available in PDF and MIDI format in the lesson downloads.

If anyone has any feedback on the 12 bar blues course don’t hesitate to let me know. Or if there any parts of the lessons that you would like to see notated etc…




Wow i just see the Blues and gospel Walk up … the editing with alternating full sheet music and leadsheet looks great and wise. bravo !
and the content is really tasty too :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses:

Awesome, thanks for letting me know Pierrot - most of the lessons in the gospel blues course have been edited in this format with a mixture of notation and the plain form.

You can also find all of the notation from the videos in the PDF downloads.

I’ve been exploring the new material today and it’s all great! Not sure if this is the right place to ask about this, but any chance of Jon running a blues classroom? The courses are brilliant, but I tend to get over enthusiastic and skip around, so the structure of a classroom would be really helpful.

I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the new blues lessons @JJC :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for the suggestion with the blues classroom - that’s something we can look into. At the moment we just have the monthly seminar slot with Jon, the next session is in 6 days and you can submit any questions here:

I’m sure Jon can give you some great advice on how to structure practice time perhaps on daily/weekly/monthly basis - that would be a great question to submit.

I am also turning some of the seminar content into ‘mini practice studies’ here:

There are a few new lessons for this course in the pipeline on the following topics:

  • Hand Independence
  • Boogie-Woogie patterns
  • Turnarounds

This course will be a nice resource with specific guidance on how to practice certain elements of the New Orleans piano style.

1 Like

Jon’s 8 Bar Blues Masterclass Course has now been published here:

There’s still a little work to do with the PDF downloads but all of the video content is up on the site.

If anyone spots anything usual with the videos or the lesson pages just let me know.