How To Play Like Beegie Adair

Thank you Hayden - I loved this seminar…. I listen to a lot of Beegie Adair.
I’m a beginner so the sus chords are challenging but hope to improve. Great links re transcription in the seminar too - I’ve been very hesitant about transcription but I’m going to give it a go now :grin:

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Great suggestion @celia, we can certainly cover this tune next month. I agree Beegie Adair’s arrangement is lovely:

This performance is in the key of Ab (the original being Bb and the key that we used for the tutorial).

It is a very productive exercise to transpose standards so we can explore and discuss that for the first half of the seminar, and then move onto the actual transcription for the second half. I think that would work well.


That’s great to hear @donna1 - the sooner that we get started with transcription the better.

Here are a few other pointers:

  • Transcription is very difficult to start with so be prepared for that. It’s important to pick something that is just beyond our comfort zone and that way the material should be challenging and rewarding as well as achievable and enjoyable. Jon explains this very well in his video here.

  • For myself the key is regularly revisiting the task at hand, making sure not to ‘burn ourselves out’ by studying something for hours on end. Instead split that time over the course of a few days or a week. I always find it much easier when I come back to the task the next day with a fresh mind.

  • Other useful tools and resources are Tuomo’s Ear Training Exercises - perhaps complete one per day to train your ears - and also the Transcription Themed Course that you already mentioned.

Thanks for all of this feedback Leo and I'm glad you enjoyed the seminar. I agree it's a nice format to follow with the theory notations, playing the recording, and then breaking down the transcription.

Agreed. I have scheduled a transcription study next month on the “My Foolish Heart” recording that Celia shared above.


I will add the blue highlights over the notation to make it easier to follow. I also forgot to change the in-video notation for the C Section (1:05:00 onwards) so I will fix that.

Yes as I outlined to Donna above, it’s important to split our transcription time over different days, and when we come back to revisit the song we should see noticeable improvement each time.

I split that 8/9 hours worth of practice time over 3 weeks or so, usually spending 30 minutes o 1 hour each time.

That number is an estimate so for the seminar in November on “My Foolish Heart” I will track my time and keep a log of my practice time to get a more accurate figure to share.

Brilliant, I’m very happy to hear that :sunglasses:


Thanks, Hayden. This was a great session. Beegie Adair is my favorite jazz pianist and I always wondered what she was actually playing that made her sound so good. By the way, as a joke I played Adair’s recording of “When I Fall in Love” for my wife and told her it was me playing after practicing really hard. She said that while it was “pretty good,” she didn’t like all the “extra stuff” I threw in and that I played it “too slow.” Seriously. That’s what she said. Tomorrow I’ll play her some Oscar Peterson so I can find out how bad my improvisation is.


Thanks Hayden! I can’t wait. I did notice her version was not in Bb, so wondered if you would cover it. I am so happy you are!

Having a lot of fun with the seminar you did yesterday. I am so glad you are covering Beegie. I think a lot of people in the community love her style.

It is great to see what she is actually playing. Even more important, you explain her use of chords and substitutes, provide an understanding of her fills and how they relate to the underlying chords while emphasizing her styling techniques. Simply outstanding!!! Thank you so much for all you do.


Hey Beegie Adair fans!

November’s live event listings will arrive in everyone’s inbox shortly.

On the 19th November I am hosting a listening and transcription session on Beegie Adair’s solo piano recording of the tune “My Foolish Heart”.

Thanks for suggesting this lovely recording @celia and I recommend everyone to study the recording ahead of the seminar:

Seminar Downloads

Beegie Adair arranges the tune in Ab Major, which is a whole step below the key that we arranged the tune on PianoGroove (Bb Major).

I have created a new chord chart in Ab Major and also an annotated version with the rough voicings and reharmonisations that Beegie Adair is playing. Download them both here:

I need to spend more time listening and transcribing what she is playing, but the annotations are at least close to what she plays.

In the seminar we will breakdown all of her voicings, fills, and explain the theory and logic behind her reharmonisations.

Similar to the last session on “When I Fall In Love” her arrangement features lots of suspended harmony and so again we will revisit this reharm technique which is very characteristic of her playing.

Seminar Homework

  • Familiarise yourself with the tune in Ab Major - both the melody and the harmony

  • Listen intently to the recording whilst looking at the annotated lead sheet. Follow along and try to match the annotations to what you are hearing, for example try to actually hear the #11s, b9s in her voicings, and other alterations. Check out my recent seminar on chord alterations.

  • Similar to the above point, try to hear the suspended voicings that she is using on the recording. Sus chords have a very distinctive ‘bright and uplifting’ sound that is easily recognisable with practice.

  • Play the recording and follow along whilst looking at the annotated lead sheet and try familiarise yourself with the sound and character of sus voicings. The goal here is to learn to recognise this sound when listening to recordings.

  • If you’re new to sus voicings here is a quick lesson to brush up on the underlying theory:

See you all in the seminar!


Thank you so much Hayden! I like having the directed homework assignment and will start working on it right away.


@celia - there was a small error on the annotated chord chart.

Bar 6 and 22 was meant to be a B13 passing chord, not Bb13. I have corrected this and re-uploaded the PDF.


Wow. Thank you Celia. … listening to it now - Superb link shared by Hayden. :star_struck:

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Here is a electronic version of the chord changes for Beegie Adair’s “My Foolish Heart”:

We will be discussing the chord substitutions in detail in the seminar tomorrow.

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Thank You so much Hayden Beegie is an artist I listen to all the time. I plan to be there. Wish you would transcribe her arrangement of “Little Drummer Boy” for Christmas.

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Thanks to everyone who tuned into my seminar yesterday, it was a fun session.

Unfortunately I forgot to record a local version of the seminar on my desktop, and to make matters worse the live event suffered from an archive failure on Vimeo’s back-end which means that the recording is not currently showing. I reached out to them and they said:

Our engineering team is working on recovering the full archive for this event. As this is a manual process, this may take a bit of time, but we will reach back out to you as soon as we’re able to restore the full video.

If it isn’t restored by Monday I will record it again.

Apologies for anyone wanting to watch the replay over the weekend, and I will ensure either the original version, or a new version is added by end of play on Monday.


Hello Hayden
Yes, it was a great session - sorry you may have extra work to do by doing a new version… hope the engineers come through for you!
Look forward to more Beegie in another seminar?

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Thanks for the update Hayden. You had a lot on your plate that day. The seminar was over the top good! I continue to learn so much. Will look forward to seeing it sometime next week. I know we all appreciate your hard work.

Love everything Beegie!!!

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No problem at all - I can re-record it tomorrow morning.

The video still says “optimisation pending” which is usually finished after a few minutes of the stream finishing. I will re-record and then if the engineers can recover the original we will have 2 versions :grin: as I’m sure they will both be a little different.

Yes totally… we will continue to analyse her work.

Thanks @celia - I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

Yes I will re-record it tomorrow morning, I’m recording a new course at the moment so it’s no extra trouble.


Hi Beegie Adair fans :wave:

This seminar has been re-recorded and I’ve also added the chapters.

Enjoy and any questions with the material presented we can discuss here or directly in the seminar comment section.



Thanks so much Hayden. I really liked that you performed the song in its entirety at the end. Very helpful!

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Thank you Hayden… this is great!

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Great I’m glad the final performance was useful @celia :sunglasses:

One of the most important take-aways of the seminar is in the chapter “Tips For Transcribing & Absorbing Material” where we discuss applying the harmonic or melodic material that we have transcribed to situations in other tunes.

It can be very enjoyable to play through a transcription in its entirety, but don’t overlook the opportunity to truly absorb a particular element of the transcription by applying it in context of other tunes that we are playing.

After doing this many times, the voicing/reharm/substitution/fill/lick/line/ or whatever it may be, becomes part of our ‘musical vocabulary’ that we can then use freely either when playing spontaneously, or when arranging.

A precursor to this is taking the element around different keys which we did touch upon in the seminar with the F Minor bass line movement. In hindsight I should have included more examples and applications of this in the seminar. Noted for future seminars!

Thanks @donna1 - enjoy!

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We have another Beegie Adair Listening & Transcription session later this month which will take place on Wednesday 26th January.

Add to calendar and submit your questions on the seminar page here:

This will be the 4th seminar discussing Beegie Adair’s playing style and all of the seminar URLs, homework assignments, and guidance are documented in this thread for quick and easy reference.

January 2022 Session - “But Beautiful” - Beegie Adair

Here is the recording of “But Beautiful” that we will analyse and transcribe:

You can find the basic chord chart here that we will be working from:

As usual we will discuss and analyse Beegie’s voicings, reharmonisations, and breakdown the fills and decoration that she uses in the introduction, the turnarounds, and in the trio section.

“But Beautiful” - Performed by Tony Bennet & Bill Evans:

When learning a new tune it’s always a good idea to find a strong vocal version to use for inspiration. I haven’t learnt this tune before and so one of the first things I did was search on Spotify to find a nice vocal version.

My favourite vocal rendition of “But Beautiful” is sung by Tony Bennet:

I like to listen to the vocal version for a week or so to get a feel for the lyrics and how the placement of the melody can be pulled and pushed. The above recording also has the some lovely accompaniment by Bill Evans.

Seminar Preparation

  • Listen to the Beegie Adair recording and study her voicings and arrangement

  • Play through the chord chart to familiarise yourself with the harmony

  • Learn the lyrics and play along with the Tony Bennet version

  • Browse YouTube/Spotify for other recordings and create a playlist of the ones you like

  • Notate anything of interest on the lead sheet ready for discussion in the seminar

See you in the seminar!