Interval practice

Hi, I’m uncertain what it means to practice the intervals in the Jazz Beginner series? I understand the intervals but does it mean i play scales from each interval?

Hi, someone can correct me if I’m wrong but I’d say that you (we!) need to become totally comfortable while calculating the intervals for any major scale.

In order to read a lead sheet and to improvise, you need to know in no time which note corresponds to any interval in all the scales: what’s the 3rd of F major? What’s the 11th in flat G? What’s the flat 13th in A?..

From there you can easily calculate any kind of chords, have fun and progress.

I hope this helps.

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Hi @enhowland :wave:

In our beginner lesson on intervals we introduce the interval names and show how they are used in jazz piano chord voicings.

As you progress through the beginner/early-intermediate courses you will quickly become familiar with the names as we are always referencing them and using them to construct chord voicings and progressions.


In our Foundations Practice Guide we explore a major scale drill variation where we play the notes of the major scale using different intervals such as 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, and 7ths.

For students new to jazz piano, I recommend to follow the Essentials Practice Guide which will teach you the absolute essentials needed to progress onto the next beginner courses.


If you’re interested in the practical application of the scale-based intervals drills…

This can be useful for creating patterns when improvising, and also for harmonising melody lines. The latter is something that I love to do when playing jazz standards, in particular harmonising a melody line with 3rd or 6th intervals.

Here’s an example using the tune "Moon River. Notice the step-wise melody in the 3rd bar where the melody walks down the notes of C major scale:

We can harmonise this with 3rd intervals:

and here with 6th intervals:

Being able to play scales with intervals helps to do this kind of thing spontaneously when playing from lead sheets.


As @Chiari mentions, having a good knowledge of intervals helps with reading lead sheets, choosing suitable voicings, and improvisation.

@enhowland - all of this information comes naturally as you learn to play jazz standards, so remember not to get too bogged down in theory and spend 50% of your time learning the jazz standard arrangements.