Introduce Yourself To The PianoGroove Community! 🌎

Thank you so much for the guidance in how to get started, Hayden! As it turns out, I’ve been extremely busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so I may just start with the two courses you recommended after all now that I am on my Christmas holidays.

I did my very first public piano performance in over 25 years last week. I teach at a Catholic school and I accompanied our choir as they sang Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven”. It went wonderfully and was a huge confidence boost for me. I’m jazzed about diving into jazz now that I’ve got that one performance under my belt.



Hi Hayden,

I just wanted to introduce myself as I’m new to Pianogroove.

My name is Dave Stafford - I live in the lovely Peak District countryside, south of Manchester in the UK. I’ve been looking at the free Pianogroove material for a while, and finally decided to jump in with a years subscription just after Christmas…!! I’m really impressed with the quality of the material and the way it’s put together, and I’m really looking forward to getting into it…!!

I’ve been playing jazz tenor sax for 20+ years, and 3 or 4 years ago, I started to get interested in studying the piano. I play with a couple of small jazz groups (in fact, I lead one of the groups), doing fairly regular “local” gigs. My motivation for learning more about jazz piano is multi-faceted - I’m keen to develop my harmonic awareness, to develop my abilities as solo pianist, and also to be able to contribute to the band performances from the pianist’s seat (our regular pianist also doubles on sax). In addition, I would also like to start composing my own music at some point, so good piano “chops” would certainly help with this…!!!

In terms of what I’m listening to at the moment, much of this is European artists e.g. John Taylor, Gwilym Simcock, Django Bates, Esbjorn Svensson (EST), and a particular favourite is Marcin Wasilewski from Poland - wonderful stuff…!!! I also listen to Bill Evans (of course) and Brad Mehldau, and some Kenny Barron.

I’m still finding my way around Pianogroove, but it’s really interesting to hear what others are listening to, and to pick up on some of the questions being raised, and of course the answers…

Best Wishes from the UK,



Welcome Dave!

With your previous experience on sax I’m sure you will be able to jump into any of the material on PianoGroove.

You can find lots of common Q&As in our jazz theory section here: - it might be nice to browse through some of those threads.

I generally recommend that students follow the courses from beginner through to advanced but if there are any course topics that interest you I’d recommend diving straight in.

Our course index page is here:

If you have any questions with the material, or how the website works don’t hesitate to let me know and I’m here to help.

Enjoy the lessons and I look forward to hearing on your progress.


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Hi Hayden,

Many thanks for these links - I’ve actually been working through the beginner material, whilst also looking at some of the intermediate and advanced items, which look great…!!

I’ll check out these links - I’m sure they’ll be very useful…

Cheers, Dave

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Hi Everyone. My name’s Ivor and I live in London, UK. I’ve just joined PianoGroove. I’m so excited, it feels like I’m starting a new adventure !
But I’m also a little daunted - I’ve read through a lot of the posts of people here and it seems that so many of you have a lot of music and piano experience.
My experience is pretty limited and I’m worried that maybe I’m going to find it too difficult.
Having said that, I’ve been playing around with the ‘Nearness of You for Beginners’ Tutorial and I’ve played the first couple of lines so that’s kindof inspired me. I’m not exactly sure about what I’ve been doing (I haven’t come across sus chords before, for example), but I guess I’ll learn more in the theory sessions.
A little about my background: I’ve mainly worked in IT and after programming and system analysis jobs I started a training company (for the techies out there, we mainly taught Unix and Oracle).
I sold the company a while ago (not for a great fortune, unfortunately !).
Now I work from home and have an internet company (Meditations UK) selling devices that help people relax and meditate. I’ve been interested in and practiced yoga and t’ai chi for many years.
Anyway, I’d love to become a reasonable jazz pianist and I’m really impressed with the training material that Hayden has put together.
One more thing, I have fairly small hands - I can just about span an octave. Does anyone else out there have small hands ? And if so, any advice about how this might affect my ability to play ? ( I noticed on the videos that Hayden seems to be able to span almost the entire keyboard !).



Hi Ivor :wave:

Welcome to the PianoGroove community.

I recommend starting with our “Beginner Jazz Syllabus” and I can see you have already found some of those lessons.

Here is the beginner jazz syllabus overview page: Beginner Jazz Syllabus |

You can download the practice planner here:

Foundations_Practice_Guide.pdf (3.5 MB)

Spend a few weeks following that practice plan and you will feel more comfortable with the theory areas. You will also be able to play a few jazz standards which is a nice feeling of accomplishment.

As a beginner, building your repertoire of jazz standards should be a key priority. Playing jazz standards is more enjoyable than theory drills, and I feel that it’s important for students to get a good balance of theoretical studies, and the practical application in standards.

Yes that’s a beautiful tune; one of my personal favourites!

Once you can play the first few lines you actually know most of the tune so always keep the form of the tune in mind (AABA in this case).

And yes we do cover Sus chords in more detail in the upcoming courses. Right now don’t get caught up on the theory. It’s in essence just a variation on a dominant chord.

Here is our lesson on sus chords if you are interested. That lesson is in our “Intermediate” category so perhaps save it until you have worked through more of the “Beginner” lessons.

Having a wide reach helps to play particular chord voicings, but we can always rearrange the notes into a smaller register of the piano.

This is something I’ve become more aware of when I’m teaching. In my newer Iessons I always offer alternative voicings for those with a smaller reach.

Here are a couple of forum posts where small hands are discussed:

Perhaps our advanced jazz teacher @Tuomo can offer some more advice/guidance here. Tuomo is one of the most talented jazz pianists I’ve met and he has smaller than average hands. We certainly don’t need big hands to play jazz!



Hi Dave.

You’ve got a lead on most of us here with your experience. As Hayden has said, you surely will pick up the piano very quickly. I just wanted to second your choice of artists that you’re listening to. I’ve recently come to find Esbjorn Svensson (EST) and especially Marcin Wasilewski as “wonderful stuff…!!!”

Hi Scott,

Great to hear from you…!! Glad to know that you also enjoy EST and Marcin Wasilewski. Have you heard Marcin’s trio work on the albums they recorded with the trumpeter Tomasz Stanko (“Soul of Things”, “Suspended Night”, and “Lontano”) - absolutely magical…!!!

Great to know there’s another “kindred spirit” out there…!!

Cheers, Dave

I messed up the last post, Here’s what I wanted to share. Dave mentioned Marcin Wasilewski, and I wanted to share a few videos. Sorry if I offend anyone for posting them here. First is a video that Wasilewski made in homage to Austin Peralta, who started touring internationally at 16. After that, I share a video of Peralta working in Mumbai with Bunny Brunel, and then his last performance. He died that night of an overdose aged 22.

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Many thanks for your help and guidance, Hayden.

I will certainly follow it.

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Hi Scott,

Thanks for sharing these links. I love the piece “Austin” by MW, but I wasn’t aware of the back-story about Austin Peralta - he was certainly an impressive player…!!! What a sad loss…

I appreciate your earlier comment about my saxophone experience, but translating this to the piano will be a lot of work, but also lots of fun…!! It’s good to have so many people in this community to share the experience with - I’m looking forward to the journey…!!!

Cheers, Dave

Welcome Ivor,
We are all at various points in our music journey, and ironically that feeling that I’m not good enough… is a lifelong personal challenge
I am always fighting that. Learning to cherish my piano playing where it is NOW… enjoy, savor this musical experience NOW.


Thanks, Lori. That’s good advice.


One year ago my new years resolution was to play the piano!

In my childhood my siblings had the opportunity to have piano lessons, but somehow I did not. I have always loved music an when someone plays it always gives me a magical feeling! And I must admit I envy people how does!

I remember in my 20ies i was convinced it was to late to start, i can laught at that now, and in the busy years with kids time just flew. All of my four kids have had the opportunity, and they all play. I just love to hear the work on their songs and fill the house with music.

I am 54 and finally made the decision, and realized that if i want to do it in this life I must start! I think it might have to do with the accessibility through the net and esp. youtube. I spent some time and followed some tutorials. This really gave me hope and lowered the threshold to start!

Looking through the stuff in youtube I think that the tutorials from Pianogroove stood out from the rest. You guys really do something very right! I took your advice to don´t hop around on youtube, but concentrate on something. I also realized that commiting some minutes to playing gives so much more satisfaction compared to all the hours wasted surfing the web and watching TV or wathever. Compared to taking lessons The PianoGroove is both cheaper and more accessible for me.

I Joined this summer and work on the jazz piano basics. I keep the streak of practicing, and try to at least play for 10 min every day. But usually get a sitting of 30-60 min a day. Apart from playing the recorder in school i have no playing experience, so i really start from scratch. Sheet reading is a challenge , and so is time an rhythm! The chords and scales and inversions are overwhelming. I can feel god progress. I also of course feel frustration, but i manage to keep my motivation!

I have no problems understanding and following the theory, and i can learn the tunes and play them like a like a monkey from memory, but i feel its a long way to go to be able to combine those.

My goal is to be able to play a basic jazz standard repertoire from lead sheets and possibly jam.

My inspiration is the old masters like Bill Evans, Errol Garner, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington etc etc. but also Keith Jarret, Jan Johanson and Bugge Wesselftoft. I realy love the Nordic sound and listen a lot to things like Jan Lundgren and Tord Gustavsen.

So thank you guys!


Hi Gisle,

Welcome aboard…!!! I’m also new here (from 2 or 3 weeks) and I’m really enjoying this.

I also love the Nordic sound - great choices you mention Tord Gustavsen and Bugge Wesseltoft (I saw him live in concert some months back).

Greetings from the UK…!!


Welcome Gisle!

You are at the right place! All of it will start to meld over time. Just remember that it is a life time journey which can sometimes be frustrating, but for the most part provides more rewards than you could ever imagine.

Have fun!!!

Hi Gisle :wave:

Welcome and thanks for sharing all of this.

It’s great that all of your kids play music. What a wonderful gift to give them!

That’s great to hear that you have kept up a consistent practice routine and you are seeing progress.

I do recommend that students aim for at least an hour a day of practice. Using our PDF Practice Planners that will take you through 6 theory exercises and then 30 mins playing on jazz standards.

For working on your time and rhythm I’d recommend Steve’s Chicago Blues Course:

Spend a little time each day, or every other day, following Steve’s lessons and you will quickly develop a better sense of time and groove.

That’s a very realistic goal Gisle.

I’d recommend spending the time to absorb the basics and work through our Beginner & Intermediate courses. That will equip you with the harmonic knowledge to play any jazz standard.

After that you might like the course I made on “How To Play In A Jazz Band” which outlines the different role we play as the pianist in a jazz jam setting:

Enjoy the lessons!

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And a welcome from me as well, Gisle.

I had a bit of experience when I was younger, but then I had about 40 years of never touching an instrument. I’ve been with PianoGroove for over a year, and I can assure you that if you stick with it, you will definitely see progress. It may be frustrating at times, and the progress sometimes may not seem very much–but it is there all the same. Most of all, relax and have fun with it. :musical_keyboard: By the way, I recently discovered Jan Lundgren, and I’ve been listening to a lot of his work.

Welcome !!

@dave1 cool to have such experience with sax , coming into a polyphonic instrument as piano is so cool and exciting to play both . Hope hearing you on sax and piano soon :cowboy_hat_face:

@ivor welcome to this journey in learning piano . meditation is something i try to incorporate in my piano routine … spirit and music are never far from each other :yin_yang:

@gisle i am discovering the work of Jan Lundgren …reallly interesting his work with european standards too.:musical_note:

My name is Brian and pleased to be a new member of this community. I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m 71 years old
I am semi retired after being a qualified electrician since I started work. To keep active, I am a school bus driver working a 20 hour week.

I became interested in the piano at a very early age and started learning classical music at the age of 7, which I didn’t enjoy.
At the age of 10, I gave that up and started to learn contemporary music. I learned with a few teachers during my teen years, but over the years, I am self taught.
During my early years, I had a weekly job at an hotel where I played back ground music in the lounge. I can read music and also play from memory or by ear.
I have always wanted to have freedom of the keyboard and explore many avenues of music, but never achieved these goals. Music is my life.
Before I am too old, my dreams are to be able to sit at the piano and create my own music and to be able to play in a small restaurant or bar.

I have always had a passion for pianos and how they worked. During my early 40’s, I bought an old piano and learned how to restore it. I have also learned how to tune a piano. Many years ago, I had a small piano workshop where I used to buy old pianos and restore them to sell
Today, I have a Bluthner upright piano which I recently completely restored, its beautiful.

Besides the piano, I also love to play the pipe organ.

My aspirations are to learn Jazz, Blues and latin american style playing and be confident in all those areas of music

I hope to make friends and get support from this community. Any help is most welcome.