Introduce Yourself To The PianoGroove Community! 🌎

Hi,

my name is Moritz Gekeler. I am German, but I live in New Delhi, India, since 2015. My wife and I came here, because of her job: she is currently working at the German Embassy here. I work as a consultant for creative problem solving and an approach towards innovation called design thinking. This work keeps me traveling quite a bit, therefore I was super happy to find this platform, which enables me to learn piano at my own speed.

When I was a kid, I played classical piano from the age of 5 until 15 or so. My first teacher was super strict: she would hold a book over my hands in order to force me to look at the score instead of my hands. The problem was as my grandmother said: I am a little dyslectic when it comes to score reading. So instead of looking at the score, I watched my fingers in the “mirror” of her black grand piano… My second teacher was good: he made me play things like Rhapsody in Blue, but he had other problems, so I switched again and found a teach who was supposed to teach me Jazz. By the time I started, I had already gotten into puberty, so there was no way, I would learn chords by heart for fun.

So now, I’ll make my fourth attempt: 23 years later. I am very much lokking forward to it.

Cheers,
Moritz

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Welcome Moritz!

It’s nice to hear that PianoGroove allows you to study jazz whilst travelling. That’s awesome! :smiley:

It’s also great that you studied classical piano from such a young age… the finger strength and dexterity will certainly help you in your pursuit to learn jazz piano.

I understand about classical piano training being “strict”. You have a lot more freedom in jazz piano to interpret the music exactly how you want to… chords, the melody, even entire songs, you can make it your own which is nice.

This is what attracted me to playing jazz, there’s much more freedom of expression!

We recently documented the “Beginner Roadmap” for students, check it out here: Beginner Jazz Courses: Roadmap & Syllabus

The jazz standards and courses covered in that thread are the first ones that students should work through.

If you do want to play a particular song or learn a particular topic that is more advanced, absolutely go and check it out, but you should spend some time to watch the beginner material to make sure that you understand the basics.

Again welcome to PianoGroove… great to have your onboard :sunglasses:

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wow, I am always sorry to hear childhood piano experiences like that.
you totally deserve the most FUN and FREEDOM based piano experience from here on out.
Dive in and enjoy this and DO NOT over-structure or overanalyze this program, and do not entertain self criticism. just have fun!!!
I have learned to play so much better in spite of not feeling like I “get” the theory, just by learning and playing the jazz ballads. Hayden has this amazing way to sneak that understanding and knowledge into our brains just by having fun and learning a song.

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Brilliant tips and insight Lori, thanks for sharing :+1:

As you say, the key is to enjoy the journey and enjoy playing the jazz standards… this is all supposed to be fun after all! :grin:

Hi Lori, thanks also from my side. Yes, I realize that, even though it is somewhat frustrating to sit on a simple piece like tune up for such a long time… But I am getting there. The good thing is, even though I don’t do super-heavy practicing, slowly slowly, I feel the chords coming a little easier. I am looking forward to graduating to the next song. :wink:

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You can be working on multiple jazz standards at the same time Moritz.

You will always be working on these tunes, always adding to them when you learn new theory.

So I’d recommend you try to play some others too.

Also check this out Moritz: From lessons to lead sheet - how to learn jazz standards - this is the next step of your jazz education where you are leaning from recordings based on the sounds you like.

Exciting! :sunglasses:

Cheers.

Thanks, Hayden. That is great advice. I will do that. I still feel a little overwhelmed by all the theory, but at the same time I see light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly slowly, I am understanding more and learning the scales, chords etc.

I like the idea of listening to one song for a week in all available versions. I used to create Mix Tapes or CDs of just one song in different versions during my university times :wink:

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A post was merged into an existing topic: From lessons to lead sheet

Hi,

My name is Michael Albanese and I joined piano groove a few days back taking the full year membership up front. I must say I was captivated by your breakdown of My Funny Valentine, Attaining both an advanced view of the piece while still being digestible for a mid range student such as myself, is truly a gift of teaching. I love herbie hancock btw…

I spent over 25 years writing software (of all kinds) here in san jose california. My last gig was a startup that got purchased by Cisco, so I spent 6 years writing insane router operating system software. For the sake of my sanity I had to leave…

I’ve taken numerous music theory courses, both in person and quite a few at Berklee online. My knowledge of theory is fairly well along, however my playing has a ways to go to catch up. I just restarted piano lessons with a live teacher. I have been learning piano for around 14yrs now.

Ironically one of the first tunes my teacher presented was My Funny Valentine…hence my paths somehow (and very happily) have crossed with PianoGroove.

I’m the new kid on the block so a bit clumsy here, but I have had no success in adding a profile photo. Every time I go to the dashboard and click to add, it takes me to a page that says ‘this is now private’. Not sure if its an extra special place only the invited are allowed, but I see others have their photos so it surly is possible.

take care and I look forward to a steady diet of great content,
Michael

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Welcome to the PianoGroove community Michael!

Thanks for the kind words, I try to make my own tutorials as accessible as possible, and so it’s great to hear such feedback!

Interesting… It must be a wonderful experience writing software in the Bay Area, so many of the big tech firms are based there!

I always find jazz piano study to be relaxing and a nice ‘release’ from the more stressful aspects of life… I hope you can get the same enjoyment from the PianoGroove course :slightly_smiling_face:

14 years is a good amount of time to have studied piano. Jazz offers its own challenges, particularly when moving over from classical studies, but any and all previous piano experience will be an asset to you.

Great that you are studying with an in-person teacher too… many other PianoGroove students do this and they find it to be an effective combination. It’s always nice to be able to run over a topic or concept with someone in person, and different views and perspectives can help with those “ah-ha” moments.

The focus of this year is to expand our teacher base so that we can also offer a selection of different teaching styles and approaches directly within PianoGroove.

It sounds like an error.

There are not any extra special places… all areas of the forum are available to all students.

I will send you an email shortly with some instruction and we can figure out what the problem is.

A very warm welcome again Michael, if I can help with anything you’re working on, don’t hesitate to ask.

ps. You can also find some common theory Q&As in this section of the forum: https://community.pianogroove.com/c/theory - these are common questions from students that I have reposted here for everyone to benefit from.


Hi to every one,
for me it is a real pleasure to share with you feelings and ideas about the progress we are making in this course. This morning I wanted to ask the teacher for assistance and to have an opinion on a take included in his educational program. So he invited me to share it with all of you, with the idea that even a simple listening, could arouse a greater stimulus and improve our goals, thanks

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Thanks, Luciano… sharing your performance is a great way to introduce yourself!

I enjoyed listening!

Hello. I am new to the Piano Groove community. So far, so good! Really enjoying my lessons. Courses are well-covered.

I come from a gospel background. As a young lad, I was a member of a gospel trio. We toured the Western States. Also toured the Western States with the gospel choir. I played the piano and Hammond organ for both gigs. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

I have a question. I am at the lesson where I am instructed to buy the Real Book, volume 6. However, when I go to the page linked to from the Resources section, I see there are many books in different keys. I can’t find the book with the exact cover that is recommended. Can you please find the direct link for me? I’d like to buy what is recommended.

Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Troy.

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Hi Troy :wave:

Welcome to the PianoGroove School & Community.

Glad to hear you are enjoying the jazz lessons and courses!

That’s awesome that you come from a gospel background… the Hammond is such a great instrument and a fantastic sound. That must have been fun to play in your band!

Onto your question, you can find all of the chord charts here:

https://www.pianogroove.com/transcriptions-scores-midi/ and also in the “Downloads” section of each lesson page.

I will email you shortly regarding the link to the book… look out for my email.

If you have any further questions we’re happy to help, and you can find common theory questions here in the forum: https://community.pianogroove.com/c/theory

If you have any burning theory questions, you can post there for prompt replies from our teachers.

Cheers, and once again welcome Troy :sunglasses:

Hi, I’m Artemis – I joined PianoGroove a few months ago. Since I was 13 years old, I’ve wanted to become proficient enough as a jazz keyboard player to play with a combo, or to accompany a vocalist. 50 years later, I’m still an advanced beginner, but am determined to make some real headway over the next 6 months into “beyond beginner” territory. I’m a naturopathic doctor, and finally have more time to devote to practicing the piano than I have in the past. PianoGroove is a wonderful resource – I’m so glad to have stumbled upon it!

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Hi Artemis!

Welcome and thanks for the introduction on your background.

Great to hear that you now have more time to dedicate to practicing.

Based on the information you outline, here’s what I would recommend to achieve your goals:

That is a very realistic goal: here’s is some direction

1) Listen to lots of jazz - particularly trio and bigger bands.

If you want to play with other musicians, you must listen to trios, quartets, quintets etc… This will help you understand your role in the band as the piano player.

It will also help you absorb the feel and style of jazz music when playing with other musicians.

Here’s a thread with many albums that will get you started. - Listen every day, and you will become a much more grounded musician.

2) To begin with, just focus on 1 tune:

Pick a medium-up tempo tune, a few examples could be “Autumn Leaves”, “There Will Never Be Another You”, or maybe just the 12 Bar Blues.

Learn the chord changes so that you have them completely memorised. You do not have time to stop and think of the chord changes. You must know them.

Learn how to play rootless voicings so you don’t need to think about it. So that you can play through the form with your eyes closed. Here is the course on rootless voicings: Left Hand Voicings For Jazz Piano - Rootless Voicings

Use the iRealPro App to simulate playing with other musicians: iRealPro Backing Tracks Setup - #5

3) Check out this course:

How To Play In A Jazz Band: How To Play Piano in a Jazz Band | How To Jam With Other Musicians

4) Transcribe from records

This is related to (1) … It’s very important that you try to transcribe from the records you are listening to. Check out the course on transcription for more information:

How To Transcribe: How To Transcribe Music By Ear | Jazz Piano Transcription Course

Every line that you transcribe, You must transpose it to all 12 keys. Do not skip this step.

Otherwise, the whole process is pointless and you will not see big improvements.

6) Play With Other Musicians

Once you have followed the above steps, you should find opportunities to play with other jazz musicians.

It may be worth checking out meetup.com for jazz jam nights in your area. You can also search Google, or ask at the local jazz club. Playing with musicians that are better than you is a surefire way to improve.

Next you also mention accompanying a vocalist.

Check out Lyndol’s Course on “How To Accompany Singers”:

Lyndol sings and plays, and so she gives a unique insight into working with singers.

Next steps:

I would recommend finding a singer to work with on a regular basis.

Perhaps you could search on MeetUp.com or perhaps at a local jazz jam.

I’m sure you can find a singer who is looking for an accompanist. You could work on the tunes that Lyndol covers in her course, and then when you feel comfortable move onto a jazz standard of your choice whilst still following the principles that Lyndol outlines in her course.


I hope this helps Artemis.

If you have any further questions, we are happy to help.

Cheers!

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Many thanks for your feedback, Hayden – much appreciated!
~Artemis

My pleasure Artemis.

Thank you for sharing your goals.

I’m sure that other students with similar ambitions will also find this information helpful.

Really spend time on step (1) to immerse yourself in the music.

Hi everyone. Excited to start learning some jazz skills. My goal is to learn jazz piano over the next 10 years. Right now I have two young kids that take up every spare moment of my day. I have maybe one hour free every night. I’m going to try to put that to some practice. Maybe only 30 min per day. But over time I might learn something. I’ll check back in 10 years and let you know how it goes. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Welcome Tim :wave:

Excited to have you on-board here too!

Your 10-year comment made me chuckle :grin:

If you are completely new to jazz piano, but have some prior piano experience and can read music to a basic level (treble clef) then I’d say 2 years is a good amount of time to see real progress and be able to entertain others whilst playing in a ‘jazz style’.

This is a goal for many students: to play for their personal pleausre, and perhaps occasionally entertain others.

Now, here’s a couple of things you should keep in mind with practice time:

1) Practice time at the piano

There is actual practice time where you are sat at the piano - for yourself, you’ve said 30 mins - 1 hour a day.

The first thing you should do is break that up into small “slots” of practice time - 10 to 15 minutes.

That way, you will be able to cover 3 - 6 topics in 1 sitting.

If you’re completely new to jazz piano, here’s what you could spend those 10 min slots on:

  • major scales
  • major 251s
  • rootless 251s
  • minor 251s
  • listening and emulating recordings
  • playing and learning a jazz standard(s)

The main point is to practice the area for 10-15 minutes without distraction and then move on. Most importantly, you must revisit what you have practiced.

Just like going to the gym, you won’t see the improvements straight away, it takes times, and the improvement - or muscle growth to continue with the analogy - will happen whilst you are sleeping. When you come back to the piano, you will be a bit sharper on those subjects.

In the same way, that when you turn up at the gym, you know what you are going to do, you should have the same mindset with the piano. So that you know exactly how you are going to spend that 30 mins - 1 hour before you even sit down at the piano.

Follow a focused practice schedule for 6 months and you will see huge improvements. What I have just outlined is a brilliant way to structure your practice sessions.

2) Next we have practice time whilst away from the piano

You can be working on your knowledge of jazz theory whilst away from the piano. For example, perhaps you commute in the morning and evening. Perhaps you wait for the kids to finish school or activities, or any time of the day when you have a spare few moments.

You should spend this time wisely. Here’s how:

Listening To Jazz

Make sure you are listening to jazz regularly… you need to completely immerse yourself in the idiom. If you commute to work, listen to jazz all the way there and back, any time in the day that you have the opportunity to listen to jazz, do it.

You can’t play this music with conviction unless you have spent the time to listen! One of the main reasons I set up the forum, to allow students to discover and share music.

Scroll through this thread and take a listen to some of the jazz recordings shared by our community.

Or check out these recommended jazz piano albums for longer playlists for a drive or commute.

You will discover some musicians that you like, some that you don’t like. Make note of this and listen more to the sounds you like.

Most importantly with improvisation, when you improvise, you are calling upon a ‘library’ of ideas/lines/rhythms/patterns in your brain from the records you have listened to. True improvisation is almost subconscious, you don’t have time to think because you are composing music in real time.

The more you listen, the richer your brain’s ‘library’ will become. I cannot stress the importance of this enough!

Testing yourself away from the Piano

There are many things you can ‘quiz’ yourself on whilst away from the piano.

Much of jazz is based on numbers, I outline this in the first lesson of the course on “Major Scales”.

In jazz, instead of thinking of note names C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C we think of scales numerically 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-1

This then makes all keys equal. When you learn voicngs by the numeric construction, you can easiliy transpose them and find them in other keys.

The same applies to licks, lines, progressions, even entire tunes.

Here’s a few exercises to get you started:

One of our students - @bkzl - created this fantastic Major Scales Quiz Tool: https://major-scales.bkzl.co/ - you can quizz yourself at this away from the piano and ask yourself “what is the 5th of Bb Major” or “what is the 6th of D Major” etc…

You should be able to get these in a flash, and by practicing this, you soon will do.

Next you could say, what are the 2-5-1 chords in Ab Major, … if it takes you longer than a split second to say “Bb-7 / Eb7 / Abmaj7” then you need to quiz yourself on the major 251 progression.

Then you could say what is the 1-6-2-5 Progression in C Major

What are the diatonic 7th chords of C Major

etc…

Make use of your idle time in the day. That’s how we all have done it, I used to do this all the time, and I still do it to get my head around more advanced harmonic concepts. It will work wonders.


Finally, jazz theory is very challenging to begin Tim, with but i can guarantee that with time and focused daily practice you will see improvements with my teaching method.

If you’d like me to elaborate on anything above just let me know :smiley:

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