Hi Hayden—-I am 44 years old, took piano lessons through my teenage years. Music has always been a part of my life—and don’t to give it up. I have a deep desire to learn jazz piano. It’s an enigma I need to crack—and keep on cracking. I love practicing as long as I’m progressing and can actually PLAY something.
Simply finding a way to learn jazz piano is difficult—-I mean, REALLY learn. There are dozens of ways presented—-but the scary thing is most of them will be a waste of time and money—-which makes me sad.
I’m really hoping PianoGroove will give me the structure and balance between theory and music to be able to progress and enjoy the journey.
PS—-tonight I started making flash cards to learn the number positions of each major chord.
" I love practicing as long as I’m progressing and can actually PLAY something." You have found the right place! Hayden is very vocal that it is important to learn songs in conjunction with studying theory. For me, the theory would never ingrain itself in my mind unless I was able to apply it to a song and I would undoubtedly get bored and give up. I am two years into the program and working on 40 songs. I am loving it!
It’s very clear I I need to start with the course Jazz Piano Foundations. In the Foundations Practice Guide lesson, Hayden said to spend five or ten minutes on each of the modules (major, minor, etc.) depending on if I have 30 or 60 minutes to practice.
Do I understand correctly that theory (Jazz Piano Foundations) is what I should only do at this time. Meaning, do I NOT do parts of other courses (like Beginner Jazz Arrangements)? I know it’s generally up to me what I do—-but is it the intention students master Jazz Piano Foundations before doing anything else?
You can alternate the practice plans on different days, for example spend 2 days on the Foundations Practice Plan and then 1 day on the Chord Extensions Practice Plan, and then repeat. As you become more comfortable with the foundational material you can tweak this to allocate more time to the Chord Extensions course.
Then repeat this process with the next courses on Rootless Voicings and Altered Harmony. Once you have completed those 4 courses you will be much more comfortable with jazz harmony. It’s worth mentioning that we can always revisit the practice series, even for the foundations course. We can always improve at some of the drills, such inversions of triads/7th chords, playing and visualising the basic 3-note 251s etc… This stuff really is the foundation of jazz harmony and so time spent here is always time well spent.
The Jazz Standards
We should always be studying the jazz standards as this is where we learn to apply the theory in practice. Start with the tutorials in the Beginner Jazz Arrangements Course, and then once you have completed these you can study the jazz standard tutorials in any course.
Don’t worry when you come across theory or arranging techniques that don’t make sense initially, as you progress through the courses everything will make sense.
Above anything else enjoy learning the arrangements. They are difficult to begin with but with each new tune we learn, the easier it becomes to read and interpret lead sheets.
Learning The 12 Bar Blues
In addition to the jazz courses, it’s also nice for new students to spend some time on the blues courses. The Chicago Blues Course is a good place to start and will develop your hand independence, groove, and timing.
The blues courses do incorporate a lot of the beginner jazz theory such as chord extensions, rootless voicngs, and altered harmony. By studying those jazz courses it will help you to play authentic blues piano and also styles such as samba, bossa nova, and funk. The jazz theory really is a core pillar to start exploring other improvised musical styles.
Ear Training, Transcription, & Improvisation
Transcription should be an integral componenet of our daily practice routine. Transcription is the process of listening to a record, and working on the notes, rhythms, licks, lines, fills, chord voicings, chord substitutions, bass lines, and full improvised solos. This may sound daunting at first but check out our How To Transcribe By Ear Course for more information on the how this works.
Spend a little time each day on the Ear Training & Transcription Exercises set by @Tuomo . Start with the beginner exercises and gradually work through the intermediate and advanced exercises. Once you feel more confident with this type of exercise, you can try the full transcription studies. Any questions with this stuff Tuomo is happy to assist in his area of the forum.
Developing our listening skills is very important so that we can analyse and learn directly from our favourite recordings. Check out this interview with our New Orleans Blues teacher Jon which sums up the joy of transcription:
By spending a little time each day on these exercises you will become more comfortable at replicating what you hear on your favourite records which is an important aspect of learning jazz piano and all other improvised piano styles.
I hope this helps Toby and here to help should you have any further questions.
Hi I’m Gary Boudreaux, a bored 26 year old. I’m actually a software engineer for a living but play guitar as a hobby since I was 15.
I mostly play progressive metal/rock and some more of the modern Jazz Fusion stuff. I have a basic understanding of how chord voicings work, how scales work, and functional and modal harmony.
I bought an Oxygen 88 keyboard from a friend and been meaning to learn how to play piano. I can’t remember how I found this website but I did some of the free tutorials and concluded that this had the best teaching format for me and I love the sound of Jazz Piano.
So far I’ve started the basic foundation practice regime (1 hour a day), practicing Miles Davis’s tune up (if my hands can stretch that far…) as well as learning some musical pieces from various video games.
My goal really is composition/Improvisation. I love writing/coming up with music. A pipe dream of mine is composing music for various media (indie games, film, etc). I’m doing piano groove mostly to learn piano to a proficient level and to deeper my understanding of jazz composition, theory and harmonization.
Anyways , I’d like to thank you for these well constructed lessons, Jumping from Youtube tutorial to Youtube tutorial was not really helping. This website so far has been the best I’ve seen.
In addition to the tutorial on “Tune Up” - also dive straight into these beginner arrangements:
The tutorial on “Tune Up” explains the basics of reading and interpreting lead sheets, but we do also touch upon some more advanced theory and so don’t worry if some of the techniques don’t make sense right now.
In the Beginner Arrangements Course we stick exclusively to roots, 3rds, and 7ths, and so these arrangements are perfect if you are just starting out with jazz piano.
As mentioned in my reply to Toby above, you can also work on multiple courses at the same time. The following 2 courses fit together nicely and so I’d recommend working on these in tandem:
Im Ryan. 35 yo Carpenter that’s played guitar since a teen (mostly self-taught and a bedroom player), who enjoys playing everything but jazz, and mostly in an acoustic finger style. I’ve wanted to play piano for years, especially stride like my grandfather. I was gifted a digital keyboard by my father (a Hammond b-3 guy) this year for my birthday and after the Covid restrictions decided to finally dive in, and in the process stumbled across Hayden’s tutorial for Autumn Leaves. The rest is history. I am in love with music all over again and studying jazz thanks to a random encounter with a YouTube video. Thank you!
I’m Niaz 28. I heard my first Jazz record 10 years ago (Ahmad Jamal live at the Pershing) and have been enthralled by Jazz since. I’ve made a few attempts here and there to learn but never really stuck.
I really like the structure of Pianogroove and hopefully I’ll be able to stick it out! Maybe you guys will keep me honest…! My aim is to be able to truly express myself with music but I suppose that’s the aim of all music…!?
I love Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson and Hank Jones in particular. I also play guitar and sing so looking forward to the vocal course.
Check out this Beginner Q&A session where I answer lots of questions for new jazz students:
Great stuff! It’s brilliant that you have identified the styles and musicians you like.
We have transcription exercises here in the forum on many famous musicians, check out the threads on Bill Evans, Hank Jones, & Oscar Peterson which also include a suggested discography and biography information:
I am Dan and like you, I am here to learn jazz and improvisation in general from this site. As a pandemic escape, viewing Hayden’s wonderful youtube tutorial lessons brought me here because I was so impressed and wanted more. I would say this would be my first formal music study as I never had it in my younger years. All I had before is playing guitar and that desire to finally play piano after so many attempts. So cheers to you all !
You’ve come to the right place. PianoGroove and our community is made up of people of all levels, ages, and skill sets. There is something for anyone regardless of previous experience. Work through the foundation courses first, obviously. You’ll find many helpful suggestions along the way in the forums here. You’ll also find Hayden and the other instructors chiming in from time to time to point you to things you need. And always feel free to ask or share anything you want.
A warm welcome to you all! Wow - so happy to have read your introductions - Cannot wait to hear about your jazz piano journey . This is a lovely community! Please keep us posted.
Hope you are all well and safe. Take care
Hi, my name is Crystal Upchurch. I’m 31 years old and have been playing since I was three. I’ve always been musically inclined but I went to the school of hard-knocks. My parents never fostered my musical gift so I have had to teach myself a lot of what I know. I’ve always had perfect pitch so I could figure out notes and songs by just hearing them.
I didn’t take lessons until I was 16 years old and I only took them for four years up until the age of 20. Music was still my passion so for a while I had to go back to teaching myself how to correctly play. I started playing for churches in 2010 and have been doing it ever since. I’m currently the Minister of Music at a church in Franklinton, NC. I’ve been there since March 2018. I LOVE the church I’m at currently. I desire to go to school for Music Production and Music Education. Basically, I want to make this into my professional career. I’ve bought DVD courses from musicians I saw on YouTube but I still desired to learn more.
I wanted to become a well-rounded musician who can play in pretty much ANY capacity. I stumbled across Pianogroove back in May 2020. I started the lessons in June 2020. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made thus far. I bought my first keyboard in 2006. It was a Casio 61-key. In 2009 I upgraded to a Yamaha P-635 portable digital grand. It lasted for 11 years before dying this year. I just recently bought another keyboard in November. I’m influenced by: West Coast musicians, classical musicians, jazz pianists, and others.
My inspiration is Twinkie Clark (organist), Duke Ellington, Jeff Lorber, Bernie Hancock, Kenny Barron, Javad Day (west coast musician), Stanton Lewis (another west coast musician), and David Jackson (also a west coast musician). I LOVE their unique styles of playing. They are beasts at at this. Learning with this website is DEFINITELY transforming my playing and taking me in the direction of becoming a “BEAST” at this!
Hi all, My name is Stephen and am here to step my playing up to a new level. I’ve played piano since I was 11 years old. I took two years of lessons. The lessons stopped because we moved to a very small town (population 350) and there was no one there that gave piano lessons. I still continued to play by learning songs by ear I liked that were on the radio. The songs became less challenging. I started learning more difficult songs that featured piano, such as what Ray Manzarek (not sure how his last name is spelled) and Billy Joel played. When I started college, I was introduced to jazz. I really began to love it. 70s fusion was all I listened to for a while. Chick Corea and Return to Forever, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc… I also began listening to contemporary jazz such as Brad Mehldau. My playing kind of peaked and now I am wanting to play jazz. So, that’s why I’m here.
Welcome @Crystal and thanks for sharing all of this.
It must be super rewarding to play piano in a church setting.
One of our other students @Canadanne is the director of music in a church. Perhaps you could both share ideas and repertoire etc…
That’s a fine group of musicians for inspiration Crystal.
Listening and transcription is a very important part of our development. Now that you have a list of your favourite players, it’s the perfect time to start analysing their solo and arrangements. We have ear-training and transcription exercises here in the forum: