Hi my name is Ivan and i m an argentinian living in brazil.I have 23 years old and started playing piano since age 7 with a clássical background…With 19 years old i met a guy who now is my friend…he is a professional jazz pianist the same age as me who introduced me to jazz…só i switched to learning jazz and started to play at jam nights …but never fully grasped it…i m very happy to have found this website because i feel that now i can continue my journey to become a well rounded jazz pianist…My ultimate goal is to be able to arrange songs myself and be able to be a well rounded jazz pianist in general.Thanks
Thanks for the introduction and welcome to the community.
Many of our students come from a classical background which provides a nice foundation for learning jazz piano with the PianoGroove method.
My main recommendation here is to play as many of the jazz standards lessons as possible.
You will quickly discover many similarities, and lots of things that can be applied in many situations.
Simply put, the more jazz standards you can play, the better you will be at arranging jazz standards.
I think you will find this post very helpful:
I outline a 6 step process that for creating your own arrangements.
This is a not a quick process, follow it over many months, just for 1 song, and let me know how you get on with
ps. Thanks for all of your fantastic questions on various lesson pages. If you ever have a question of any kind, please do not hesitate to ask and I will always reply in detail.
My goal is to encourage conversation and discussion around the lessons and so your insightful questions are much appreciated.
Thks for the reply …i feel that my brain has been injected with jazz steroids for the past couple days lol .só much valuable info infront of my eyes and entering my ears lol…Tô Tell you a bit more about me i studied jazz with absolutly 0 knowledge about jazz with this friend of mine whoes name Góes by Axel introini, He is the same age as me but the difference is that He works for disney and travels de world lol… …his personal style is more about neo soul…think of DAngelo,Robert glasper,ericka badu,jill scott etc só He transmited that music to me só It hás become one of my strongest influences.it would be cool to see some neo soul progressions and voicings lessons in the future… so i studied with this Guy for 1 year(you can look axel introini on youtube)…He introduced me the basic foundations of jazz and helped me at jazz jam nights and funk Jam nights too…but at that time i was going with some personal problems and i was experimenting some type of minor depression só i didnt maximized his teachings at that time frame…thankfully i overcame my problems and turned my life around só i m a Lot more focused than before.And as a side note…If you are looking for a good tango pianist with jazz foundations you should reach Álvaro torres…i tooked some lessons from him but It was expensive só It didnt last long…He is a well known jazz pianist in buenos Aires…and He hás a story o lof playing tango at Big cruise ships. Here is a video of him. https://youtu.be/INOs0E_PBMk. And here is a. Video of my friend/ex teached playing 2 years ago https://youtu.be/dez1ZSQMmoY
Good morning Ivan
Yes you have asked a lot of questions which is s good thing. You will always get a full answer to your questions here at PianoGroove.
Yes I agree that NeoSoul a cool style.
I like how the jazz-influenced chords/harmonies blend into more modern styles such as hip-hop, rap, R&B etc.
Our core focus is on jazz standards/classic Broadway tunes, and so we must stay true to this. But sure we can expand into any genre of improvised music in the future.
Sounds like a good guy to know!
Great to hear that you recovered Ivan, and I’m happy that you have found PianoGroove. I have always found music, and more specifically, the piano, to be a good source of relief during hard times.
It’s almost like meditating because it frees my mind completely, and makes me completely present in the moment.
Awesome, thanks for the recommendation.
I will check out the video links now.
Hi everybody - thanks for the check-in Hayden, and thanks for creating this marvelous resource for us.
So I just attended my 50th high school reunion earlier this summer and figure the bio for that would be sufficient here for a recap, save me some time. Then I’ll add some commentary about music after.
"I’m the owner of LifeCoaching.com and I maintain a thriving practice providing professional organizations, teams and individuals with an evidence-based methodology to develop emotional intelligence and emotional self-management skills through coaching and training. Over the last twenty years I’ve coached hundreds of clients - from single moms to CEOs, from combat-veteran Marines to teenagers to professional artists, writers and musicians - as well as worked with clients within organizations such as Apple, Google, Raytheon, NASA, IBM, Onsemi, General Atomics, The Gina Din Group, The Washington Post, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others. I was the co-developer - in collaboration with Pam Leo - of the “Meeting the Needs of Children” parenting workshops, which in 1995 were published as Pam’s seminal book, “Connection Parenting.”
Since high school and college I’ve traveled extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and Japan, and lived in northern India. I live with my novelist partner (Jennifer Rose) and a sleepy old cat in an 1834 New England farmhouse on 26 acres of rolling fields and woods in central Maine. I still noodle around on guitar, though I’ve retired from public performance. I chop wood, carry water, make tea, keep a canoe down by the river, and I freely admit to knowing nothing at all about zen.
I consider population overshoot and abrupt climate change to be the most pressing issues of all that faces humanity, and see soil regeneration, permaculture, holistic management, community building and parenting education as significant and comprehensive solutions to the dangers of anthropogenic global warming."
Ok. so music…
I started guitar at 13 - had a crush on a girl whose dad played banjo in a bluegrass band. Of course she taught me to tune my guitar, but I didn’t realize that her dad’s guitar was in an altered tuning - open G. I was totally in the closet as a player so I played for 4 to 6 hours a day for 4 years, completely baffled as to why every time I went to a show and watched other guitar players, wrote their chords down in my little notebook, and got them home to play them they wouldn’t work. Never even crossed my mind at the time that you could tune a guitar in multiple ways. I play in dozens of tunings now of course, but then it was an infuriating mystery.
The first consequence of altered tunings was that I had to create my own music if I wanted to play whole songs. Second consequence was I never played anyone else’s songs until I pretty much had a great ear, great hands, and a lot of experience finger-dancing on the fretboard and with the right hand. Third consequence was that Joni Mitchell released “Song to a Seagull” in early '68 and within ten minutes of my first listen I realized I already knew all the chords for “Marcie” and within an hour I could play it note for note. That was the first tune by someone else I ever played. Shortly thereafter I discovered the tuning problem and moved on to “Anji” (Paul Simon and also Bert Jansch but written by Davy Graham, who invented DADGAD), “Rockport Sunday” (Tom Rush), “Classical Gas” (Mason Williams), “Embryonic Journey” (Jorma Kaukonen) and many others. Other early guitar influences were John Renbourn, Bert of course, John Fahey, Leo Kotke, Muriel Anderson, Alex De Grassi, Pierre Bensusan, and eventually people like Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Hedges, Kaki King, Andy McKee, Don Ross, and all the other modern fingerstyle masters.
My interest in jazz really opened up as a teenager because one of my best friends was the bass player for Lenny Breau, who was a local celebrity. I actually had no idea who he was until my friend Dan took me to one of their gigs one night at a dinner club in Lewiston. Lenny was dripping liquid arpeggios in harmonics faster than I could do those notes as actual notes on the frets. He was the first person to introduce me to harmonics on the guitar, and also to jazz. I would sit rapt for hours being astonished by what he could do. If you don’t know who he is, check out his double album “Live On Bourbon Street” with Dave Young on bass. Chet Atkins called Lenny the “most important guitarist in North America.” Indeed he was that. Also, back in 1971 when I was in college, Bola Sete (of Black Orpheus fame) did a week long workshop for the music department on Brazilian jazz. Of course that introduced me to Vince Guaraldi and real live honest to gawd Bossa Nova above and beyond what the Girl From Ipanema brought to us.
Favorite musicians? On top would have to be Bill Evans (My Man’s Gone Now has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever played) - the colors he gets in those chords - wow. Vince Guaraldi, Art Tatum, Liz Story (saw her with Michael Hedges here at the Bates Chapel a few months before he died) her tune - Without You - again, wow. All the other greats, Mcoy Tyner, Ellington, Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Donald Fagan, Cole Porter, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Michel Legrande, of course Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Diana Krall, Brubeck, Bob James, Joe Sample, Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Fats Waller, Marian McPartland, Stevie Wonder, and I’d have to add in Joni Mitchell near the top of my list as her songwriting is so remarkable, she has been such a strong influence to me personally, and because of her work with such jazz notables as Lyle Mays, Pat Methany and Jaco Pastorius, as well as her end-of-life collaboration with Mingus. Kenny Kirkland, who I saw with Sting on the Dream of the Blue Turtles tour, that was a great band. Omar Hakim, Darryl Jones, Branford Marsalis. Neil Larsen - master of the wonderful snarly-growly Hammond B3.
I like a lot of different kinds of music and that list only brushes in some broad strokes. there’s really way more - the list goes on.
So my situation is much like a number of other folks here. My hands on piano may as well be those of a 7 year old snot-nosed boy in terms of physical capability and muscle memory. My brain is far more advanced. I’ve listened to some of your intermediate videos (Blue In Green Improv lesson for instance) and I understand nearly all of what you said and did, but I’ll be damned if I could say it back to you out loud. It’s kind of like living in India and having a decent understanding of Punjabi or Urdu, but not being able to speak it because you only have about 20 words. That’s actually kind of encouraging because I really get it what you are up to here.
I’m also going to have to start with relearning to sight-read music (staves, notes, symbols and all that) right from scratch (do you have any videos on that?) and start to develop beginner’s muscle memory for scales and triads so I can get it into my hands the same way I did with guitar when I was a kid. I get the chords on the top no sweat, but those melody lines are a reach. Meanwhile I will probably keep watching the intermediate and advanced courses because they are fun and interesting, useful and informative, not to mention just to keep my crazy jumping-jack mind from going to sleep. Unfortunately when I see a chord symbol in a chart for Dm7flat5 my hand effortlessly wants to make the fretboard shape. On the piano I’ll have to count keys. I know where C and F are at a glance, so that’s a start. Hah! Part of the good news is that my right and left hands have decades of doing very complex and very different kinds of movements, so it seems to me that part of my brain is already well developed and just needs to adapt to these new shapes and movements.
What do I want out of this? Well here’s the thing. I’ve got this thousand-year-old big hairy guy who lives in the pond at the bottom of my brain pan. Every morning when I wake up he rises to the surface, shakes himself off, walks into the woods nearby and starts singing. His songs have no words but that music echoes inside my head every second I’m awake all day every day and often even in dreams. It’s like a shining river of sound and I’m standing in the middle of that flow. My earliest memories are of that endless stream of music in my head. I’d like to be more able to catch more of it as it passes by. I’ve been doing that with guitar for decades but as lovely as it is and as much as I love it, it’s never been quite the right fit for me. I’ve known forever I should learn piano but I’ve been occupied by other things, career, family and kids, the wild world outside my door and so on.
I suppose I’m looking to be a more capable composer - and really - I have no interest in putting on airs when I say that. I’m not Gershwin or Bach, and at my age I have no pull towards fame or fortune. I’m just a guy with something to say musically, and I’d like to know more about what that is…
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it… (nudgenudge winkwink say no more)
Warm Regards, and thanks for listening, Wonderful to meet you all.
Ding Ding - we have a winner - best introduction I’ve ever read Carmine. Congratulations sir.
That sounds beautiful, I’m intrigued to learn more.
No one here wants to be that Carmine, we are all students - including myself and our teachers - pursuing something we love. So welcome to the family.
Now that is why we are all here - to speak the language of music and express our emotions, feelings, and our personalities using jazz piano as the medium of expression.
Here’s what I’d recommend:
Firstly check out this practice guide for the Foundations Course: https://www.pianogroove.com/jazz-piano-lessons/foundations-practice-guide/
That should explain the basics (which I’m sure you will be familiar with), but it will also ‘get your toes wet’ in where the basic knowledge will take you and I show how the basics are an integral part of more advanced concepts.
I always to speak with all our students personally, and before this forum was launched it was all over email. It’s brilliant now becuase we can chat here and interact together, instead of it being lost in our inboxes.
From chatting with our students, we are a very intellectual bunch of human beings, and we can accomplish great things.
I’ll always have time to chat with you Carmine; guide you, help you, and give you honest & sincere advice to develop at jazz piano. This applies to all our students. I’m here to help.
So please get in touch either here in the forum, or via email - email@example.com
In terms of intermediate courses…
First, check out the forum category on “Jazz Theory” - https://community.pianogroove.com/c/theory - there are lots of useful theory posts and Q&As that are worth reading. These are the most common questions from students that I received via email over the last few years.
I republished them in the forum and so perhaps you will have similar questions that are already there answered for you.
I have also summarised the syllabus into Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced guides:
If I can be of further assistance Carmine, just let me know.
Thanks Hayden - kind of you to say. Thanks for the pointers - I’m looking forward to whatever is next.
Hi Hayden and all.
I joined a few days ago in hopes of finding some sort of organized way to get back to playing keyboards. From 15 to around 25, I lived and breathed music in every spare moment. I played in a number of one-nighter bands, and in the last few years had gigs two to five nights a week, basically played and paid my way through college. Then I went to grad school in English and never had any time for it. Now 40 years later, I’ve got the bug again. It was painful to realize that I more or less needed to start over again. (Seems like you have quite a few of us 60 somethings here.)
I went through the internet and various YouTube offerings and managed to accumulate most of what you include in the foundations course. But I had no sense of how to organize myself to make any progress. Really, your course is a godsend. So thanks for that!
I’m interested in Hammond organ jazz and blues as well as jazz piano. Recently got a Hammond Sk2 which is perfect for my condo space. It’s only 66 keys in both manuals, so I’m considering a Casio Privia PX-5S. Full 88 keys and surprisingly for a Casio, a piano that is stunning. (Wife’s not too thrilled about the additional keyboard.)
At any rate, that’s where I am.
Thought I’d leave with a few recommendations, which you probably already know about.
- As a Chet Baker fan, check out Luciana Souza’s The Book of Chet. Not great for a piano site, but very nice for listening.
- Check out Larry Goldings, piano and Hammond B3. He has a number of albums as both sideman and leader. His latest is Toy Tunes (2018). Of his 2001 As One, a reviewer mentioned 'Larry is Bill Evans on the organ. . . . It’s absolutely sickening that anyone can have such an advanced understanding of harmony and modal interaction. Larry has definitely been listening to Sir. Bill and has been able to take that knowledge and work it in his B-3 style."
Anyway, I’m glad I found your course. Thanks again.
Firstly welcome to the community Scott!
That’s awesome… must have been fun.
I never had that at college/school, none of my housemates were instrumentalists, so I just had an old acoustic in my room and played a lot of classical - particularly Debussy, Chopin, & Ravel. I just always loved playing solo piano.
Yes, I understand how other commitments can detract from practice.
I always found it effective to wake up a couple hours early before I went to work and enjoy the piano. Of course when I got home from work too.
And yes we do have a lot of older students, I love how technology can connect us all and delivery a structured, organised approach to learning this unique art form.
My pleasure Scott, it’s taken a lot of work, but has been an extremely rewarding journey.
Check out the practice guide here: Jazz Piano Basics Practice Guide | PDF Practice Plans - it will give you insight into how to practice effectively, and also how these basic concepts relate to the more advanced lessons and courses.
Steve - Steven Flynn | PianoGroove.com - plays Hammond, I’ll speak to him. I’m not sure what the demand is amongst our students. I’d certainly love to learn it.
This is my ‘weapon of choice’
I just love the touch and the feel of the keys. I’ve also noticed a lot of other jazz musicians I’ve met use similar Roland models too.
I hear that a lot from our students
Thanks… I will check that out. We do have a thread for Chet here… feel free to share any of your favourites:
Awesome… I’ll check that one out now… sounds super existing.
Again, we have a Bill Evans thread here so feel free to share your favourite numbers:
Likewise scott, if you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask here, or email me directly.
Hi to all, my name is a Manuel, Spanish, self-taught. Have played the flamenco guitar for many years but was always intrigued about jazz harmony and piano. Started playing piano around 10 years ago by ear, using books and listening to records. I know more theory of what I can actually play because I don’t have any formal piano training. But there has to be something wrong with traditional learning because many of my piano trained friends can only play scores. I just sit and play around using a few chord patterns, extensions and some scales. No purpose, just mere enjoyment exploring sound colors. I however felt I needed a bit of structure in my learning so I join in. So far so good. Looking forward to meeting interesting people here and learning from you all.
That’s awesome that you have played the flamenco guitar - I’m sure it will help you with your study of jazz piano.
I think you will enjoy this course:
We talk about alterations and ‘upper structure triads’… beautiful colourful voicings with rich textures. I think you will like exploring these sounds.
I would also recommend checking out this course on Chord Substitution:
Enjoy the lessons, and if I can be of further assistance just let me know.
Hi, my name is Charles Hill (no relation although my father is an Old Mancunian and my grandfather was General Manager of Ringway Airport, now Manchester International - so we share some common ancestral roots). I started learning the piano at 8 years old but gave up in my teens as sport took over my life and was far more interesting - at the time! After some further education and diverse activities I joined the Royal Air force and had a full career lasting 31 years. During that time ( in my ,thirties) I was lucky enough to have an overseas posting which meant I was able to rekindle my interest in the piano and reach a reasonable standard playing classical pieces again. Unfortunately I was unable to continue due to other commitments and the piano gathered dust again. On retiring from the RAF in 2011, my wife and I moved to France and began a new life. I now teach English as a foreign language ( part-time) and my wife cleans swimming pools during the summer months. Finally in June this year, after several months of free lessons with Piano Groove, I joined and hope to achieve my ambition of playing jazz piano. At first it was very difficult - I was used to two staves and the strict discipline of classical music. I am really enjoying your course and love the freedom of jazz in choosing certain chords and adapting the melody to suit a particular interpretation. I would like to become an accomplished jazz pianist and would like to thank you for providing an excellent means to achieve this ambition. I am now really ‘hooked’ and wish you and your team every success for the future.
Thanks for the intro Charles, I’m always intrigued by the diversity of our students’ careers, occupations, and disciplines.
It’s an honour to have created the PianoGroove platform/community where we can all share the common pursuit of mastering the language of jazz piano. It has truly been an honour and I’m excited for the future of the community area.
Yes, I can relate to that very difficult first step.
From our classical education, we are used to 2 staves with lots of information on exactly which notes to play and how to play them.
We are then presented with the 1 stave lead sheet, which initially appears to be lacking in information but in fact, the lack of information provides the ‘room’ or ‘space’ for almost infinite interpretation.
My main advice Charles is just to work through the jazz standard tutorials. The more of them you learn, the more you will understand about the options available to you.
The jazz standards were the primary vehicle I used to become proficient in jazz harmony. Each one containing its own beauties to be discovered. And then going back to old standards I learnt years ago, each time I then realise there is still more to discover within the same single stave. It’s fascinating.
That’s a very realistic goal and anything I can do to help just let me know.
Likewise, Charles, wishing you every success with your jazz piano journey.
Keep having fun and relax into this new style
Hi, Hayden and folks
My name is Toshihiro. I live in a town 50 miles south of Tokyo, Japan.
It’s facing the Pacific Ocean, and has a relatively mild climate throughout the year.
My first language is Japanese, not English. I wish you don’t have any diffuclties
in understanding my English.
It’s almost 3 years since I started learning Jazz piano. Last year, I bought
Casio PX 560M. A terrific electric piano. It just fits into a small room of my apartment, where I live with my wife.
This year, I made a huge dicovery. That is the ‘reharmonization’ is one of the essential techniques and powerful tool for a Jazz musician. A tune with a simple chord progression can be turned into a beatiful piece of music by reharmonizing it. Wouldn’t it be nice to master it ?
So, I reharmonized 1-1-4-4m-1-5-1-1 chord progression.
Here is the You Tube video of my doing it.
Here is the transcription with chord analysis if you are interested in it.
Thanks for the introduction and for sharing that beautiful progression. I have subscribed to your YouTube channel.
I love your rehmonisations, and your right-hand melodies have a lovely smooth/cool jazz vibe. It’s really beautiful.
Yes i can see from your transcription that you have a good understanding of this.
By adding those additional ii-V progressions, you are enhancing the harmony and creating that lovely jazzy sound.
Your performance is really nice to listen to.
No problems at all understanding your English Toshihiro. It all makes perfect sense.
I always find it fascinating to hear where our students are from, and so thanks for sharing this. I’d love to visit Tokyo one day!
We have a good number of students from Japan, and the website has always been popular with Japanese students which is awesome.
It sounds like you are making very good progress in 3 years.
I found it took me around 2 years to get basic confidence playing jazz piano. After 2 years, I could play the 251s, have a basic understanding on interpreting lead sheets, and was starting to explore more interesting extended and altered harmonies.
Learning jazz truly is a lifelong pursuit. I just enjoy getting a little bit better each day when I sit down at the piano. It’s a very gradual process, but also a very rewarding one
Yes I have played on some Casio electric keyboards and they are always nice to play on.
I have a Roland RD700 NX at my home in Manchester, and at PianoGroove’s recording studio in Seattle we have a Roland FP50 which is very lightweight so it’s easy to carry and move around!
I think it would be nice to create a thread on the instruments we all use.
Leave this with me and I will get something going in the Software/Setup section of our forum.
Thinking about it, @LoriNelson - created this wonderful thread a while ago which a few of us shared our piano spaces:
Very nice. Thank you for sharing.
I like to thank you for all the comments you have made for my introduction. Especially, I am very happy that you like my play and its style. It’s the result of what I have been doing for these 3 years. Now, I feel more confident.
As you mentioned, Jazz piano is lifelong work. I will keep learning harmonies, rhythms, and melodies, in addition to reharmonization, to develop my own style.
You’re welcome, Lori. When Silver Sam the Handsome Man climbed up there, didn’t he hit or knock down any items on top of the piano ?
Surprisingly no, but he walks on the piano keys when he thinks I should stop playing the piano because he wants attention.