Introduce Yourself To The PianoGroove Community! 🌎

Hi Lynelle :wave:

Welcome to the PianoGroove Community!

Thanks for sharing your musical background and history. It sounds like you have a very rewarding and enriching career in music.

For many of us coming from a classical background it can be an initial challenge to read and interpret jazz charts. When we are just given a chord symbol and a melody note, there is so much freedom for interpretation which can be daunting to start. So you’re certainly not alone there! :grinning:

Interpreting chord charts and lead sheets is exactly what we teach here at PianoGroove and so I’m sure you will find the syllabus well-suited to your goals.

With your previous musical experience I’d imagine you can skim through much of the Foundations Course and move onto the following courses where we explore jazz harmony and voicing techniques:

Extended Chords & Harmony:

Rootless Harmony:

Altered Harmony:

Substitutional Harmony:

After watching the theory lessons and jazz standard studies you will have a much clearer understanding of the options available when playing from chord charts and lead sheets.

It does take time but as mentioned, with your musical experience I’m sure you will grasp the concepts quickly and easily.

Here’s a few words on improvisation

I can see you already acknowledged the need to listen to a LOT of jazz music. Listening is the ultimately source of inspiration and allows us to ‘sculpt’ and ‘mould’ our sound based on the players that we like the sounds of.

Improvisation is very personal based on the musicians, styles, and eras that we have studied and transcribed from. That’s why everyone has their own unique ‘voice’ when improvising.

Steve - our Blues/Boogie Woogie teacher - explains this nicely the intro lesson for his upcoming Chicago Blues course.

See the below video starting at 9m 12s where Steve talks about his influences and the importance of listening and emulating the records that “speak to us”. I like how he explains it:

This advice is applicable to all styles of improvised music.

Finally, check out our Listening Section and our Weekly Transcription Exercises:

Spend a week or 2 browsing around checking out the links above and if you have any questions we are here to help. Talk soon!

Wow!!! You have an impressive musical background Lynelle! Would love to hear you sing. Warm welcome to you!

Hi Lynelle. Welcome to the Pianogroove community. I’m an Adelaide boy currently living in Malaysia.

It’s good to hear from a fellow Aussie. I too was more classically trained and then moved into contemporary music circles playing in piano bars in Adelaide for a few years.

It’s a great forum here and a wealth of information to keep the best of us from becoming complacent!

Have fun and enjoy the journey!

welcome Lynelle, what an interesting musical life you have enjoyed! I find that really busy busy jazz is what I get turned off to; I would invite you to listen to Chet Baker and Bill Evans, that is the jazz music that I love; our forum thread on “What are you Listening to today” is full of amazing music that Pianogroovers have shared with each other; fantastic stuff.

Welcome to our community Grant and Lynelle. Everybody has such busy lives and learning and practicing can be difficult to fit it all in but I find the forum is a great place to be. Everyone is very encouraging and supportive here. A big thank you to all our top contributors.

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Hi everyone at pianogroove,

my name is Christina, I live in a small town in Germany between Cologne and Aachen with my husband and our three boys.

I started to take piano lessons at the age of 7, but I sang and played on everything that had black and white keys since I can think.
My piano teacher had her older students substitute her with the younger ones, and so at the age of 14 I found out that I enjoyed teaching very much, especially with young children.
I studied elementary music education along with mathematics and German and also general science of learning and teaching methodology.

I have been working as a teacher in elementary music education for over 20 years now, in public and music schools and day care and giving courses for babies and toddlers with their parents. I also have some piano students.
I am familiar with the teaching concepts of Orff, Kodaly, Justine Ward, Edwin E. Gordon etc., but over the years I started to develop my own way of teaching.
Along with singing and playing rhythmical, melodical and harminical patterns using different modes to me the connection between rhythm, melody and spoken language is of essential importance.
I think the easiest way to memorize a melody is to use lyrics, especially when they are funny or absurd.
In my courses with kindergarten children I always present the songs, patterns, dances etc. in the context of a story, f.e. “the very hungry caterpillar” or whatever suits my goals for the lesson.

Like many others I am classically educated and I have made my way through, but I always had the feeling that there must be more than learning and interpreting compositions note by note from the fully written text.
I have to admit that I always have been a very bad sight reader, so transcribing is what I did my whole life :wink:
Although I have good ears and have not many difficulties with music theory, I am not very good at improvising. Is that paradox?

With my piano students I have finally come to the point where I want to teach them to make music more affectively and spontaneously and it would be nice if they could fully understand what they are doing there musically. A colleague of mine calls that “music literacy”.
We all are able to speak freely in our mother language and we have learned that from listening to other people, putting a sense in the language fragments and then testing that ourselves. I am so sure that it works just that way with music.

But since I wasn´t taught that way, I have to close some gaps…

I already signed in at pianogroove last december but with three kids and my work I haven´t found the time to contribute something here, but right now we have our summer break.
But I have been reading and watching videos and Hayden, it´s amazing what you have set up here!

It is so inspiring to see how dedicated you and the other teachers are to what you are doing here and how much thinking you spend on practice plans, syllabusses and always giving every student the best and most useful personal advice. I wonder if you get some rest in between, since you obviously put so much work in your teaching. I´m looking forward to absolve your courses and dive into the world of jazz. I already learned so much here. Unfortunately my brain is much faster than my fingers.

So much for now, I hope I can contribute more in the future.

Best wishes,



Welcome Christina. Your music journey is just beginning. Pianogroove is fun.
Dr. Dean

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Welcome Christina! You have a fabulous background!!! I look forward to hearing more from you!!!

And yes…Hayden has done a wonderful job! There is so much to learn on this site!


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And another welcome from me. PianoGroove should give you a great way to use all your background knowledge and experience to maybe look at playing from a different angle. Regardless of what you get out of the program, you’ll definitely have fun doing it. Enjoy.

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Welcome Christina!

Thanks for sharing all of this information… so much to comment on here!

That’s awesome that you had the opportunity to teach at such a young age. I’m sure it was both a fun and rewarding experience for you!

I read this quote when I was younger and it has always stuck with me:

I agree with Edgar’s quote; after teaching a concept here on PianoGroove I never have any problems remembering it afterwards! :grinning:

I’d love to sit in on one of your classes Christina… They sound very fun and engaging.

I completely agree with the benefit of attaching lyrics to a melody. Not only for memorisation purposes, but also to get a deeper understanding of the tune and the meaning behind it.

A huge area that I overlooked as a beginner was learning and memorising the lyrics of the standards I was playing.

I think it’s a wonderful analogy to compare music - in particular jazz music - to a spoken language.

When we listen and transcribe from our favourite records, we pick up small pieces of musical vocabulary ie. ‘words’.

We can then combine these ‘words’ to create longer ‘sentences’ and full ‘conversations’ which is what improvisation is; telling a story through music.

Furthermore, from listening and transcribing, we learn how to start and end our improvisations. Continuing with the music/language analogy, we could compare this to how we learn how to start and end our conversations from listening to others and engaging in active conversation/discussion throughout our lives.

Likewise Christina it’s inspiring to read your musical story and your teaching career.

I think there is so much to be gained through constructive conversation and discussion in the world of music, which is exactly what I envisaged this forum to create.


Any questions, comments, or feedback be sure to let us know.

Enjoy the lessons! :sunglasses:


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Wellcome Christina … hope hearing soon your playing :sunglasses:

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I discovered and joined Pianogroove last month and joined immediately. I’m VERY impressed.

I suppose it’s high time I introduced myself.

I live in the Seattle area, and I’m a great fan of Jovino’s. I will be seeing him and his quinteto at the end of this month.

I’ve always loved jazz, particularly piano jazz and particularly jazz standards and blues. I grew up in New York and as a little girl was smitten by Broadway musicals; hence my grounding in standards.

I am a recovering attorney who had a little basic piano when I was a teen (just enough not to be afraid of reading music.) I stopped because we moved and the piano was sold). Once I graduated from law school I bought a piano and started lessons again, but I didn’t have the time and stamina to progress to my satisfaction.

After retiring eight years ago, I felt it was finally time to buckle down. (If not now, when?). I’ve had several teachers, some better than others. I’ve also tried several different online programs. PianoGroove is, far and away, the best.

I’m still exploring the website and all its permutations. It’s a little overwhelming; but clearly, I’ll never be bored again.

I have modest goals: I have no ambition to play with a group or in public, just for myself. Because playing allows me to stop thinking in words, I use it as a form of meditation and a way of remaining (somewhat) sane. That said, I’m probably my harshest critic and I do want to progress.

Just as review and grounding, I started with the beginning PianoGroove lessons. Good thing I did. Everything is both so much clearer and so much more complex. I’m using the Foundations Practice Guide, but to get a preview of coming attractions, I’ve taken to just watching (but not expecting to fully understand ) some of the more advanced lessons and then peeking at another and another and another. It’s difficult to avoid getting sucked down the rabbit hole. Most of the time I find my way back. And when I’m truly lost, I ask a question online and I’m so pleased to get a concise prompt answer (which often takes me down another rabbit hole, but so be it.)

My favorite jazz pianists are:
Gone but not forgotten

• Eddie Higgins
• Oscar Peterson, and
• Dave Brubeck.
Still with us in body and soul
• Tamir Hendelman and
• Monty Alexander

My favorite jazz big band is Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

My favorite just-for-fun group is Monsieur Perine.

Let the groove begin….

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Welcome, Wendy! I also play and study this mostly for my own personal enjoyment and to challenge myself, and find it as meditative as you do. Have fun with it. ( We are nearly neighbors… I’m near Port Townsend )

Wendy, welcome to the community! It sounds like we had similar experiences with piano in our early years. I, like you, play for myself. It is my other world! I have learned so much this year and can’t wait to see what another year brings. You are going to love your journey!

Welcome Wendy!

Firstly, enjoy watching Jovino and his Quinteto this month. It’s always a great show.

I know we have chatted over email and talked about the different areas of the site. If you have any further questions do let me know.

We are launching our custom syllabuses this month which should help to give all students more direction with their goals and ambitions.

Thanks for sharing your favourite musicians, I’m also a big fan of Eddie Higgins.

I love his solo piano rendition of “In A Sentimental Mood” :

Enjoy the lessons!

Hi Wendy,
you´ve chosen the best place to learn jazz piano. Have lots of fun with exploring the lessons and the community and with improving your piano skills.
Like you I follow the syllabus and practice plans on one side and watch some of the more advanced videos just out of curiosity and because the lessons are so interesting and informative. It is a good way I think.

Hope to hear more from you soon.

All the best,


Wellcome Wendy :partying_face:

thanks for the discovering of this two , never hear from before

I’m looking forward to learning about these custom syllabuses (syllabi ?)

On another note: Tonight, as I was listening to Eddie Higgins’ solos, I had another idea (not full-formed, more like an inkling or a notion) which may be beyond the scope of this website; but maybe not: It would be very useful for me, while listening to a specific recording by a favorite artist, to have an analysis of what it is he or she is doing. For example, “there’s a minor iiVI.” or “that’s a scale in the mixolydian mode.” Not exactly sure how this would work, but I think I could learn from that. What do you think?

Hi everyone,

Well it’s taken me a long time to get here…

I was brought up playing classical piano but always loved jazz, used to go to my local library at home and listen to all the old vinyls and tapes (this was in the 80s). I’ve always wanted to play jazz, to play without music. I have melodies and improvisations going around my head whenever I listen to anything but can’t play a single thing on the piano without music and at the moment my ability to play any kind of jazz rhythm kind of sucks.

No more! I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning how to play, moving away from written music and starting to have some real fun. I am getting married next year sometime and I would really like to be able to play something at the wedding (that’s my secret ambition anyway).

On the personal side I’m based in London UK, and I work as a barrister (that’s an attorney that dresses up and wears a wig) and also a coach (for organisation, individuals and couples). I’m also a Visiting Law Professor at King’s College in London. I am divorced with three young kids (9, 12, and 14 years g/b/g).

My piano favourites are Bill Evans, Hank Jones, Monty Alexander, Keith Jarrett, Dave Brubeck, Nat King Cole, Bud Powell and Shirley Horne.

Looking forward to joining in and getting to know some of you.


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Welcome! If you are hoping to wean yourself away from sheet music, be sure and refrain from printing any of the full transcriptions on the jazz tunes. Only print out the lead sheet and just follow the video tutorial and take it slowly, repeatedly till you learn that ballad (don’t skip the left hand voicing bit like I used to do). You will get the :notes: freedom you crave.
Pick a beginner tune THAT YOU LIKE. Enjoy this process.

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