Level on lessons and where to start

Hi I just found this website yesterday. Im a beginner at piano that got my first piano 2021 due to pandemic I guess, I wanted to learn something new. Im 54yo so not so young and Ive been playing guitar for 20 some years…I did enroll in Pianote when I got the piano so I have learned some things however they dont really have much on jazz, which I love…Anyway I now did purchase the christmas jazz package here and have started. But I now also realize you cover so many of my favourite jazz tunes that I would love being able to play.
So when looking in the list of all lessons on tunes it states that its from beginner to advanced levels but is there a way to see which level each tune is on?? Or are all tunes tought like “Misty” for example that I saw on youtube where you start showing the right hand and only one note comping by the left hand as the start…and then filling up with more? Or how are the lessons designed? Also if I where to signup where would I start?? What tunes would be the easiest to learn?? Plus would it be better to purchase the jazz foundation+jazz beginner class? or would it be smarter to do the monthly subscribtion which I guess give access to all? And is there much beginner lessons and tunes? + whats the frequency on new tunes?? Many questions I know sorry about that but hope its ok…best regards Micael

Hi Micael,

I’m sure Hayden will reply but thought I would offer my 2 cents as someone who has been a member for about a year and a half.

Most of Hayden’s arrangements are at the beginner to intermediate level; occasionally he will release arrangements of the same tune at different levels and I’m sure you’ll find a diversity of material to work on at a level at which you’re comfortable.

In terms of where to start, I think it’s better to start with a course rather than a tune; all (or almost all) of the courses have jazz standards that are taught as part of the course, and the courses are very well organized according to level.

The a la carte approach to engagement is very new; with that caveat, I recommend a monthly subscription for a couple months to see if it’s a good fit. During that time, you’ll have a chance to learn a handful of tunes, download and save as many arrangements and resources as you want, and if you decide it works for you, convert to a yearly membership.

It will be different for everyone, but the main reason I continue to subscribe is not to look at arrangements and not even to take the courses, but to participate in the classrooms, live seminars, and community, and to have all the course resources available if/when I decide I want to learn something new or brush up on something old.

Besides the community, I think the great strengths of the site are the diversity of instructors (different genres, different teaching styles), the organization and attention to detail, and the extent to which Hayden listens and responds to suggestions and feedback.

Hope this helps,

Greg

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@Micke,

Welcome to the community!

Greg has explained very well the best way to approach PianoGroove. Just let me add that you’ll find it very easy for beginners to navigate and know what to do once you subscribe and follow the suggestions. I’ve been here over two years, and I still find something useful every time I log on. And you’ll find that both the instructors and the community members are friendly and supportive.

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Thanks so much for the kind replies Ill most likely try a monthly subscription to see how it works as suggested. I really love the arrangements. And from the pianogroove youtube account I found a lesson on Misty which starts showing root notes by left hand and melody on the right hand…I have learned that this weekend and it sounds pretty good…Im really happy to be able to play that…And there are also in that lessons ways to dress it up. For me it seems like a good way to learn a standard…start with the bare bones and then dress up. And even if I only manage the root notes+melody…it still sound like the song…Anyway again many thanks…

Hi @Micke and welcome!

Greg and Scott have shared some great insights here.

There is no “one approach fits all” as students come to the website with different backgrounds and experience but this is what I would recommend for you:

How are the lessons designed? Also if I where to signup where would I start? What tunes would be the easiest to learn??

The lessons are a mixture of difficulty levels on the website but most of my teachings are Beginner/Intermediate level which I feel will be a good fit for you.

I have the impression that the following 3 courses would be a good place for you to start:

The first 3 arrangements in your Xmas course are also beginner level and so these will be well suited to your current level. Perhaps you can tackle some of the more advanced Xmas tutorials next year.

Subscription vs. Single Courses

The first 2 courses above are available as single sale courses and so you can purchase these and work through them at your own pace.

The monthly/annual give you access to the entire lesson library as only a limited number of courses are available for individual purchase.

The subscription option also includes more personalised guidance and interaction with our teachers through the weekly live seminars and classroom programs.

I hope that helps Micke and let me know if you have any other questions.

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Hi and Thanks for the reply on my questions.
And you are probably right in pointing to those 3 classes.
For me to keep interest up I need also learn songs i think so good to learn a song and also the foundation.
However when learning songs I have an issue that I never seem to learn the entire songs…It was the same on guitar…I seem to be able to keep at it on the same song only for a while…Its a dilemma…So I know parts of several songs but very few songs from start to end really…Is that common?
Anyway when you say that subscription give more interaction, does that mean that students could send you videos (links to vids uploaded to youtube then?) of the student playing and then get feedback from you?
Also you stated that most of your lessons are beginner/intermediate…in the songs library is there a way to see which ones are beginner, intermediate,advanced?? Like a grading 1-3 or similar? And I have started on the “Home For Christmas” since its a nice arrangement and lovely song. Plus I did learn “Misty” on the level of Root Note in the left hand and melody on the right…Which seems like a good way to start learning a song…
Anyway thanks so much for your input and for the site as well…I signed up for a monthly subscribe to begin with…plus the chrismas course…Take Care Micael

Hi Micke :wave:

My pleasure and yes that’s exactly right - aim for a mixture of theory studies and jazz standard lessons so that you are learning the theory and then applying it to tunes.

Yes when starting out it can be difficult to memorise jazz standards. It’s important to understand common jazz forms (AABA, ABAC, AB etc…) and this can speed up the memorisation process. Also having an understanding of functional harmony and common modulations will help to internalise chord changes.

Here is a lesson and a seminar dedicated to that topic:

I also believe @Tuomo is planning a classroom program on “Memorising Jazz Standards” which I think would be very useful for you.

As a monthly member you now have access to all lessons and also the live seminars and the classroom programs here: Classroom Programs - PianoGroove Community

Yes we have a “share your recordings” thread here where you can upload video or audio files for feedback from teachers and students.

In the classroom programs the homework assignments typically involve uploading an audio file and so you will receive feedback from the teacher.

The following 2 tutorials are nice ones to start with from our Beginner Jazz Arrangements course:

Also the first 3 Xmas tutorials as I already mentioned. I’m also in the process of creating 2 new Xmas arrangements - both beginner and advanced versions of the same tunes (“The Christmas Waltz” and “Silent Night”) which will be ready in a week or so.

My recommendation would be to pick a handful of tunes, and then work on these for a month or so, pay attention to the forms as directed in the “Common Jazz Forms Lesson” and use this information to your advantage to speed up the memorisation process.

I recommend that you start with “The Nearness Of You Tutorial” above, and then also watch my live seminar on that tune which takes more of a deep dive into the form and harmony and this will show you how we can continually develop and enhance our arrangements:

My pleasure Michael.

You might also like to browse over the syllabus pages to see the “Learning Paths” which show the main “Milestones” for getting to grips with different areas of jazz theory: