Practice Schedules - Ideas & Suggestions Please!

Great idea Moritz… I will add the page numbers to the documents.

Brilliant. I envisage it to be a selection of different length tables for the varying amounts of practice time 30/60/90/120 minutes - each table will have the following columns:

  • task or area of practice eg. major 251s
  • time eg. 15 minutes
  • tick box to show completion
  • maybe a note section eg. must work on key of F# Major or next time start on the ‘black key’ 251s

I also think that each sheet should have a ‘focus jazz standard(s)’ section so that once the theory drills have been completed, the student can then apply in the context of a jazz standard, and also use the jazz standard video lesson as a supplement.

Here’s a couple of documents, the first covers the foundations, stuff you should be working on every day as a beginner.

Download the first draft of the document here:

Practice Table Example 1.pdf (1.1 MB)

Ideas Behind The Layout

  1. Keys listed so that they can be circled once they have been practiced. This would ensure the student is hitting all 12 keys:

Covering all 12 keys is important, and it’s easy to get comfortable starting with the same keys each time. When they are in front of you, it will be easier to start at a different point to make sure that you are practicing the keys equally.

  1. Time allocated for each exercise. This will help you see your practice session as a series of smaller exercises.

This can be modified to suit the time available to the student

  1. Notes Section. This is a place to make little notes. When first starting out with these drills, it will likely be hard to get through all 12 keys in the allocated time. Make note of how far you got, where to start next time, keys that you found tricky, perhaps how this ties into another thing to practice etc…

The idea is that with focused daily practice, you will be able to get through all 12 keys in 5 minutes with your eyes closed. We maybe not with your eyes closed :grin: but you get the point.

Then once all exercises have been mastered, it’s time to create a new schedule.

This document is just a draft…

You will notice that there is a lot of space, I will be revising and developing the document tomorrow.

Here’s some things I’d like to add:

  • Warm Up Exercises, I was thinking Hanon 1-20 … Maybe @marc421812 has some ideas for warmups

  • Listening To Records, I think there should be a section where you select 2 or 3 albums, and listen to them every day for the duration that this practice routine is followed. Then once you start a fresh routine, you also pick a few more albums.

  • Jazz Standards My cogs are turning on the best way to integrate jazz standards. I will figure this out soon.

Lots of Different Plans…

There will be many different plans, for different levels & areas of study, each one will be accompanied by a video tutorial where our teachers demonstrate how the plan should be followed.

Also, here’s a blank version of this draft layout:

Blank Table.pdf (878.3 KB)

@Moritz_Gekeler and @ken1136560 … let me know your initial thoughts, and/or any more ideas with the document.

Let’s finalise the layout, and then I will map out the different plans and accompanying videos to be created for all levels.



The layout and content is excellent Hayden, exactly what I was looking for, and no suggested changes. Your suggested additional items make sense to me. Do you plan to include links to IrealPro files? Many different plans for different levels and areas of study will be excellent and distinguish PianoGroove. And everything on one page only please, with a page number and file reference in the footer. Looking forward to seeing final versions and using these.

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I’ll play around with it and let you know. It looks really great though!

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Brilliant thanks guy, I will revise them today, and create a few different example plans from different areas of the syllabus.

I had an idea late last night, which is that for most courses, it would be nice to have one of these plans to indicate the best way to work on the material covered.

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I’m going to start by making the following 5 plans with accompanying videos.

These focus on the beginner-end of the syllabus, which I imagine is where students need the most guidance:

Here’s the plans:

Plan 1: jazz piano foundational theory

Plan 2: exploring extended chords

Plan 3: rootless voicings

Plan 4: exploring altered voicings and USTs

Plan 5: common substitutions

I decided that the “Jazz Standards Element” should not be in the main table above. Instead, that table should be exclusively for theoretical drills.

I think each sheet should have a focus of 3-5 jazz standards, which I will select based on how appropriate they are to practice the theory areas on the plan itself.

Each plan will have 4 modules: Listening, Theory, Jazz Standards, & Transcription.

I’m still working out the best ratio for each.

The listening aspect can be completed at any time in the day.

To start with, the transcription element will be small, but as the student progresses, this should take up more of the allocated practice time.

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Personally, I realised that I do not use the note section much. Maybe that’s my own lazyness, butmaybe you could use that space also to give some hints on how the exercise can be done or how to vary it. But I think it works just fine like this as well.

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Brilliant feedback… thanks Moritz.

I will do exactly that.

A post was split to a new topic: Pro Member Dashboard

Hi Guys,

I figured it would be best to start at the beginning with these practice schedule/plans, and so here’s the plan, and the accompanying video for the Foundations Of Jazz Piano Course:

Foundations_Practice_Plan.pdf (1.9 MB)

You will notice with the document:

  • the overall time is split in half - 50% theory drills & 50% jazz standards

  • the “notes” column is now a “drills/variations” column which gives more specific ways to practice the general topic. @Moritz_Gekeler - you mentioned that you didn’t use the “notes” column and so let me know what you think of this new idea.

  • I’m not sure if the bottom half needs more information?.. other than a list of jazz standards to work on that are relevant to the theory areas. Any thoughts?

  • “Just Friends” is a new beginner tutorial I have recorded, I will be editing it shortly and adding it to the foundation course.

  • This is a 1-hour schedule, you can simply x2 all of the allocated time for a 2-hour slot. or x1.5 for a 1.5-hour slot etc. I think this works well and gives the student flexibility.

Now, here is the accompanying video:

I will add this to the course page shortly, with chaptering. I decided on 6 theory areas so that it fits perfectly with the 6 chapters of our video player offers.

It’s a long video (28 minutes) but I felt this was necessary to properly explain how to practice the material.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

@Moritz_Gekeler - please let me know if this is what you are looking for. From our chats, I think that you are towards the beginner end of the PianoGroove syllabus and so I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this explainer video, and whether the format works.

I want to create one of these for every course on the website, so that each course has a focused lesson on specific exercises and drills to work on, along with the accompanying PDF schedule.

@ken1136560 - what course(s) are you working on? I will create the same for another course, let me know which one you would like and I will get started shortly.



Excellent suggestions and materials for practicing! Dividing things up into handy, useful chunks is just what I needed, since some days I only have a small amount of practice time, easily wasted, but maybe other times I might have several hours. Extremely helpful, everyone, and thanks for the tutorial video, Hayden, packed up methods I can put to work immediately!


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Brilliant thanks for the feedback Scott.

I will be adding this to the Foundations course page shortly, and the 6 parts of the video will then be easier to navigate with the chaptering.

I’ll post a link here once it’s been published.

Absolutely brilliant. I am really impressed with the speed, the quality and the flexibility with which you answered to our discussions. Unfortunately I have quite a big workload, so I haven’t been able to practice for the last 2 weeks and will not be able to practice much for the next 2 or so, but it is absolutely amazing how you cater for our needs and react to the requests and suggestions. Thank you for that. I am really looking forward to getting back to it.

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Hi, again. I have started playing around with the sample practice materials and they do look great, but a couple of further points came to mind:

  1. I really like your emphasis of keeping the practice exercises musical rather than mechanical, so it seemed to me like a short, simple segment on some rhythmic phrases to use in practicing progressions would be helpful. In iRealPro there are lots of styles and tempos and examples to imitate, but a “cheat sheet” style introduction to that topic would be really to useful to beginners.

  2. I like the fact that several of the tunes are in E flat so that there is reinforcement for newbies learning scales and progressions in the key for the first time. And maybe My Funny Valentine is in the relative minor; no? Anyway, linking up the keys of the standards being studied and the scales/progressions being practiced would be a move to consider.

And speaking of which, in the video when you first introduce a standard you state its key and then play the scale and a chord as a kind of reminder of the scale, right? Is that chord a major 13th? Its like a quick reminder of the “pool” of notes to be used, right?

Looking forward to seeing the new practice guidelines, and thanks again,

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That’s great to hear Moritz.

The video is very graphic-heavy and so it took a while to produce, but I am more than happy to do this if that’s what our students find useful to learn, develop, and master the material.

I’d also like to make this part of the workflow for all new courses, with all of out teachers. I see huge value in a dedicated lesson in each course which specifically addressed how to practice that material.

I’m yet to add it to the course page but I will do shortly.

Thanks again for this suggestion and also your feedback on the layout of the PDF doc. We can continue to evolve this too.

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Wonderful… thanks for the input Scott.

Yes I completely agree.

This plan covers the absolute basics, and the main goal is to be able to visualise the scales, triads, 7th chords, and the 251s.

The next plans will be the course on “Extended Chords & Voicings” and the course “Rootless Voicings” - These topics are well suited to more “musical” theory drills, and also iRealPro exercises.

Yes that does make sense, I’m planning something similar for our course on Intros, Endings & Turnarounds.

Check out the first lesson on the 1625 progression here: 1625 & 436251 Progression for Jazz Piano Introductions - we focus on the key of Eb Major.

I think this kind of topic could be developed a lot further in a practice plan lesson. Leave it with me and I will flesh this idea out further.

Yes that is correct that they are relative. Minor keys are a little more complex and a topic I’ve been wanting to cover. The same basic premise applies of the diatonic 7th chords. However, becuase there are 3 types of minor scales, there are many more options and variations that you can use.

Agreed. Great idea :sunglasses:

I think you need to do some reading/watching on chord extensions.

Check out the lesson on chord extensions: Jazz Piano Chord Extensions 9s, 11s & 13s | Extended Chords Tutorial

All diatonic scales contain 7 notes. The 2 is the 9, the 4 is the 11, and the 6 is the 13.

Check out this theory Q&A - Naming Jazz Chord Extensions - any further questions with this you can continue the discussion in the thread.

Something else you should understand:

Jazz music constantly modulates, which means that the key center changes during the same song. This is one of the things that makes jazz sound so interesting and dynamic.

Even though a song is written in a specific key, such as Eb Major, the harmony will move to others keys, and typically come back to the main key to finish the tune.

And so the “pool of notes to be used” is always related to the underlying harmony, and not just the notes of the key signature.

I’ll be posting more updates here on the practice plan so stay tuned.

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The Foundations Course practice video has been added:

I still need to create the fingering download for major scales. I will get around to this shortly.

The next practice guides I will be creating are for the other beginner courses on:

  • Extended Chords & Voicings
  • Mastering Left Hand Voicings

It makes sense to start at the beginning of the syllabus, as our students at this level are most in need of practice tips, guidance, and structure.

More to follow… cheers.

Thanks, Hayden, for uploading the study summary sheet for Jazz Foundations and the new video tutorial on how and what to practice. Your extended video explanations and suggestions and demonstrations were especially helpful to me as a true beginner.

I’ve also tried to follow your suggestions and make my own new practice variations and tried to relate the practice targets to the jazz standards I am studying. For instance, in learning the melody for Tenderly, it was clear how close it is to the E flat scale; when it moves away from the scale, ie with the two accidentals, I am guessing there is a good reason, like setting up a resolution to a phrase?

Thanks again, and I’m really looking forward to more materials like these for the other foundational courses.


Hi Hayden, thanks again for picking up on my suggestions and improving the practice section for jazz beginners. Finally I was able to watch the video. Due to a lot of traveling I wasn’t able to practice much and I won’t be for the next week or so, but I am already looking forward to applying this on a more regular basis again.

I really appreciate the progress that I could make with your help. Even though I wasn’t able to do a very dedicated practice in the last weeks, I played with my nice and I was able to accompagny her sigining a pop song, just because I now understand the chords and can easily play simple chord voicings. We didn’t play jazz, but even that was a great feeling – much different from how I learned the paino as a kid.

Thanks for that!

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Hey Moritz … thanks for letting me know.

I still need to start on the other practice schedules… I’ve had a lot on but this last week but I will aim to complete the ‘Extended Chords Course’ Practice Guide this week.

And that’s awesome to hear that you played with your niece… it must have been fun! As Lyndol outlines… that’s exactly the best strategy, keep things simple and follow the lead of the singer.

Thanks for the update… I wish you safe travels and keep me posted on your progress :slight_smile:

ps. I just shared the 1st lesson of the upcoming Boogie Woogie course… Boogie Woogie Lessons Have Arrived 🕺

I remember a musician telling me that Boogie Woogie is popular in Germany… I think the most famous was this guy: - I must ask Steve about that next time I see him. I’m sure he has some insights to share.

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