Upcoming Course: Playing In A Jazz Band

Hi PianoGroovers :sunglasses:

As many of you know I’ve been working closely with our new teachers over the past couple months. Now I have some time to teach again which I’m excited about… It’s been super rewarding working with our new teachers, but I have certainly missed making lessons myself! :grinning:

I’ve been planning a new course on my journey to be able to play with other musicians. The course will break down the exact steps I’ve followed to become competent at soloing and comping in a trio or bigger band setting.

Here’s a top-level overview of what will be included in the course:

Lesson 1: Learning Jazz Standards By Memory

  • Why memorise?
  • Visualise in blocks of 8
  • Common Forms
  • Analyse the harmony functionally

Lesson 2: Open Position Rootless Voicings

  • Left hand voicings recap
  • Take second to bottom note and place on top
  • 4 possible inversions
  • Works for major, minor, dom, and dim chords,
  • Problematic for -9b5 and -11b5 chords.

Lesson 3: Hybrid Rootless Voicings

  • Play rootless voicing in left hand and extend in right hand
  • LHVs with octaves above
  • Red Garland Voicing
  • LHVs with stacks of 4ths on top
  • Combing LHVs and stacked 4ths or 5ths in RH gives bigger sound

Lesson 4: Quartals & Upper Structures

  • Stack 4ths in the left hand with UST in right hand
  • For Major and Minor chords, left hand plays stacked 4ths
  • For Dom chords, play tritone in left hand
  • For -7b5 chord, play R-b5 in left hand
  • Tritone and UST can be played in any inversion
  • Right hand plays major triad for all chord types

Lesson 5: Quartal UST 251 Sets & Formulas

  • Quartal Voicing Sets For Major 251s
  • Useful Sets For Minor 251s

Lesson 6: Improv Drills & Exercises

  • triplet feel – swing 8th note recap
  • Continuous scale drill
  • Chord tone solo drills
  • Arpeggio drills
  • Repetition & motif development

Lesson 7: Transcribe & Play Along With Records

  • transcription guidance
  • solo analysis and tips for transcribing your own solos.
  • recommendations for self-motivated learners

Lesson 8: Putting It All Together

  • demonstrate with 3 medium/up-tempo tune
  • how to play the head
  • how to take a solo
  • how to comp behind instrumentalists

We will be using and demonstrating the iRealPro App throughout the course. This really is an indispensable tool for improving your skills for ensemble performance.

Some of the tunes we will be working on are:

  • There Will Never Be Another You
  • The Days Of Wine & Roses
  • Stella By Starlight

The course will naturally change and evolve during the recording and editing stages, but what you see above will be the core themes of each lesson.

For those students looking for a structured path to improve your improvisation - this course will provide everything you need to know.

Improvisation is a tricky subject to teach, I’m confident that this course will help a lot of students with the aspirations to improvise over jazz standards.

Any initial feedback I’d love to hear it :slight_smile:


Ambassador, you are spoiling us! :smile:


Hi Hayden, this sounds wonderful. I shall look forward to it.

Cheers, Natasha :sunglasses:

Excellent !! Looking forward to this lesson.

Hi guys!

Here’s 5 lessons from the course “How To Play Piano In A Jazz Band” - more lessons to come in this course. These should give you a good foundation understanding on your role when playing with other musicians.

Lesson 1: Common Jazz Forms


Lesson 2: There Will Never Be Another You Harmonic Analysis


Lesson 3: 4-Note Comping Voicings:


Lesson 4: Quartal 251 Voicings:


Lesson 5: Red Garland Solo Analysis:


Any comments or questions… I’d love to hear :grinning: