Which song next?

I’ve been using the foundations practice planner as my guide everyday. I do 15 minutes on each theory exercise so it takes 1 and 1/2 hours. Then I go to learning standards. Started out learning I’ll be home for Christmas learned a lot from different levels of that. Worked on tune up and then found The Nearness of You. Now I see a whole course on Misty, Georgia, not to mention Jingle Bells course. Does anyone have a recommended sequence of songs to learn ( I could of missed it). Also, in Hayden’s latest Seminar on What to Practice he says to work on the courses-chord extensions, rootless voicings, and altered harmony at the same time as foundations. How much time on these? I try to get in at least 3 hrs practice a day. Some days more. But just using 3 hrs a day as a basis how should I break this down. I know from experience that if you practice is not focused it’s a problem. Right now I’m a little scattered.

Hi Frank,

I won’t give you recomendations on how to breakdown your practice, however I highly recommend Misty. Hayden covers different aspects of it not only in the chord extension course, bur also in mini sessions, advanced courses, improvisation and live seminars. There are so many techniques that can be applied to this song that I think it is good one to get under your hands (so to speak). I may be bias too…it was the first jazz song I learned.


Thanks for the recommendation Celia. I will take your advice and make Misty my next song.

Hi Frank :wave:

Good question here.

I would recommend to pick a few tunes to work on simultaneously.

Exactly as @celia suggested, learning “Misty” would be a sensible choice as it is covered extensively throughout the courses and seminars. I recommend the Cocktail Piano Improv course which starts with an Eb Major Diatonic study before we even start learning the tune “Misty”:

Next, the Georgia Bluesy Stride course follows a similar methodical and step-by-step plan where we start with the most basic voicings and progressions and gradually introduce more complex voicing styles and techniques:

By studying the 2 courses above, you will also be working on all of these theory areas.

Pure Imagination is also a nice tune and we have both a beginner and more advanced tutiorial:

3 hours is a solid amount of time. Break your time down like this:

    1. Jazz Standards & Repertoire ( 40% of practice time)
    1. Theory & Practice Drills ( 40% of practice time)
    1. Listening & Transcription ( 20% of practice time)

Ensure you are hitting the above 3 areas every day, and you will see rapid improvement.

Theory & Practice Drills

For the theory & practice drills, split an hour into 4 x 15 minute chunks, or 6 x 10 minute chunks, where you focus on a different topic in each time slot.

The Whole Step 251 course starts with the basic 251 progression and then we start to introduce chord extensions, chord alterations, moving voices etc… to gradually increase the complexity of our theory drills:

This is a nice alternative to the circle of fifths for taking a particular voicing, progression, alteration, UST, fill, lick, line, basically anything, around all 12 keys without lifting our hands off the keys.

Check out the course above and it will give you some inspiration on voicings and progressions to drill in your theory practice time.

Listening & Transcription

Regular listening and transcription is an essential part of our development as jazz musicians. The most time-effective way to develop our own ‘sound’ in improvisation is through listening to recordings and transcribing the things that we like.

We have ear training exercises and improvisation studies in the forum area which are designed to help students improve their listening skills, get to grips with transcription, and start a more self-guided aspect to their jazz piano education based on the artists and recordings that they personally like:

Here is a useful piece of software that we can use to slow down and loop recordings :

Dedicate a section of your daily practice time to listening and transcribing. The ear training and transcription exercises will allow you to join the dots between what you are learning in the PianoGroove lessons, and what you are hearing on your favourite recordings.

Feel free to tweak the above time allocation, this is just general guidance but it should give you a rough plan to work from.


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Thanks for the detailed answer to my question Hayden. I like to maximize my practice time to get the most out of it. This should do the trick.

Thanks again,

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You should pin that post somewhere Hayden.


This really a most helpful question and the response is very useful to me. Thanks

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Unfortunately a day after my original post I developed a really bad flu for three weeks and spent Christmas in bed. That turned into pneumonia which I am now just getting over with the help of antibiotics. Started up my practice again. My wife and I drove to a resort in Florida and she insisted that I bring my roland FP30X in the car with us stand and all. (What a women) Glad she did. I’m sitting as I type this looking out over the ocean and beach with my Piano behind me. Time to practice.

Oh no ! wishing you a speedy recovery and some happy practice. Enjoy !

:heart_eyes_cat: :champagne: :1st_place_medal: