Category Archives: New jazz piano lesson updates

jazz piano lesson

Finding the sweet notes

Finding the sweet notes

In video lesson 24 of Learn Jazz Piano  I focus on how songwriters employ ‘sweet notes’ to add that spine tingling effect to their melody. I then relate this to jazz improvisation and show you how to employ this technique in your solos.

Here’s an extract from chapter 10 of my eBook ‘How To Solo’, where I deal with this essential topic. To purchase the book follow this link.

Chapter 10

Here are two tunes that target sweet notes to great effect.

In  the first eight bars of Victor Young’s Beautiful Love each sweet note occurs on beat 1 and above the chord.

fig125

The table below describes the function of each boxed note in relation to its chord.

Note Chord Function
A Em7(b5) 4
F A7(#5) #5
F Dm7 3
C Gm7 4
A C7 6
A Fmaj7 3

 

Blue In Green, credited to Miles Davis but probably composed by Bill Evans, has a cyclical structure that never seems to resolve. I recommend that you first revisit this tune by listening to track 3 of the Miles Davis album: Kind Of Blue.

In the following example, rather than writing out the complete melody, I’ve illustrated just the target notes, plus a suggested left-hand accompaniment.

blue in green targets+ rootless

  • Table showing sweet notes
Bar Note Chord Function
1 E Gm6 6
2 C A7 #9
3 A Dm7 5
3 G G7 1
4 F Cm7 4
4 D F7 6
5 E Bbmaj7(b5) b5
6 C A7 #9
7 G Dm7 4
8 C E7 #5
9 B Am7 9
10 F Dm7 3

 

The video for this lesson will be available very soon.

How to solo

How to solo

How to Solo

My learn jazz piano video course is now around half way through the series ‘How to solo.’  There now follows a summary of these lessons so far with a link to each lesson.

Lesson 21:  Connecting hands
In this lesson I take you through techniques to incorporate your left hand. These include the following:

Stride
Walking bass lines
Shearing block chords
Drop 2 and left hand voicings

Click here for link to lesson 21

——————-

Lesson 22: Choosing the right scale
This lesson guides you through the best scales and modes to use over your chords and focuses on the following topics:

Using the Lydian mode over major chords
Choosing Dorian or Aolian over minor chords
The use of Lydian Dominant, altered scale etc over 7th chords
Choosing Locrian or Locrian 2 over diminished chords

Click here for lesson 22

——————-

Lesson 23: putting scales to work
This lesson guides you through many soloing options

Bebop scales
Effective use of passing notes
How to encircle notes
Soloing over Satin Doll

Click here for lesson 23

——————-

 

Learning Jazz Piano lesson 22 now available

Learning Jazz Piano lesson 22 now available

Learning Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams

Here’s video lesson 22

‘HOW TO SOLO, PART 2.’

The second video lesson in this series is called ‘Chords and their scales.’

In lesson 22, I take the 4 chord types and pair them with all their scales and modes. The obvious pairings are as follows:

  • Major chords: major scale
  • Minor chords: dorian mode
  • Dominant 7 chords: mixolydian mode
  • Half diminished chords: locrian mode

But this is just the beginning. If you want to play creative solos, there are far more options when we dig deeper. For example, I illustrate five scale options just over the dominant 7.

Get lesson 22 here!

This lesson is a follow-on from lesson 21, ‘How to solo, part 1.’

Here’s a summary of the lessons 1 – 20:

Lesson 1 – From scales to chords

  • Soloing over the Pentatonic scale
  • Mastering intervals
  • The V – I concept
  • One formula to construct all major scales
  • 7 chords, one family
learning jazz piano
7 chords, 1 scale

Lesson 2 – Building a chord sequence

  • Chord sequences
  • The relative minor and its scales
  • The family row of minor triads
  • Soloing in a minor key

Lesson 3 –  Mastering every key

  • The circle of 5ths
  • How to play in any key
  • Preview of the II-V-I sequence
  • Introduction to the turnaround

Lesson 4 – Swing time

  • Learning to swing
  • The construction of 7th chords
  • How to interpret chord symbols
  • Shells – how not to upset the bass player

Lesson 5 – Walking 3s

  • Turnarounds part 2: I – VI – II -V
  • Walking 3s and 7s: the seeds of vertical improvisation.
  • How to use passing notes.
  • Voice leading

Lesson 6 – Extensions

  • Extensions: how to use 9ths, 11ths and 13th.
  • Know which extensions work with which chord.
  • Voicing a chord using extensions.
  • Introduction to Modes.

Lesson 7 – The II-V-I sequence

  • Master the II – V – I sequence in all keys
  • Seven soloing techniques over II – V – I
  • Alterations: know your sharp 11 from your flat 13
  •  Flat 9s and the diminished chord

Lesson 8 – How to comp

  • Comp like a pro
  • Find the best chord voicings
  • Use the right extensions
  • Build up to a five-note comp
  • Explore rhythmic variations

Lesson 9 – Modes

  • Know your Mixodydian from your Dorian
  • Grasp the connection between modes and chords
  • The art of modal soloing and comping
  • How to play ‘So What’

Lesson 10 – Autumn Leaves part 1

  • Playing your first standard
  • Learning the melody
  • The comp
  • The shells
  • The solo

Lesson 11 – Autumn Leaves part 2

  • Taking Autumn Leaves to the next level
  • How to fill out the melody
  • Comping with alterations
  • Soloing with vertical improvisation

Lesson 12 – The Blues part 1

Play with confidence over the blues.

  • How to solo creatively
  • The minor blues
  • Blues in 12/8
    Plus lots of tips, tricks and licks!

Lesson 13 – The Blues part 2

  • Taking the blues beyond the basics.
  • Chord changes that turn blues into jazz.
  • Lydian dominant & diminished scales.
  • Rootess left-hand voicings.

Lesson 14 – Bebop blues

  • Left hand 4-note rootless voicings
  • Constructing the Bebop sequence.
  • How to solo over a Bebop blues
  • Comping over a Bebop blues

Lesson 15 – Rootless voicing

  • Constructing left hand rootless voicings.
  • Applying  rootless voicings to II-V-I and turnarounds.
  • Adding the alterations: b9, b13 etc.

Lesson 16 – Tritone substitution

  • Diminished theory
  • Soloing over diminshed chords
  • Using diminished scales over dominant 7ths
  • Mastering tritone substitution

Lesson 17 – Putting it together

  • Now put your knowledge to work!
  • Combine learned techniques to play a jazz standard.
  • Rootless voicings + tritone substitution
  • Altered and diminished scales

Lesson 18 – Decoding a standard

  • Analysis of ‘All The Things You Are.’
  • How tunes are structured.
  • Identifying key centres
  • Connecting melody and chords
  • How to learn tunes

Lesson 19 – Reharmonising a standard

  • Chord substitution
  • How to reharmonise a tune
  • All The Thing You Are: advanced
  • Take The A Train reharmonised

Lesson 20 – Rhythm Changes

  • Next to a 12-bar blues, Rhythm Changes
    is the most important chord sequence in jazz.
    Master all its forms in this vital video lesson.

___________________________________________________________________

Jazz Piano eBooks

These latest lessons are based on book 4 in my series of eBooks. You’ll find extracts from this book in the lesson packages, but as I’m still working on book 4, it’s not yet available. You can purchase books 1, 3 and 3 here:

Click here for eBooks
learning jazz piano
My eBooks

_______________________________________________________

Lesson 21: study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

Lesson 21: study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

Study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

Click here for lesson 21

‘CONNECTING HANDS.’

I have now produced 20 videos in the series ‘Study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams.’

This is the first video lesson package in the series ‘How to solo.’

When soloing, most of us get busy with our right hands at the expense of our left. The left hand usually takes a back seat and is left with the supporting role of marking out chords, usually on beat 1 of every bar.

In this lesson we’ll get your left hand into the action, using the following techniques:

  • Walking bass lines
  • Stride
  • Shearing block chords
  • Drop 2
  • Left hand chord placement

I’ll be providing plenty of soloing ideas that work with these strategies, but the main focus is to integrate your right and left hand.

learn jazz piano with Paul Abrahams
Block chords (Someone To Watch Over Me.)

Click here for new lesson

Here’s an extract from my forthcoming book:

We should all strive to become two-handed pianists. Unfortunately, most solos consist of a line of single notes in the right hand, supported by chords in the left. This is just one approach and should not be the default sound of ‘jazz piano.’ If the right hand is taking most of the load, then the left at least needs to be integrated, serving a musical function. However, there is no reason why the left and right hand shouldn’t take equal roles. Listen to Brad Mehldau and Stan Tracy for inspiration.

Because, for the most part, the right hand takes on the primary role, I’ll spend the first section of this chapter looking at how the left hand can make a meaningful contribution, rather than just marking out the time. I’ll then suggest strategies where the left hand can become more of an equal partner.

 

New 20-pack bundle for playing Jazz piano online

New 20-pack bundle for playing Jazz piano online

I’ve been asked to bundle all 20 playing jazz piano online video lessons into a discounted 20-pack.

So here it is!
http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/lessons-1-20.html
So that’s 10 hours of video and 80 backing tracks. That should keep you busy! The more playing jazz piano online, the better.

Here’s a summary of the lesson content:

Lesson 1 – From scales to chords

  • Soloing over the Pentatonic scale
  • Mastering intervals
  • The V – I concept
  • One formula to construct all major scales
  • 7 chords, one family
learning jazz piano online
7 chords, 1 scale

Lesson 2 – Building a chord sequence

  • Chord sequences
  • The relative minor and its scales
  • The family row of minor triads
  • Soloing in a minor key

Lesson 3 –  Mastering every key

  • The circle of 5ths
  • How to play in any key
  • Preview of the II-V-I sequence
  • Introduction to the turnaround

Lesson 4 – Swing time

  • Learning to swing
  • The construction of 7th chords
  • How to interpret chord symbols
  • Shells – how not to upset the bass player

Lesson 5 – Walking 3s

  • Turnarounds part 2: I – VI – II -V
  • Walking 3s and 7s: the seeds of vertical improvisation.
  • How to use passing notes.
  • Voice leading

Lesson 6 – Extensions

  • Extensions: how to use 9ths, 11ths and 13th.
  • Know which extensions work with which chord.
  • Voicing a chord using extensions.
  • Introduction to Modes.

Lesson 7 – The II-V-I sequence

  • Master the II – V – I sequence in all keys
  • Seven soloing techniques over II – V – I
  • Alterations: know your sharp 11 from your flat 13
  •  Flat 9s and the diminished chord

Lesson 8 – How to comp

  • Comp like a pro
  • Find the best chord voicings
  • Use the right extensions
  • Build up to a five-note comp
  • Explore rhythmic variations

Lesson 9 – Modes

  • Know your Mixodydian from your Dorian
  • Grasp the connection between modes and chords
  • The art of modal soloing and comping
  • How to play ‘So What’

Lesson 10 – Autumn Leaves part 1

  • Playing your first standard
  • Learning the melody
  • The comp
  • The shells
  • The solo

Lesson 11 – Autumn Leaves part 2

  • Taking Autumn Leaves to the next level
  • How to fill out the melody
  • Comping with alterations
  • Soloing with vertical improvisation

Lesson 12 – The Blues part 1

Play with confidence over the blues.

  • How to solo creatively
  • The minor blues
  • Blues in 12/8
    Plus lots of tips, tricks and licks!

Lesson 13 – The Blues part 2

  • Taking the blues beyond the basics.
  • Chord changes that turn blues into jazz.
  • Lydian dominant & diminished scales.
  • Rootess left-hand voicings.

Lesson 14 – Bebop blues

  • Left hand 4-note rootless voicings
  • Constructing the Bebop sequence.
  • How to solo over a Bebop blues
  • Comping over a Bebop blues

Lesson 15 – Rootless voicing

  • Constructing left hand rootless voicings.
  • Applying  rootless voicings to II-V-I and turnarounds.
  • Adding the alterations: b9, b13 etc.

Lesson 16 – Tritone substitution

  • Diminished theory
  • Soloing over diminshed chords
  • Using diminished scales over dominant 7ths
  • Mastering tritone substitution

Lesson 17 – Putting it together

  • Now put your knowledge to work!
  • Combine learned techniques to play a jazz standard.
  • Rootless voicings + tritone substitution
  • Altered and diminished scales

Lesson 18 – Decoding a standard

  • Analysis of ‘All The Things You Are.’
  • How tunes are structured.
  • Identifying key centres
  • Connecting melody and chords
  • How to learn tunes

Lesson 19 – Reharmonising a standard

  • Chord substitution
  • How to reharmonise a tune
  • All The Thing You Are: advanced
  • Take The A Train reharmonised

Lesson 20 – Rhythm Changes

  • Next to a 12-bar blues, Rhythm Changes
    is the most important chord sequence in jazz.
    Master all its forms in this vital video lesson.

 

For my Learn Jazz Piano eBooks click here.

 

I recommend that you work through my’ playing jazz piano online’ lessons in conjunction with the 3 Learn Jazz Piano eBooks.

playing jazz piano online
My eBooks

16-20 lesson pack for Jazz Piano video course

16-20 lesson pack for Jazz Piano video course

5-pack of lessons for jazz piano video course

As I’ve now completed 20 video lessons of my Jazz Piano video course,  I’ve packaged lessons 16-20 into a discounted 5-pack.

Click here for link

Lesson 16

  • Soloing over diminshed chords
  • Using diminished scales over dominant 7ths
  • Mastering tritone substitution
jazz piano video course
B diminished scale

Lesson 17

  • Now put your knowledge to work!
  • Combine learned techniques to play a jazz standard.
  • Rootless voicings + tritone substitution
  • Altered and diminished scales
jazz piano video course
3 scales

Lesson 18

  • Analysis of ‘All The Things You Are.’
  • How tunes are structured.
  • Identifying key centres
  • Connecting melody and chords
  • How to learn tunes
jazz piano video course
All the things you are

Lesson 19

  • Chord substitution
  • How to reharmonise a tune
  • All The Thing You Are: advanced
  • Take The A Train reharmonised
jazz piano video course
All the things you are with tritone subs

Lesson 20

  • Next to a 12-bar blues, Rhythm Changes
    is the most important chord sequence in jazz.
    Master all its forms in this vital video lesson.
jazz piano video course
The A section of Rhythm Changes

 

 

Lesson 20 of Play Jazz Piano Online now available!

Lesson 20 of Play Jazz Piano Online now available!

Lesson 20 of Play Jazz Piano Online is all about
Rhythm Changes.

My Play Jazz Piano Online video course would not be complete without a tutorial about Rhythm changes. Next to a 12-bar blues, this is the most important chord sequence in jazz, and  is one that every jazz musician needs to be familiar with. Rhythm Changes is based on the chord sequence of the song  I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin. Jazz composers have substituted Gershwin’s  tune with their own, but have kept the chord sequence. Actually, there are a few variations of this sequence you need to know, and I take you through the options in this 30-minute video lesson.

Click here to access lesson.

In 1930, George Gershwin wrote a tune called I Got Rhythm. Subsequently, jazz composers took to retaining the chord changes but replacing Gershwin’s tune with their own. This may have had something to do with avoiding copyright charges. More importantly, players were drawn to the chord changes, finding them to be an ideal vehicle for improvisation.

Many composers have turned their hand to Rhythm Changes. I suggest that you listen to some of the following:

  • Lester Leaps In – Lester Young
  • Anthropology – Charlie Parker
  • Cotton Tail – Duke Ellington
  • Rhythm-A-Ning – Thelonious Monk
  • Oleo – Sonny Rollins
  • The Theme – Miles Davis

Here’s a chord chart for the A section:

play jazz piano online
The A section of Rhythm Changes

As always, the video comes with 4 backing tracks, sheet music and a quiz. If you want to play jazz piano online get started now!

Get lesson 20 here!

 

 

So What’s Next for Jazz Piano tuition online?

So What's Next for Jazz Piano tuition online?

Jazz piano tuition online would not be complete without Rhythm Changes

Well, I’m about to start work on lesson 20 and it will be called Rhythm Changes. This is based on the tune ‘I Got Rhythm’ by George Gershwin.

 Jazz Piano tuition online
George Gershwin

Next to a 12-bar blues, Rhythm Changes is the most important chord sequence in jazz, but I’ll tell you more about this nearer the time. But I will say that this is an essential part of  Jazz Piano tuition online.

Lessons 18 and 19 were all about mapping a sequence and then substituting the chords. I used All The Things You Are and Take The A Train to demonstrate how to interpret a song structure and then reharmonise it.

Get lessons 18 & 19 here!

(Remember to scroll down when you arrive on the page.)

Lesson 19 – jazz improvisation: reharmonising a jazz standard

Lesson 19 - jazz improvisation: reharmonising a jazz standard

Jazz improvisation

Click here for lesson 19

I’ve finally completed lesson 19  of jazz improvisation, so you can now download it.
This new 30 minute video shows you how to reharmonise a lead sheet and employ substitute chords to make for a more creative solo. This will take your jazz improvisation to the next level.

Following on from lesson 18, I’ve taken All The Things You Are and substituted many of the chords. I also show you how to do the same with Take The A Train.

jazz improvisation
All The Things You Are

Once you see how it’s done, you can do this for yourself with any jazz standard. The most common way to reharmonise a chord is by substituting a dominant 7 with its tritone. This works well when the dominant 7 is about to resolve to its tonic.  For example, instead of G7 resolving to Cmaj7 we substitute a Db7, which is three whole steps (or tones) from the original chord.

Get lesson 19  here

Reharmonising a jazz standard

Reharmonising a jazz standard

Lesson 19 of Learn Jazz Piano online is called ‘Reharmonising a jazz standard’ and will be ready in a week or so.

In lesson 18, I dissected Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are, analysing its structure and breaking it down into key centres. I also stuck to Kern’s original harmony. But in this upcoming lesson we’ll be taking things further by replacing the simple chords with a sequence more appropriate to jazz.
I’ll show you some simple techniques that you can apply to any jazz standard. In fact, in lesson 19 I’ll be giving the same treatment to Billy Strayhorn’s Take The A Train.

The creation of a new, sophisticated chord structure will allow your solos to take on a far more creative journey.

Here are some reharmonisations in the A section of Take The A Train

rehamonising a standard
Take The A Train with substitute chords

As always, the 30-minute video will come with 4 downloadable backing tracks, sheet music and a quiz. ‘Reharmonising a  jazz standard’ should be ready in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, I suggest you catch up by purchasing lesson 18.

Get lesson 18 here!