Category Archives: New jazz piano lesson updates

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Lesson 12: Learning blues piano

Lesson 12: Learning blues piano

Are you ready to start learning blues piano?

You can now purchase lesson 12 of my online course ‘Learn Jazz Piano online.’ This lesson is all about the blues. When learning blues piano I’ll teach you how to solo, using many creative techniques. I have also included the minor blues. The blues isn’t always in 4/4 time. In fact 12/8 is very common so we also take a close look at this. As always, I’ve provided you with backing tracks, sheet music and a quiz. http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/lessons.html

Here’s an excerpt from my eBook about the blues:

The Blues  runs in the face of logic and yet has infiltrated rock, gospel, soul… and, of course, jazz. Although the blues influence is stronger in some jazz players than others, it cannot be considered as a separate entity. If a potential student contacts me requesting to learn just jazz or blues I have to insist that jazz and blues come in the same package or not at all.

The form (structure) breaks all the rules. Most song forms last 32 bars and subdivide into groups of 8. However, a blues sequence usually runs to 12 bars.

(There are other lengths, such as the 8-bar blues but here we will be focusing on 12.)

The chord structure also abides by its own rules. In most western music, V leads to I. The 5th note and chord of the diatonic scale is known as the dominant and its function is to pull towards the I, known as the tonic. If you see a G7,the likelihood is that this dominant 7 chord will resolve up a perfect 4th to a C major or minor chord. In the blues, dominant 7 chords just lead to more dominant 7s. I wonder what Bach would have made of this odd beast.

Here, below, is a basic 12-bar blues sequence in F.

Learning blues piano
Blues in F

Lesson 11: playing jazz standards

Lesson 11: playing jazz standards

A guide to playing jazz standards, part 2.

I’ve just uploaded lesson 11 of Learn Jazz Piano Online. It’s called Autumn Leaves part 2 and picks up where lesson 10 left off. This lesson is divided up into three sections: head, comp and solo.

Head – this is just the jazz term for the tune or melody. Because we have been using shells in our left hand, this sometimes creates a rather bare sound when we play just the melody note in the right hand. Shells play 1 and 7 or 1 and 3 of the chord. Most chord voicings require the 1, 3 and 7 in order that the harmony makes sense. Once these three notes are present, we can then add ‘filler’ notes like 5, 9 etc.

In Autumn Leaves, the melody mostly hits the 3. If the shell is playing 1 + 7, then a good filler note might be 5. Remember that it’s the dominant seventh chord that provides all the potential tension. Therefore, our voicing can include altered notes (secondary extensions) to add some spice. These 4 notes are b9, #9, #11 and b13.

Comp –  we are at present using a 4-note comp. Once again, look out for the dominant seventh chords, for it’s here that we can include the altered notes. In Autumn Leaves we already have F7 and D7 but in this lesson we add G7. This is known as a secondary dominant.

Solo – In lesson 10 we used horizontal improvisation. This is when we can use one parent scale to play over a family of related chords. In lesson 10 we are starting to solo more vertically, and, once again, the dominant sevenths give us the opportunity to deviate from the parent scale. For example, the chord F7 allows us to play Gb, G# and Db, respectively b9, #9 and b13.

We also revisit ‘walking 3s’. We target the 3 of each chord and walk between these chords on their ‘parent’ track. Once we are walking 3s we are then able to use the diminished chords contained within the dominant seventh (3+5+7) and then play another minor 3rd interval above the 7. This results in the b9.

If you have any questions, please ask.

You can click here to find lesson 11.

jazz piano tuition online – 5-lesson package deal

jazz piano tuition online - 5-lesson package deal

As I’ve now produced 10 lessons of Jazz Piano tuition online, it feels a good time to package them into two blocks of 5 and offer each 5-lesson package at a discount. You can find this deal if you click here.

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

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

Next lesson for Jazz Piano Online

Next lesson for Jazz Piano Online

I’m now working on lesson 11 of Jazz Piano Online.

You can already buy lessons 1-10 in a discounted pack.

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
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

This new lesson of Learn Jazz Piano Online is called Autumn Leaves part 2. It should be ready by late-February.