Category Archives: playing jazz piano video lessons

There are now 22 learning jazz piano video lessons and 3 eBooks.

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams: The first golden rule

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams: The first golden rule

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams

Golden rule number 1 when studying jazz piano:

1               When studying jazz piano, learn all your major and minor scales.

Major             Major scales run horizontally through major II – V – I sequences.

Don’t avoid the flat keys; they come up all the time!

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams
II-V-I sequence in Eb

 Minor            Although there are three minor scales, you should focus on the harmonic and melodic minor. Here they are in A. Note the difference.

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams
Harmonic and melodic minor scales

The harmonic minor can be used horizontally over minor II – V – I sequences.

studying jazz piano

The melodic minor is your building block for scales that can be played over a dominant 7 chord. Here are two of them: the Lydian Dominant and the Altered, both based on A Melodic minor.

Note that the two following scales, D Lydian Dominant, and Ab Altered, share the same notes.

Studying Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams
Lydian dominant and altered scales

The Lydian Dominant scale, with its #4, works well when a dominant 7 chord is static (not pointing to its tonic).  Here’s an example where I’m playing the D Lydian Dominant scale over a D7 chord.

studying jazz piano

The Altered scale works well over a dominant 7 when it resolves to the tonic.

This scale contains all the altered notes: b9, #9, #11 and b13.

Here’s a II – V– I sequence in Db major.

studying jazz piano

I realize that Db major is not the friendliest of keys but there are tunes, such as Body and Soul, that are usually played in this key.

Find out more about the II – V – I sequences here.

Buy Learn Jazz Piano eBooks here.

 

 

 

 

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!

learning Jazz piano online – lesson 18

learning Jazz piano online - lesson 18

Video lesson 18 of Learning Jazz Piano online is now available and is called ‘Decoding a jazz standard.’

Can you solo your way through any jazz standard? In order to do this, you need to interpret the song’s map and identify all its key centres. Lesson 18 of learning jazz piano online helps your achieve this.

I use Kern’s ‘All The Things You Are’ to take you through various techniques that will demystify tricky songs.

learning Jazz piano online
All The Things You Are by Jerome Kern

Seeing chords in isolation is not the way forward. Chords sit within groups that fit together into an overall structure. Learn more at the link below.
http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/lessons.html

Here’s an extract from my 3rd eBook: Learning Jazz Piano online:

There are countless excellent recordings of this song, but my personal favorite is by the pianist Hampton Hawes. The solo introduction is a little flowery, but once the trio kicks in, Hawes creates one glorious idea after another. See chapter 10 for details of this recording

The song form is usually described as ABC: 16 + 8 + 12 = 36 bars.

  • A1 states the melody.
  • A2 repeats it in a new key.
  • B, the bridge, introduces a new 4-bar phrase and then transposes it down a minor 3rd.
  • C returns to the original melody, but remains in the same key, taking an extra four bars to conclude.

The form could also be described as AABA: 8 + 8 + 8 + 12 = 36 bars.

A good songwriter takes great care when placing the targeted or emphasized melody note over its harmony. A strong, grounded melody note might be 1 or 5, but a more lyrical note is 3. This is Kern’s choice for most of his tune.

A song can be in any key that the singer or bandleader chooses. However, tunes played as jazz instrumentals often have default keys. All The Things You Are is usually written in Ab, so I’ll stick with that.

Here are the first 16 bars.

I’ve boxed all the 3s. Notice how every 3, with two exceptions, falls on beat 1 of the bar.

learning jazz piano

 

 

The two exceptions, in bars 4 and 12, occur at beat 2, as this is where the melodic accent falls.

Here’s lesson 17 of learn jazz piano

Here's lesson 17 of learn jazz piano

Learn Jazz Piano with Paul Abrahams

Here’s lesson 17!

‘Putting it together.’

I’ve called lesson 17 ‘Putting It Together’ because we’ve now reached the stage when all previous knowledge can be put to practical use.
This new lesson combines your knowledge of rootless voicings (lesson 15) and tritone substitution (lesson 16).
We also throw the whole tone,  diminished and altered scales into the mix.
learn jazz piano
3 new scales

I show you how to use all these techniques with II-V-I and I-VI-II-V (turnaround) sequences.
Then we put all this to work using the chord chart of
Fly Me To The Moon.

As always, this learn jazz piano video comes with 4 downloadable backing tracks, sheet music and a quiz. Learn to play jazz piano the easy way.

Get lesson 17 here!

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

If you’re not up to speed with rootless voicings and tritone substitution, here’s the link to lessons 15 and 16.
________________________________________________________________

Here’s a summary of lessons 1 – 16:

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
learn 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

For my Learn Jazz Piano eBooks click here.

learn jazz piano

jazz piano course online: lesson 17

jazz piano course online: lesson 17

Lesson 17 of my jazz piano course online is nearly ready.

My jazz piano course online is about to reach video lesson 17. This jazz piano lesson combines your knowledge of rootless voicings (lesson 15) and tritone substitution (lesson 16). Learn to improvise with my clear and methodical method. I show you how to use these techniques with II-V-I and I-VI-II-V (turnaround) sequences. Then we put all this to work using the chord chart of Fly Me To The Moon. This should all be ready by the end of next week. Here’s the link to available lessons.

http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/lessons.html

 

  • Question: Which two notes link rootless voicings with tritone substitution?
  • Answer: 3 and 7.

If we remove all non-essential notes from a rootless II – V – I sequence we arrive at fig 1

Fig 1

jazz piano course online
3s and 7s of chord

Dmin7 = 3 + 7

G7 = 7 + 3

Cmaj7 = 3 + 7 (7 no longer has the same harmonic function in this major 7 chord.)

Tritone substitution occurs when one dominant 7 replaces another, three whole-steps away from its original

Therefore, the tritone substitute of G7 is Db7.

We have also learnt that both chords contain the same two notes: 3 and 7.

  • 3 and 7 of G7 is B and F.
  • 3 and 7 of Db7 is F and B.

This means that when we play figs 1 and 2, these 2 notes represent both G7 and Db7.

Fig 2

jazz piano course online
Adding the tritone substitute

 

Happy playing, Paul