Welcome Michael. You made an awesome choice by joining the PianoGroove family. Good luck in all your ventures.
Welcome Michael. You made an awesome choice by joining the PianoGroove family. Good luck in all your ventures.
Thank you all so much!..
… for your words of welcome! It already feels a bit like familiy here - that´s great.
Your advice, what courses I should consider is very helpful! I already started to watch the Foundational Course, just to start with a beginners mind
But, hey: Lyndol´s course is exactly, what I need to start jazzing with my Partner!
I´m so glad, I found you guys!
Being part of such a supportive community is priceless
All the best
I’m glad the advice is helpful Michael.
I recommend that students study multiple courses at once. For yourself, I would recommend to work on the following 4 courses, and remember that all progress is saved to your student dashboard.
Jazz Piano Foundations:
This course introduces all of the foundational theory such as scales, triads, 7th chords, and the 251 progression.
How To Accompany Singers:
This course provides a nice introduction to the art of vocal accompaniment:
Extended Chords & Voicings:
This course introduces chord extensions. This is when we extend past the 7th of the chord to access the 9th, 11th, and 13th:
Learn To Sing & Play:
Once you have completed “How To Accompany Singers” - then move onto this course. The lessons in this course are more advanced studies of vocal accompaniment:
Enjoy the lessons!
That looks great - so I have some projects for the next time.
I‘m really looking forward to how my piano playing will develop over time…!
Your happy student
Just joined, so thought I’d post a quick hello.
I’m a half-decent pianist I guess, having done grade 7 about 20 years ago, and played on and off since. I studied music at degree level, as part of a music and sound recording course, but primarily played sax and cello when there. I now work with musicians a lot, but am a recording engineer for film and TV, rather than a performer, these days.
I have always wanted to play better jazz on the piano, but never really ‘learnt it’. Jazz, Soul, Funk and Blues are mostly what I listen to. I played in a soul band for about 5 years after uni, on Rhodes and Hammond, but always felt let down by solos and improv. I’m a fairly good accompanist, but really do stick to tried (or is it tired?!) and tested voicings and styles.
I’d love to expand my horizons in terms of scales, ideas, voicings, confidence in a solo, accompanying, etc. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some amazing keys plays in my time, and I know I don’t have the ability to hit those kinds of heights, but there’s still much room for improvement.
As I hit 40 this summer, I feel another mid-life crisis coming along and am attempting to reform my post-uni band. Hoping to break away from blues scales and play something that I’d like to listen to (even if the drunk people in the pub are usually appreciative anyway).
Be great to have a rummage around in here, although not entirely sure where I should start. I have a good understanding, up to a point, skill up to a point, and some experience. just not very much. Any pointers very welcome, and am perfectly happy to start right at the beginning if that’s the best approach.
Welcome to our learning community.
Brilliant, your classical studies will certainly be an asset for you in terms of finger strength and dexterity.
I would imagine you have strong sight reading skills too. The key goals of the PianoGroove Course is to reduce reliance on notation and to help students understand harmony numerically… this allows us to be more spontaneous in our performance and improvisation… more on this below.
It’s also great that you have experience with other instruments… A nice variety of instruments too with sax and bass!
My opinion is that experience with any other instrument will broaden your musical perspectives, tastes, and influences which is always good when playing and exploring the jazz idiom.
I imagine you will already be familiar with the material in our foundations course.
However, there are a few things that are very important to have in place:
Learn major scales numerically, so that you see each scale as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 instead of the actual note names. This gives you the foundations for exploring extended harmony, and altered harmony and it will make it much easier for you in the long run.
Understand the theoretical underpinnings of jazz voicings which are triads and 7th chords. There are exercises such as inverting triads and 7th chords which take a lot of time to fully master, so don’t let this stop you from progressing further on in the course. As long as you understand how to construct all triads and 7th chords, just revisit the exercises in the foundations practice plan now and again.
We must be able to play 3-note 251 progressions in all 12 keys in Type A and Type B. Without notation. It’s important to be able to visualise the 3rd and 7th of each chord, and also the voice leading of b7 to 3 in all 251s. Again this takes time, do don’t let it stop you from progressing in the syllabus, but make sure you are revisiting this until you have it fully internalised.
Even after advanced classical studies, students may not have these foundation in place. So that’s a few things I’d recommend working on as a priority.
Next for voicings, check out these courses in the following order:
That is a lot of work/material there Richard, but the theory lessons in those courses will give you a huge pallate of new ‘colours’, ‘textures’ , and voicing techniques to add to your playing.
It’s hard to gauge your exact level, but perhaps check out this course first:
This is one of our advanced courses and builds upon many earlier theory topics.
I try to unite a lot of other areas of the PianoGroove syllabus to show an ‘end result’ of learning the different types of voicings, and studying/transcribing jazz solos.
The harmonic lessons in the course cover extended chord voicings, rootless voicings, and upper structure triads, and so if that stuff is new to you, then it would make sense to study the courses bullet pointed above.
Finally moving onto improvisation:
In my opinion, transcription is by far the most effective way to learn to improvise.
To become great improvisers, we must listen to jazz regularly - both live and off records - and we must also transcribe lines and solos from our favourite players. This is why we set up the listening area of our forum to allow our students to share and discover new records.
This is how we develop our ‘own sound’ when improvising. Everyones’ ‘sound’ is very personal to them because it is a manifestation of the musicians, artists, and recordings that they have studied and transcribed from.
When listening and/or transcribing, it might take months or even years for those sounds to show up in our improvisation, and so I like to look at it as a musical investment for the future.
We have a course on transcription here:
I recently made some blues transcription lessons too, check out the thread here:
Our 12 bar blues improvisation course covers some very important improvisation concepts:
- chord tones
- guide tones
- approach patterns
Check it out here:
This course was designed for beginner students, but it should open your eyes to the other options aside from the blues scale improvisation and how this all ties together.
Throughout the course I talk about the importance of transcription and so it will give you some useful insight and guidance for this. The course currently finishes with the transcription study highlighted above.
I also teach the course with iRealPro as the backing track, and so all the voicings and concepts covered will be perfect for playing with your newly reformed uni band
A final note…
I hope this stuff helps give you some guidance Richard.
We have some new initiatives coming up soon in the forum to help students with improv. One of my goals for this year is to give students the structure, direction, and encouragement they need to become proficient improvisers.
Stay tuned in the forum for this.
wow thanks for such a long response. I will go through that a few times to make sure I’ve understood it all. I surprised myself that I could still more or less play all the scales, even tough I’ve not done any for 22 years! Not sure how much of that ‘finger dexterity’ remains! From the sounds of some of the scales, there’s a bit of work to do there.
I’ll take my time learning all those 251’s in each key, and then move on from there.
thanks again and I’ll ping in any questions I have as I go,
Wellcome Richard ! hoping hearing you soon your playing here …
Maybe you could join me in my practice plan so we could be encouraging each other, i would be happy to take the basic with you .
take a look and please contact me if you are interesting
:… i am looking for a little team to keep improving Here i expose the all idea :
I begin this practice plan alone ; but already hard to stick on it alone
ps I’m French where are you from ?
What a great objective - to reform your old band. Folks here have all kinds of reasons for wanting to learn (or re-learn) so just enjoy dipping your toes in whatever appeals to you in here as you get to know the resources. You will find your niche in what your instincts are looking for and have great fun in the process.
There is a ‘what I’m listening to’ thread: What Record Are You Listening To Today?
Please do feel free to share whatever is floating your boat and stirring your soul in here: look forward to hearing what you share!
yes I’m very lucky that there may be an avenue opening up to play more. As I had a play through some of our old tunes this week it dawned on me that my aspirations and skill level are quite far apart! Really looking forward to a point in a few months when I’ve spent some good time each week working through these things. the first few weeks are always the hardest with learning anything, as the changes take a while to come.
Still banging my way through scales at the moment, trying to warm the fingers up a bit, but looking forward to getting into the 251 bits and also chord voicings.
My name is Anne and I live in Canada next to the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Who I am.
I trained as a music teacher in Scotland many years ago and in a different life. I now do my dream job which is director of music in a church. This allows me to both play and teach music.
Why I’m here.
I bought the pianogroove course as a birthday present and it’s one of the most exciting presents I’ve had. My aim is to sound more like a ‘laid-back’ jazz pianist😎 and to improvise around a melody. I already do that to a certain extent in the worship band but it’s a different style of playing. I also need to work more on voicing and simplifying my style as I have a tendency to play big chords with left hand arpeggios, giving me thinking time. It sounds ok but not what I want. I’m also looking forward to learning more about walking bass lines as our band doesn’t have a bass player at the moment and I have to fill in the bass line as well as supporting the harmony and fill-ins. So far in this course I have spent way more time on theory than actual playing.
Although I’ve spent my entire life creating music, I suspect I’m a bit hesitant in case I can’t put theory into practice. There are a lot of beginners who are far better than me. I’ve listened on the forum to other people’s playing and I’m very impressed by what they can do. If I’m not creating music I’m listening to it.
Even though I am a competent pianist I decided to start at the jazz foundation course, quickly working my way through it. I’m working at the beginner’s course at the moment but I’ve also dipped into bits and pieces of the various other courses just to see where they’re going. I’m very tempted to jump in at the deep end but I’m trying to keep on track. I think it’s very important to have a firm knowledge of the basics in order to get to where you want to go with confidence.
As well as using the real books I’ve also picked up a couple of books arranged by Brent Edstrom, challenging pieces but more interesting than the standard jazz arrangements. As I’m used to analyzing music this has allowed me to see on the staff the knowledge I have learned in pianogroove.
When it comes to learning I’ve found combining different sources particularly helpful not only in terms of theory but also as inspiration. I have quite a few jazz theory books lying around my piano but pianogroove is the by far the best teaching programme there is as it is a clear, and well organized tool for learning.
P.s. If anyone wants to ask me more about my job as a church musician go ahead. I’ve never joined an online forum before so I’m a little nervous but I have enjoyed reading it very much.
Welcome to the PianoGroove Community!
Wow, it sounds fun to be the musical director in a church… What a wonderful place to share and teach music.
Yes we do recommend our students to start with the beginner courses to ensure they are comfortable with the foundations. With your previous musical experience I’m sure you will be familiar with much of the material but it’s certainly worth refreshing your knowledge.
Yes I agree it’s always good to search for different perspectives and sources of inspiration.
One of my goals with PianoGroove is to provide a wide range of teaching styles from our team of teachers.
All of the styles we teach at PianoGroove are interrelated and the Beginner Jazz Lessons feed nicely into the rest of the syllabus.
For example, to play the Bossa Nova and Samba lessons, it’s important for students to understand concepts such as chord extensions and rootless voicings which are covered in the Beginner section of our Jazz syllabus.
All of your progress is saved onto your Student Dashboard, so you can take multiple courses at once and keep track of your learning journey.
And that’s great to hear you like the PianoGroove program. We have put a lot of work into structuring our syllabus and so it’s wonderful to hear this kind of feedback
If you read some of the posts above here, you will see my recommendations for developing at improvisation.
Listening and transcription is very important and is the ultimate source of inspiration.
Most of our Beginner & Intermediate Jazz Lessons are dedicated to teaching voicing styles and options and so you will find lots of advice and guidance within those courses.
If you have any specific questions with voicings just let me know and I’m more than happy to help out.
When playing without a bass player, generally we should be including the root in our voicings to establish the basis of the harmony.
It might be nice to check out Lyndol’s lessons on how to accompany singers:
Lyndol provides a methodical approach, starting with simple triads and then gradually layering in the complexity with 7th chords, and extended harmony.
For Walking Basslines…
I created a series of walking bass lessons in the following course. “Georgia On My Mind” may also be a nice tune to play in church, it’s a beautifully soulful tune:
Tuomo created an interesting Masterclass on 12 bar blues walking bass:
And finally Lyndol talks about walking basslines here for “Georgia On My Mind”:
For myself Anne, the key was understanding and accepting that there is no ‘finishing point’… there is always more to learn and so I like to look at it as a journey that I’m taking for the rest of my life.
I find this outlook ‘takes the pressure off’ as sometimes it can be frustrating when progress is slow as it often is with learning jazz harmony.
I just try to get a little better each day when I sit down at the piano.
Absolutely…we have plans to expand into all styles of improvised music and I’ll certainly be in touch when we are ready to develop the church/gospel side of the syllabus.
Thank you for sharing your story - I enjoyed reading it and I’m sure our other students will too.
There is lots of useful information and inspiration here in the forum so spend some time to familiarise yourself with the different areas.
Enjoy the lessons and talk soon!
Welcome Anne! I’m from Scotland myself - originally just east of Edinburgh and now living in the Scottish Borders, by way of all kinds of detours!
I enjoyed reading your story - it’s great to hear how diverse people’s stories are on here. I have started to teach myself jazz piano as an adult, and have gravitated towards the Brazilian/bossa nova, fusion jazz and soul/funk styles on here. I’m feeling my way as I go too in terms of where I’m going.
Enjoy diving in meantime!
Welcome, It sounds like you are already very disciplined in your studies, for a balanced (yin-yang) be sure to take one of the tune lessons and just have fun with it. Enjoy this program.
Wellcome Anne !!!
Seems you will be another shy student … but i encourage you to post some of your playing anyway
Yeah tell more about your job … i admit i even dont know it could be a job in church. As catholic i never enjoy the music in church … maybe one reason i m not going there often . Gospel music is so enjoyable but never played in our churches in France. So tell us more , you seems so enthusiast about your job . thanks sharing more about
Un grand merci
I do love my job. One of the things I particularly like about it is the wide variety of music which we produce. That’s partly because I enjoy all sorts of styles myself but our congregation is quite diverse in terms of age and likes so I try to deliver a variety of music.
I have a choir made up of people who simply enjoy singing. I’m quite excited about their next project which is a gospel style. This style is new for them as they usually sing more traditional choir pieces. I let them hear it the other day and they loved it. The accompaniment is more bluesy and chordal as opposed to a tightly written accompaniment so this will give us a more relaxed sound. My son will accompany them so I can conduct. He’s brilliant at improvising.
Apart for the choir, we also have a motet group. This group sings a cappella. They started out singing ancient music, eg William Byrd but recently we have tried out our vocal chords with jazz arrangments. It’s very challenging as you have to concentrate your listening skills as well as being accurate in pitch. There’s no piano or guitar to prop you up.
Last but not least we have a worship band. They deliver contemporary church music and we are bang up to date with the latest songs. It’s a lot of fun playing in the band. We even create a variety of styles from within this group so all and all it’s a lot of music but it’s what makes people come back and stay.
I lived in small country town (50 people) next door to the church. Every Sunday morning I would awake to beautiful music flowing into my bedroom window as the pianist would practice early am. The hymns were beautiful. I learned to love church music. Applying extended chord voicings etc would be beautiful. I can’t wait to hear a future arrangement. Pianogroove is excellent in teaching this approach. This is a fun site. Enjoy
I was born in Scotland and grew up Protestant. I live in Canada now and the church I go to is Anglican so it’s a sort of mix between catholic and Protestant. It’s formal without being too formal. I’ve been told by many people that they come because they like the music. Music is a very powerful, emotional tool. I try and deliver something for most people every week. For example, this morning we had a couple of traditional hymns, the band sang a modern song, the choir sang an anthem and my daughter sang a contemporary worship song as a solo during the Eucharist. For that I followed a lead sheet and accompanied her, improvising round about what she was singing. I’ve done a lot of accompanying over the years but I still have a lot to learn about playing in a jazz style. Both my adult children are involved in the music. My daughter sings and plays drums, she can even do it at the same time! My son is also a drummer and an amazing keyboard player.
Keep making music live!
Thanks Dr. Dean,
How lovey to wake up to music. I sometimes go to sleep with music as my adult son still lives with us and he is an awesome keyboard player. I call it my Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
I’ve already started integrating some of my new knowledge from pianogroove into what I do. Thanks for the encouragement. I will continue to work on it.
This sounds wonderful Anne.
It must be very rewarding to deliver these unique musical experiences for people attending your church each week.
The jazz theory that we teach here at PianoGroove can be applied to both traditional hymns and modern songs.
This is one of the beauties of learning jazz harmony, it gives us a deeper understanding of music that we can then apply in almost any musical situation.
It makes me very happy to hear that our teachings are being shared with others; for me that is what music is all about.
If I can help you with anything you are working on just let me know