welcome, after you have been with the PianoGroove program and forum you will find it more intuitive and easy to navigate;
I also suffer from falling back on muscle memory, almost like my brain and hands are not in the same place (which does NO good if you briefly get lost) so I have tried to return to some beginner tunes and explore both the ballad and left hand voicings and really get to know the bones of a tune. often I take that same song lesson all over again months later and suddenly see it in a new way; have fun
welcome, after you have been with the PianoGroove program and forum you will find it more intuitive and easy to navigate;
welcome Thomas, sounds like you have skills already and now some more specific tools to expand on… I know you will have fun;
I’m glad you are enjoying the PianoGroove teaching style.
Any theory questions you have, you can get quick replies from our teaching team and students here in the forum.
Here’s some tips to browse the categories and topics in the forum:
1) The Secondary Navigation
These 5 buttons link to some of the key forum areas:
- Forum Home Page
- Practice Tips & Inspiration
- Common Theory Q&As
- New Lessons News & Announcements
- Listening - Share & Discover Recordings
2) Categories & Latest Toggle Button
There is a toggle button in the top left which allows you to switch between “Category Home” and “Latest Posts Home”
3) Individual Category Sections
From Category Home, simply click on the category titles or images, and this will take you directly to the category pages. You will also notice that there are sometimes subcategories, such as in the “Practice Inspiration” Section
The forum is constantly evolving so you will see new sections appearing, but the above should give you a good overview of how to navigate the different forum categories.
I’ll also make an explainer video of the above, I think that would be nice for new students joining us.
Thanks and talk soon!
Hi all! I’ve been an off-and-on, somewhat diligent classical, jazz, and latin piano student for about 14 years currently living in Chicago, which has a thriving jazz scene at the moment. As a piano player, I’ve never been too keen on learning tunes; I prefer to just sit down and create a beat or improvise in a sort of meditational way, without thinking much about what exactly I’m doing. I’ve realized that while I feel good playing in the moment, I become frustrated without a roadmap of where to go next or exactly it is that I’m doing and why things sound good and bad. I’ve also realized that it’s crucial to learn songs as a way to play. Therefore, I’m looking to greatly expand my ability to improvise through the learning of jazz theory, voicings, and standards, and use it as a vehicle for creation and composition, with the ultimate endgoal of being part of a group that writes music or as a solo creator of interesting and sometimes complex tunes, or both!
I’m also very interested in learning different rhythmic styles, and am looking forward to the brazilian and latin sections of the website!
Welcome to the PianoGroove community!
With your experience of classical, jazz, and latin studies, I’m sure you will be able to dive straight into any of the material on the site.
We have put together a series of practice plans which help students to learn the foundational jazz theory in all 12 keys. I think it would be worthwhile to check out these posts:
You will likely be familiar with most of the material, but it may also highlight some gaps which you overlooked.
The more tunes we play, the more harmony we are exposed to, and so my recommendation is simply to study the tunes that interest you.
Also check out this video where I highlight the importance of regular listening and transcribing. That thread also contains links to listening/transcription exercises which are published weekly for our students to participate in.
The goal of these exercises is to improve our listening skills, empowering us to become self-sufficient learners so that we can listen to our favourite recordings, albums , and musicians to pick out material directly from recordings.
That way, we are taking ‘our sound’ in the direction that we want to take it - based on the sounds that we like - which is a very liberating point to get to as a musician.
I think you will enjoy Jovino’s Brazilian section of the website .
There is a beginner-focused Bossa Nova course taught by myself in there, but Jovino’s insights and experience are unparalleled in this field of improvised music, and so in terms of rhythm and groove, I think that his courses will give you the information you are looking for.
Finally, it is worth noting that many of the concepts covered in Jovino’s Bossa Nova courses incorporate theory covered in the jazz courses such as:
Our Rootless Voicings Course:
Our Altered Harmony Course:
Our Chord Substitution Course:
And so I would also recommend looking through those courses to familiarise yourself with the theory and the terminology.
There is a new Brazilian course to be published shortly on “Triad Approach To Improvisation” which was taught to Jovino by his mentor Hermeto Pascoal. I will be announcing this in the forum area shortly so keep your eyes out for that.
I hope this helps to give you some direction, and if you have any specific questions please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Welcome Andrew, One thing about PianoGroove is that you can still be you and keep your learning style and preferences and still gain ground and grow, In the Latin Brazilian section you will have plenty to stretch your brain on. Have fun.
Nothing wrong with learning a tune… that’s what your family and friends enjoy when they listen to you play.
Wellcome Diana and Andrew !
Welcome Andrew. This is a great place to be!
Just joined, looks like there is a lot going. I’m frankly a bit confused where to start so I’ll say hello and take it from there.
I’m returning to jazz piano after my 2 young kids took all my practice time. I’ve had a few lessons 5 years ago so I’ve got the basics.
Previous to this I have a more interesting musical background which keeps me looking to make the most of my skills. I signed with Creation records when they were at the height of their success with Oasis. I’m now 44, a family man working for myself in TV commercials and Music video. No regrets that it ultimately didn’t work out back then. Plenty good rock n roll stories that I’ll take with me…
Of course, my older self prefers the complexity of jazz to the pop music we made at the time, but there’s many a similarity in terms of writing & creativity.
I look forward to working with you all
Firstly welcome to the PianoGroove Community!
I’d recommend reading through the comments in this “Introduce Yourself” thread.
I’m sure you will find many of the comments and recommendations helpful and applicable to your goals and aspirations.
Here’s some additional information for you:
1) The Beginner Jazz Syllabus:
Whether you want to learn jazz, blues, or bossa/samba, the information covered in this syllabus is essential. You may just need to quickly flick through some of the foundational material, but I’d recommend you watch the lessons none the less:
2) PDF Practice Planners
We have a series of PDF practice planners which can be followed to give structure and organisation to our practice sessions. I explain how to use them in this video.
You can find more detailed information on the plans here:
3) Listening & Transcribing
As jazz musicians it’s essential that we regularly listen and transcribe from our favourite recordings. This is a very important part of our development.
We have hundreds of records shared in this thread, it might be nice to browse through them to discover some sounds you like and also share your own favourites.
Check out this video where I explain the importance of listening and transcription, and how this is essential to develop our ‘own voice’ and improvisational style.
4) Jazz Standard Lessons
I’d recommend starting with the beginner jazz courses, but if you have a particular song you would like to learn, I would recommend that you just go ahead and learn it.
If you choose some intermediate/advanced lessons, you may not understand all of the theory involved, but don’t fret about that. The full understanding will come with time.
Here’s our standard lessons organised by genre.
Spend some time to check out the links above and any questions or comments just let us know.
Enjoy the lessons!
Welcome Grant! You are going to love PianoGroove! There is something here for everyone. I learn new things every week…even as I revisit lessons I have taken previously. I know that I have already improved tremendously and can’t wait to see where I will be this time next year! Have fun!
Hi Hayden - I have just discovered your youtube channel and after doing a couple of lessons I signed up for a year straight away!
I am from Brisbane, Australia. I studied classical piano and voice from 6 years of age, doing the usual eisteddfods and exams through my childhood. I went onto to study voice and piano at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and have since been a am a professional musician of thirty years.
I did some jazz lessons while I was at the Con, and successfully auditioned for a 12 voice jazz vocal group in my second year. Being classically trained, jazz and improvisation have always daunted me - I like to be carefully rehearsed note for note before a performance, and music reproduction is my strength. Therefore my career led me in the way of corporate bands and tribute shows, and solo and duo work. I still work approx 3-6 gigs a week, and my most successful production is my ABBA tribute show that has been running for 16 years now, ABBALIVE. I have a good ear and perfect pitch, so when I started working with a country band 7 years ago that just threw songs and solos at me, I have now become a little more familiar with the improvisation side of things, but would like to fully understand, learn, and practice more.
My daughter is now 19 and in her second year at the Conservatorium, following a similar path, and I have encouraged her in the area of Jazz which has reignited my interest in exploring this area further. I also now have a passion for travel and have just applied for cruise ship work as part of the house band. As a sight reader I am fine but I need to brush up on my reading of jazz charts and put the knowledge into practice so it is instantaneous.
I’m really looking forward to starting the lessons on here - I am going to work through from the beginning so it fills in all the holes for me.
Sadly to say, I have never liked jazz much. I saw Herbie Hancock when he came to Brisbane and have seen a few other acts along the way, including a great quintet in Prague at the beginning of the year. I believe my lack of falling in love with this genre is lack of knowledge and understanding, and I hope to be a keen jazz fan very soon. I will start listening to the artists you have recommended. Thank you, Lynelle.
Wellcome Grand and Lynelle in the community !!!
Welcome to the PianoGroove Community!
Thanks for sharing your musical background and history. It sounds like you have a very rewarding and enriching career in music.
For many of us coming from a classical background it can be an initial challenge to read and interpret jazz charts. When we are just given a chord symbol and a melody note, there is so much freedom for interpretation which can be daunting to start. So you’re certainly not alone there!
Interpreting chord charts and lead sheets is exactly what we teach here at PianoGroove and so I’m sure you will find the syllabus well-suited to your goals.
With your previous musical experience I’d imagine you can skim through much of the Foundations Course and move onto the following courses where we explore jazz harmony and voicing techniques:
Extended Chords & Harmony:
After watching the theory lessons and jazz standard studies you will have a much clearer understanding of the options available when playing from chord charts and lead sheets.
It does take time but as mentioned, with your musical experience I’m sure you will grasp the concepts quickly and easily.
Here’s a few words on improvisation
I can see you already acknowledged the need to listen to a LOT of jazz music. Listening is the ultimately source of inspiration and allows us to ‘sculpt’ and ‘mould’ our sound based on the players that we like the sounds of.
Improvisation is very personal based on the musicians, styles, and eras that we have studied and transcribed from. That’s why everyone has their own unique ‘voice’ when improvising.
Steve - our Blues/Boogie Woogie teacher - explains this nicely the intro lesson for his upcoming Chicago Blues course.
See the below video starting at 9m 12s where Steve talks about his influences and the importance of listening and emulating the records that “speak to us”. I like how he explains it:
This advice is applicable to all styles of improvised music.
Finally, check out our Listening Section and our Weekly Transcription Exercises:
Spend a week or 2 browsing around checking out the links above and if you have any questions we are here to help. Talk soon!
Wow!!! You have an impressive musical background Lynelle! Would love to hear you sing. Warm welcome to you!
Hi Lynelle. Welcome to the Pianogroove community. I’m an Adelaide boy currently living in Malaysia.
It’s good to hear from a fellow Aussie. I too was more classically trained and then moved into contemporary music circles playing in piano bars in Adelaide for a few years.
It’s a great forum here and a wealth of information to keep the best of us from becoming complacent!
Have fun and enjoy the journey!
welcome Lynelle, what an interesting musical life you have enjoyed! I find that really busy busy jazz is what I get turned off to; I would invite you to listen to Chet Baker and Bill Evans, that is the jazz music that I love; our forum thread on “What are you Listening to today” is full of amazing music that Pianogroovers have shared with each other; fantastic stuff.
Welcome to our community Grant and Lynelle. Everybody has such busy lives and learning and practicing can be difficult to fit it all in but I find the forum is a great place to be. Everyone is very encouraging and supportive here. A big thank you to all our top contributors.