Introduce Yourself To The PianoGroove Community! 🌎

Hi Andrew,

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.

Cheers!
Hayden

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 :smiley: !

Welcome Andrew. This is a great place to be!

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Hi All

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

Cheers
Grant

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Hi Grant :wave:

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:

https://www.pianogroove.com/community/c/practice-inspiration/practice-plans

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.

Here’s our standard lessons ordered by difficulty.

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!

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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.

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Wellcome Grand and Lynelle in the community !!!

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Welcome both of you @grant and @lynelle to our awesome community and forum space ! :grinning:

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Hi Lynelle :wave:

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! :grinning:

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:

Rootless Harmony:

Altered Harmony:

Substitutional 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.

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Hi everyone at pianogroove,

my name is Christina, I live in a small town in Germany between Cologne and Aachen with my husband and our three boys.

I started to take piano lessons at the age of 7, but I sang and played on everything that had black and white keys since I can think.
My piano teacher had her older students substitute her with the younger ones, and so at the age of 14 I found out that I enjoyed teaching very much, especially with young children.
I studied elementary music education along with mathematics and German and also general science of learning and teaching methodology.

I have been working as a teacher in elementary music education for over 20 years now, in public and music schools and day care and giving courses for babies and toddlers with their parents. I also have some piano students.
I am familiar with the teaching concepts of Orff, Kodaly, Justine Ward, Edwin E. Gordon etc., but over the years I started to develop my own way of teaching.
Along with singing and playing rhythmical, melodical and harminical patterns using different modes to me the connection between rhythm, melody and spoken language is of essential importance.
I think the easiest way to memorize a melody is to use lyrics, especially when they are funny or absurd.
In my courses with kindergarten children I always present the songs, patterns, dances etc. in the context of a story, f.e. “the very hungry caterpillar” or whatever suits my goals for the lesson.

Like many others I am classically educated and I have made my way through, but I always had the feeling that there must be more than learning and interpreting compositions note by note from the fully written text.
I have to admit that I always have been a very bad sight reader, so transcribing is what I did my whole life :wink:
Although I have good ears and have not many difficulties with music theory, I am not very good at improvising. Is that paradox?

With my piano students I have finally come to the point where I want to teach them to make music more affectively and spontaneously and it would be nice if they could fully understand what they are doing there musically. A colleague of mine calls that “music literacy”.
We all are able to speak freely in our mother language and we have learned that from listening to other people, putting a sense in the language fragments and then testing that ourselves. I am so sure that it works just that way with music.

But since I wasn´t taught that way, I have to close some gaps…

I already signed in at pianogroove last december but with three kids and my work I haven´t found the time to contribute something here, but right now we have our summer break.
But I have been reading and watching videos and Hayden, it´s amazing what you have set up here!

It is so inspiring to see how dedicated you and the other teachers are to what you are doing here and how much thinking you spend on practice plans, syllabusses and always giving every student the best and most useful personal advice. I wonder if you get some rest in between, since you obviously put so much work in your teaching. I´m looking forward to absolve your courses and dive into the world of jazz. I already learned so much here. Unfortunately my brain is much faster than my fingers.

So much for now, I hope I can contribute more in the future.

Best wishes,

Christina

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Welcome Christina. Your music journey is just beginning. Pianogroove is fun.
Dr. Dean

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Welcome Christina! You have a fabulous background!!! I look forward to hearing more from you!!!

And yes…Hayden has done a wonderful job! There is so much to learn on this site!

Celia

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And another welcome from me. PianoGroove should give you a great way to use all your background knowledge and experience to maybe look at playing from a different angle. Regardless of what you get out of the program, you’ll definitely have fun doing it. Enjoy.

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Welcome Christina!

Thanks for sharing all of this information… so much to comment on here!

That’s awesome that you had the opportunity to teach at such a young age. I’m sure it was both a fun and rewarding experience for you!

I read this quote when I was younger and it has always stuck with me:

I agree with Edgar’s quote; after teaching a concept here on PianoGroove I never have any problems remembering it afterwards! :grinning:

I’d love to sit in on one of your classes Christina… They sound very fun and engaging.

I completely agree with the benefit of attaching lyrics to a melody. Not only for memorisation purposes, but also to get a deeper understanding of the tune and the meaning behind it.

A huge area that I overlooked as a beginner was learning and memorising the lyrics of the standards I was playing.

I think it’s a wonderful analogy to compare music - in particular jazz music - to a spoken language.

When we listen and transcribe from our favourite records, we pick up small pieces of musical vocabulary ie. ‘words’.

We can then combine these ‘words’ to create longer ‘sentences’ and full ‘conversations’ which is what improvisation is; telling a story through music.

Furthermore, from listening and transcribing, we learn how to start and end our improvisations. Continuing with the music/language analogy, we could compare this to how we learn how to start and end our conversations from listening to others and engaging in active conversation/discussion throughout our lives.

Likewise Christina it’s inspiring to read your musical story and your teaching career.

I think there is so much to be gained through constructive conversation and discussion in the world of music, which is exactly what I envisaged this forum to create.

Awesome.

Any questions, comments, or feedback be sure to let us know.

Enjoy the lessons! :sunglasses:

Hayden

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