Apologies if this has been asked, but are we discouraged from “skipping ahead”?
Obviously a Beginner would have trouble in the Advanced Jazz Piano section when they don’t know scales and forming chords… but I do want to start exploring some of the Improvisation courses.
The syllabi are very helpful for kind of laying out what we should learn, but would we need to go through every course in the Beginner section before moving onto the Intermediate section?
And as for the Blues Piano and Brazilian Piano sections… Are those meant to be stand-alone, or are there certain courses we should go through first?
Hey, Welcome Robert. Good question cos I realise I do have the same question. Btw I, too love the improv courses…
As per my experience (pls disregard in case it will not be relevant to your experience) - when I skipped some lessons - I realise (now) there are important concepts that I also skipped that needed to be learnt in a particular lesson - so I ended up going back for example to a certain topic to understand and learn to be able to apply it. It’s not always instant (some or most) - or that can be applied right away and move on to the next (just per my understanding) - To me, it feels like they are all intertwined and connected so that when I go to another piece whether harder or simpler, that certain topic or concept is still used and might still be present - so reason why I kept going back to some lessons or I won’t fully understand it’s purpose and importance.
On another note I still am in that process of sometimes going back to a certain lesson if I feel a bit lost… and still keep on re-watching some lessons that I feel need to get stuck permanently in my head haha…
I have other questions too that I really want to ask but for now, the one you asked - I find of great importance to know about.
Please keep us posted. I love it when members like myself ask questions, I love learning from members’, PianoGroove instructors’ discussions… .
I agree with Kristeta with regard to being unprepared if you skip ahead too much. I know because I’ve done it. Still, I think it’s good to skip ahead sometimes. Why? Because you can see the reason for the progressive nature of the foundation lessons and understand why they’re laid out the way they are. And you get to see what fun lies ahead if you keep at it. Have fun.
I’ve been a member for several months, am very much enjoying the breadth of courses and the community; here’s my 2 cents…
I find it more helpful to think in terms of concepts than in terms of stages (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). I have a classical background and didn’t pay too much attention to the stages, but wanted to make sure I was comfortable with theory and facile with voicings, so I went through Extended Chords and Voicings, Altered Harmony and USTs, and Chord Subs and Reharmonizations. Since then, I pick and choose, depending on interest and mood.
Also, the instructors each have different styles; everyone is different, and you may find that one style works better for you than others. For example, Jon Cleary and Steven Flynn teach more by example, and are less structured than Hayden. I haven’t spent much time with Jovino’s courses, but for me the Blues and New Orleans style courses are a great opportunity to work on technique (hand independence, mostly) and explore some wonderful styles of music; from that perspective, they are, indeed, stand-alone.
I think improv is a little different; I would say that those courses don’t teach improvisation; instead, they teach how to learn and practice improvisation yourself. Tuomo’s Advanced Improvisation Course is a great example.
And, for improv, as Hayden and Tuomo emphasize, I think the most important thing is to transcribe. I found it helpful to start with Hayden’s course on How to Transcribe, and to work through Tuomo’s transcription exercises. (I like working through the formal exercises, e.g. 40 short melodies and harmonies x 3, using the musician sections, e.g. Barry Harris, Bill Evans, more as an introduction to their music and styles rather than as an exercise itself.)
We can study multiple courses at once as much of the theory is interrelated. I feel that this provides a greater sense of progression and direction when we see how the foundational concepts and applied and developed in the latter courses.
Jazz Standard Lessons:
For the jazz standard lessons, there is a lot of overlap between the beginner/intermediate/advanced classification.
I created a course of very accessible jazz standard arrangements in our “Beginner Jazz Arrangements Course” which should be studied first:
After working through those tunes you could approach any jazz standard tutorial on the site.
Whilst there is not always a solid line between the beginner/intermediate/advanced arrangements, some tutorials are certainly more advanced than others. My advice here is to follow your taste and pick the tunes that you like.
The jazz standards are the more fun side of learning jazz and I feel that playing tunes that resonate with us is important to stay motivated and engaged.,
I totally agree there @gregb - I recommend the same to new students.
All of my beginner courses referenced above are focused on harmony which is a vital area of study for playing jazz/blues/Brazilian/funk and any other improvised music.
However, it’s also very important that students are working on rhythm, time, and groove. This is something I neglected in the early days of my jazz education that I wish I had paid more attention to early on.
For rhythm, groove, and timing, I find that the Chicago Blues style is fantastic. The bass lines are simple and straightforward to visualise and play. For sure it takes practice but it’s overall a very accessible way to feel the groove of the music under your fingers.
Here’s our course on Chicago Blues:
The other blues courses are more advanced and require a greater level of dexterity and technique. Starting with the Chicago Blues course above will develop a strong foundation to explore the blues style and the lessons from our other blues teachers.
Hope this helps Robert and here to help if you have further questions.