How to Read Lead Sheets

How To Read Lead Sheets

This lesson provides an introduction on how to read lead sheets for jazz piano. Unlike traditional piano music and notation, lead sheets usually just contain one stave of music containing the melody. The chord symbols are notated above the stave to indicate what chord should be played.

We use Miles Davis’ ‘Tune Up’ as the form is very short and there are a number of major 251 progressions making it a great tune for applying basic jazz theory. The lesson starts by playing through the changes as simple as possible and we then add chord extensions and alterations to make the tune sound jazzier.


Lead Sheet

A printer-friendly version of the lead sheet can be found here:

  • Ty

    Great lesson! Thanks!

  • marc

    Hi hayden
    have you the transcriptions of this video with all the chords that you use ? Thank you

  • marc

    Hi hayden
    Another question: Is it possible to do that for the small hands ?
    It is very hard to do : C (root) – D ( 9th) .
    Sincerely yours