Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

Get an introduction to the wonderful world of playing jazz piano and learn to play and improvise on the blues and a jazz standard.

Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 2 hours

Learn to play jazz piano, from the blues to a jazz standard.

This online course is the first of four on playing jazz piano. It is aimed at playing modern jazz piano in a group context. It’s ideal if you can already play the piano, play your scales and have a basic ability to read music. The course utilises an overhead camera to show you exactly what is being played. So firstly it is a “How To” course: “Watch what is being played - now try it yourself”. In addition it relies on using “playalongs”, that is pre-recorded bass and drum tracks which you can play along with. The course concentrates on the blues first and then looks at playing a jazz standard.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsHi, my name is Ray d’Inverno and I’d like to welcome you to the first of four courses on learning jazz piano. This one is entitled “Begin with the Blues”. The aim is to learn how to play modern jazz piano in a group context - playing with other musicians. I use two distinctive approaches. First of all I have a camera above the piano which shows which shows you exactly what I am playing so that you can copy it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 27 secondsSo in that sense it’s a “How To” course: “Watch what I do - now you do it”. Secondly I make extensive use of playalong tracks - that’s prerecorded tracks of bass and drums, typically, which you play along with it. In week three I show you in some detail how to do that - how to set up your computer, or whatever you use, next to your piano or keyboard in order to facilitate this approach. What about me? Well I have been involved in performance, promotion, administration, and education for over 50 years. In particular, I ran a jazz workshop for over 15 years at the University of Southampton.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondI also introduced jazz studies into the undergraduate music degree and I have had a large number of jazz piano students over the years where I have developed my own approach. What about you? Well you require some facility in already being able to play the piano, especially your scales and arpeggios, have some basic ability to read music and, above all, the motivation to see the course through, possibly sharing your experiences with others. So in the rest of this trailer there are a couple of short excerpts from the course to give you an idea of what it is like. My final aspiration is that you too will experience the joy of being involved in this wonderful world of playing modern jazz piano.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsGood luck. One , two, three, four, …

What topics will you cover?

  • The three principal chords of Jazz and Blues
  • Practicing with playalongs
  • The 4 routes to improvisation: scalic, chordal, motivic and special devices
  • The major seventh, the Ionian scale and basic voicings
  • Improvising on a Jazz standard: The Blue Room

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Demonstrate your ability to play and improvise on three blues in C, F and B flat using a playalong
  • Demonstrate your ability to play and improvise on a jazz standard using a playalong
  • Explore the art of improvisation using the four routes: scalic, chordal, motivic, special devices

Who is the course for?

This course is for any interested pianist, but may be of particular interest to university or college piano students studying music.

What software or tools do you need?

You’ll need to have access to a piano or keyboard and a computer, tablet or smart phone set up next to it.

Who will you learn with?

Ray d'Inverno

Ray d'Inverno

I have been a jazz pianist and educator for over fifty years and have developed this online course on learning jazz piano.

Who developed the course?

Goldsmiths, University of London

Part of the University of London, Goldsmiths has a world-class reputation. Study creative and inspiring courses and learn from leading minds in the arts, humanities, social sciences and computing.