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Learn Jazz Piano: Advanced and Solo Playing

Prepare to become an experienced solo jazz piano player and go deeper into advanced jazz techniques and theories.

2,374 enrolled on this course

Keyboard with hands
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Master scale and chord theory

Jazz is just as much about solo playing as it is about playing in a group, but both require very different skill sets. This more advanced jazz improvisation course will focus on solo jazz piano.

Gain confidence playing solo jazz

You’ll learn through a combination of theory and practice, delving into the challenges of playing solo piano, as well as analysing and playing two jazz standards.

You’ll then go more in depth into root position, otherwise known as playing solo. You’ll learn new techniques, and analyse and play three jazz standards.

Explore a range of beginnings and endings and advance your knowledge of scale theory

With the help of waltz vamp intros, you’ll focus on the devices used by jazz piano musicians for the beginning and ending of tunes.

You’ll explore scale theory, before learning about theIonian and melodic minor ascending scales.

Understand chord theory

You’ll finish the course with an examination of chord theory. You’ll look at how to re-harmonise a chord sequence and play and analyse some classic jazz piano tracks.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to apply your understanding of modulation devices, scale theory and chord theory to your solo playing. And feel equipped to play and improvise on jazz waltzes.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Hi. Welcome to my online course “ Learn Jazz Piano”. Part III is entitled “Solo Piano & Advanced Topics”. A third of the course is on Swing, Rhythmic Phrases and playing Jazz Waltzes. A third of the course is an introduction to playing Solo Jazz Piano and a third of the course is on the Theory of Scales and Chords. Now, why is there an introduction to playing solo piano when the course is aimed at getting you to play in voiced position with a rhythm section? Well, the answer is because the pianist is often expected to introduce a tune with some solo piano and maybe even to end the tune with some solo piano.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds So I’d like to get you started on this if you feel ready for it. If you’re finding it too challenging then move on. Similarly the part of the course on scales and chords is very theoretical in character. The good news is that a lot of it is revision, but I’ve tried to make it complete and put it into a more coherent and systematic framework. It’s very unlikely that you are going to master all this in one viewing. The way I’d like you think of this part of the course - particularly the parts on solo piano and chords and scales - is as a resource. Take out of it what you can.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds I’ve tried to make it clear what the important points are. Know what’s in there and return to it at a later stage, if you feel you want to improve your knowledge. What’s important to me is that you pick up some new ideas and you see them exemplified in the tunes we cover. In fact, we cover 15 new tunes in this part of the course, many of which are jazz standards.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds This course was developed over a number of years and so some of my comments and references may be out of date, so sorry if that’s the case. The key thing for me is that you learn something new and you enjoy playing your new tunes with your playalongs. Let’s end this introduction by looking at some excerpts from the course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Modulation and rhythmic phrases and application to the jazz standard “I Love You” and the blues “Straight No Chaser”
  • Introduction to playing solo jazz piano and the jazz standards “You Took Advantage Of Me” and “Satin Doll”
  • More on playing solo jazz piano and the jazz standards “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “How Deep Is The Ocean”
  • The jazz waltz and the standards “Someday My Prince Will Come”, “All Blues” and “It’s A Raggy Waltz”
  • Scale theory and application to the tunes “Blackbird” and the jazz standards “Solar” and “Stella By Starlight”
  • Chord Theory and application to the jazz standards “Stella By Starlight” and “On Green Dolphin Street”

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Apply your understanding of the devices used in modulation
  • Explore the role of strong off-beats, strong up-beats and rhythmic displacement in the concept of "Swing" in jazz
  • Develop some basic ability to play tunes or parts of tunes in root position
  • Develop some basic ability to play bass lines
  • Play and improvise on jazz waltzes
  • Improve your ability to incorporate scale theory in your playing
  • Develop your understanding of chord theory in jazz

Who is the course for?

This course is for any keen pianist, but will be particularly useful for university or college piano students. The course requires a basic ability to read music and play the piano, and expects a familiarity with scales.

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.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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