Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Take your jazz music to the next level and learn how to play a jazz waltz, play in root position and more.

Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 4 hours

Get to grips with scale and chord theory and learn fifteen new tunes

This online course follows on from Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards. On this more advance course you’ll start by looking at solo piano or playing in root position.

You’ll move on to look at scale and chord theory and explore the process of modulation. You’ll also learn how to incorporate rhythmic phrasing into improvisation. You’ll learn about the jazz waltz and be introduced to fifteen new tunes, which you can continue to practise to hone your jazz piano skills.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsHi. 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 secondsSo 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 secondsI’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 secondsThis 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”

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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

We recommend you complete the previous course Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues and Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards before you begin this one.

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.