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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
  • Duration6 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $69Find out more

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.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    From 11 May 2020

    Modulation and Rhythmic Phrases

    • Introduction

      Please read the Introduction to Part III.

    • Preview and Modulation

      Preview on Rhythmic Phrases and the idea of Modulation.

    • The Jazz Standard "I Love You"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "I Love You".

    • Swing and Rhythmic Phrases

      Discussion of what swing is in jazz followed by an analysis of Rhythmic Phrases.

    • Application to a blues

      Application to the blues "Straight No Chaser".

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening for Week 1.

  • Week 2

    From 18 May 2020

    Introduction to Playing In Root Position

    • The Challenge of playing solo piano

      We look at the challenges involved in playing solo piano.

    • The jazz standard "You Took Advantage Of Me"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "You Took Advantage Of Me".

    • The jazz standard "Satin Doll"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "Satin Doll"

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Quiz

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Quiz for Week 2

  • Week 3

    From 25 May 2020

    Further Techniques for Playing in Root Position

    • More on Playing In Root Position

      We introduce more techniques for playing In root position

    • The jazz standard "In Your Own Sweet Way"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "In Your Own Sweet Way"

    • The jazz standard "Satin Doll"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "Satin Doll"

    • The jazz standard "How Deep Is The Ocean"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "How Deep Is The Ocean?"

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening for Week 3

  • Week 4

    From 1 Jun 2020

    The Jazz Waltz

    • Waltz vamp till ready

      Looking at waltz vamp intros

    • The jazz standard "Someday My Prince Will Come"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "Someday My Prince Will Come"

    • The jazz standard "All Blues"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "All Blues"

    • The jazz standard "It's A Raggy Waltz"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "It's A Raggy Waltz"

    • "Everbody's Song But My Own"

      Playing Kenny Wheeler's tune "Everbody's Song But My Own"

    • More on beginnings and endings

      Looking at devices for beginning and ending tunes

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Quiz

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Quiz for Week 4

  • Week 5

    From 8 Jun 2020

    Scale Theory

    • Scale theory

      This week we revise and extend our knowledge of scale theory

    • The tune "Blackbird"

      Analysing and playing the tune "Blackbird"

    • Ionian and Melodic Minor Ascending Modes

      We look at the modes of the Ionian and melodic minor ascending scales

    • The jazz standard "Solar"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "Solar"

    • The jazz standard "Stella By Starlight"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "Stella By Starlight"

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening for Week 5

  • Week 6

    From 15 Jun 2020

    Chord Theory

    • Chord theory

      This week we revise and extend our knowledge of chord theory

    • Reharmonisation of "Stella By Starlight"

      We look at the issue of reharmonising a chord sequence and consider an example in the jazz standard "Stella By Starlight"

    • The tune "Entering"

      Playing Jan Garbarek's tune "Entering"

    • The jazz standard "On Green Dolphin Street"

      Analysing and playing the jazz standard "On Green Dolphin Street"

    • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening and Quiz

      Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening and Quiz for Week 6

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

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.

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