Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsLet’s have a little go at using a playalong just to make sure that you know what I’m talking about in terms of the exercises you are required to do. First of all let’s just play the chord C7 with a playalong that I’ve created with iRealB. Let’s first of all do it 1 to the bar legato on 1. 1,2,3,4. 1 … Now on 2 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3 … Now on 3 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4 … Now on 4 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. Let’s now use stabs to play on the and of 1,2,3,4. 1 and 2,3,4. 1 and 2,3,4. 1 and 2,3,4. 1 and … Now on 2 1,2 and 3,4. 1,2 and 3,4. 1,2 and … Now on 3, here we go 1,2,3 and 4.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds1,2,3 and 4. 1,2,3 and 4. 1,2,3 and 4. Now let’s do it on 4. 1,2,3,4 and. 1,2,3,4 and. 1,2,3,4 and. Let’s now apply this to a chord sequence. Let’s play our enhanced skeletal blues - something simple - so that we can concentrate on the left hand. Now remember that the left hand has to be correct, because if the left hand goes wrong the likelihood is the right hand will go wrong. Since jazz is a music which is in time, dropping beats is not what you really want to do if you can avoid it, if you are playing with other people anyway.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 secondsOur enhanced skeletal blues - let’s first of all to start off, just to get into the swing of it, by playing legato on 2 and 4.

Skip to 3 minutes and 17 secondsPlaying on the beat isn’t too difficult. But playing the ands is more challenging.

Skip to 3 minutes and 29 secondsRemember the left hand has to be correct, because if the left hand goes off the likelihood is the right hand goes off. So what I suggest you do is just play the rhythmic patterns with the blues until you’ve got to a stage where it’s semi-automatic, where at least you can begin to transfer your attention a bit to the right hand and then add the right hand. Don’t add the right hand if you haven’t got the left hand secure. If it feels like you’ve gone off, then drop the right hand, get back into position on the left hand and add the right hand again.

Skip to 4 minutes and 5 secondsThis is quite tricky and it may well be that you go wrong and you don’t even realise that you’re going wrong. If you can, try and record yourself and then play it back afterwards and just check that your left hand is in the right place. Let’s try a more tricky one.

Skip to 4 minutes and 21 secondsWe’ll put the left hand stabs on the and of 2 and 4: 1,2 and 3,4 and. 1,2

Some examples using a playalong

We look at some examples of using different devices in the left hand using a playalong.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London