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This content is taken from the Goldsmiths, University of London 's online course, Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues. Join the course to learn more.

Playing "Things Ain't What They Used To Be"

This is the start of the course proper. Here I’m playing Mercer Ellington’s blues “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” as a solo piece to provide some motivation for where we will be heading.

In this course, we will learn in stages how to play this blues piece and improvise on it in root position before learning how to play it with a playalong in Week 3.

Advice on charts in future steps

Throughout the course, you will often see a musical “chart” appear in the whiteboard in the upper corner of the video. This chart will be available for you to download at the bottom of the step, and you are strongly advised to do so.

By musical “charts”, I mean the music of jazz tunes which usually consists of top lines and chords. You need them to play and improvise on, and it is important to have them available so that you can review them outside of the videos.

Remember that you have subtitles and transcripts available of all the videos. You can also vary the speed of the video and, in particular, slow it down by a half if you want to see more clearly what I am playing.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

Goldsmiths, University of London