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Learn Jazz Piano

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Part I: Begin with the Blues

Week 1. Getting Started

1.1 Meet the educator, Ray d’Inverno
1.2 A Brief History Of Jazz
1.3 Miles Davis /Jazz pianists
1.4 Playing “Things Aint What They Used To Be”


1.5 What is jazz? / The Blues structure

1.6 The Skeletal Blues

1.7 Improvisation using the American Blues Scale / Jazz quavers
1.8 Improvising on “Things Aint What They Used To Be”

Week 2. Introducing The Blues

2.1 The 3 principal chords and scales of classical music

2.2 The 3 principal chords and scales of jazz

2.3 Left hand in root position: open sevenths (using thumb to indicate pulse)

2.4 Improvising using sevenths

2.5 Improvising using fifth-tenths

2.6 Improvising using seventh-tenths

Week 3. More On The Blues

3.1 Playing “Now’s The Time” and jazz lead sheets

3.2 Voiced sevenths

3.3 Interlude 1: Downloading Aebersold playalong tracks from iTunes
3.4 Interlude 2: Downloading Audacity and using it to manipulate playalong tracks

3.5 Interlude 3: Using Audacity to change tempo and pitch
3.6 Interlude 4: Recording with Audacity
3.7 Interlude 5: Creating a sound file and sharing it

3.8 Playing “Now’s The Time” using an F blues playalong track

3.9 Improvising using F American blues scale

3.10 Improvising using 3 seventh scales

3.11 Improvising using 3 full blues scales

Week 4. Improvisation I

4.1 Using chords to improvise

4.2 Chordal improvisation using a playalong

4.3 Diminished chords and scales

4.4 The structure of “Blue Monk”

4.5 Using motivic devices to improvise

4.6 Playing “Blue Monk” with a playalong

4.7 Using “Blue Monk” motivic elements: Motive 1

4.8 Using “Blue Monk” motivic elements: Motive 3

4.9 Using “Blue Monk” motivic elements: Motive 2

4.10 The 4 routes to improvisation: scalic, chordal, motivic and special devices

Week 5. Major and Minor chords

5.1 The major seventh, the Ionian scale and basic voicings

5.2 Playing the tune “Inch Worm”

5.3 Improvising on “Inch Worm”

5.4 The minor seventh, the Dorian scale and basic third-based voicing
5.5 The II-V-I sequence and the Turnaround
5.6 Turnaround using a playalong
5.7 Week 5 Exercises

Week 6. Blue Room

6.1 The tune “Blue Room”

6.2 Playing “Blue Room” with a playalong using lower voicings
6.3 Playing “Blue Room” with a playalong using upper voicings

6.4 Improvising on “Blue Room” using one scale

6.5 Analysing the chord changes in “Blue Room”

6.6 Playing left hand voicings (i) Legato (ii) Stabbed

6.7 Playing “Blue Room” with a playalong using stabs and five major scales

6.8 Week 6 Exercises

Part II: Improvising on Jazz Standards

Week 7. Rhythm Changes

7.1 Jam Sessions

7.2 The tune “I Got Rhythm”

7.3 Using upper voicings for “I Got Rhythm”

7.4 Playing and improvising on “I Got Rhythm” using legato upper voicings

7.5 Using lower voicings for “I Got Rhythm”

7.6 Playing and improvising on “I Got Rhythm” using stabbed lower voicings

7.7 Rhythm Changes and “Oleo”; special devices: octaves
7.8 Playing “Oleo” with a playalong using legato lower voicings

7.9 Playing “Oleo” with a playalong using stabbed upper voicings
7.10 Discussion of playing “Oleo” with a playalong using double octaves

7.11 Playing “Oleo” with a playalong using double octaves

7.12 week 7 Exercises

Week 8. Moanin’ and Equinox

8.1 Playing the tune “Moanin’”

8.2 Discussing “Moanin’”

8.3 Improvising on “Moanin’” with a playalong using F Dorian

8.4 Improvising on “Moanin’” with a playalong using F American Blues Scale and Thirds

8.5 Playing Skeletal Minor Blues Sequence with a playalong using lower voicings

8.6 Playing Skeletal Minor Blues Sequence with a playalong using upper voicings

8.7 The Coltrane Minor Blues “Equinox”

8.8 Playing “Equinox” with a playalong

8.9 The McCoy vamp in two positions

8.10 Improvising on “Equinox” with a playalong

8.11 Week 8 Exercises

Week 9. Modal Jazz


9.1 Fourth based minor seventh chords and McCoy Tyner vamping
9.2 Using fourths with a C minor Blues playalong

9.3 Using McCoy Tyner vamping with a C minor Blues playalong
9.4 Playing the tune “Mr. P.C.”

9.5 Miles Davis and Modal Jazz

9.6 Playing the tune “So What”

9.7 Comping and improvising on “So What”

9.8 Playing “Impressions” in double octaves
9.9 Playing “Impressions” with stabbed and legato left hand

9.10 Week 9 Exercises

Week 10. Improvisation II

10.1 What is Improvisation in modern jazz?

10.2 Noodling and improvising, and using gaps

10.3 Hot Licks 1 on a seventh chord

10.4 Singing the “Line” and Playing the “Sing”

10.5 The Standard Blues Sequence

10.6 The tune “Things Aint What They Used To be” over a Standard Blues Sequence

10.7 Improvising on “Things Aint What They Used To Be” with a playalong

10.8 The tune “Now’s The Time” over a Standard Blues Sequence
10.9 Improvising on “Now’s The Time” with a playalong

10.10 Week 10 Exercises

Week 11. The Clock Of Keys

11.1 The Clock of Keys

11.2 Playing the tune “All The Things You Are” with tune an octave higher

11.3 Playing the tune “All The Things You Are” with tune in middle of the piano

11.4 Analysis of the chords of “All The Things You Are”

11.5 Improvising on “All The Things You Are” using 5 major scales
11.6 Improvising on “All The Things You Are” using enhanced scales
11.7 Hot Licks 2 on a major seventh
11.8 Week 11 Exercises

Week 12. Playing Left Hand Voicings and Autumn Leaves

12.1 Playing legato and stabbed chords in different parts of the bar
12.2 Some examples using a playalong

12.3 “Amen” in the left hand

12.4 “Amen” with a C blues playalong
12.5 Hot Licks 3 on a minor seventh

12.6 Scale Theory I: Half Diminished

12.7 Scale Theory II: Flat Nine and Minor/Major Seventh

12.8 The sequence II-V–I in a minor key

12.9 Analysis of “Autumn Leaves”

12.10 Playing “Autumn Leaves” in root position

12.11 Playing “Autumn Leaves” in root position with a playalong
12.12 Playing “Autumn Leaves” with a playalong

12.13 Week 12 Exercises

Part III: Solo Piano & Advanced Topics

Week 13. Modulation and Rhythmic Phrases

13.1 Review of the course to date

13.2 Modulation

13.3 The tune “I Love You”

13.4 Analysis of “I Love You”

13.5 Playing the tune “I Love You” with a playalong
13.6 Improvising on “I Love You” with a playalong
13.7 What is swing?

13.8 Rhythmic Phrases I : Standard Rhythms
13.9 Rhythmic Phrases I : Dotted Rhythms

13.10 Rhythmic Phrases II : Tied Rhythms

13.11 Rhythmic Phrases II : Tied Triplets

13.12 32 bars Mixed Rhythms : Part 1

13.13 32 bars Mixed Rhythms : Part 2

13.14 Application to a blues

13.15 The tune “Straight No Chaser”

13.16 Week 13 Exercises

Week 14. Introduction to Playing in Root Position

14.1 The Challenge

14.2 Stride piano

14.3 Analysis of “You Took Advantage Of Me”

14.4 Playing “You Took Advantage Of Me”

14.5 Improvising on “You Took Advantage Of Me”

14.6 Three note voicing in root position with “Satin Doll”

14.7 Devices for playing “Satin Doll” in root position

14.8 “Um-chick” and “Chick-um”

14.9 Playing “Satin Doll” in root position

14.10 Playing “Satin Doll” with a playalong using locked hands
14.11 Week 14 Exercises

Week 15. More on Playing in Root Position

15.1 Left hand in root position and dominant pedalling
15.2 Suspended Fourth and “Ray’s” chords

15.3 Arpegiation, example “You Took Advantage Of Me”
15.4 Question and answer
15.5 The tune “In Your Own Sweet Way”

15.6 Playing “In Your Own Sweet Way” in root position

15.7 Bass Lines and a sample bass line for C blues

15.8 Sample bass line for “Satin Doll”

15.9 Four to the bar in root position behind a soloist

15.10 Colla voce and Intros, example “How Deep Is The Ocean?”
15.11 Endings and Outros

15.12 Week 15 Exercises

Week 16. The Jazz Waltz

16.1 Waltz vamp till ready

16.2 The tune “Someday My Prince Will Come” in root position
16.3 The tune “Someday My Prince Will Come” in voiced position
16.4 Playing “Someday My Prince Will Come” with a playalong
16.5 The tune “All Blues” in root position

16.6 Preparing to play “All Blues” with a playalong

16.7 Playing “All Blues” with a playalong

16.8 Playing the blues-inflected waltz “It’s A Raggy Waltz” in root position

16.9 Improvising on “It’s A Raggy Waltz” in root position

16.10 Thickening the chord in the right hand

16.11 Playing “It’s A Raggy Waltz” with a playalong

16.12 The tune “Everybody’s Song But My Own”

16.13 Playing “Everybody’s Song But My Own” solo

16.14 More on Beginnings and Endings

16.15 Week 15 Exercises

Week 17. Scale Theory

17.1 Introduction

17.2 Review

17.3 Pentatonic Scales

17.4 Discussing the tune “Blackbird”

17.5 Playing “Blackbird” solo

17.6 Ionian Modes

17.7 Major scale exercises

17.8 Melodic Minor Ascending Modes

17.9 Discussing and playing the tune “Solar” with a playalong
17.10 Diminished scale theory and other scales
17.11 Discussing the tune “Stella By Starlight”

17.12 The Object of the Exercise

17.13 Playing “Stella By Starlight” with a playalong
17.14 Week 17 Exercises

Week 18. Chord theory

18.1 Review of Chords I

18.2 Review of Chords II

18.3 Reinterpretation of chords

18.4 Thinner Voicings

18.5 Bitonality with major sevenths

18.6 Bitonality with sevenths

18.7 Bitonality with minor sevenths
18.8 Reharmonisation of chord sequences (e.g. “Stella By Starlight”)
18.9 Triads over unrelated roots

18.10 Playing “Entering” solo

18.11 Chordal shifting (i) parallel (ii) transitional

18.12 Discussing the tune “On Green Dolphin Street”

18.13 Playing “On Green Dolphin Street” with a playalong

18.14 Week 18 Exercises

Part IV: Final Topics and Two Programmed Concerts

Week 19. Blues Sequences and Ballads

19.1 Revision of standard blues sequences
19.2 Additional blues sequences

19.3 Discussing the tune “Miles Davis Licks”

19.4 Playing “Miles Davis Licks”
19.5 Ballads in Jazz

19.6 Discussing the tune “Body and Soul”

19.7 Playing “Body and Soul” with a playalong
19.8 Playing “Round Midnight” in root position
19.9 Errors in playing and the role of charts
19.10 Discussing the tune “Round Midnight”

19.11 Intro and Coda for “Round Midnight”
19.12 Playing “Round Midnight” with a playalong
19.13 Discussing “Blue In Green”

19.14 Playing “Blue In Green” with a playalong
19.15 Week 19 Exercises

Week 20. Latin Jazz and 8/8

20.1 Afro-Cuban Tunes

20.2 Claves

20.3 Discussing the tune “A Night In Tunisia”

20.4 Playing “A Night In Tunisia” with a playalong

20.5 Improvising over a Latin chorus of “A Night In Tunisia”

20.6 Playing the tune “On Green Dolphin Street” with a playalong
20.7 Bossa Novas and the tune “Recordame”

20.8 Playing the Intro to “Recordame”

20.9 The structure of “Recordame”

20.10 Playing “Recordame” with a playalong

20.11 Playing the tune “Blue Bossa” with a playalong

20.12 Playing the tune “The Girl From Ipanema” in root position

20.13 Playing “The Girl From Ipanema” with a playalong

20.14 Montunos

20.15 Ray’s chordal montunos supporting soloists in “Blue Bossa”
20.16 Ray’s chordal support of piano solos in latin tunes

20.17 8/8 or even quavers and the tune “Blue in Green”
20.18 Playing the tune “You Don’t Know What Love Is” with a playalong
20.19 Week 20 Exercises

Week 21. Introduction To Jazz Funk and Other Influences

21.1 Intro to Jazz Funk

21.2 Discussing playing a funk version of “So What”
21.3 Playing a funk version of “So What”

21.4 Discussing playing the tune “Little Sunflower”

21.5 Playing “Little Sunflower” with a playalong
21.6 Discussing playing the tune “Cantaloupe Island”

21.7 Playing “Cantaloupe Island” with a playalong
21.8 Third Stream

21.9 “Section VII” from the suite “Four By Four”
21.10 Indo-Fusion (Indo Jazz)

21.11 Free Jazz
21.12 Improvised Music

21.13 Week 21 Exercises

Week 22. Special Devices and Comping

22.1 The status of special devices
22.2 Crushed notes

22.3 Octaves and Double Octaves
22.4 Multiple notes in the right hand
22.5 Five Variants of Locked Hands
22.6 More on Chording
22.7 Bluesy licks and “bluesyfying” standards

22.8 Example of the tune “Take the A Train”

22.9 Pedalling

22.10 The tune “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “rising middles”

22.11 Illustrating Special Devices playing “Bye Bye Blackbird” with a playalong
22.12 Comping 1: doubling up voiced chords

22.13 Comping 2: root position chords

22.14 Comping 3: balanced voicing and playing tunes
22.15 Comping 4: supporting the soloist

22.16 Hot Licks Over 2 bars: Fmaj7

22.17 Hot Licks Over 2 bars: Fm7

22.18 Hot Licks Over 2 bars: F7

22.19 The standard “Beautiful Love”

22.20 The standard “My Romance”

22.21 Week 22 Exercises

Week 23. Putting It All Together

23.1 Pianistic influences

23.2 Non-pianistic influences

23.3 Playalongs

23.4 Music resources, Jam Sessions and Repertoire

23.5 Playing the tune “Summertime” with an Aebersold playalong

23.6 The tune “Four”

23.7 Playing “Four” with an Aebersold playalong

23.8 Playing the tune “I’ll Remember April” with an Aebersold playalong 23.9 How to learn standards by heart

23.10 How to practice

23.11 Transcription

23.12 Composition

23.13 Group formation

23.14 Recording

23.15 Gig getting

23.16 Playing the tune “Maiden Voyage” with an Aebersold playalong
23.17 Playing the tune “My Funny Valentine” with an Aebersold playalong
23.18 Week 23 Exercises

Week 24. Solo Piano Concert

24.1 Issues in planning a concert
24.2 Notes on the tunes in the “Solo Concert”

24.3 “Billie’s Bounce”

24.4 “What Is This Thing Called Love”
24.5 “Besame Mucho”
24.6 “Beth’s Way” 

24.7 “Waltz For Debby” 

24.8 “No Lonely Nights”

24.9 “Teach Me Tonight”

24.10 “Nardis”

24.11 “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
24.12 “I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free”
24.13 A quick tour of the Recording Studio
24.14 A personal history of Jazz

Week 25. Piano Trio Concert

25.1 Notes on the tunes in the “Trio Concert”
25.2 “Things Aint What They Used To Be”
25.3 “Everything I Love”

25.4 “Poinciana”
25.5 “Ambleside”
25.6 “Time After Time”

25.7 “God Is Love”

25.8 “Peri’s Scope”

25.9 “Memories Of Tomorrow”

25.10 “Sometime Ago”

25.11 “My Foolish Heart”

25.12 “Lament”
25.13 “Every Time We Say Goodbye”

25.14 “Looking Up”

25.15 “What’s New”

25.16 “Everything That Lives Laments”
25.17 “I Wish I Knew How It Felt To be Free”
25.18 Meet the Trio

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This article is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

Goldsmiths, University of London