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Introduction

This is the first part of a program entitled “Learn Jazz Piano”.

The program consists of four courses. Look for courses II-IV to appear next year

I. Begin with the Blues (6 weeks)
II. Improvising on Jazz Standards (6 weeks)
III. Solo Piano & Advanced Topics (6 weeks)
IV. Final Topics & Two Programmed Concerts (7 weeks)

The program consists mainly of instructional videos on modern jazz piano, where a camera over my piano shows you exactly what I am playing. Once the course is underway it concentrates on playing in “voiced” position (as distinct from “solo” piano or playing in “root” position) with a playalong.

Using the playalongs

I believe that you need to understand how to play in voiced position before embarking on playing in root position. A playalong consists of pre-recorded bass and drums. The use of playalongs is central and it is aimed at preparing you to play with a live rhythm section. We will discuss how to obtain playalong tracks and record your playing with these tracks in Week 3.

To make the most of this course, I encourage you to set up your computer, tablet or mobile on or next to your piano or keyboard. I would also suggest that you download music and print it off, since it does not always appear clearly enough on the whiteboard in 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.

Other activities

Each week we will finish with “Exercises”, “Learning Outcomes” and some suggestions for “Viewing and Listening”, but be warned that some some suggested website videos may have been withdrawn or may not be available to you. There are also 3 quizzes.

In Week 3 you will be shown in detail how to record yourself with a playalong track which you can then share with others if you wish. But if you already know how to record yourself then you may also share your efforts with the exercises for Weeks 1 and 2 and I recommend using Soundcloud to do so. We will say a bit more about this in the first exercise.

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Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

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This article is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

Goldsmiths, University of London