Online ExpertTrack in Creative Arts & Media

Learn to Play Jazz Piano

4.6 (56 reviews)

Gain a thorough and fun introduction to modern jazz piano, from the basics to advanced blues sequences.

Created by

Goldsmiths, University of London Goldsmiths, University of London

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Learn how to play jazz piano with Goldsmiths University of London

From learning the basics of jazz improvisation to the mastering more advanced techniques, this ExpertTrack will enhance your jazz piano playing skills for playing in a group with other musicians and improvising in C, F, and B flat.

As you move through this ExpertTrack, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to: - improvise using scalic, choral, motivic routes and special devices play in voiced position - include other influences connected with jazz, such as jazz funk, third stream, and indo-fusion.

Begin building your jazz repertoire with the blues

The first course in this series will give you an introduction to jazz improvisation on the piano, and equip you to play jazz piano in a group using a playalong.

You’ll first focus on the blues, before moving on to playing a jazz standard and building a foundation in the art of improvisation.

Play jazz piano with a group of musicians

The second course will develop your jazz improvisation skills further. You’ll learn in more depth about the blues and jazz standards, and explore jazz improvisation using playalongs of jazz classics like ‘I Got Rhythm’, ‘All the Things You Are’, and ‘Autumn Leaves’.

Build your jazz technique by playing solo

Kicking it up a notch, the third course will teach you how to play solo jazz piano and a jazz waltz. You’ll discover scale and chord theory, and explore modulation, swing, and rhythmic phrases.

Enjoy 20 new jazz tunes and a jazz concert with Ray d’Inverno

The final course will introduce you to advanced blues sequences, and ballads, as well as special devices to incorporate Latin and funk into your jazz piano style.

You’ll finish the course enjoying a solo concert by Ray d’Inverno, followed by the greatly revered Ray d’Inverno Trio.

Key skills you will learn

  • Improvising on Jazz Standards
  • Rhythm changes
  • Minor blues sequences
  • Modulation and rhythmic phrases
  • playing solo jazz piano
  • Scale and Chord theory
  • Afro-Cuban Styles
  • Jazz Funk
  • Special devices and comping
  • Modal scales

Experience required

This course is for any interested pianist, but may be of particular interest to university or college piano students studying music. You need to be comfortable playing piano in general but do not need any experience of Jazz.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack will support experienced pianists at intermediate level who want to transition to playing jazz.

If you want to explore jazz improvisation and prepare yourself for playing in a jazz group, this course will equip you with the jazz knowledge, skills, and rhythm you need to get there..

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    4.6 (43 reviews)

    Discover jazz improvisation on the piano, and learn to play and improvise on the blues and a jazz standard.

    3 tests

    2 peer-graded assignments

    6 weeks

    2 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Getting Started
      • Introduction and Background Information
      • Things Ain't What They Used To Be
      • The nature of jazz and the blues
      • Playing and improvising on "Things Ain't What They Used To Be"
      • Exercise, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 2

      Introducing The Blues
      • The 3 principal chords and scales of classical music and jazz
      • Playing the left hand in root position: open sevenths
      • Improvising using sevenths, fifth-tenths and seventh-tenths
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Test
    • Week 3

      More On The Blues
      • The blues "Now's The Time", jazz lead sheets and voiced sevenths
      • Interlude : Downloading Aebersold playalong tracks from iTunes and using Audacity
      • Playing "Now's The Time" using an F blues playalong track
      • Improvising using the F American blues scale, seventh scales and full blues scales
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 4

      The Four Routes To Improvising
      • Chordal improvisation and introduction to the diminished chord and scale
      • The blues "Blue Monk" and motivic improvisation
      • The 4 routes to improvisation: scalic, chordal, motivic and special devices
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Test
    • Week 5

      Major and Minor Chords
      • The major seventh, the Ionian scale and basic voicings
      • The tune "Inch Worm"
      • The minor seventh and its role in a turnaround
      • Week 5 Exercises
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 6

      The jazz standard "Blue Room"
      • The Jazz Standard "Blue Room"
      • Improvising on "Blue Room"
      • Week 6 Exercises
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Assessments, Course Videos and Recordings List
  • Course 2

    4.7 (7 reviews)

    Improve your jazz improvisation with this course on jazz piano, where you’ll learn to play along to bass and drum soundtracks.

    3 tests

    1 peer-graded assignment

    6 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Rhythm Changes
      • Introduction
      • Jam Sessions
      • I Got Rhythm
      • The rhythm changes standard "Oleo".
      • Exercise, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening for Week 1.
    • Week 2

      Minor Blues
      • "Moanin'"
      • Skeletal Minor Blues
      • "Equinox"
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Test
    • Week 3

      Modal Jazz
      • Fourth-based voicings
      • Modal jazz and "So What"
      • "Impressions"
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 4

      More on Improvisation and Standard Blues Sequences
      • What is improvisation?
      • The Standard Blues Sequence
      • Examples of using the Standard Blues Sequence
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Test, Discussion
    • Week 5

      The Clock of Keys and the jazz standard "All The Things You Are"
      • The Clock of Keys
      • The jazz standard "All The Things You Are"
      • Improvising on "All The Things You Are"
      • Exercise, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 6

      Playing Left Hand Voicings and the jazz standard "Autumn Leaves"
      • Playing left hand voicings
      • More scale theory
      • The jazz standard "Autumn Leaves"
      • Exercises, Learning Outcomes, Viewing and Listening, Assessments, Discussion and Recordings List
  • Course 3

    4.5 (6 reviews)

    Prepare to become an experienced solo jazz piano player and go deeper into advanced jazz techniques and theories.

    3 tests

    1 peer-graded assignment

    6 weeks

    4 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Modulation and Rhythmic Phrases
      • Introduction
      • Preview and Modulation
      • The Jazz Standard "I Love You"
      • Swing and Rhythmic Phrases
      • Application to a blues
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 2

      Introduction to Playing In Root Position
      • The Challenge of playing solo piano
      • The jazz standard "You Took Advantage Of Me"
      • The jazz standard "Satin Doll"
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Test
    • Week 3

      Further Techniques for Playing in Root Position
      • More on Playing In Root Position
      • The jazz standard "In Your Own Sweet Way"
      • The jazz standard "Satin Doll"
      • The jazz standard "How Deep Is The Ocean"
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 4

      The Jazz Waltz
      • Waltz vamp till ready
      • The jazz standard "Someday My Prince Will Come"
      • The jazz standard "All Blues"
      • The jazz standard "It's A Raggy Waltz"
      • "Everbody's Song But My Own"
      • More on beginnings and endings
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, and Test
    • Week 5

      Scale Theory
      • Scale theory
      • The tune "Blackbird"
      • Ionian and Melodic Minor Ascending Modes
      • The jazz standard "Solar"
      • The jazz standard "Stella By Starlight"
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening
    • Week 6

      Chord Theory
      • Chord theory
      • Reharmonisation of "Stella By Starlight"
      • The tune "Entering"
      • The jazz standard "On Green Dolphin Street"
      • Exercise, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening and Assessments
  • Course 4

    Explore advanced blues sequences, ballads, special devices and composing to incorporate Latin and funk into your jazz piano style.

    2 tests

    2 peer-graded assignments

    7 weeks

    5 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Blues Sequences and Ballads
      • Introduction
      • Blues Sequences
      • Ballads and the jazz standard "Body an Soul"
      • The jazz standard "Round Midnight"
      • The jazz standard "Blue In Green"
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening and Discussion
    • Week 2

      Latin Jazz and Even Quavers
      • Introduction
      • Afro-Cuban Rhythms
      • The jazz standard "A Night In Tunisia"
      • Bossa Novas and the jazz standard "Recordame"
      • The jazz standard "The Girl From Ipanema"
      • Montunos
      • 8/8 or even quavers and "Blue In Green"
      • The jazz standard "You Don't Know What Love Is"
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives Viewing and Listening, and Test
    • Week 3

      Introduction to Jazz Funk and Other Influences
      • Introduction
      • Intro to Jazz Funk
      • The jazz standard "Little Sunflower"
      • The jazz standard "Cantaloupe Island"
      • Other influences
      • Free Jazz
      • Improvised Music
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives Viewing and Listening, and Discussion.
    • Week 4

      Special Devices and Comping
      • Introduction
      • Special Devices and Comping
      • Hot Licks Over 2 Bars
      • The jazz standard "Beautiful Love"
      • The jazz standard "My Romance"
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives Viewing and Listening, and Test
    • Week 5

      Putting it all together
      • Introduction
      • Putting It All Together
      • The jazz standard "Maiden Voyage"
      • The jazz standard "My Funny Valentine"
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives Viewing and Listening
    • Week 6

      The Solo Piano Concert
      • Introduction
      • Issues in Planning Concerts and This Concert
      • The Solo Piano Concert
      • Recording Studio and Keyboard
      • A Personal History of Jazz
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, Discussion
    • Week 7

      The Piano Trio Concert
      • Introduction
      • The choice of tunes
      • The Piano Trio Concert
      • Meet the Trio
      • Exercises, Learning Objectives, Viewing and Listening, Final Assessments, Fun Quiz and My Recordings

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Meet your instructor

I have been a jazz pianist and educator for over fifty years and have developed this online course on learning jazz piano.

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