play jazz piano today
Our purpose is to enable you to play Jazz piano - Join the myJazz club today or start learning now with our iPad/iPhone apps or stream the free lessons and tips to get a feel for our tools. We will take you step by step to learn the skills to play like Evans and Brubeck or improvise like Monk.
We recommend you get hold of some classic Jazz tunes to study - Autumn Leaves, Satin doll, Scrapple from the Apple, Jeepers Creepers, Blue Moon, I should care, Pent up house, Perdido, Honeysuckle rose, and Loverman are great ones to name a few.
Playing Jazz piano is a wonderful thing. My name is Ben Wilcock and after 25 yrs of playing piano I'm at one end of the scale, while my good friend Phil Brace is at the other as a Jazz piano novice. Together we have built the myJazz lessons from a students perspective with the goal to build your Jazz piano skills.
Our two minute lessons are bite sized with video and PDF support to develop you knowledge of jazz piano. We start with the essential 2-5-1 chord progression and build from there to develop your playing skills. We want you to be able to play a tune in your own style and improvise like a professional. Enjoy the backing tracks with some cool drum and bass - it feels great when your insync with the band.
Compare these two tracks recorded firstly by me and then by Phil as we play Autumn Leaves. Both are just fine, phil is mimicking my style as a novice, and I like to think that Phil is just like me 20 some years ago. Our mission for the myJazz club is to show you how to get started and with time play like a pro.
Ben plays Autumn Leaves
Phil plays Autumn Leaves
Listen as Ben plays 'the myJazz vibe' - Ben's groovy little composition is in the members area for you to enjoy and learn to play in your own style.
Ben plays the myJazz vibe
using your ears
We can not emphasize enough the importance of playing jazz by using the ears, not the score - at least as a goal for the long term. If we just play jazz pieces from a score then we aren't learning to improvise and make the music our own, defeating the purpose of jazz.
Each myJazz lesson consists of a video play along with bass and drums as a backing track. These are for practicing the lessons, the chord voicings, the licks or patterns, and the progressions. All lessons come with a written score in the form of pdf (printable), and there are tips and insights attached to each lesson.
All our lessons are ultimately about playing along with the band and you will find that your ears are used more than your eyes, and our videos are not just 'where to put your fingers', but more a tool to practice the elements covered in the lesson. Having a backing track to practice with strengthens time, feel, and one can get the sense of playing with a band.
Jazz is very pattern based - the chord progressions, licks and embellishments are encouraged to be practiced across 12 keys because in jazz standards and harmony, we are constantly changing keys inside a tune (albeit temporarily).
To learn how to voice a minor 7 b5 chord, we learn it in all keys for very good reason, it will appear in tunes in different keys - In autumnLeaves, we may play it in G minor, therefor, it will come up as Amin7b5 - If we play it in E minor it will appear as F#minb5 - In Summertime, if we play it in D minor, it will be Emin7b5 !! Yikes, therefore we need a system to learn how to voice the chord in 'any' key.
When improvising we use the same principle - If your playing a song and improvising over D minor 7, and the chord changes to something 'un related', for example F minor 7, you need to know how to improvise over both chords, even if its only for a bar or two.
By using repetition to learn patterns and especially chord voicings (in many keys), we can unlock the instrument and be able to play with freedom in any situation. By memorizing shapes, patterns and structures we can play without the need for sheet music other than for the melody and chord symbols.
If you already have a good knowledge of theory and can play some classical piano, some elements covered in the myJazz club lessons will be familiar - however, jazz theory is quite different from classical theory, as is the playing and methods of learning.
Comping, or playing chords underneath a melody, shell voicings, modes, riffs, and lines, are all tools to learn that will build your playing skills. Our lesson toolboxes are structured to provide stepwise progress using repetition to embed the learning.
Every jazz musician, in order to improvise over chord progressions has a library of tools in their head. To improvise without a library of structured tools that can be called on creatively is both frustrating for the player and the listener.
We use the same methods for teaching jazz as is taught in all the best universities, colleges and by jazz teachers all over the world. We have just simplified everything into mini lessons with obtainable goals creating an enjoyable way to practice!