. No problem! If you have any questions on today’s lesson I’m happy to answer them. ), 3. Check out Steve’s Jazz Improvisation Super System. 2. And this is just the beginning. 3. But that, in a nutshell, is how you play Jazz piano. (A study of 9 legendary jazz piano players). The more you do it the easier it will get. Put on a metronome or a drum loop and practice playing dominant 7 sus chords in several keys. It’s up to the musician to take this basic information and turn it into a fully-fledged performance. First, let’s deal with what to play. Click image to access the method. Find a tune that features dominant chords for long periods of time and practicing throwing in a sus7 chord in there. I take section A of Autumn Leaves, play it as a complete beginner might, and then slowly start adding more and more complexity until we have something resembling a Jazz Piano performance. 2. The more keys you can play this substitution in the quicker you’ll be able to throw it into lots of tunes. In fact it always appeared that there was this sense of harmonic motion when technically there shouldn’t have been. In that case just try playing some sus7 chords in 1-2 keys. If you’re more of a beginner jazz piano player, transposing might feel a little overwhelming. In order to even think about playing jazz piano, your music theory skills have to be strong: 1. Click image to get access now. Do you have a favorite chord substitution? By just investing a few minutes of practice you’ll reap huge benefits. Lead sheets intentionally only give you the skeleton of the song (just the basic melody and chords) and force you to make up the rest. . You need to first work them out for that song, practice them separately and then add them to your performance. We start with the four elements of music – harmony, melody, rhythm and timbre – and we play each of them in a simplistic and basic manner, more or less as written on the lead sheet. The analogy I like to use is that these different concepts or techniques are like the ingredients in a meal. For example, you’ll see extended dominants in tunes like: You can even apply this chord substitution technique to a jazz blues chord progression or even when you’re jamming modally on one chord. There’s a million things you can do, but as a few examples: Of course, each of these layers of complexity for each element needs to be learned and practiced separately and then added to your song. On the fake book it just said to hold the chord but they definitely weren’t doing that! I even heard it in the jazz rock music of Steely Dan and the modal jams of the Grateful Dead. Check out his popular Breakthrough Blues Method & Learn Chicago Blues Piano DVD Course. Nevertheless, when you are just beginning to learn to play Jazz, you’re naturally looking for some guidance about what to play and how to play. Applying a new piece of vocabulary or a new concept to tunes is one of the best ways to really start mastering the concept. The reason we’re choosing dominant chords here is that there are a ton of jazz tunes that feature dominant chords for extended periods of time. In this way, you will have spontaneously created a ‘Jazz Performance’. I discuss many of them in my lesson on the ‘Minimum Requirements for Jazz Piano‘. But in order to do this you need to know the basic ingredients of Jazz Piano. (The complete video lesson, the full sheet music, & hours of jazz piano arrangements are all inside The Premium Membership Course.). It’s all about just adding more and more layers of complexity on top of your basic song. Practice major ii V I chord progressions (ii minor 7th, V dominant 7th, and I major 7th) and minor ii V i chord progressions (ii half diminished, V dominant 7th, and i minor 7th) in all 12 keys. (The complete video lesson, the full sheet music, & hours of jazz piano arrangements are all inside, (A comprehensive all-in-one online jazz piano course. If you’re playing with a bass player, great they’re covering the bottom part. So, I’ve included a free sample of the jazz piano sheet music from this lesson. At first the song will sound really boring and simplistic, but that’s the point, that’s how we learn. Are you a blues piano fan? If you’re more of an advanced player though you should eventually practice this concept in as many keys as you can (preferably all 12). I used to sit and do this for hours a day. Now, scroll down and check out the extra tips and the notation for this lesson. There is no ‘right’ way to play Jazz. We’re only really discussing chord voicings and left hand techniques here. Start by watching the video below then scroll down for the sheet music and some very important tips to help you master this lesson. 2. You could play C7sus4 for 2 beats and then resolve to C7 for the next 2 beats. Applying sweet sounding voicings makes every concept you learn much deeper and of course much more fun. So to answer the question of ‘How to Play Jazz Piano’ I would say the following: learn to play the the song in a simplistic manner, then slowly add layers of complexity to each of the four musical elements. Please feel free to leave a comment below. There Is No Greater Love is a great tune to start with. So, instead of playing C7 for 2 full bars you could play C7sus4 for the 1st bar and then C7 for the next bar. 3. It was a ton of fun and it was like watching a beautiful story unfold right in front of my face. 4. If you’ve never played rootless voicings before, you can’t just sit down and start sight-reading a brand new song using rootless voicings. In this way, you will have spontaneously created a ‘Jazz Performance’. Steve is the author of Premium Jazz Elite Membership I use this technique a lot to work out tricky chords or to practice some lines that I’ve learned on my trumpet. He is also the author of the The Jazz Masters Method DVD. Struggling with your improvisation? But in order to do this you need to know the basic ingredients of … Nevertheless, when playing from a lead sheet, it’s best to think about the song in layers of complexity. . I would recommend starting with a relatively simple, melodic, diatonic, slow Jazz ballad that use a lot of ii-V7-I’s (as this is the most commonly used chord progressions in Jazz). I’d find a recording of them playing a tune I was working on at that time and listen to how they’d interpret the tune. To make a delicious meal you do not need to know a single thing about cooking, you simply need to follow the instructions line-by-line. He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator. Play a chord on the piano while holding down the sustain pedal and play along with that sound. Are you a blues piano fan? So, go run to the piano right now for 10 minutes and try out this concept. But if you’re playing solo piano you’ll want to include some kind of bassline at the bottom, the chords in the middle register, and the melody on top. This will give you an opportunity to study the jazz piano chord voicings I use in this lesson a little more closely. (A comprehensive all-in-one online jazz piano course.). Steve Nixon is the proud owner of Freejazzlessons.com. You should generally start with something slow and simple and pleasant sounding, before jumping to more fast and complex stuff like Bebop or Post-bop. With a lead sheet you’re given the basic melody and chords, but it’s then up to you what you do with them, how you modify them, and what techniques and concepts you apply to them.