I've met piano players who have played classical piano for many years but have always wanted to know how to improvise. I've also met players who want to learn how to improvise from the start and who are not interested in reading classical piano music straight off the page. Regardless of what category you fall into, if you're interested in learning to make things up as you go and improvise, the best way to get started is through jazz. Jazz is a language that allows musicians to compose on the spot while still sticking to a set of rules or guidelines. Depending on the style of jazz, those rules can be more or less strict. If you'd lilke to know more about online jazz piano lessons then please read on...
The first thing you should consider when starting to learn jazz is what you are listening to. If you want to learn jazz piano but don't listen to any of it, then you are not going to get very far. To learn more quickly, you need to start listening to as much jazz piano music as you can. Below are a few of the most popular jazz piano artists to start out with. Try to get your hands on some of their CDs or search You Tube to listen to some of their most famous songs. To learn jazz you need to start getting it into your ears. Think of it like a language--if you wanted to learn Spanish, you would learn it more quickly if you lived in the country for 6 months where you were surrounded by it.
Popular Jazz Piano Players to Listen To:
- Bill Evans
- Chick Corea
- Herbie Hancock
- Oscar Peterson
- Brad Mehldau
- McCoy Tyner
- Thelonious Monk
- Art Tatum
- Count Basie
- Duke Ellington
- Red Garland
- Kenny Baron
- Bud Powell
- Dave Brubeck
- Horace Silver
Once you've started listening to some of the artists mentioned above, you can use our website to start learning some of the basics for free. Your approach to learning jazz should consist of listening, picking a couple of jazz standards to work on, practicing ii-V-I chord progressions in all keys, learning scales in all keys, and transcribing solos or melodies you like. Tackling all of these concepts will give you endless hours in the practice room so don't expect to be playing flawlessly after a couple of months. Learning jazz piano is a life long pursuit but one that is rewarding throughout. We've listed the free tools that pertain to Jazz Piano below. Once you have gone through those, be sure to check out the complete online piano courses we review. You can read our reviews to pick the best one for your needs by going to our Online Piano Lesson Reviews.
Free Online Jazz Piano Video Lessons:
- ii-V-I 3 Note Piano Voicings #1
- ii-V-I 3 Note Piano Voicings in all 12 Keys
- ii-V-I 4 Note Left Hand Piano Voicings in all 12 Keys
Jazz Piano Books We Recommend:
The Jazz Piano Book - Mark Levine
This is hands down the best book available for learning jazz piano improvization and concepts. It covers topics like piano voicings, scales, chord progressions and practicing tips. We also like this book because it discusses some of the original jazz recordings and breaks them down into an easy to learn format.
If you are new to jazz, the book is also helpful as it provides suggested listening based on the lesson topic. For any jazz musician, this is a must have for your collection.
The Real Book
Any Jazz musician has a copy of The Real Book lying around somewhere. Usually it is in rough shape as it is a good book to have with you for any jazz gigs or jam sessions that you might find yourself in. This book contains all of the most common jazz standards that might get called. If you are serious about learning jazz, you should have this book.
About the Author: Michael Kinney
I have played piano since I was 5 years old. I started in classical and then quickly moved to blues and jazz. I studied at the collegiate level and have played professionally since I was 16. My favorite piano players (if I had to pick 3) include Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock). I own several keyboards but always prefer to play on a Steinway if one is available! I live to perform as much as I like to teach.