1. Play a tune from your repertoire-5 minutes
2. Review your jazz scales, chords, and arpeggios-15 minutes
3. Sight-read from the fake books-10 minutes
4. Free Improvisation (jam on a chord, a scale, or just play free)-5 minutes
5. Now it is transcription time (listen and imitate)-15 minutes
6. Special disciplines (pick one)-10 minutes
- rootless voicings
- comping with play-along software or CDs
- quartal voicings
- style studies: Be-Bop, Classic Jazz, Ragtime, Blues, or Bossa nova/ Samba studies
- lesson material
7. Finish up learning a new tune/15 minutes
I hope you find this helpful. Have Fun.
Jazz Piano Part two, the pesky left hand.
In my experience teaching jazz, the left hand presents the most trouble for students. Applying chords at sight, at high speeds, in a creatively artistic way is the rub, as they say.
Therefore, with that in mind, I offer the following thoughts and exercises.
1. Spend most of your time on learning chords. Start with the 60 Jazz Chords. Learn the following in the 12 keys.
2. Drill Sonny’s thumbs around the circle of 5ths.
3. Drill the third/seventh combinations. Use blues then standard tunes to start.
4. Drill the rootless voicings.
Free downloads available here.
Remember chords are most frequently played by the left hand in the middle of the piano. The right hand often has to transpose the melody up an octave. The bassist covers the lower register.
Check out play along apps like iRealb to accompany yourself. It will supply a drummer and bass player for you. Click on the link for the app.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.