Jazz Piano Part two, the pesky left hand.
In my 40 years of experience teaching jazz, I've learned that 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 insights 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.
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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 for this to work. The bassist will cover 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.