How To Play Jazz Piano

This morning I was looking online and found this great article over at TipDeck.com
I hope you find some useful tips that will help take your piano playing to the next level.

"Jazz as the name suggest is a soulful and most sought after genre of music. Jazz is the expression of the heart, a spirit of joy and a way to relax your senses. Like all the genres, Jazz came through many stages of evolution to become what it is now. Jazz is originally said to have been started from the New Orleans. The first form in the evolution of Jazz was Regtime which existed around 1897 to 1918. This kind of music was generally famous around the red light areas of the New Orleans. Since then it was a favorite for the night bars and night clubs.

Swing Jazz came as the next form of evolution around the 1930’s. Swing Jazz suddenly became popular among the marijuana smoker of the west land. It was the time when this form of Jazz was at its peak. During this phase of development Django Reinhardt started gypsy Jazz which was a combination of American swing and France dance music. Dixieland or commonly referred as the Hot Jazz became the next favorite of the people. This gradually descended from the New Orleans, the place of its origin, to other places like Chicago and New York by some group band. Then there was a sudden downfall of the Hot Jazz which was then replaced by the Bebop.

Jazz music has no limitations and there is great deal of rhythms owing to the use of a great deal of instruments. Piano forms the base music in the crescendo of the Jazz music. Therefore learning piano is the most important task in the series of learning Jazz music. Assuming that you know a little about the scales and rhythm of the piano, a few steps shall help you to achieve perfection in the learning process.

Step # 1: Listen: 

Though this may sound silly but listening carefully to the works of people who have already mastered this art helps. Listening gives you better grasp on the minute details of the music and you start differentiating between the different scales.

Step # 2: The Scales: 

There are twelve major scales in piano. Try learning all of them. Some people only go for six to seven scales. Therefore learning all the major scales gives you an edge over the other musicians.


Step # 3: Symbols: 

Try learning all the symbols of the piano music literature. In other words you must develop a capability to read music. Reading music and then performing it makes the learning process faster.

Step # 4: Songbooks: 

Do not hesitate to buy songbooks if you need one. Songbooks are the main source of learning things more quickly and efficiently. Learn a major 7th (1 3 5 7), minor 7th (1 b3 5 b7), dominant 7th (1 3 5 b7), half diminished (1 b3 b5 b7), and diminished chord (1 b3 b5 bb7) of every key. So, for example, to play C7 (C dominant 7th) you would play C, E, G, and Bb. For C diminished seventh, you would play C, Eb Gb, and A (Bbb).

Thus the learning process of the piano can be so much fun and rewarding."

I'd also like to add my 2 cents here. I have found these music resources very helpful  with learning piano tips for your jazz playing. Here' s my list:

1. Mark Levine: Jazz Theory Book
The Jazz Theory Book


 2. Luke Gillespie: Jazz Piano Voicings
Stylistic Ii/v7/i Voicings for Keyboardists


3. Dan Haerle: The Jazz Language
The Jazz Language


4. Mark Levine: Jazz Piano Book
The Jazz Piano Book

 Also, Yoke Wong provides good resources as well.

  Free Piano Tutorials And Video

Do you have any favorite Jazz songs?  I have tons, mostly Duke Ellington stuff.
Let me know what you think about thee jazz piano tips and music resources.

All the best,
-- LadyD

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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