Any Jazz Pianists in here?

  • Any Jazz Pianists in here?

    Does anyone in here play piano, or just like listening to it? I myself have been classically trained to play the piano. I rely heavily on sheet music though. Wondering if anyone here has advice for someone like me who'd like to start playing without sheet music, and learn some jazz =)


  • Here I am...

    I play drums (both rock and jazz) and piano (both classical and jazz)... Well, I'm still studying and the road is very long, but this doesn't matter.
    I think you should begin from simple harmonic rules of jazz (which are based on classical harmony), chords, and so on. Then begin with simple tunes from the Real Book (eg Satin Doll, Just Friends) that contain the 2-5-1 cadence (D-, G7, Cmaj7, and so on). About improvisation, the notes are those of the chord, the style can be learned by experience and listening (try to look for recordings of the standards you'd like to play, write down the solos and play them).

    This is a very little "vademecum" for the first months of learning/playing, I think... Anyway I suggest to look for a teacher. Be sure to go with a good teacher, not only a good player, so ask to a lot of people before taking a decision.

    I hope you've understood what I wanted to explain, my english is not really good.

    Good Luck!

    The heart is where the music is. (Keith Jarrett)
    • mm_Aa said...
    • User
    • 12 Jan 2006, 15:03

    Mark Levine's Book

    I would really recommend Mark's "Jazz Piano Book" (

    It's the best jazz piano book I've ever seen.

  • Advice

    I'm a jazz pianist studying at the university level now and, well, here is some advice:

    While books like Mark Levine's and Ron Miller's will help you greatly with vocabulary and different elementary ways to voice chords and such, I wouldn't put too much faith in them. I would, however, reccomend Levine's "Jazz Theory Book". This will help you to learn the vocabulary necessary. Once you know the vocabulary you will be able to create your own voicings and ideas. Also, since you are in this group I assume you listen to a lot of jazz. Therefore, you can probably play jazz better than you think already. You just need to use your ear and your chord scale relationships. Take a look at all of the Melodic Minor (ascending) modes and the diminished scale to start. Finally, take a few lessons with someone who is a serious jazz pianist. Since you were classially trained, I'm sure you already have the chops, now you just have to learn the idiom.

    • Schral said...
    • User
    • 9 Feb 2006, 22:16
    Hello there,
    been playing for a while here as well.

  • Thanks for the help everyone. I just ordered the jazz piano book off amazon, none of my local book stores carried it. It should get me started, then maybe I'll invest in the jazz theory book.

    I actually didn't listen to a lot of jazz untill I joined and found this group. I've listened to a little bit before but this group really helped me to find out who my favorites are (bill evans, and vince guaraldi at the moment ;)

    Thanks again for the advice, I'll let you all know how I progress

    • njazz said...
    • User
    • 11 May 2006, 16:01
    I guess you know about Aebersold books+cds with minus one recordings, practicing such way is necessary if you going to learn how to improvise. But don't focus on practicing such way too much, this sometimes makes you slow your development.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hey there,
    I've been studying playing piano for 9 years, now I'm just playing at times, tried some Oscar Peterson exercises - they appeared to be not to so complicated as I thought, and some more jazz things... Would love to play it better.

  • hey there:)
    I was trained as a classical pianist, graduated this year. But I'm specializing in the art of improvisation- one that also include Jazz and Psychedillic Jazz as well.
    If you wish, you can listen to my works at myspace:

  • btw, you can try and just..improvise :) listen to the music, and flow flow flow :) or, you can try and take some lessons- or be a regular in some club or so :)

  • Thisissipel! The same situation!
    I was also trained as a classical pianist but some years ago became fond of improvisation and jazz. And that's really cool!

    • Optium said...
    • User
    • 30 Sep 2006, 13:24
    Tzori this is very cool sounding stuff, you're really good at creating a very distinct mood.

    I play keys and I'm very influenced by Jazz, but I wouldn't call my style particularly jazzy. I play with an experimental, very improvisational band, and after missing a practice the drummer told me never to miss another one, because his playing was very static, very straight rock sounding, not experimental, and with no swing. So I guess I bring those things to the band. But like you, Down, I'm not really sure where to start playing more jazz. All I know is that I don't want to go back to sheet music. :P


  • I am also a jazzpiansist, although it's on a lower pit,as we say in the Netherlands :-)

  • Eh. 16 years of piano, 4 of those are jazz.

  • Pretend you are Keith Jarrett

    Play two 5 chords (power chords) and just alternate between them. A good example is the two chords A E A and G D G. Alternate between these two chords, switching the rythyms as you go along, and then play notes from the G major scale. Forget everything you've learned about classical theory. Just let your emotions guide you. If you feel like you want to change something, then do it. Don't wait for sheet music to let you. Improv is all about you.

    You've started an incredible journey. I wish you good luck.

  • the_gh0st said:
    Play two 5 chords (power chords) and just alternate between them. A good example is the two chords A E A and G D G.

    That's Part I from the Koeln Concert, right? For a little bit more inspiration, you can also use extended chords such as
    A-7 or A-9 and G7 or G9, that is, e.g.:

    A E B/C (A-9) and
    G D A/B (G9)

    Play it as an arpeggio, one note after the other (with sustain pedal), using fingers 5 and 2 and the thumb to press B and C at once, and the same for the G9.

    If it's too difficult for a start to play both the chord and an improvisation with the right hand at once, just play the chord and start the melody once the chord is there. (Keith Jarrett also does this also sometimes :-)

    You can also try to sing/hum the melody in addition to playing it. Most of the famous jazz piansts do that, as you can hear on some recordings like the Koeln Concert.

  • I've been playing the piano for roughly 10 years, mostly classcial though.

    I just made this new group for us piano players. Feel free to join!

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 14 Nov 2006, 17:07
    id tried to learn when i played more piano
    i used that blue book with clouds (i dont remember the name)
    has anyone got some tips how to easy learn to improve?

  • how i started to learn jazz...

    i started the same way many people did, by getting frustrated by relying on sheet music.

    anyway, i broke into jazz using the blues. i suspect many of you know this, but if you're firmly rooted in classical, they are 12 bars with the following chords (in c major in this example): C, F, C, C, F, F, C, C, G, F, C, C. You can try shoving in major and minor 7ths over the top of these chords, just play around.

    with regards to improvising, i started at the logical place, using the white keys, because i was in c major. this sounded stale. i found i could jazz things up by introducing some extra notes into the scale, like e-flat, a-flat and b-flat. i still played all the notes from c major as well as these. then from jazz sheets seemed to follow, it was a case of identifying the key, and then transposing my knowledge from the c major blues into a new key.

    after this, i learnt more about theory. i never bought a book because the internet is so useful.

    another excersise i found helpful was: to choose a key, then choose a mode of the key, and then play. for an hour or so, just don't stop. ideas start to flow naturally. see what happens if you transpose to another mode of the same key. if you don't know about modes, google them.... if you know your scales (like most of you probably do if you're classically trained) modal theory is just something someone needs to tell you, you already know how to play all the modes. there's no learning involved!

    hope this helps.

  • I play piano for 6 years now, both Jazz and classical.

    Currently I practise on Keith Jarret's 'Someone to watch over me' for the jazzy part, and Bach's 'Kleine zweistimmige Fuge' in C-mol. I think playing classical pieces as well improves your piano skill significantly.

    I also played some pieces of Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson a while ago.

  • Re: Any Jazz Pianists in here?

    Well...I'm playing piano for 8 years :) I've tried some jazz recently, because I really love this kind of music but I also play some kind of "free style" on piano :P If you know what I mean. I'm trying to settle my piano music in electronic parts which I also compose with my friend :)

  • I've been playing sheet music for 12 years and recently begun playing jazz piano. And yeah... it's really though! It is a habit to rely on your partiture, and the only way to get rid of it, is to listen to jazz a lot and try to play what you here.
    I think the best thing that you can do is listen only to jazz music for like a month and you will get better automaticly..
    Learn some jazz lics and play them in every key. That's a good start to improvise. You can modulate a bit on the lics. It's important to have some bagage before you can improvise..
    The book of Mark Levine is already mentioned here and indeed, it's a really good book!

    I still have to learn a lot, so I'm not really the man to give advice, but these things helped me till now..

  • thinking in jazz by paul berliner.

    i'm not really big on 'how to' books, because i think the best way to learn jazz is to make mistakes, and to stumble across ideas that work.

    but this text is filled with ideas, and is really thought provoking.

    it's long, and advanced at some bits, so i wouldn't recommend it unless you have a good grounding in music theory.

  • Hello (=
    Let's see...
    I've been playing piano for about 8-9 years now. First, I started with the basic baby tunes, and then slowly progressed to classical and jazz. For the last year, two or so, I've been pretty lazy at classical. I kind of sort of really hate it. [no offense, don't get me wrong. Classical is brilliant music, but there's a certain feeling I get when I play jazz.] however ontheotherhand, jazz, rags, and blues have been getting on to me. I love, love, love them!
    Last week he started me doing this "cheat sheet" thingy with the melody stuff. (hehe... excuse my knowledge) and yeah
    but a recent favorite is "The Locked Store"
    I'll find the composer if anyone's interested and yeah....

  • JessicaFairy said:
    Hello (=
    Last week he started me doing this "cheat sheet" thingy with the melody stuff. (hehe... excuse my knowledge) and yeah
    but a recent favorite is "The Locked Store"
    I'll find the composer if anyone's interested and yeah....

    whats the composer?

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