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Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-Pianist

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Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-Pianist

Every Wednesday @ 8:30pm EST beginning August 11 2021

How did they do that? I just don’t know how they can make it sound so easy! I wish I could play piano voicings that sound like that! Mine always sound strange, so simple or like I’ve got it all mixed up.

How often have you, or someone you know, spoken about a jazz pianist in that manner, wondering how they went from chord to chord so easily and with such clarity? As a saxophonist, with limit piano skills, I asked myself those questions daily. My book Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-Pianist evolved from my desire to play keyboard so I could play through tunes and accompany others. This class is based upon that book and its step-by-step process.

Live, interactive classes where students submit recordings for comments.

Type of Class:

  • Live Zoom meetings with comments and discussion.
  • All classes will be recorded and archived for those who could not participate live and for those wishing to review.

Target audience:

  • Open to all musicians. Any instrument. Any skill level (except absolute instrument beginner). Students should be able to read music and have basic command of their chosen instrument.
  • Limited to 15 to 20 participants per level/class.

Level:

  • As the title states, this class is designed for the non-pianist but beginning and intermediate pianists could very well benefit and be challenged

Course length and frequency:

  • Each class will meet weekly for 8 weeks
  • Session length will be between 60 to 75 minutes depending on activity and discussion.
  • All classes will be live and those live sessions will be recorded:
    • Recordings will remain available for one month for those who cannot attend the live sessions and for review by all.

Course description:

Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-Pianist course focuses on playing and recognizing chord voicings that apply to standard jazz repertoire. The course will help you to:

  • Develop basic keyboard skills.
  • Understand jazz theory as applied to constructing chords and progressions.
  • Experience voice leading, which can also be applied to one’s instrument of choice.
  • Strengthen your knowledge of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic formula.
  • Enhance your aural skills, helping you recognize harmony and common chord progressions/sequences.
  • Expand your knowledge of jazz repertoire as one becomes familiar with chord voicings.
  • Help you listen to others and yourself better, hearing the overall product while being able to focus on details.
  • While your improvisation skills will likely improve, this course does not focus on improvisation but more as an accompanist.

Class:

  • I recommend acquiring a copy of: Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-Pianist by Mike Tracy.
  • Each class will focus on one concept as outlined in the text.
  • Class outline:
    • Week 1 – Getting Started
      • Third and Sevenths
      • Basic progressions
    • Week 2 – Two-Note Voicings (Major, Dominant, Minor)
    • Week 3 – Three and Four-Note Voicings (Major, Dominant, Minor)
    • Week 4 – Other Chord Possibilities (Half-Diminished, Diminished, Suspended, Fourths)
    • Week 5 – The ii V7 I Progression in Major
    • Week 6 – The ii V7 I Progression in Minor
    • Week 7 – Standard Chord Progressions
      • Blues
      • Standards
    • Week 8 – More Tunes
  • Strategies for how to practice and apply concepts will be demonstrated.
  • Assignments will be given and coordinated with play-along tracks from Jamey Aebersold. All tracks will be available from Jamey’s online site.
  • Various tunes and progressions will be covered. For example:
    • Like chords thru various practice progressions.
    • Ii V7 I in Major and Minor.
    • Blues in at least Bb and F concert.
    • Tunes that are considered standard jazz repertoire
  • Class is encouraged to record their work and send to me for review weekly.
    • I will comment, offer suggestions and return.
  • In Class:
    • Discuss various concepts as outlined in the text.
    • In class we will discuss ways to approach and apply in practice and performance.
    • I will demonstrate specific approaches and concepts.
    • We will listen to how master pianists voice chords and progressions.
    • We will practice selected concepts.
  • Outside of Class:
    • You will record yourself playing/demonstrating selected assignments.
    • I will record my observations and suggestions as I listen to you play and send you my remarks.
    • Students will be selected to perform either live or I can play the recording you sent (without my remarks) for the class where we can all reflect upon your playing. All will be done in a constructive, respectful manner.
    • You then have the following week to work on material that would enhance your playing, hopefully applying my suggestions and others from the class and make another recording for me to review and return.
  • You will use play-along or backing tracts that are available on YouTube or ones you already have, like Jamey’s many excellent ones. I can help you find ones on YouTube if needed.
  • I will be providing PDFs with practice material and suggestions. I will also offer recorded examples that are available on YouTube.
  • I will be giving you ‘quizzes’ from time to time to challenge your skills. Trust me, the quizzes will not hurt but be quite helpful.

Ideally you will attend class or view the recordings every week so that you can progress consistently. I understand that you might not be able to make each class or that you were not part of the 20 to sign up in time. That’s OK, I will record and each class will be available – and I encourage you to send your recorded material for comments.

No guarantee but it has been my experience that you will grow musically and as an improviser and jazz musician.

You can anticipate:

  • A more secure knowledge of jazz language – scale/chord application, harmonic progressions and rhythmic variety.
  • How to successfully learn and apply more complex harmony in a tune.
  • How to improvise in a jazz-like manner appropriate to the tune and style.
  • How to memorize efficiently.
  • How to establish an effective practice routine.