Using Songs


Blue Moon, and others...

Since my last post on refining the content on my channel, I have posted as promised, using jazz repertoire to demonstrate useful ideas in videos no longer than 15 minutes and since I wouldn't want for you to miss them, I'm rounding them up in this article because I'm sure you'll find useful ideas that you can apply to your journey.  Any leadsheets can be found here. And as always, likes, comments and subscriptions always welcome!

Blue Moon is a very easy song to get into your fingers: 16251 and a floating 251.  Once you've got the piece down (which I provide), the main point of this video is how using only the master key's blues scale (no matter the key, of course) works over all the related chords thanks to a philosophy known as 'musical context': something that wouldn't sound nice alone, works when it's part of something greater.  This also forces you to think about note value awareness: for example, the Eb from the C blues scale is the minor in C, the b9 in D, the b13 in G and the b5 in A... one same note sounds totally different as each chord passes.  So have a bit of fun playing one same scale over a chord progression and seeing what sounds you like the most, make a note of them and use them in other repertoire in a similar way.

Ain't Misbehavin' is yet another very easy song to acquire and perfect for left hand accompaniment practice.  With the focus being on the LH, don't worry too much about the melody.  It starts by giving you the basic stride idea but develops it through octaves, open octaves, timing, etc.  The point is, as always, to personalise and do what sounds nice and feels comfotable to You so let my content be a motivation and basic idea to get you going.  Using common chord progressions with stride is to kill two birds with one stone, plus many other benefits such as precision, endurance and different key practice.

Embraceable You has a slightly more complex chord progression but nothing you can't handle, I make sure of that.  I am able, thanks to the richness and slower tempo of this song to teach you how to play chords as melody or melody as chords and offer two options:  put the melody note on top and build down the chord you're currently on to give a richer, thicker, warmer sound to the melody... and/or to make an octave out of the melody and drop the chord in between.  You don't need to make this overcomplicated with extensions and multiple notes, just start by putting in the 5th only and then maybe the major/minor third as required, and then both together... and then start adding nicer notes like 9, b13, etc.  I also provide general practice ideas away from repertoire to get used to the idea.  Lovely sound!

When you have a song down on your internal jukebox, internal piano and can play it quite well, you may want to enhance it.  The first and safest way to start improvising is to use notes of the chord you're currently on, ignoring the melody but this is difficult if you can't confidently see the notes of the chord everywhere.  In this video, I show you how to see the chord all across the piano and to 'pick off' or 'poke' the notes of that chord.  In this way, inversions disappear since all you're seeing are the chord tones required, whatever the chord is.  E.g. if the chord is Bb7, you'll only see Bb, D, F, Ab but everywhere, no matter the inversion.  You then want to play those notes anywhere, with some attempt at being melodic.  This video shows you how.  Once you've got the idea down, connect those chord tones by chromatic connections.  It looks and sounds great yet behind the scenes, your focus is always on the four chord tones.  Clever!

I hope you'll continue to enjoy my newer uploads and check back to my channel should you not get notifications.  I now post strictly 3 times/week so you're sure to find new content!  Remember I also have 7 special playlists which contain every video on my channel to help you get around.