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Jazz Piano Basics

A Group Course for Intermediate Students

Next course starts 21 January 2019.

‘Jazz is a mental attitude rather than a style. It uses a certain process of the mind expressed spontaneously through some musical instrument. I’m concerned with retaining that process.’
– Bill Evans

‘Get up from that piano. You hurtin’ its feelings.’
– Jelly Roll Morton

‘Having had only “classical” training in the past, I have learned so much from this course. The approach to teaching jazz is both friendly and effective.’
– B. Moran


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Course Description

Taking place in Waltons New School of Music’s Digital Piano Lab and taught by one of the finest jazz pianists and teachers in Ireland, Jazz Piano Basics is a hands-on course designed to provide classical piano students of at least intermediate level (Grade V or equivalent) with a solid foundation in jazz piano. The course explores the unique rhythmic, melodic and harmonic aspects of jazz music and provides some basic approaches to playing in the genre, including:

  • Formation of chords and common chord progressions
  • Understanding and memorising ‘charts’ for standard jazz tunes
  • Improvisation – both melodic variation and soloing
  • How to accompany and play with a group
  • Voicing techniques
  • Aural training, intervals and chord recognition

Students will also work on another essential aspect of jazz – timing and ‘feel’ – that can best be developed both from listening and by playing with and against each other in a group setting. The distinction between practising improvised music and playing improvised music will be discussed, as will the influence of the blues. Students will learn from the masters by listening to recordings of great pianists in different settings and will be given specific practice exercises to develop their understanding and technique at home. For the last two classes, students will have the opportunity to apply their skills by working with a professional jazz bassist and jazz drummer.

For any piano student who has ever wanted to find out what jazz is all about, this is an ideal introduction to the form.


Jazz Piano Basics is one of the New School’s group courses. We also offer private piano lessons in a range of genres for students of all ages and skill levels. See Piano • Keyboard Tuition for more information.

Techniques Covered

A video demonstration of some techniques covered in the course:

Johnny Taylor

Johnny TaylorJohnny was born in London and studied classical piano and clarinet from a young age, playing in orchestras and receiving an ABRSM diploma in piano performance. After moving to Ireland, he studied music at Trinity College Dublin, where he was elected a Music Scholar and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 2006. After studying with a scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Johnny returned to Dublin and began playing jazz full time. He currently leads his own piano trio as well as playing regularly in the groups of several notable Irish musicians, including Mary Coughlan, Nigel Mooney, Linley Hamilton, Aoife Doyle, Emilie Conway and Loah. One of the finest jazz pianists (as well as one of the busiest musicians) on the Irish music scene, Johnny regularly performs in Dublin and around Ireland and has performed at major festivals in the US, the Caribbean, other European countries and the Middle East. He has taught at the New School since 2007.


‘Having benefited and been inspired by so many wonderful teachers over the years – people I’ve studied with, people I’ve played with, musical heroes whom I love and whose music enriches my life – I consider myself honoured and fortunate now to be in a position to share the knowledge and experience I have and continue to accrue with others through my teaching work. For the most part I work with students in the realm of improvised music, ear-training, playing without sheet music, all the while dismantling the notion that “you either have it or you don’t”. As a wise improvising musician once said, you must first learn the rules and then forget them.’

Testimonials

‘A great way to immerse yourself in a different musical world.’
– N. Collet

‘A solid introduction to jazz and improvised music-making. Johnny is not only a great jazz musician but a supportive and inspiring teacher.’
– E. Grennan

‘Great foundation for a jazz beginner. Johnny has a very positive, open and encouraging approach.’
– S. Malin

‘An excellent introduction to jazz piano and improvisation. Playing with other jazz musicians at the end was a great experience!’
– C. O’Brien


Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about it.

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2018-2019 Second Term Course Schedule & Fee

10 weeks, 21 January – 8 April 2019
(No classes on 18 February & 18 March – Mid-Term Break & St. Patrick’s Day)
Mondays 7 – 8 pm

Tuition Fee: €200

Enrolment

Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee. Places are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. A number of our group courses fill in advance of their start dates, and early enrolment is recommended.

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