skip to Main Content

Jazz Piano Basics

A Group Course for Intermediate Students

Next course starts 16 April 2018.

‘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

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

Taking place in the New School’s Digital Piano Lab, 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 practisingimprovised 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 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.

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. Upon moving to Ireland, he became a music scholar at Trinity College Dublin 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 and Loah. 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.

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

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

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

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.


2017-2018 Third Term Course Schedule & Fee

9 weeks, 16 April – 25 June 2018
(No classes on 7 May & 4 June – Bank Holiday Mondays)
Mondays 7 – 8 pm

Tuition Fee: €175


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.


Purchasing this course as a gift?
Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.


Jazz Piano Basics
Thelonious Monk (1917 – 1982)
Back To Top