Notation, Tuition

Play Jazz Piano with Ben!

I want to play jazz – but where to start?

Over the years of teaching piano I’ve often been asked to help a student learn ‘how to play jazz’. This often seems like a reasonable request but can be hard to execute – depending on the students’ proficiency in reading music, or understanding music theory, or in their general piano technique. There are a lot of potential hurdles.

That’s why I’ve started creating written-out piano solo arrangements of jazz standards. Because the best way is to Just Play (to steal the title of Nick Bottini’s great book).

Jazz piano from the page (or screen) to your fingers

I’ve started out with one of my favourite standards (and one which, inexplicably, I’ve had nearly 100,000 plays of on Soundcloud1): Beautiful Love.

Showing the first 5 bars of my jazz piano arrangement for 'Beautiful Love'
Bars 1-5 of ‘Beautiful Love’ for solo jazz piano

This arrangement may not be where you’d start – that’s fine; this one is pitched as being ‘intermediate’, aimed at the pianist who has reasonably competent music-reading skills and some technical ability. I’ll be producing some with much simpler arrangements, and perhaps a few for the more advanced player. The bottom line is that it was by ‘just playing’ that I got my head into jazz; these arrangements may help others do the same. Or it may be just a bit of fun!

As I’m planning to do with all arrangements, I’ve included a ‘solo’ section giving basic chords and a suggestion of a scale that would work well over that chord. And I’ve made a video demonstration to show it all in practice!

If you’d like to check it out, use the button below to get the sheet music right now!

  1. Check out the Soundcloud version here

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