Hi everybody! I wrote this article because I know there are tons of pianists like me who want to learn to play jazz piano at home, fast and free if possible. Whether you are a musician who plays keyboards in a band, solo pianist-singer, or hobby pianist, you are fascinated by the amazing and full sound of jazz harmonies. If you’ve studied jazz harmony and practice a bit, you know it’s a rather complicated matter. Upper structure chords, scales, modes, voicings, improvisation…it all requires theoretical understanding and hundreds of hours of practice.
In this article, I will introduce some ways on how to learn jazz piano online. If you want to know how to start to learn jazz piano as an adult, I also hope, this article will be useful for you. Before imagining the various possibilities of learning jazz piano, let’s first think why some lessons are free, others are paid, and what is the fundamental difference.
Main Differences Between Free And Paid Jazz Piano Lessons
Naturally, we are always looking for a favorable ratio between product quality and price. Everyone wants everything for a good price, but it’s even better when it’s free. When I surveyed resources that offer free jazz piano lessons, most of them only offer a few free lessons to grab your attention. If you are interested in the content and way of learning, you will be more willing to buy a monthly membership or the whole course. But it’s good for us because this way you can try several approaches and options and finally decide on the one that suits you best. However, this survey also showed me another thing:
Online lessons that you can find for free on youtube or other portals are in themselves interesting and valuable. The problem, however, is that they do not follow each other and you can get to a dead-end very quickly. It can happen that suddenly you don’t know how to continue and what to learn. Simply put, they lack a concept.
Paid tutorials have a major advantage that learning has a system, lessons progress step-by-step, so you can get better and faster progress. The advantage of paid programs is also amazing teachers who are not only very skilled but also belong to the top of the jazz piano. So let’s summarize the basic differences between paid and free lessons.
They are free of course:)
A Reasonable option for occasionally players
No system = kind of chaos and slower progress
Sometimes poor quality of the video or content
Lack of music theory
A Reasonable for more serious pianists
Systematic learning = faster progress
Usually higher quality of content and video
Very skilled instructors
Better understanding of music theory
For example, I learned through the Artist Works course: Jazz piano with George Whitty and combined it with videos with youtube, where I was already looking for specific songs or techniques. This way suited me, because the course created a routine for me and I found out what and how to train. When I needed something specific, I usually managed to find it on youtube.
When we talk about the differences between paid jazz piano lessons, let’s mention what they have in common: the time you need to put into practice. If someone convinces you that you will learn to play jazz in a few months, don’t believe them. It depends, of course, on several criteria like piano experience, time possibilities and talent, but if you want to sound professional, it will take a while.
Where to Learn Jazz Piano For Free?
You’re probably wondering how and where you can start learning to play jazz for free. The first option will probably not surprise you, it’s a good old youtube. Several projects focused on teaching jazz piano have youtube as the main source of traffic. That is why they have dozens of videos on their channels that can help pianists starting jazz in particular.
You know that Youtube belongs to Google, so it also works as a search engine. After entering the keywords “jazz piano lessons for free”, hundreds of videos will pop up. Many of them are one-off lessons that focus on a specific issue. However, you will also find channels that offer a relatively wide portfolio of piano lessons. Let’s now look at the most interesting ones:
On this channel of Steve Nixon, you will find more than 150 video lessons, especially for beginners and intermediate jazz pianists. Steve is no newbie. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music.
As a pianist plays with world stars like B.B.King, Wyclef Jean, Taj Mahal, and grammy award winners Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and many others. You will find a lot of inspiration and tips on his youtube channel. If his learning style suits you, he also offers paid courses on www.freejazzlessons.com
2. Jazz Tutorial
is Julian Bradley’s channel is another interesting source of jazz techniques. Julian is a pianist from the UK who has been involved in jazz and coaching for many years.
He has uploaded more than 160 videos on his Youtube channel focusing on jazz scales and their use, reharmonization, arranging, improvisation, and ear training. This channel also has a web version www.jazztutorial.com where you can access a lot of other material.
3. Piano With Jonny
also includes several free lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced pianists. I like this channel because the lessons are made well and also the video quality is good.
Especially jazz standards videos are cool because you can see “playing hands” and sheets at the same time. Jonny May has due to his conscientious approach more than 114,000 subscribers. On his web www.pianowithjonny.com , you can also download tons of free piano sheets.
4. Piano Groove
This website www.pianogroove.com has a youtube channel which is also worth checking out. I like that the videos contain graphical keyboards, so you can see the keys being played highlighted in color.
This visual feature has proven to be very important in piano learning and is used by all piano learning applications. On the website, you will find comprehensive courses focused on jazz, blues, and Latin piano.
5. The Jazz Piano Site
Walk that bass is the name of another youtube channel with more than 200 videos. They have different content and image quality. However, you will find explained jazz harmony and ways to play different standards and improvise.
I especially like the website www.thejazzpianosite.com with a lot of free materials about jazz harmony, chord creation, the use of scales, or voicing. It is also one of the few free resources of modern jazz.
Paid Jazz Piano Courses
I have good news, to begin with. Several of the courses I present here also offer free video lessons at the beginning. It allows you to see how the lessons work and make your decision if you are going to try the paid version. So let’s take a look at the lessons that are definitely worth trying for every pianist who wants to systematically devote himself to jazz.
1. Hear And Play
From the name, it is clear what this course will focus on. The lessons are created for “playing by the ear”, so in addition to acquiring new skills, you also train your ears. It is a website that offers jazz and gospel piano lessons. After watching free lessons, you have several options to choose from.
We will be particularly interested in the Jazz intensive training center, which is organized by weekly lessons. In 52 weeks you will systematically learn how to play jazz piano. In addition to all the basics of jazz playing, you will learn how to play familiar standards. The price depends on whether you pay monthly or annually but is reasonable.
If you’re more attracted to gospel piano, Hear and play is probably the best source of skills on the Internet. In addition to Gospel intensive training (subscription program), you can download GospelKeys courses (beginners, advanced) for an affordable price.
2. ArtistWorks Jazz Piano With George Whitty
I already mentioned at the beginning that this course is exceptional due to the quality of its content. It was created by George Whitty, who is one of the top jazz pianists. He has played and recorded with many artists not only from the jazz world: Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Dave Mathews, Celine Dion, or Carlos Santana. He has been awarded several Grammy Awards for his work. If you want to learn from the best, pay attention to this course.
The individual video lessons proceed according to the difficulty and skill level. The way Whitty teaches is motivating and fun. Each of the lessons will give you the material you can practice for several weeks.
The disadvantage may be a higher price, but with a 12-month plan, it is available especially if you realize that for a similar face-to-face lesson you would pay about as much as for the whole course.
3. MasterClass With Herbie Hancock
If you are a little into music, the name Herbie Hancock should not be unknown to you. This phenomenal pianist contributed to the creation of several styles in jazz music and played with the most important artists of this genre.
Master Class jazz piano with Herbie Hancock is an exceptional course for every pianist who want to learn jazz from one of the best pianist. In 25 lessons you will learn a lot of new things about jazz and how to practice the piano.
I hope you found some inspiration in this article on how to take your jazz piano to the next level. Personally, I recommend looking at all the options from this post and choosing the one that suits you. Paid courses have the advantage of systematic progress and prevent the chaos that can arise when learning only from youtube. On the other hand, on youtube and on some free portals, you will find a lot of new information that will help you, especially when you are solving a partial theoretical thing or song.