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Jazz Techniques

Learn the fundamental techniques which serve as building blocks for playing jazz.

Jazz Comping - A Complete Beginners Guide

When I first started to get comfortable playing jazz on the piano, I was eager to learn how to play with an ensemble. I knew my way through lots of tunes, and how to voice each chord. But, I didn't understand what my role was supposed to be in the rhythm section, or what I was supposed to do in order to support the other players.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Dec 07, 2021
Flipping through a collection of jazz records.

Learn to play jazz on your own - step by step guide

We usually think about jazz as a formal study at a university such as Berkelee or Oberlin. Or perhaps, as more of an understudy or apprenticeship, where an upcoming student learns directly from a master. And don’t get me wrong, having a great teacher will really help in your study, but it’s not strictly required for you to become an accomplished player. In this article I’ll break down an approach to learning jazz on your own, at home, without a teacher.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Nov 08, 2021
A set of lead sheets sprawled out across a piano.

Every chord symbol found on lead sheets

In this article you'll find every chord symbol you are likely to encounter while playing from lead sheets or The Real Book. Everything from chord symbols with triangles, circles or chord extension are explained here in detail.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Apr 05, 2021
An overhead shot of a woman playing piano.

3-Note Jazz Piano Voicings

3-note jazz voicings are the simplest way to play 7th chords. They are great for beginners, but don't underestimate them -- the professionals use them all the time too.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Sep 29, 2020
An overhead photo of my hands playing a sharp 11 chord

How to use Sharp-11 Chords

A sharp-11 chord can be little intimidating of a concept, especially if you are new to playing jazz, but it's actually one of the most common ways to color major and dominant chords. In this article, we’ll explore various ways to use this chord in your playing.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Aug 09, 2020
A man covering his ears to muffle the sound of avoid notes.

What Is An Avoid Note In Jazz?

An avoid note is any note in the scale that is a half-step away from a note in the chord being played. As an example, playing an F on top of a C major chord sounds dissonant, since it's a half step above E, the third of the chord.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Jul 23, 2020
A honky tonk piano which hardly looks playable.

Is Ragtime Hard to Play?

One of the most common questions I hear from beginning piano students is "can I learn to play Maple Leaf Rag?" Or, "Is The Entertainer approachable as a beginner?"

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Jul 08, 2020
Hands on a piano

Jazz Chord Progressions — The Ultimate Guide

These 7 chord progressions make up 90% of jazz standards and are a critical skill in learning to play jazz piano.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Jun 13, 2020
A woman playing an upright piano

How Sus Chords Work and When To Play Them

Sus-chords were first used in classical music to delay the resolution of a cadence. Jazz musicians use sus-voicings in many different scenarios.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Apr 17, 2020
An overhead shot of a woman playing piano.

How to Voice Dominant 7th Chords

Dominant 7th chords are the most exciting and colorful chords in jazz. The fundamental voicings are used in all jazz standards, and altered extensions provide endless varieties to get creative.

Josh Walsh
Josh Walsh on Mar 28, 2020
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