How To Improvise Jazz (For Beginners)

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Practice Actions:

Learn the melody of the song
Spell out the chord notes
Learn four rhythms
Practice the Roadmap
Fill in the Roadmap
Vary the rhythm of the Roadmap
Comping chords
Use enclosures and approach tones


Eight Steps to Jazz Improvisation for
Absolute Beginners on Jazz Piano

Learning how to improvise jazz piano doesn't have to be difficult nor impossible. Join Willie Myette, creator of Jazz Edge Academy, in this exciting lesson designed specifically for absolute beginners to jazz piano. This comprehensive tutorial, "Eight Steps to Jazz Improvisation," will guide you through the fundamental techniques needed to start improvising over jazz standards with confidence.

What You'll Learn in: How to Improvise Jazz Piano

  • Understand what improvisation in jazz is and how jazz musicians organize their improvisations around specific structures.
  • Get a taste of piano improvisation jazz and what it sounds like.

1. Learning the Song:

  • Begin by learning a jazz standard, specifically "Autumn Leaves."
  • Focus on eight measures to make jazz piano improvisation manageable and effective.
Autumn Leaves

2. Understanding Chords:

  • Discover why knowing your chords is crucial for jazz improvisation piano.
  • Learn chord tones (root, third, fifth, seventh) to ensure all your notes sound good in jazz improvisation.
Autumn Leaves Simple Jazz Piano

Learn how to create jazz piano chord shells in our Jazzedge Academy blueprint.

piano chords

3. Mastering Rhythm:

  • Develop a good sense of rhythm to enhance your piano improvisation jazz skills.
  • Practice with vocalized rhythms for a swung jazz feel.
learn jazz rhythm

Learn how to master your rhythms.

4. Creating a Roadmap:

  • Outline your jazz improvisation by targeting specific chord tones.
  • Understand how to define the shape of your lines using thirds and sevenths.
jazz improvisation roadmap

5. Filling in the Roadmap:

  • Use chord tones and rhythms to fill in your jazz improvisation piano.
  • Apply rhythms learned earlier to create more dynamic lines.
jazz piano improvisation roadmap

6. Varying The Rhythm (How to Improvise Jazz Secret!)

  • We are using rhythms from step 3 (above)
  • We fill in the notes of the rhythm using our chord tones (step 2 above)
varying the improvisation rhythm

7. Comping Techniques:

  • Learn to add rhythm to your left-hand chords (comping) to support your jazz piano improvisation.
  • Practice light and effective comping that complements the right hand.
jazz piano comping for beginners

8. Adding Flavor with Approach Notes and Enclosures:

  • Elevate your jazz lines with approach notes and enclosures.
  • Understand how to add these advanced techniques for more interesting improvisation in jazz.
enclosures and approaches

Practice and Resources:

  • Access practice actions with step-by-step videos and downloadable materials.
  • Use backing tracks to practice how to improvise jazz piano in a real jazz context.
  • Download free resources, including the blank improvisation roadmap that you can fill out.

By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to play a complete jazz improvisation, understand the theory behind it, and have the tools to reproduce and expand on your newfound skills. Whether you're speeding through the material or taking it step-by-step, Willie Myette's clear and engaging teaching style will make learning how to improvise jazz piano an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

How To Improvise Jazz Articles For Further Reading

Join us now and start your journey to mastering how to improvise jazz!


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