How To Play Block Chords On Piano – Jazz Piano Lesson

Here are three important techniques in how to play block chords on piano.

When I started out with Jazz Piano I was deeply fascinated with the block chord style. However, I had no clue in how to play block chords myself. I found it hard and clunky to figure out how I could play block chords on piano, even after listening to Bill Evans, Milt Buckner and George Shearing playing the block chord style.
But then, I discovered a guy called Alan Broadbent. Not only is he a great composer, arranger and musician – but he uses the block chord style like no one else. So I give my credits to why I know how to play block chords on piano to him as well as Bill Evans.

So: I’ve extracted the block chord style into something I believe will work well for you!
Have a look at my YouTube videos here:

To download the FREE block chord exercise go here

If you liked these videos, please subscribe here:

Here are the steps I talk about in the lesson:

1. Get to know the major bebop scale.

The bebop major scale is for example the C scale, but you add a G# to it. Simply that.

2. Play the block chord between the octaves.

So you basically play the C scale in octaves, and add a 6th or 7th to the chord on every other scale note.
Then you add a diminished 7 chord on every other scale note too.

3. Play the II-V-I exercise.

If you really want to learn to play block chords on piano, you should do these exercises. These exercises has helped me a lot.
Download the exercises here if you haven’t already.

4. Listen to the block-masters.

Those who truly know to use this style are jazz pianists like Bill Evans, Milt Buckner and George Shearing. Again: I also recommend listening to Alan Broadbent when you want to study the block chord technique.
You will not be able to really crack the code unless you also listen a lot to the people who master this way of playing.

5. Copy the block-masters note by note.

This is maybe the most important step to truly get it. However, this can be hard for many people to copy just by ear alone.
A good solution to the problem if you have a hard time copying by ear, is to buy a transcription from someone else.
If you do, make sure you don’t rely on the written music but only use it as a blueprint only while you play together with the music.

 


 

 

Here are three important techniques in how to play block chords on piano.

When I started out with Jazz Piano I was deeply fascinated with the block chord style. However, I had no clue in how to play block chords myself. I found it hard and clunky to figure out how I could play block chords on piano, even after listening to Bill Evans, Milt Buckner and George Shearing playing the block chord style.
But then, I discovered a guy called Alan Broadbent. Not only is he a great composer, arranger and musician – but he uses the block chord style like no one else. So I give my credits to why I know how to play block chords on piano to him as well as Bill Evans.

So: I’ve extracted the block chord style into something I believe will work well for you!


Have a look at my YouTube videos here:

Part 1

Part 2

If you liked these videos, please subscribe here:

 

Here are the steps I talk about in the lesson:

1. Get to know the major bebop scale.

The bebop major scale is for example the C scale, but you add a G# to it. Simply that.

2. Play the block chord between the octaves.

So you basically play the C scale in octaves, and add a 6th or 7th to the chord on every other scale note.
Then you add a diminished 7 chord on every other scale note too.

3. Play the II-V-I exercise.

If you really want to learn to play block chords on piano, you should do these exercises. These exercises has helped me a lot.
Download the exercises here if you haven’t already.

4. Listen to the block-masters.

Those who truly know to use this style are jazz pianists like Bill Evans, Milt Buckner and George Shearing. Again: I also recommend listening to Alan Broadbent when you want to study the block chord technique.
You will not be able to really crack the code unless you also listen a lot to the people who master this way of playing.

5. Copy the block-masters note by note.

This is maybe the most important step to truly get it. However, this can be hard for many people to copy just by ear alone.
A good solution to the problem if you have a hard time copying by ear, is to buy a transcription from someone else.
If you do, make sure you don’t rely on the written music but only use it as a blueprint only while you play together with the music.