by Gjermund Sivertsen

I was fortuned enough to discover the Lounge Jazz Piano style when I was just a little boy.

There was a shopping mall in my hometown Bergen, where a guy was playing this kind of music. He was quite good! 
At the time I only had been playing simple chords with simple octaves in my left hand.

When I listened to the lounge jazz piano guy, I thought that what he did was just amazing. First of all: He played chords that I had never ever heard before. I fell in love right away! Still, I found it as a mystery for many years.

How was it possible to produce all those rich-sounding chords and harmonies? I was speechless! Then, in about 1998 I got a copy of some old MIDI files from about 1990. Not that old then, but today they are. I still have them and use them when I teach locally.

My problem was that I could not read music at the time (in 1998). But then, when I discovered the MIDI files I was blown away. Finally: I could just sit and copy note by note what was played at the MIDI files. And so I did. Many of the MIDI files was Lounge Jazz Piano style or cocktail jazz piano style.

This was the same style and kind of music that I had been listening to at the shopping mall as a young boy. Now, I finally had the chance to copy the music from someone that was way better than me. All without reading anything. – Not long after, I started to play in weddings. I got a chance to play the lounge jazz piano style in weddings after weddings in the most important years of my life. I memorized the arrangements and played them at these weddings. Over time I developed my own way to play the lounge jazz piano style.

So, now I’m sharing it all in my free lounge jazz piano course. 
Here is part 1 of how to play the lounge jazz pian style:

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7 Important Tricks For Your Right Hand (Lounge / Cocktail music style)

1. Play in different ranges when you play the melody. To play the lounge jazz piano style requires from you that you are able to improvise the way you phrase the melody. One good trick that I use a lot is to vary where you play the melody. I at least try to play the melody in three different places. So: Start in one octave, then when a phrase of a melody is done, change to another. That simple, but yet so effectful

2. Play the melody in minor and major thirds. For this trick, you should add a third under the top note. This can be a minor or a major third depending on the scale. Mostly you would add this trick within the diatonic scale (the key notes for the key you are playing in).

3. Play the melody in octaves. This simple trick is very easy to add. Whatever you play as a melody, you play it in octaves. This is done with your right hand only, while the left hand does the other work.

4 and 5. Play in octaves + a third. This is in my opinion what makes the sweet sound that I associate with the lounge jazz piano style.

6. Play the chromatic scale a lot. When you play the melody, simply add chromatic phrases. When you play taffel music, try to add notes from the chromatic scale ascending or descending. Normally you can add the chromatic scale as passing notes before you hit the melody note you’re aiming for. In addition: Playing the scale completely solo works all the time.

​​​​​​​7. Arpeggios, arpeggios and more arpeggios. When you play lounge jazz piano style, try to add as many arpeggios as possible. Then subtract a few – and you have the perfect balance. In my free lounge style jazz piano course I’ll give you exercises for all of these tricks. If you haven’t done yet, get your invite to the free lounge jazz piano course here.