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THE JAZZ PIANO BLOG
by Gjermund Sivertsen

How To Play Jazz Piano. The Four Core Elements

It is maybe the most important jazz piano lesson you can ever watch. If you understand this, understand how to apply these principles, you will be a much wiser jazz pianist.

Here is my video from YouTube on how to play jazz piano and understanding the four core elements. 
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How to Practice Jazz Piano
It can be hard to practice jazz piano! Due to the complexity of jazz piano, there are so many things we can practice. It can only be overwhelming! At least it is overwhelming if you don't have a good system in place for how to practice and what to practice.

Many years ago, I invented a system that I've been using ever since. It is also the system that I teach all of my students. Here is my video from YouTube on how to practice jazz piano:
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Over The Rainbow - Keith Jarrett Transcription
Welcome to this presentation of Keith Jarrett's Over The Rainbow. In this little lesson I've transcribed one of his version of the tune, and also analysed the whole arrangement/improvisation.

I hope you enjoy!
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How To Play Jazz Waltz (Piano)
If you have never played jazz-waltz, now is the time to start! It is quite different from "normal" waltz with its bouncing feel, and it can make you smile if you do it correctly.

I've enjoyed playing jazz waltz since the day my piano teacher showed me how he did it. It was hard at the start, but after some time, I made it. Now I'm happy to share what I know about this subject. 
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A Time For Love - Jazz Piano Lesson
Sometimes people ask me what I think of this, what I think of that. I'm not afraid of sharing what I think, and the subject in this article and video is too important for me not to share. 

I hope you enjoy the music and find the reading meaningful!
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How To Crack The Mode Code
This lesson in how to play modes is maybe the most valuable giveaway I can give to my many followers. Once I discovered this little trick, I found it strange that nobody had shown me this before. 

The idea is to see the modes as just diatonic scales and practice all the modes systematically in all keys. This requires you to only practice the 12 diatonic scales, and not 12 x 7 modes.
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How to play the funk style (Jazz Piano)
If you have ever heard Lee Ritenour, Marcus Miller, The Brecker Brothers or pat Metheny, you probably have heard some funk. 

In this lesson I will show you how to play some funk, and what we can do as piano players when we play this great style of music. 
This time we were in studio with my good friend Mikael Chauvet. (I've played with him since we were kids). 

I hope you enjoy this little tutorial and that you get something valuable out of it. 
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Many people have requested to learn from me how to play walking bass lines (Jazz Piano).
As a jazz pianist, I find it very useful to know how to play walking bass lines for several reasons. The main reason is that you actually need to understand how the bass works in a band setting in order to play good walking bass lines yourself. 
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Can jazz piano be more romantic than playing the latin jazz piano ballad – bolero style? I don’t think so! I found this amazing music a long time ago when I studied jazz piano and we had a Latin Jazz project. At the time I was also dating a woman that later became my wife. This, off course, may be one of the reasons to why I find the latin jazz piano ballad style to be so romantic, especially the Bolero style.
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How can you play open jazz piano chords and make it sound like jazz?
In Europe and Scandinavia, there is a certain way to play jazz piano. Even this way to play jazz is a bit different than the traditional way to play jazz, they are still related to each other.

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Upper structure voicings are those nice sounding jazz chords that almost all jazz pianists are playing. We all know how they sounds like, but maybe we didn’t know what they were called. Also we might not know the structure or the secret behind the upper structure voicings.
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How to play BeBop jazz piano in 10 steps. Have you ever seen a magician doing some mind-boggling tricks that you simply cannot understand, no matter how hard you try? The same feeling I had the first time I heard bebop jazz piano! I simply thought this was impossible to play! How can anyone improvise meaningful lines in 300 bmp?
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How to play piano in a jazz big band. To play in a jazz big band is something I’ve done for some time, and I find it both very fun (if it is a good big band) and sometimes very challenging. This subject is quite big and there could be a ton of other things I could add to the list. However, I selected to focus on just 7 things that I have found essential for us as piano players when we play with a big band. Have a look at the video I made about this topic here:
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This article shows you how you can play the II-V-I chord progression to minor in just a few steps. In the previous article I wrote about the first method that I use when I play two five one progression to minor in ballads. If you haven’t read that article, you can read it here.
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Do you know the 2-5-1 to minor chords? Many people don’t! There are multiple ways to add a 2-5-1 to minor as a jazz pianist. If you play in a ballad style, you’d play differently than if you played in a medium or up-tempo swing tune.
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My first real jazz piano teacher showed me an important jazz piano scale principle for longer lines.

This principle is something that I now call the scale-to-one principle. Many people seem to struggle when it comes to create the long lines in their improvisation. Understandable! I did too. But that was before I learned the scale-to-I principle.

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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.

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How to Play Outside When Playing Jazz Piano

When I discovered for the first time the amazing effect of how to play outside when playing jazz piano, I was really blown away!

First of all: To play outside normally means that you change your harmonics and improvisation lines to something “outside” the normal harmony.

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Here’s that rainy day is not only a good tune, but a tune that is really fun to play as it has some pretty interesting changes. 
The tune is normally played in G, but can be played in any key. Bill Evans starts out in B and there is a modulation in the ending of the tune.
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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.
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To play Bossa Nova Jazz Piano is something I have not studied in detail, but something you “just do” when you’re out there and playing with people. 
This is especially true when you play in bands that are playing Lounge Jazz. So always if I’m playing in a party (background music) I always play some bossa nova jazz piano.
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One guy that should be treated with big respect was the great Art Tatum!

I would never think that I one day would be teaching some of the runs he was famous for! But, here I am. With a deep respect for the man!

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My very first jazz piano teacher showed me this juicy jazz trick when I was quite young.
I was mesmerized by the great sound! If you don’t know this, you should.
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Why is this particular chord a minor 7 voicing you should know? 
I personally did not know about it before just a few months ago. Sure, I had heard it many times.
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