Jazz piano is one of the most vibrant, energetic, specialized types of music. Famous jazz artists you may want to listen to are Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarret, Bill Evans, to name but a few. To learn jazz piano you need to take some time to listen to jazz CD’s and maybe watch DVD’s as well. To learn jazz piano, one needs to be very patient and dedicated to practicing the genre.
Jazz piano is characterized by a lot of improvisation. A jazz musician can be given a fake music sheet or chord chart and he can improvise on the spot over those chord progressions. It is recommended that a jazz musician know or have standard songs in their repertoire. Standard songs include songs like “Willow Weep for Me,” “Summertime,” and “Georgia on My Mind” to name but a few. Standard songs are songs that have been covered by many recording artists in the past, usually every year. For example one may consider the gospel song “Amazing Grace” a standard gospel song because a lot of artists have covered the song throughout the years.
Knowledge of scales and chords are essential jazz piano tools needed to be a good jazz musician, let alone the technique needed to play this genre. As a jazz musician you will need to practice different types of scales, chords, arpeggios, staccato playing, legato playing, playing chords on the left hand while playing scales in the right hand at the same time.
To learn jazz you need to start with the basics: minor and major scales and minor and major chords. Once you master these then you can go forth to learning advanced chords(jazz chords) and scales. These chords include diminished, dominant, major nine, tritone chords, etc. Advanced scales will entail learning lydian, diminished, chromatic, melodic minor scales, for example.
You must remember that when it comes to playing the piano, it is not how you play but how you play is very essential as well. This is the reason why you need technique: how hard or soft do you play the notes, how you sit at the piano, breathing, how you position your hands and fingers on the piano, playing chords and scales, etc.