Dr. Stephen Lias

View Articles by Dr. Lias

Survival Kit for Beginning
Jazz Pianists

by Dr. Stephen Lias
SFA Associate Professor of Music
Theory and Composition
SFA School of Music


Below you will find a variety of helpful hints, techniques, and definitions that may be useful in developing your skill as a beginning or intermediate jazz pianist. 

PDF - Get Adobe Reader

 – A three-page summary of some of the most common types of jazz chords, and how they are notated.
PDF - Get Adobe Reader
– This is one of the most confusing topics for pianists.  What chords will substitute for what other chords?  This page will give you a few simple guidelines that will get you started in the right direction.
PDF - Get Adobe Reader
 – A two-page summary of a few chord voicings.
PDF - Get Adobe Reader
– A brief overview of pop, jazz swing, and Latin styles.
PDF - Get Adobe Reader
– Some terms that you may not know if you are new to all this.
Audio Clip - Get realPlayer!
– A chord chart with some audio files you can play along with in three styles.
Watch a short jazz piano lesson!

Video Clip - Get realPlayer

Video 1 - Comping with Triads (3:47)
Video 2 - Comping with 7th Chords (3:45)

- 256K - broadband connection

Video 3 - Comping with 9th Chords (4:14)
Video 4 - Adding 13th Chords  (4:23)


The Texas School Music Project is a source for ideas and information concerning pedagogical practices in the music classroom or rehearsal hall.
The TSMP is a service provided to all music specialists by the faculty of the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University.

For questions about this site contact webmaster@tsmp.org.

Copyright © 2002-2019, The School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University