Dr. Stephen Lias

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Survival Kit for Beginning
Jazz Pianists

by Dr. Stephen Lias
SFA Associate Professor of Music
Theory and Composition
SFA School of Music
[email protected]


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. 

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 – A three-page summary of some of the most common types of jazz chords, and how they are notated.
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– 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.
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 – A two-page summary of a few chord voicings.
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– A brief overview of pop, jazz swing, and Latin styles.
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– Some terms that you may not know if you are new to all this.
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– A chord chart with some audio files you can play along with in three styles.
Watch a short jazz piano lesson!

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

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


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