dedicated to the art of piano improvisation

Jazz Course for Pianists

The course is designed for pianists (minimum grade 5) who want to learn about jazz.  It is a correspondence course of ten audio lessons, plus exercises and assignments that the student plays, records and returns to the tutor.  Each assignment is given a grade and the tutor returns written comments to the student (sometimes a supplementary exercise may be included) and records the assignment marks for later certification.  For each lesson the student typically: 

  • Listens and plays along with the tape/CD track and refers to the printed notes.
  • Works through the exercises for a week, or as long as necessary
  • Completes the assignment, which may be something to play along with, a backing track being supplied, or a solo piano exercise.  The student may optionally record the assignment and return it for comment and grading by the tutor.
  • The tutor listens and comments on the assignment and answers your questions – email will be used where possible and MP3 files may also be sent for audio help, but for UK students, a connection to the internet is not a prerequisite.
  • At the end of the course a certificate is issued – pass/merit/distinction

The certificate is not officially recognized by any institutions but you can always do the Associated Board Jazz grades for that.  The purpose is to make you a better player not to generate more paper qualifications.

What does it cost?

The price for UK students, foundation course, 10 lessons for £150, 5 for £80.  Foreign student pay the same price but to save postage email will be used for comments. 

For that you get a set of 10 CDs, a booklet, the tutor’s time to mark and comment via email or 2nd class letter post.  The lesson CDs will be mailed to you in batches of 5 as you progress though the lessons.  Some will have backing tracks of bass and drums for you to play along with plus a lesson of voice/piano.  The first 5 CDs are about 30 minutes long, but the later ones can run to an hour and include several backing tracks.  After each assignment is completed, extra audio material may be posted on the web site as MP3 to help you sort out any difficulties.  Feel free to send in questions on your tapes, I will do my best to answer. 

You can do the first lesson for free as a taster – it’s on the web, click here.  I can send you the first lesson on CD for £10 – which will be credited against the course fee.

What does it cover?

The foundation level outline is here

What equipment do I need?

A keyboard or piano, anything will do.

A CD or MP3 player.  The audio CDs are CDRs if you choose that method.

A recorder of some description – MD, tape, MP3 etc. if you intend to send in your assignments.

Postage and packing to send in your assignments.

Is there a time limit on completing the course?

No, you do it in your own time.

I want to do the Associated Board Jazz Grades – will it help?

Of course it will!  Anything that gets you playing and exploring jazz harmony and rhythm will help.  If you indicate that you have the grade books I can suggest alternative assignments that use the pieces.  You should find that the JazzHarmony course complements what you do with your piano teacher.

Will this make me into a jazz musician?

Only one thing can do that: practice, practice, practice.  Listening to lots of jazz CDs also helps.

Course Outline

Purchase CDs

Try Lesson 1 for free

"As to your course, I must say that I am extremely impressed by it. The combination of a CD that goes slowly enough for you to play along with, but not too slowly so as to be boring - and the written pages to refer to both during and after the lesson is brilliant. I  am surprised no one has thought of it before."


Anne Seymour, Ipswich