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#2317708 - 45 minutes 55 seconds ago Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg
bagatelle Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/14
Posts: 1
I have a classical background (lessons for 12 years) but never learned any theory. Don't know the scales, nor any chord progressions, but I can read music. I'd like to eventually be able to comp jazz and play gospel piano. I decided it would be cheaper to teach myself, so I bought several books - most of which seem to skip some basic prerequisite theory concepts.

Out of all of these books, Tim Richards' Improvising Blues Piano seems like the best method, but I can't stay motivated because the blues doesn't sustain my interest. I'm going to keep trying, but in the meantime I would like to still be able to play some nice rich harmonies to make practice more enjoyable.

Jazz Keyboard Harmony seemed like a good option I could work with while going through Richards' book, but I can't get past the preliminary exercises! I was under the impression that you don't need a theory background to use this book, but now I'm beginning to doubt that. I don't know how to fill in the blanks for Exercise #4 on p. 19, "Memorize II-V-I unit in all keys." Where can I learn this? Not only can I not fill in the blanks, but I wouldn't know what F#m7 translates to on the keyboard. Should I memorize all of the scales first? (I did buy Harrison's Piano Fitness book, so I guess I could work through that). Should I work through Levine's Jazz Theory Book first (which I did buy, but the way the information is presented doesn't appeal to my learning style so I haven't used it)? Is there a precursor to Levine's book? I also have Ligon's Jazz Theory Resource I book which is intimidating. If the best approach is to work through one of these books before DeGreg's I will - but I probably won't do it unless you all say I should!

I'm really looking for a step-by-step method to be able to get to the point where I'm ready to work through Jazz Keyboard Harmony. It seems like there has to be an easier way that's still fun and will keep me motivated. I have no idea where to begin, so all tips are welcome.


Piano & Music Accessories
#2317715 - 29 minutes 19 seconds ago Re: Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg [Re: bagatelle]
jjo Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 626
Loc: Chicago
You had 12 years of classical lessons but don't know all 12 key signatures? If the book shows you how to do a II-V-I in one key, figuring that out in all of the other keys should not be difficult. If, for example, the book has it in the key of C, just move everything up a whole step and you've got it D. If the II-V-I started with D minor, just move every note the book shows you up a major third and you're off and running in F# minor. I assume you know the key signatures, but you're just wondering how to translate a particular exercise (a voicing, I assume) to those keys. I'm not saying figuring something out in all keys is easy, but it's doable, and the work you put in will be big rewards.

When I first started jazz with a teacher, she did the same thing. Showed me a voicing for a II-V-I in one or two keys and said go home and figure out the rest.


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