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Jan. 10, 2023

Jazz Improvisation Exercises, C Altered Sounds

This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores Jazz Improvisation Exercises for C Altered Sounds. Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for developing proper fingering and articulation.

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Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, playJazz Improvisation Exercises for 'C' Altered Sounds. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:

Jazz Improvisation Exercises

Developmental Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for 'C' Altered Sounds

Five Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for the  'C' Altered Sounds of Music (#11, b13, b9b13, Fully Altered b9#9b5#5)

Use the Jazz Piano Podcast Packets for this Jazz Piano Lesson for maximum musical growth. All three Podcast Packets are designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluable educational tools to have at your fingertips while doing the Jazz Improvisation Exercises for 'C' Altered Sounds.

Open Podcast Packets
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)
Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)

Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

Educational Support
Community Forum

Episode Outline
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join JazzPianoSkills
Lesson Rationale
Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Closing Comments

Visit JazzPianoSkills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.

If you wish to donate to JazzPianoSkills, you can do so easily through the JazzPianoSkills Paypal Account.

Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music



Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:33  
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence, it's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Well, last week, week, one of our 2023 journey was officially launched. Our mission, as I explained last week, is to utilize various jazz improvisation exercises patterns to help us develop proper fingerings. And as I explained last week, as well, the key to playing with an authentic jazz articulation is fingerings. I see it far too often with students trying to use traditional classical fingerings that we all learned in our beginning piano lessons, which, unfortunately, do not always translate to playing jazz. So the student practices and practices jazz lines using classical fingerings. And then they're baffled as to why they do not sound like a jazz pianist. After all, they're playing all the correct notes. And they're playing them in time. But they still do not sound like a jazz or why, because they typically have the wrong fingerings. No more. We're addressing this issue head-on this year, and going to do it using a very methodical, thorough, and effective approach, as we always do at jazz piano skills. Now, last week, we looked at five very specific patterns, and fingerings for each of the primary C sounds of music, Major, dominant, minor, half diminished, and diminished, using arpeggio and scale motion. And today, we're going to utilize the same format, but take a look at the altered C dominant sounds. So today, you are going to discover jazz improvisation exercises. You're going to learn developmental arpeggio and scale patterns of C-altered sounds. And you're going to play five arpeggio and scale patterns for the primary C-altered sounds of music, the dominant sharp 11, dominant flat 13, dominant flat nine flat 13, and the dominant fully altered. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are, in your jazz journey, a beginner and intermediate player, an advanced player, or even if you are an experienced and seasoned professional, you're gonna find this jazz panel skills podcasts lesson. Exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C-altered sounds to be very beneficial. But before we dig in, as I always do, I want to welcome all new listeners to the jazz piano skills podcast. And if you are indeed a new listener, I want to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. All you have to do visit jazz piano And once you arrive at the homepage, you can begin to explore the abundance of jazz educational resources, materials, and services that are available for you waiting for you wanting to help you significantly improve your jazz piano skills. For example, as a jazz piano skills member, you have access to all of the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, and the player locks. Now, these are educational tools that I develop for every weekly podcast episode. And you're gonna want to have them in your hands as you listen to the podcast episode and you certainly want to have these educational tools sitting on your piano as you are practicing. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the online sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is loaded with comprehensive courses using a self-paced format. All of the courses use a self-paced format. There are educational talks for you to listen to interactive media that help you assess and test your understanding conceptual understanding of the jazz panel skills Last video demonstrations of the skills and all 12 keys, play alongs and much more. You also as a jazz piano skills member have excellent access to the online weekly master classes, which I like to say you know you have a reserved seat every week. These masterclasses in essence, are one-hour lesson with me each and every week. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the online interactive Fakebook, which grants you access to jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, you'll be able to enjoy chord changes, lead sheets or harmonic function, lead sheets, play along files, historical insights, inspirational recordings, and much more. It's an ever-growing collection of tunes that you should absolutely discover, learn and play. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the private online jazz piano skills community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums there are podcasts specific forums, course-specific forums. And of course, there are just general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy as well. You have access to all of them and you will be able to contribute to them, which I encourage you to do. I want you to get involved. I want you to share, engage and grow. And last but certainly not least, as a jazz panel skills member you have access to unlimited, private, personal, and professional educational support provided by me whenever and as often as you need it. Again, all you have to do. Visit jazz panel Learn more about all the excellent educational opportunities that await you and how to easily activate your membership now, there are indeed several membership plans for you to choose from. And if you have any questions, please let me know. I'm sure there's a plan that is perfect for you. But let me know if you have any questions. I'm always happy to spend some time with you answer any questions that you may have and help you in any way that I can. Okay, now let's discover learn and play jazz piano Let's get after these jazz improvisation exercises for the altered C dominant sounds. Last week, I mentioned that if someone challenged me to create a top 10 list of the most important jazz piano skills, I would have no problem listing numbers one and two, immediately. Number three through 10 I would have to give some serious thought but numbers one and two are no-brainers. The number one most important jazz skill to develop hands down time. And right behind it. The number two slot would be articulation. In other words, being able to play musical phrases melodies, in such a way that they sound like jazz. As I mentioned at the beginning of this podcast lesson, jazz piano students have difficulty articulating correctly because of their fingerings their technique. Most students, most students try to use classical fingerings to produce a jazz sound. And the majority of time this approach is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It just simply doesn't work. I have no doubt. If you have been practicing the patterns for the five primary C sounds that I presented last week. You are starting to see you're starting to feel you're starting to hear the differences between the traditional classical fingerings in jazz fingerings. Today, we expand our jazz improvisation exercises to include the C altered sounds sharp 11, flat 13, flat nine flat 13 and fully alter which includes flat nine sharp nine, flat five sharp five. I call all these altered sounds, the fancy schmancy sounds right. So we have a couple of hurdles to jump today. First, we need to modify our five specific exercises patterns to reflect the appropriate alters Sound. Second,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  10:03  
we are isolating these altered sounds, to focus on our fingerings and articulation development, which means that the altered sound is not nestled within a progression. This is a big deal. Why? Because this means that we've extracted these altered sounds from a musical setting and therefore, these ultrasounds and never resolve, we don't hear the chord that comes before the sound and we don't hear the chord that comes after it. This can create a challenge for our ears, no doubt, the altered sounds by their very nature create tension. And then, when we do not resolve the tension, it makes us want to label the sound is yuck. But you got to keep this in mind when listening, and when practicing these altered sounds, your ears will begin making the adjustment. And dare I say you'll even begin to love these altered sounds if you do not already do so. Now keep in mind, these altered sounds are laced, I mean laced throughout jazz literature. And you are hearing them whenever you are listening to jazz. And in fact, I would venture to say that these very sounds, these altered sounds, sharp 11, flat 13, flat nine flat 13, fully altered flat nine, sharp nine, flat five sharp five, these very altered sounds that we're about to practice, are what attracted you to jazz in the first place. All right. If you thought last week was fun and challenging, you are about to experience a whole lot more of the same but on a much higher level. Altered sounds require a more intellectual understanding of music, and more technical skill when playing. I don't know about you, I'm excited. I'm very excited. So let's get busy. Let's get after this. The educational agenda for today is as follows. Number one, we're going to explore jazz improvisation exercises for C-altered sounds. Number two, we will play essential arpeggio patterns that you need to discover, learn and play from the root to the 13th of the sound using a root, third, fifth, and seventh entry. Number three, we will play essential scale patterns that you need to discover, learn and play from the root to the 13th to the sound, and again using the root, third, fifth, and seventh entry. Number four, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises today. For the C seven sharp 11 sound. This is where I'll be modeling everything using that specific altered sound. And number five, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises using a traditional swing group as I did last week of 110. So if you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take few minutes right now, hit the pause button I want you to access, download, and print your podcast packets, the illustrations the lead sheets the play alongs. Again, your membership grants you access to all of the educational podcast packets for every weekly podcast episode of every year. So as I mentioned earlier, you should be using these podcast packets when listening to each episode, and of course, you should be using them when practicing. Now if you are listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple or Google, there's Amazon, Spotify iHeartRadio Pandora, the list goes on and on. Then I want you to go directly to jazz piano skills to access and download your podcast packets, you'll find the download links in the show notes. And one final but very significant message that I include in every podcast episode if you are listening at this very moment and you're thinking that the jazz improvisation exercises for see altered sounds and the various skills that we are about to discover, learn and play if you're thinking gain that all of this is over your head. And then I would say to you, please, no worries, I want you to sit back, I want you to relax. And I want you to listen. Just continue to listen. Grow your jazz piano skills intellectually by listening. Now, every new skill, every new skill is technically over our heads when first introduced, but this is how we get better, right? We place ourselves smack dab in the middle of conversations, where we're hearing things that we've never heard before. We're forced, literally forced to grow intellectually. I say it all the time. All musical growth begins upstairs mentally, conceptually before it can come out downstairs, physically in your hands. So sit back, relax. Listen to this podcast lesson now to discover and learn the play, as it always does, comes in time, I guarantee it. Now that you have your lead sheets in your hands, I want to point out a few things. You will see that lead sheets one through four deal with arpeggio motion, while lead sheets five through eight deal with scale motion. You'll also notice that the jazz improvisation exercises are the same for all four altered C dominant sounds the sharp 11, flat 13, flat nine flat 13. And the fully altered sound, which includes the flat nine, sharp nine, flat five sharp five. The exercises are, of course, modified to reflect the proper sound. You also notice that my suggested fingerings are included for every note of every exercise for every sound. Of course, as I mentioned last week, you can modify the fingerings slightly. But be careful, right? Remember, fingerings are what allow you to play with proper jazz articulation. So you may be inclined to change the fingering because you think it feels more comfortable or is easier. However, you're easier, may actually make it harder for you to play with proper jazz articulation. So again, I'm just throwing this out there as caution to the wind, right? Just be careful. Okay. All right, let's get after these exercises. All right, lead sheet one skill one, arpeggio developmental patterns for the C dominant, sharp 11. And again, I'm modeling everything for C dominant, sharp 11. Today, the lead sheets cover all the sounds, but I obviously do not have time to play through the flat 13, flat nine flat 13 sounds, and the fully altered sound and modeling everything on sharp 11 leaving it up to you then to follow the lead sheets for the other altered sounds. And practice the fingerings as notated. But skill one, lead sheet, one C seven sharp 11. So we're going to start with pattern a letter A, okay. You'll notice that I have for pattern a listed Lydian flat seven, right, the mode, which is actually the G melodic minor scale. Now. That's a lot of academic stuff, right? I'm listing that there, because I'm just validating for you that this is a legitimate sound, its origin where it's coming from, do not get wrapped around the axle and worrying about that this information at this time. Okay, it's important, but it's not important. So, letter A, you're going to see that I have a root entry for my C seven sharp 11/3 entry, a fifth entry and a seventh entry. You'll notice, right, the very first pattern is literally C, E, G, B flat, you might be wondering and thinking, Hey, where's the sharp 11? Well, guess what? It's not in that arpeggio. So do you have to worry about playing the sharp 11 When it's not actually in the arpeggio? The answer is no. We'll look at pattern number two off the third. Where's the sharp 11

Dr. Bob Lawrence  19:48  
there? Do you have to worry about playing the sharp 11 If you're playing improvising using that pattern with an entry point of a third, and it's not in the arpeggio? The answer is no. Look at pattern number three with the entry point of the fifth. Ah, look what happens 579 11 You see the F sharp on top, we do have the sharp because we're playing a C seven sharp 11 sound, we'll look at entry point, the next pattern with the entry point, and the seven. Again, everything has an F in the pattern B flat, D, F sharp, A. Right. So this is a big revelation, I think, for us as pianos to realize that if the sound, if the specific alteration of a sound is not included in the pattern that we're playing within the sound, the fragment of the sound that we're actually playing, then we do not have to worry about it. Okay, we'll talk about more about that later. But let's bring the ensemble in. And let's play letter A, I'm going to play first, each pattern four times. Okay, so you'll hear me playing pattern with the Root Entry, one four times and then I'll go into the entry point of the third than the entry point of the fifth that includes the sharp 11 an entry point of the seventh, which also includes a sharp 11. Okay, so let's play it, and then we'll talk about it here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  22:50  
Nice right now, again, as I mentioned earlier, it's a challenge to our ears because we're isolating the sharp 11 sound all by itself, we're not, it's not within a progression. So we're not hearing a chord before, we're not hearing a chord after it, there's no resolution. All these ultrasounds by their very nature create tension, and we want to hear that tension relieved. And we're not doing that. Okay, so don't make the mistake of labeling the sound ooh, I hate the sharp 11 sound that sounds horrible. Because you're not really hearing it in a proper musical context, right? We're isolating it, so that we can focus again on our fingerings and our articulation. Speaking of fingerings, in that pattern, you'll see again, you know, right from the right from the get go right with entry point, one of the route, we're playing a 1313 fingering, what the heck right, but very similar to what we played last week. And then look at the third entry, we have to shift that fingering starting with our index finger for our third and then immediately shifting the hand over to the thumb on G, right, not from under, not from under, hand over. Right, we're shifting the hand over, we avoid the thumb under to avoid tension in the hand. We talked about this quite a bit in the master classes on a weekly basis, but I want to mention it here as well. So when you're playing these fingerings, the focus of these fingerings is getting you used to shifting the hand over the keyboard; the hand stays in its normal shape. A thumb never gets out of position by going underneath the hand. The hand always moves on the keyboard shifting on the piano, okay. All right. Now let's take a look at letter B. We have our patterns five, four patterns again, entry point route, entry point third, fifth, and seventh. Pay attention to the fingerings, and again We're only worried about the sharp 11 when it appears in the pattern itself. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble in, and let's take a listen to letter B here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  26:44  
Love it, you've also noticed that letter A patterns for letter A lasted for half of measure, right entry point, root, third, fifth, and seventh, all four patterns half a measure, I continued to increase the length of our patterns letter B, we're playing through all three, three beats of the measure and letter B, take a look at letter C, right we're staying with a three Beat Measure pattern. So again, though, Root Entry, third, fifth and seventh entry, we have a sharp 11 to deal with within our with our root entry. We have no sharp 11 to deal with, with our third entry, but we have sharp elevens with our fifth and seventh entry. Okay, pay careful attention to these fingerings this line here, as it did last week is much more angular than just a traditional ascending arpeggio in thirds, right? So pay attention to the fingering so let's bring the ensemble in here we go C seven sharp 11 Sound letter C.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  29:22  
Wonderful, real quick note on voicings even though this lesson is not dealing with voicings, when you're hearing me play the dominant sharp 11 sound, I'm using a poly chord approach. So I'm playing the third and seventh of the sound in my left hand. So my E and B flat, I'm playing in my left hand. And then in my right hand, I'm playing a try and I'm playing a D major triad D, F sharp, and a right. So if I strike that all together, there's my route. There's my sharp 11 sound very rich right. Now I can invert that triad. I can invert the third and seventh in my left hand. So you're hearing me move this this shape around a little bit, right?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  30:17  
Wonderful. So I just want to bring that up, because I know some of you are wondering what voicing Am I using to represent that C seven sharp 11 sound. Alright, so let's move on to letter D. Again, same format, Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry, and seventh entry. We have sharp elevens, in all four of our patterns that we are dealing with. We're also dealing with the eighth-note triplet rhythm, okay? Which sounds like this with the route entry. So this is fun, this is a fun little motif to play. And so let's bring the ensemble, and let's check it out. And as always pay careful attention to the fingerings. All right, they can be a little tricky. They might even feel a little awkward to you at first, pay attention to them, practice them, and you will grow to love them, because we'll be articulating correctly. So here we go, let's check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  32:50  
Love it absolutely love it. One more point I want to bring up real quick. The ninth, the 11th, and the 13th are the same as the second, fourth and sixth. Okay, just in case you haven't made that connection. The second is the same as the nine. The note D. The fourth is the same as the 11. Write the note F is a fourth note F is the 11th. So sharp four would be F sharp, sharp 11, F sharp. And then the sixth and the 13th are the same. The note a the sixth note a 13. All right. If you have any questions about that, let me know. So now let's take a look at letter E. Our phrases again are getting longer back and letter D we extended it to all four beats of the measure. Now our phrase extends past the bar line into the second measure, count one and the second measure. And again, we have sharp elevens that deal with in all four of our exercises all four of our patterns starting from the Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry and seventh entry. As always pay attention to these fingerings. Again, they're not traditional classical fingerings. These fingerings are adjusted, adjusted to help you develop a proper jazz articulation. So let's bring on some blend. Let's check out letter E here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  35:58  
All right, so now we've completed all five exercises, all five patterns for our C seven sharp 11. Again, you have the lead sheets there, two, three, and four, covering the flat 13, flat nine, flat 13. And then the fully altered sound with the flat nine, sharp nine, flat five sharp, five fingerings are laid out for you. Same five patterns, they're all adjusted to reflect the altered sounds being played. Okay, so now let's turn our attention lead sheet five, skill five. So this is scale developmental patterns for C dominant sharp 11. Again, okay, and we start off with letter A, where we have our route entry, third entry, fifth and seventh entry, all scale motion, all including the sharp 11 sound. And been modified this kind of like the C major scale but modified with the B flat for our dominant sound, and then the F sharp. Again, I have there listed Lydian flat seven G melodic minor, that's academic jargon, right, just letting you know the origin of this scale or this mode or this sound. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's check out root third fifth seventh entry scale motion reflecting the sharp 11 sound. And as always pay attention to the fingerings here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  39:03  
Right, so now, letter B, we're going to continue to march on letter B, scale motion again, a little more angular because because we start with that interval of a fifth that leap of the fifth right from the very beginning. But again, all four patterns are, are have include the Root Entry, third entry fifth, and seventh entry. Watch out for the sharp 11 In these patterns, right and again, pay attention to your fingerings again, tempo 110 And I want to mention, even though I'm playing it as 110 practicing it 80 9100 slower tempos, fantastic. Once you get comfortable with the fingerings and the articulation then 121 3140 Wonderful, right? Challenge yourself. Challenge yourself always. So okay, here we go. Let her be rude into Free third, fifth and seventh entry including the sharp and Levin sound here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  41:39  
Nice letter a letter B, our musical phrases one entire measure, right look at letter C, we crossed over that bar line into count one of measure two. So we're extending our phrases here. Again letter C we dealt with the eighth note triplet with our arpeggio course we're going to deal with the eighth note triplet with our scale motion as well. Look at all four of these exercises all four include the sharp 11 Sound fingering can get a little tricky here with all these eighth note triplets flying by on all four beats of measure one so let's bring the ensemble in and let's take a listen and check out letter see here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  43:57  
I love it absolutely love it you know if you notice these all of these patterns, whether arpeggio motion or scale motion, focusing on literally mastery of the eighth note, eighth notes and the eighth note triplet. Okay. Huge in jazz. Right, huge. So we're pounding away here at eighth note mastering eighth note articulation and eighth note triplet articulation. Okay, so letter D, we extend the phrase even more to include count one again, from well count one using eighth notes versus count one a quarter note as we did in letter C. But anyway, sticking with the same format, rudimentary, third, fifth, seventh entry, we have a sharp 11 And all four exercises again, as always pay attention to the fingerings and Let's have a little fun with letter D here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:34  
All right, we are down to our last exercise for today with our C seven sharp 11 Sound letter E, our musical phrase gets extended to count two of measure two. And once again we have a sharp 11, And all four patterns exercises regardless of the entry point root, third, fifth or seventh. And as always fingerings play a huge role in making sure that we're articulating this long line correctly and so let's bring the ensemble in, and let's have some fun with letter E here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  48:47  
Well, you know, as always right? We have unpacked a ton of information in one very short and very fast hour, I'm always feel like I'm running a marathon to try to get as much information as I possibly can. It's impossible, right? That's why we have the master classes during the week in order to tie up any loose ends that we may have in the podcast episode. But even though I played the jazz improvisation exercises today, even though I played them using the Darwin sharp 11 sound only. I want you to be sure to practice the exercises for the dominant flat 13 dominant flat nine flat 13, and the dominant fully altered sounds to again that's why they're in your packet. You have all those sounds, all those patterns, all those fingerings laid out for you. Right They are all laid out for you in your lead sheets podcast packet fingerings included. No excuses, right, no excuses. Remember that you can modify the fingerings slightly to best suit your hand but just be careful and be sure that whatever fingerings you choose, they allow you to play the exercises with an authentic jazz articulation through the entire sound. That's why we do a root entry of third entry, a fifth entry, and a seventh century, we're playing through the entire sound. Also, the articulation of each musical phrase, regardless of the entry point, this is important, should sound the same. The articulation should sound the same. You have a ton to tackle this week. So as always, use your practice time wisely. Now next week, we're going to explore the head of a bebop tune taking a close look at the various melodic shapes and their fingerings. Right. There's a reason we're doing all this grunt work. First, we're going to then apply it to a tune and see and enjoy, see and enjoy and the fruits of our labor. Right. So once again, I want to encourage all of you jazz piano skills members to use these podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, and the play alongs that I've included in there for you. Right all of these li podcast packets are there to guide you as you study and practice their educational tools that will help you gain a mastery of the jazz piano skills conceptually, physically, and of course, musically. And, as always, always be patient. Developing mature professional jazz piano skills takes time takes a lot of time. So begin structuring your improvisation development after the plane demonstrations that I've modeled for you today in this podcast episode, and I guarantee it, you're going to begin to see feel, and hear your progress. I hope that you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C-altered sounds insightful and beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills ensemble member, I'll see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass. That's 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C-altered sounds in greater detail, and to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Again, use those educational podcast packets, check out the jazz piano skills courses to maximize your musical growth. And also, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills online community get out there, get involved, contribute to the various forums, and make some new jazz piano friends. Always a great thing to do. You can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 My office extension is 211 here at the Dallas School of Music. You can reach me by email Dr. Lawrence, Or you can use the nifty little SpeakPipe widget that is found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well, there's my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the jazz improvisation exercises for C altered sounds. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano.