Top 5 Mistakes In Learning Jazz Piano

Everyone starts out as a beginner when first learning jazz piano. But some learners struggle to improve, and they get entrenched in the beginner stage without making much improvement. This has nothing to do with talent but rather because they have fallen into the trap of misconceptions and followed an incorrect approach that inevitably thwarts long-term progress.

Learning Jazz Piano from Scratch

Learning to play jazz piano is a rewarding process. However, it is important to understand that there are only a few basic elements to focus on when starting to learn jazz piano. Jazz piano requires a lot of practice and self-discipline and the right approach to enjoy the learning process and make progress at the same time. The following pointers will help you focus your efforts in the right place when you start to learn jazz piano from scratch.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Music is an aural art. You will gain a feel for jazz and understand the vocabulary of jazz by immersing yourself in jazz music. Active listening necessitates a lot of concentration. Being aware of the form when listening to jazz provides an understanding of the structure of a certain tune.

Learn the Jazz Progressions

Learn the basic chord progressions such as the II-V-I and I-IV-VII-III-VI-II-V-I progressions. This is key to understanding the mechanics, chords, and scales. This will help you relate across different harmonic cycles.

Learn Jazz Standards

It's time to learn the standards once you've made some progress with your jazz playing. Jazz standards are a collection of well-known tunes that have established standards in the jazz repertoire over the years. In many jazz standards, you will notice that common chord progressions are prominent.

5 Common Mistakes in Learning Jazz Piano

Many beginners make a few common missteps in their quest for knowledge. But if you understand what to avoid, you will be able to stay on a path of continuous progress and stay connected to jazz music at all times.

Overloading with music theory

It is easy to get overwhelmed with trying to learn everything about jazz theory. Just as you thought you had a handle on it, you realize there is more to learn and that leads to frustration and ultimately inaction. It is critical to understand that you do not need to know a ton of music theory. You just need to learn a little bit to get started. You will learn more as you naturally progress.

Looking for the easiest way out

Looking for an easy way out is a very common novice error that will keep you back. Avoiding the work and effort of confronting any topic head-on will never provide the desired results. Instead of looking for easy shortcuts, confront the challenge of learning melodies, transcribing, and growing as a musician.
Fear or lack of exploring and experimenting

Learning jazz piano is all about solving musical issues, which you do by trying and discovering. It's the mindset of exploring and experimenting that matters the most. It is that mindset that keeps learning exciting, innovative, and fun. In fact, you will learn ten times faster if you start with an investigative and experimental mindset.

Not Learning Tunes

Beginners never really learn a tune, although jazz is all about playing tunes. That is why jazz pianists put hard work into practice. But it is more than memorization, it is internalization through study and repetition. You should know a tune so well that you can mentally hear the chords playing in your head.

Faking unknown chords

When most beginners encounter a chord they don’t know, they fake it by approximating the chord sound by finding a scale that they think works for the chord and then they move on, but this is a terrible habit to develop. Curious jazz musicians deconstruct the chords they don’t understand and study them until they make sense. This is how you grow and develop. Instead of fumbling, faking, or skipping an unknown chord, take the time to fully understand and learn it.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember throughout your learning process is that it is okay to make mistakes when learning jazz piano. Part of the whole journey is about making mistakes, and correcting them so you can learn and develop as a musician. Adults are too often afraid of making a gaffe when it comes to playing music because it could make them feel incompetent or self-conscious, but ironically, the faster you make mistakes, the more quickly you can learn.

Nobody is perfect. Even professionals make mistakes, so embrace each error as an opportunity to enhance your skill and see tangible progress. It is only through trial and error that you grow. Learn small sections until you can master them. This way of practising and studying will help you make small, daily, permanent gains that build your playing from the ground up.