How to Play Jazz Music on Piano

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A beginners guide to playing jazz music on piano. In this guide you will learn about the different styles of jazz music and how to play them on piano.


Jazz piano is a style of music that requires a great deal of skill and training to master. If you’re interested in learning how to play jazz music on piano, there are a few things you need to know. First, jazz piano is typically played with a lot of improvisation, so it’s important to be able to think on your feet and come up with new ideas quickly. Second, jazz piano is often played in a very fast tempo, so it’s important to be able to play accurately and with good rhythm. Finally, because jazz piano is such a complex style of music, it’s important to have a strong understanding of music theory.

What is Jazz?

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It developed from roots in blues and ragtime and features improvisation, swung notes, and syncopation. The earliest form of jazz was called New Orleans jazz and was practiced by early jazz bands such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. New Orleans jazz was mostly based on the blues scale and was influenced by European harmony.

The History of Jazz

Most people know that jazz originated in New Orleans, but don’t know much else about this important American music genre. Here is a brief history of jazz, from its beginnings in the late 1800s to the present day.

Jazz originated in the late 1800s in New Orleans, Louisiana. The city was a melting pot of cultures, and the music reflected this. African and European influences could be heard in the early jazz tunes, which were performed by bands made up of both black and white musicians. These bands played at dance halls and nightclubs, and soon jazz began to spread to other cities across the United States.

In the 1920s, jazz became more popular than ever before. The music was played on radio stations and recorded on phonograph records, making it accessible to people all over the country. Jazz musicians began to experiment with new styles, such as swing and bebop. These new styles would go on to define jazz for generations to come.

Today, jazz is enjoyed by people all over the world. Thanks to its popularity in the early days of radio and recording, it has become one of America’s most iconic musical genres.

The Different Styles of Jazz

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities in the Late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was developed from African-American vernacular music, with roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime. As jazz spread around the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation. In the 1930s swing big bands gained popularity playing swinging jazz tunes with a strong rhythm section that included wind instruments such as saxophone or clarinet as well as a section featuring trumpets or trombones playing melodic “hot solos”. Cool jazz developed near the end of the 1940s adding West Coast elements including cool harmoniesWest Coast work by saxophonist-composers such as Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone), Chet Baker (trumpet) won converts nationwide earning a place for cool jazz at college radio stations across America., -influenced arrangements Three important centres of cool jazz were New York City; Chicago; Los Angeles.. Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City Missouri during the 1930s its heyday., featuring shuffling rhythmsThe best known proponent of this style was tenor saxophonist Lester Young play with dexterity on uptempo tunes., stomping tempos marked by shouted vocal chorus sections The distinctive sound of jump blues combines electric guitar , amplified bass guitar (upright bass or electric bass guitar ), drums , horns – especially tenor saxophone or trumpet The Kansas city sound often included soloing collective improvisation over simple chord progressions often accompanied only by piano . The city’s southwestwardly located geographic position allowed it to absorb influences from neighboring regions such as Texas Oklahoma , Louisiana Mainstream Jazz . Bebop or bop is characterized by fast tempos small combo settings complex chord progressions brilliant instrumentalists virtuosic solos Harmonic substitution involve reharmonization .

How to Play Jazz on Piano

Jazz piano is a type of American music. The piano is the main instrument in jazz. Jazz piano is different from classical piano. It is played in a different way. When you play jazz piano, you improvise. This means that you make up the music as you go along.

The Basic Requirements

To play jazz piano, you need a good understanding of basic music theory, including years of experience playing the piano. You should also be familiar with the standard repertoire of jazz, which includes songs from the 1920s to the present day. In addition, it helps to have a good ear for improvisation and an understanding of how to create your own arrangements of popular songs.

The Different Jazz Styles

Jazz is an American musical art form that originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in African American communities in the Southern United States. Jazz encompasses a wide range of music styles, from ragtime and hot jazz of the early 1900s to bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and free jazz of the mid-20th century. In addition to its many subgenres, Jazz also incorporates elements of European and Western music, including blues, swing, gospel, and Latin rhythms.

As Jazz spread from its roots in the US to Europe and beyond, it began to absorb influences from a variety of cultures. This process continues today, making Jazz one of the most diverse and open-ended musical genres in existence. While there is no one defining style or sound of Jazz, there are some common elements that are typically found in most Jazz music. These include syncopated rhythms, improvisation, and blue notes.

Improvising in Jazz

One of the key elements that make jazz stand out from other genres is improvisation. Jazz musicians often improvise while they are playing, making up new melodies on the spot. This can sound daunting to a piano player who is used to reading sheet music, but with a little practice, anyone can learn to improvise in jazz.

There are a few things you need to know before you start improvising. First, you need to be familiar with the chord progression of the song you are playing. Chord progressions are usually made up of 2-5 chords, and they determine the overall harmonic structure of a piece of music. knowing the chord progression will help you choose which notes to play while you are improvising.

Next, it is important to Listen to how the other instruments in the band are playing and improvising. This will give you an idea of what kind of melodies will work well with the chord progression and the overall feel of the song. You can also listen to recorded jazz solos to get some ideas.

Once you have an understanding of these basic concepts, you can start practicing your own jazz improvisations. Start by playing along with a recording of a Jazz standard, and try to mimic the melodies you hear. As you get more comfortable, start experimenting with your own ideas. Remember that there are no wrong notes in Jazz, so don’t be afraid to experiment!


In conclusion, playing jazz music on piano can be a great way to improve your skills and impress your friends. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and with a little bit of practice, you can be playing like a pro in no time.

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