How to Play Light Jazz Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking to add a little bit of flair to your musical repertoire? Jazz is a great genre to start with! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to play light jazz music on the piano.


Light jazz is a subgenre of jazz that originated in the 1950s and 1960s. It employs a more mellow sound than other types of jazz and often features instruments such as the piano, upright bass, and saxophone. If you’re interested in playing light jazz, there are some basic concepts you’ll need to understand. In this article, we’ll give you a crash course in light jazz music theory and composition.

Basic Tips

When playing light jazz music, the goal is to create a relaxed and mellow mood. The best way to achieve this is to use a light touch and keep the dynamics soft. You’ll also want to use lots of eighth notes and smooth voicings. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to play light jazz music.

Find the Right Venue

One of the most important things you can do when learning how to play light jazz music is finding the right venue. You want to find a place where people will be receptive to your music and where you won’t be too loud or disruptive. It can be helpful to find a venue that already has a jazz night or that has live music on a regular basis. This way, you know that the staff and the patrons are already accustomed to live music and are likely to be receptive to your playing.

Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing a venue is the acoustics. You want to find a space that has good acoustics so that your music sounds its best. This can be tricky, especially if you’re playing in an unfamiliar space, but it’s worth taking the time to figure out. The last thing you want is for your music to sound muffled or echoing because of poor acoustics.

Set the Mood

If you are hosting a dinner party or other small gathering, light jazz provides an excellent soundtrack. The mellow sounds can help guests feel relaxed and comfortable without being intrusive. Follow these basic tips to set the mood with light jazz music.

Create a playlist: Put together a variety of light jazz songs to suit your taste. You can find music by artists such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Anita O’Day, and Billie Holiday.

Choose the right volume: Light jazz should be background music, so make sure it is not too loud. You should be able to carry on a conversation without having to raise your voice.

Consider the setting: The type of event will dictate the type of light jazz you play. For example, softer music may be more appropriate for a candlelit dinner than for a cocktail party.

Choose the Right Songs

Selecting the right songs is one of the most important aspects of putting together a light jazz set. The songs you choose should be ones that you are comfortable playing and that fit the mood you are trying to create. While there are no hard and fast rules, it is generally a good idea to avoid songs that are too fast or too slow, too complex or too simple. Incorporating a variety of styles and tempos will keep your set interesting and engaging for your listeners.

In addition to choosing appropriate songs, it is also important to consider the order in which you will play them. Make sure to create a flow that makes sense and builds energy throughout the set. For instance, you might start with a few slower, more relaxed tunes and then gradually increase the tempo as the set progresses. Alternatively, you might choose to open with a bang by starting with an upbeat number and then following it with some slower tunes to provide contrast. Experiment until you find an order that works well for you and your bandmates.

Intermediate Tips

Light jazz is a smooth and easygoing style of jazz music that is perfect for background music or dancing. This type of jazz is often characterized by a light rhythm section, melodic tunes, and a relaxed, easy feel. If you’re new to playing light jazz, or if you’re looking for some tips to make your light jazz playing sound more polished, this article is for you.

Use Your Imagination

When you are playing light jazz music, you should feel as though you are in a movie. You should be able to imagine the scene and the colors around you. This will help you create the mood for the music and make it more exciting to play.

Be Creative

Light jazz is a genre that takes many different forms. While the basic concept is to play music that is easy to listen to and relaxing, there are many ways to achieve this sound. As you explore the style, be creative and experiment with different techniques to find the sound that best suits your personal style.

Take Your Time

Playing light jazz music is all about taking your time. This genre is not meant to be rushed; the focus is on relaxing and enjoying the journey, not on arriving at the destination as quickly as possible. Let the music flow at its own pace and resist the urge to speed things up.

Another important tip for playing light jazz is to focus on dynamics. This genre is all about creating contrast and interest by playing louder in some sections and softer in others. Be sure to pay attention to the changes in volume so you can create a dynamic and engaging performance.

Advanced Tips

If you’re interested in playing light jazz music, there are some advanced tips you can follow to make your playing more enjoyable. First, it’s important to understand the difference between light jazz and other genres. Light jazz is typically more relaxed and mellow, while still maintaining a sense of swing. This makes it the perfect genre for background music or easy listening. Here are some tips to help you get started playing light jazz.

Be Passionate

One important tip to playing light jazz music is to be passionate about the music that you are playing. Light jazz is a genre of music that is often associated with being easy to listen to and not overly complicated. Because of this, it can be easy for some people to write off light jazz as being uninteresting or simple. However, the best light jazz musicians are those who are able to convey their passion for the music through their playing. When you are passionate about the music you are playing, it will be easier for you to connect with your audience and add your own personal touch to the music.

Find Your Own Style

One of the great things about learning jazz guitar is that there are so many diverse styles to choose from. While it’s important to learn the foundations of each style, it’s even more important to find your own voice within the music. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to do just that.

First and foremost, it’s important to have a good understanding of the basics of jazz guitar. This means knowing how to construct chords, progressions, and melodies in a jazz context. Once you have this foundation, you can start exploring different styles and incorporating them into your own playing.

One of the best ways to find your own style is to listen to as much music as possible. Not only should you be listening to jazz guitarists, but also other instrumentalists and vocalists. By absorbing as much music as you can, you’ll start to develop an ear for what you like and don’t like. From there, you can start incorporating these elements into your own playing.

In addition to listening to music, it’s also important to transcribe solos from your favorite players. This will help you develop a better understanding of how they approach their solos and what techniques they use. As you transcribe solos, try to incorporate some of these ideas into your own playing.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques and ideas. The best way to find your own style is to be open-minded and receptive to new possibilities. So go out there and start exploring!


Jazz is all about experimentation. Once you have the basic skills down, it’s time to start exploring and experimenting. Trying new things is how you progress as a musician.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

– Experiment with different rhythms and time signatures. Jazz is known for its freedom with time, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
– Try playing around with chord substitutions. This is a common technique in jazz, and can really add interest to your playing.
– Experiment with different textures and sonorities. For example, try playing chords with only upper voices, or single-line melody with only lower voices accompaniment.
– Try different voicings for chords. There are endless possibilities here, so get creative!


Now that you know the different types of light jazz music, you can start playing it yourself! Experiment with different sounds and rhythms to find what you like best. You can also try playing along with CDs or online tracks. With a little practice, you’ll be playing light jazz like a pro in no time!

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