I am an Advanced Beginner, where should I start?

If:
– you have already played piano for many years now, but for some reason, you like to start courses at the absolute beginner level. (i.e., You are a piano teacher, and you need some ideas how to teach improvisation to your students)
– you have proper technique and solid reading skills
– you have zero experience with improvisation
– you are planning to sign up for the FULL ACCESS membership, but you are not ready to commit to it yet, so you  signed up for the monthly beginner membership

…then this article is for you.


Since you have good control over the piano, you have to look the core lessons from a completely different perspective.
Therefore I strongly recommend you to start here:

1. Month Jazz Beginner Approach (Ear Training – Transposition)
1. Month Jazz Beginner Approach (Making Music with the Core Lessons)

Keeping that Jazz Beginner Mindset, you will find even the absolute beginner lessons useful to you.


Your 1-month beginner practice plan is the following:

I. Warm up Routines:

Improvisation
Routine #1: Five-Finger Scale Exercises (Easy)
Routine #2: Five-Finger Improvisation Exercises (A minor)
Chords
Routine #3: Major Triad Etudes (Root Position)
Routine #4: Major Triad Etude (Arpeggios)
Composition
1-month Beginner Essentials: Making Music with the Core Lessons (Easy)
1-month Beginner Challenge: Smooth Voice Leading
1-month Beginner Challenge: Pop Improvisation in 4 Major Keys

II: Advanced Routines

Jazz routine 1: Five-finger scale exercises (12 Major Keys)
Routine 1: Five.Finger Scales and Improvisation Exercises (Play and rest approach)
Routine 1: Five.Finger Scales and Improvisation Exercises (Rhythmic Displacement)
1-month Beginner Challenge: Blues Improvisation with triads

The last five lessons are really fun! Even for me. It allows you to be creative and there is no limit how difficult or sophisticated you can play these exercises. For example, the Play and rest approach and Rhythmic Displacement are concepts you can work on until… let’s say… the rest of your life maybe? Even as a professional pianist.

Therefore if you are working on those lessons, please upload a video to youtube – as an unlisted link is enough – and sent it to me.
I want to see how far you manage to push your limits. I will give you feedback and additional exercises to work on.

III. Tunes
D minor Etude – Spring Wind (Hungarian Folk Tune)
Bb Major Etude – Sweet Home (Pop-Rock)

IV: Theory/Basics
D Minor Workout – Basics
Bb Major Workout – Basics

V: Ear Training – Transposition – Composition
1. Month Jazz Beginner Approach (Ear Training – Transposition)
1. Month Jazz Beginner Approach (Making Music with the Core Lessons)
Lesson 5: Sight Reading (Video 3)
Lesson 6: Sight Reading (Video 4)
Lesson 7: Sight Reading (Video 5)
Lesson 8: Sight Reading (Video 6)
Lesson 9: Sight Reading (Video 7)
Lesson 10: Sight Reading (Video 8)
Easy Esplosivo Songs (revisited)


When you open a lesson, you will see the video on the top and under that, you will find a practice plan. It helps you to get the best out of the lesson. I expect you to complete everything that is written in the description. If you only do what is shown in the video, you will not get very far. However, if you follow my advice and work through all the additional exercises, in 6 months you will be a well-rounded jazz pianist.

If you are still not sure where to start or how to approach these lessons, feel free to contact me. In order to give you good advice and guidance, I would need the following information from you:

  • Your name, age, and main motivation.
  • A link where I can see or hear you playing any of my exercises from my website. (Unlisted youtube link, mp3 file, etc.) If you are not a member yet, please chose a lesson from my Youtube Channel. Play the entire exercise from the beginning to the end with a steady beat and let me know how long time did it take you to complete the lesson. If the recording is about improvisation, please improvise at least for 1 minute (with a steady beat).
  • How much time do you have for practice?
  • Are you flexible, or is there anything on the website that you don’t want to practice? (Jazz, Blues, Contemporary Music, Latin?)
  • Are you working on the additional exercises too?
  • What lessons have you already completed or are still working on?
  • What is your next short-term goal? Is it ok if I tell you that you should change that goal?:) Most of the time you think that your problem will be solved if you learn more about theory, scales, and licks, but then I come and tell you that all you have to do first is to keep the rhythm.

If you like my approach and you are ready to upgrade for the 6 month or 1-year membership, please contact me to redeem your discount.
Complete list of lessons

I am looking forward to getting to know you, working together and make you a better pianist.
David

I am an experienced beginner, where should I start?

If:
– you already played piano for a year or so,
– you have some basic reading skills,
– you have some experience with improvisation
– you have good control over major and minor triads
– your goal is to improvise freely and create music
– you want to understand and feel the music, express different kind of emotions through the piano
– you want to know everything about scales, chords, and rhythm, but the same time you don’t want to get overwhelmed with too many exercises at once.

…then the monthly beginner membership is for you.


Since you are an experienced beginner, you might find the core lessons easy (Lesson 1 – 18, 26 -29),
Therefore I recommend you to start your piano journey with this lesson:

If you had trouble completing the lesson above,  you should consider following the Absolute Beginner Curriculum for the next 3-6 months.
NOTE: The Experienced Beginner Practice Plan can be seen as the continuation of the Absolute Beginner Curriculum. 


If you are still here, that means you passed the test, and you are ready to dig deeper. In order to get the most out of each month, focus your attention on the current month without thinking too much about what’s coming next month.

I. Open Mindset

II. Jazz Routine

III: Theory/Basics

IV. Improvisation

V. Etudes


The Play and rest approach and Rhythmic Displacement are lessons you can work on until… let’s say… the rest of your life maybe? Even as a professional pianist.
It allows you to be creative and there is no limit how difficult or sophisticated you can play that exercise.

Therefore if you are working on that lesson, please upload a video to youtube – as an unlisted link is enough – and sent it to me.
I want to see how far you manage to push your limits. I will give you feedback and additional exercises to work on.

There are even more lessons in your first-month beginner membership, but If I were you, I would just stop here and make the best out of these routines and challenges. I would rather master one technique than to play all of them poorly. So if you managed to fall in love with one of the lessons, technique or routine, excellent, stick with it! Drop everything else… at least this is how I do it.

But I trust your judgment on this, and if you believe that you can handle more challenge, I am here to support you. If this is the case, you should consider transposing short melodic lines in all the keys. This skill will come very handy when you start the Jazz Beginner Curriculum.
Check this out:


Ear Training – Transposition – Composition
1. Month Jazz Beginner Approach (Ear Training – Transposition)
Lesson 5: Sight Reading (Video 3)
Lesson 6: Sight Reading (Video 4)
Lesson 7: Sight Reading (Video 5)
Lesson 8: Sight Reading (Video 6)
Lesson 9: Sight Reading (Video 7)
Lesson 10: Sight Reading (Video 8)
Easy Esplosivo Songs (revisited)


If you are still not sure where to start or how to approach these lessons, feel free to contact me. In order to give you good advice and guidance, I would need the following information from you:

  • Your name, age, and main motivation.
  • A link where I can see or hear you playing any of my exercises from this practice plan. (Unlisted youtube link, mp3 file, etc.) If you are not a member yet, please chose a lesson from my Youtube Channel. Play the entire exercise from the beginning to the end with a steady beat and let me know how long time did it take you to complete the lesson. If the recording is about improvisation, please improvise at least for 1 minute (with a steady beat).
  • How much time do you have for practice?
  • Are you working on the additional exercises too?
  • What lessons have you already completed or are still working on?
  • What is your next short-term goal? Is it ok if I tell you that you should change that goal?:) Most of the time you think that your problem will be solved if you learn more about theory, scales, and licks, but then I come and tell you that all you have to do first is to keep the rhythm.

Good Luck and keep in touch,
David

 

I am an absolute beginner, where should I start?

If:
– you have never touched the piano before
– your goal is to read, improvise and create music
– you want to understand and feel the music, express different kind of emotions through the piano
– you want to know everything about scales, chords, and rhythm, but the same time you don’t want to get overwhelmed with too many exercises at once

…then the monthly beginner membership is for you.


In order to get the most out of each month, focus your attention on the current month without thinking too much about what’s coming next month. Since you are an absolute beginner, I want you to start with the core lessons.

Core Lessons

I. Sight Reading and Coordination Exercises
(Lesson 1 – 10)

The Piano Keyboard
Posture at the piano and fingering
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 1
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 2
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 3
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 4 
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 5
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 6 
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 7
Sight Reading Exercises – Part 8

II. Rhythm workout
(Lesson 11 – 14)
Rhythm Exercises – Part 1
Rhythm Exercises – Part 2
Rhythm Exercises – Part 3
Rhythm Exercises – Part 4

III. Easy Etudes
(Lesson 15 – 18)
Easy Etudes and Variations (revisited)
Easy Etudes and Variations – Part 1
Easy Etudes and Variations – Part 2
Easy Etudes and Variations – Part 3
Easy Etudes and Variations – Part 4

IV. Extras
(Lesson 26 – 19)
Basic Right Hand Exercises
Basic Left Hand Exercises
Whole Notes with Whole notes
Half notes with Half Notes

And that is it. You are done. This is the routine I do with my absolute beginner private students. When I am working with kids, this routine takes more than a month to complete. As your private piano teacher, I would show you the first 3 or 4 exercises, just like I do in the videos. However, since I want you to learn to read music, I would let you figure out the rest of the exercises by yourself. I would only interfere if you made a mistake. Therefore I want you to work primarily with the music sheet, and use the video to doublecheck your progress, or if something does not make sense to you.


“I am an absolute beginner, but I managed to complete all this in a week.”

Very good. You are ready to move to the next section.


Additional Exercises for Motivated Absolute Beginners

I. Improvisation
Five-Finger Scale Exercises (Easy)
Five-Finger Improvisation Exercises (A minor)

II. Chords
Major Triad Etudes (Root Position)
Major Triad Etude (Arpeggios)

III. Composition
Making Music with the Core Lessons (Easy)
Smooth Voice Leading

When you open a lesson, you will see the video on the top and under that, you will find a practice plan that belongs to that lesson. It helps you to get the best out of the lesson. Here is an example:

This plan will make you busy for several months. If you are not able to complete it, no worries. Your focus should be on Core Lessons, make the best out of it.
If you managed to complete all the Core Lesson and the Additional Exercises for Motivated Beginners in a week, well, you are reading the wrong article my friend, you are not an absolute beginner.
You place is here:  I am an experienced beginner, where should I start?


If you are still not sure where to start or how to approach these lessons, feel free to contact me. In order to give you good advice and guidance, I would need the following information from you:

  • Your name, age, and main motivation.
  • A link where I can see or hear you playing any of my exercises from this practice plan. (Unlisted youtube link, mp3 file, etc.) If you are not a member yet, please chose a lesson from my Youtube Channel. Play the entire exercise from the beginning to the end with a steady beat and let me know how long time did it take you to complete the lesson. If the recording is about improvisation, please improvise at least for 1 minute (with a steady beat).
  • How much time do you have for practice?
  • Are you working on the additional exercises too?
  • What lessons have you already completed or are still working on?
  • What is your next short-term goal? Is it ok if I tell you that you should change that goal?:) Most of the time you think that your problem will be solved if you learn more about theory, scales, and licks, but then I come and tell you that all you have to do first is to keep the rhythm.

 

BEGINNER COURSE – BIG UPDATES – 4 LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY

Hello everyone!
7 New beginner lessons have been added to the 2. month beginner (+ intermediate) membership:

1. Jazz Routine #2: Advanced Five-Finger Scale Exercises (C minor blues)
2. Jazz Routine #3: Five-Finger Scale Exercises (12 Minor Keys)
3. Jazz Routine #3: Six Additional Variations
4. 2 Month Beginner Challenge: Building Walking Bass Lines
5. 2 Month Beginner Challenge: Mastering Chords – C Blues
6. 2 Month Beginner Challenge: Walking Bass C Blues
7. 2 Month Beginner Challenge: Pop Piano Improvisation in 4 Major Keys (C – G – D – A)

Now that I am adding new layers to the curriculum I decided to give you a little guidance here.
If you signed up for the monthly beginner course, this is what you have to know.

The beginner course covers 4 levels (layers) of difficulty now.

1. Layer: Lessons – Those are the easiest. Designed for absolute beginners. The core of the curriculum.
Always start with the LESSONS, even if you are an “advanced beginner”. If it is easy for you, take the opportunity to focus on little details;
the way you sit and hold your hand, your touch, your technique, tempo, dynamic, emotions, etc.

2. Layer: Routines – For highly motivated beginners. It starts quite easy, but the difficulty of the lessons increases fast.
The beginner routines cover the most important basics.
– Major and minor scales in 12 keys + basic improvisation skills with the scales.
– Major and minor pentatonic scales in 12 keys + improvisation.
– Major and minor blues scale in 12 keys + improvisation.
– good control over major and minor triads and inversions
– voice leading
– 7th chords
– 9th chords
– Walking bass and improvisation
– Arpeggios
– Jazz Arpeggios
– Shell Voicings
– Rootless voicings and Improvisation
– and a lot more…

Important: If you signed up for a monthly membership, the routines (as well as lessons and challenges) are spread out over 6 months. 

3. Layer: Challenges – Difficult, but you will still manage to complete… at least some of it. It will challenge you to apply everything you have learned so far and beyond that. You might not understand the theory behind every note, but don’t worry about that, it will all make sense at the end of the course.

4. Layer: Jazz Routines – If you are an absolute beginner, well, this is going to be impossible. However, If you are new to jazz piano, but not new to play piano, these lessons are for you.

The update on the beginner course is soon completed, and I am looking forward working on the intermediate course now. The reason why I was ignoring the intermediate course – even though I added all the new beginner routines & challenges to that membership too – is that I wanted to see where the beginner course is going to end… it has to be a smooth transition between the two memberships, between the two levels.
(The plan was to add 30 new lessons to the beginner curriculum and now it is already 70+.  The intermediate course is going to be 5x more difficult than I originally planned.)

Hugs and Love,
David

5 New Lessons Available

1. Month Beginner Curriculum:
Routine #2b: Five-Finger Improvisation Exercises (4 Major Keys: E,B,F#,C#)

5. Month Beginner Curriculum:

Routine #17B: Major Pentatonic and Blues Improvisation (Walking Bass Version)
Routine #17C: Major Pentatonic and Blues Improvisation (Rootless Voicings Version)
Routine #18: Major Pentatonic and Blues Scale Exercises (Walking Bass Version)
Routine #19: Major Pentatonic and Blues Scale Exercises (Rootless VoicingsVersion)

15 more lessons and I am done expanding the beginner curriculum for a while. From January on I will start working on the Intermediate curriculum too. However if you sign up for the Monthly Intermediate course now, you will get access some of these Advanced Beginner lessons too.

With Love,
David

5. MONTH BEGINNER CURRICULUM: +8 NEW LESSONS!

  1. Routine #16: Major Pentatonic and Major Blues  (Ear Training Version)
  2. Routine #16: Major Pentatonic and Major Blues (Sheet Music Version)
  3. Routine #17: Major Pentatonic and  Blues Improvisation Exercises
  4. Routine #18: Major Pentatonic and Major Blues (Jazz Version) Coming Soon
  5. Routine #19: Major Pentatonic and Major Blues Improvisation Exercises (Jazz Version) Coming Soon
  6. Routine #20: Open Triads Etude (Ear Training)
  7. Routine #21: 9th Chords Etude (Ear Training)
  8. Routine #22: Sus4 chords Etude (Ear Training)
  9. 5 Month Challenge: Comping with Open Triads (Silent Night)
  10. 5 Month Challenge: Radioactive Dragon

4. MONTH BEGINNER CURRICULUM: +9 NEW LESSONS!

  1. Routine #13: Blues Scale Exercises (A minor Blues)
  2. Routine #14a: Expanding a Rhythmic Vocabulary for Improvisation (Easy)
  3. Routine #14b: Expanding a Rhythmic Vocabulary for Improvisation (Medium)
  4. Routine #14c: Expanding a Rhythmic Vocabulary for Improvisation (Difficult)
  5. Routine #15a: Major Triads Etude (Root Position, 1st & 2nd Inversion)
  6. Routine #15b: Major Triads Etude (Smoot Voice Leading, Grooves)
  7.  Voice Leading Theory
  8. 4 Month Beginner Challenge Part 1: Contemporary Music Techniques
  9. 4 Month Beginner Challenge Part 2: A minor Etude + Improvisation with 4 types of minor scales.

28 New Lessons the last 10 days… not bad, eh?

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