6th January 2018 David Magyel

The “Well-Rounded Pianist” Practice Plan

“I have access to more than 300 lessons, what should I do now?”

If your goal is to become a pianist, this practice plan is for you. We will cover Jazz, Blues, Pop, Contemporary Piano, Funk and Latin music. My experience is that you need to know a little bit of everything in order to survive as a musician 😉
Let’s start.


Before you would start working on your curriculum, I want you to check out the following three lessons:


  • CheckPoint 1: Blues Improvisation
    I see many beginner students who want to improvise over difficult (jazzy) chord progressions, where they have to follow the standard AABA form and change the scales after every 4 seconds. So they learn a bunch of scales, licks, voicings. They learn everything about the theory, but in the end, they still not able to improvise. Why? There is no way that you are going to be able to do that if you are not able to improvise freely with one single scale! So don’t worry about the theory, don’t over analyze music, just play!
    To reach the level of improvisation that presented in the video, follow the following practice plan.
    If you are an absolute beginner I recommend you to spread this program out over 3 to 6 months.

I. Sight Reading & Coordination Exercises

II. Improvisation

III. Sight Reading & Coordination Exercises

IV. Improvisation

V. Sight Reading & Coordination Exercises

VI. Improvisation

VII. Sight Reading & Coordination Exercises

VIII. Rhythm Workout

IX. Expanding Rhythm Vocabulary for Improvisation

X. Challenge

XI. Licks

XII: Jam with your friends

XIII: Songs (My Compositions)

XIV. Composition

XV. Rhythm Workout (Two-Feel Bass Lines + Jazz Trio)

XVI. Revisiting Checkpoint No.1
Test your skills, and decide if you are ready to move to the next section:

Congratulation. If you went through all these lessons, you can stop calling yourself a beginner.


We are not done with blues, but let’s put it on hold for a while, because I don’t want you to get tired of it.
Time to change the genre, tonality, express melancholy and improve your left-hand techniques.
To reach Goal no. 2 will take over 3 or 6 months. However, I believe it is going to be quite effortless and fun.

I. Sight Reading & Coordination Exercises
(From Lesson 66 to Lesson 73)

II. Basic Improvisation Exercises
(From Lesson 74 to Lesson 77)

III. Sight Reading – Low Intermediate Approach
(From Lesson 78 to Lesson 83)
NOTE: If the speed of the demonstration feels very slow to you, jump to Sight Reading – High Intermediate Approach


IV. Sight Reading – High Intermediate Approach

V. Compositional Improvisation

    Collect your favorite parts from the etudes you have learned so far, and mix them up. You can’t go wrong. All the core lessons are in the key of E minor, so whatever you decide to glue together, will fit, no worries. Feel free to change things around to your taste, also, you might want to add parts, that wasn’t in the curriculum. That is completely fine. I did that too.

VI. Left-Hand Accompaniment
(Lesson 84 – Lesson 85)

VII. Improvisation
(From Lesson 86 to Lesson 92)

VIII: Rhythm Workout
(From Lesson 93 to Lesson 96)

IX. Duet Part
(Lesson 97)

X. Improvisation (Mindset)

XI. Reading lead sheets

XII. Improvisation

XIII. Songs
(From Lesson 98 to Lesson 105)

XIV. Piano Fingering Exercises

XV. Checkpoint
Test your skills, and decide if you are ready to move to the next section:


Checkpoint 3: Blues Challenge (Explosive)

If you are at an intermediate level, I recommend you to spread this program out over 3 to 6 months.

I. Scales
(From Lesson 113 to Lesson 115)

II: Improvisation
(From Lesson 116 to Lesson 120)

III: Creative Practicing 101
(From Lesson 121 to Lesson 128)

VI. Powerful Chord Progressions
(Lesson 129 – Lesson 130)

V. Rhythm Workout – 8th Note Rest Workout
(Two-Feel Bass Lines + STRIDE + Jazz Trio)

VI. Test your skills

Congratulation! Now you can play blues just like me.
Are we done now? No, no… We are just getting started.


 This section is just about having fun playing the piano.







Time to be a beginner again.  We will even revisit some lessons. Since you have good control over the piano, you have to look the core lessons from an entirely different perspective now. Therefore I strongly recommend you to start here:

Keeping that Jazz Beginner Mindset, you will find even the absolute beginner lessons useful to you.
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 written in the description. If you only do what 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.

I. Five-Finger Scale and Improvisation Exercises

II. Chords – Major Triads

III. Composition

IV. Pop Improvisation (Composition) in all 12 Major Keys

V. Advanced Five-Finger Routines

VI. Ear Training – Transposition – Composition

VII. Theory – Basics – Workout

VIII. Jazz-Blues Improvisation
(Major Pentatonic and Major Blues)

IX. Jazz Routines & Jazz Hanon

X. Walking Bass

XI. Major Triad Etude

XII. Ear Training

XIII. Minor Triads Etude

XIV. Arpeggios – Major

XV. Arpeggios – Minor

XVI. Jazz-Blues Workout in the key of Bb

XVII. Jazz-Blues Workout in the key of F

XVIII. Rhythm Workout (Two-Feel Bass Lines + Stride + Walking Bass + Jazz Trio)

XIX. Elements of Jazz Improvisation 

XX. Advanced 12 Bar Jazz-Blues Workout in the key of Bb

XXI. C Jazz-Blues Workout


Keep an eye on this list, because it is growing every week in every direction.
To make it easy to spot the new lessons, I will highlight it for a week, adding a big “NEW!” sign next to it, or something… you will not miss it, no worries 🙂

If you are 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 list (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?
  • What lessons have you already completed or are still working on?
  • Are you flexible, or is there anything on the website that you don’t want to practice? (Jazz, Blues, Contemporary Music, Latin?)
  • 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,