Who is this website for? permalink
Anyone who already plays some kind of keyboard instrument (jazz, folk, classical, pop — the genre isn’t important) and knows some basic chord and scale theory. If you can improvise a simple line (not necessarily in a ‘jazz style’) over a ii7-V7-I chord progression in a few keys, at the same time as comping some basic voicings in your left hand, this website is for you.
If you’re a pianist who’s studied classical music specifically and want to learn jazz, this website is for you. You just need to understand basic chord voicings and know your major and minor scales.
I don’t cover the basics of Western music theory, or basic jazz harmony (such as what adding a flattened 5th or a raised 9th to a chord is), or the technicalities of actually playing a keyboard instrument. Resources that deal with those topics are available elsewhere.
Do I need to be able to read music? permalink
No, not necessarily. You can study the musical examples by ear, by reading the written score, or by watching the animated keyboard — or a mix of all of those. You can slow down the audio to make studying easier. (See also the next question.)
But I do need to know some music theory? permalink
Knowing some music theory will certainly help, but it’s not he focus of the site, and is only a means to an end. It’s often difficult to avoid all the words and concepts that have been invented to describe the mechanics of music, but I always aim to be pragmatic. Established Western notation and nomenclature is used throughout the site, but it’s all just in service of helping you better express yourself through music.
If you want to be a professional jazz pianist — at least in terms of being hired by other musicians for gigs and recordings — it’s probably best to be acquainted with theory and reading music, as it allows for ideas and technical information to be communicated efficiently. If you’re playing by yourself or as part of a regular band, knowing the lingo is less important.
In the end it’s about expressing yourself as a creative musician. Theory is incidental.
I’m already studying jazz piano with a teacher or at a college or university. Might I get some use out of JazzKeys.fyi? permalink
Yes, quite possibly. I like to learn from multiple sources, listening to what people have to say, and taking on board what resonates with me. This site aims to be just one such source for ideas, techniques and inspiration as you progress on your personal musical journey.
What kind of jazz is covered? permalink
Some bebop, some modern jazz (including blues) and bit of funk too. See the full list of contents here.
How many tutorials are there? permalink
Currently 20, comprising over 90 musical examples, each with a score, audio and animated keyboard.
Will you be adding more content? permalink
If there is demand, or if there’s a subject I think is particularly worth covering. Requests are welcome.
Is there video content? permalink
No. This site comprises text (which I try to keep succinct), musical notation (written scores), audio, and animated keyboards. There is already plenty of video content out there on other websites and YouTube. Additionally, some people may prefer web-based tutorials over videos.
Can I slow down the musical examples? permalink
Yes. Most examples can be slowed down to three-quarters and half speed (0.75x and 0.5x). All recordings are exported directly from the Logic projects I record them in, so quality is maintained.
Why should I listen to what you have to say about playing jazz? permalink
This website is more or less a brain dump of some of what one person — me — has learned over the course of playing and studying jazz for ~25 years. I would likely have found it quite useful back when I started, and I publish it in the hope that it might be useful to others. I don’t claim to know any more than the next person. My only credential is that I’ve recorded some music that I think sounds OK. For anyone interested, my ‘artist’ website is jamiealexandersmith.com.
Is there a mobile app? permalink
The website can be added to your phone or tablet home screen, where it will function as if it were a native app. Internet access is required. To do this on iOS, go to JazzKeys.fyi in Safari and tap the Share button, then tap Add to Home Screen. On Android, tap the menu button in Chrome, then tap Add to Home Screen.
If you’ve unlocked the full site, you can follow the same process but from the page that is linked in your purchase confirmation email.
Is the $15 + VAT unlock fee a recurring subscription? permalink
No: it’s a one-time payment.
What if I don’t find the content useful? permalink
I’d be happy to refund your money, no questions asked. Just email me with your license key (you can also reply to the order confirmation email you received upon purchase).