Jazz piano: a history from blues to bebop and beyond
Time: 11:00 - 13:00
bebop, post bop and abstraction, and look at key influential pianists of the period.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD651
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course aims to take you on a journey from the beginnings of jazz piano at the turn of the twentieth century and introduce you to the key styles that evolved over the last 100 years as well as the pianists who became associated with or helped to develop certain styles of playing. We will place these developments in a historical context and using some classic recordings as examples, we will develop a further listening guide.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The origins of the music looking in particular at the birthplace of jazz piano, New Orleans, and why it was these new sounds started to emerge from this particular city
- Boogie-woogie and early blues styles which came from the south and stride piano which developed in the Northeast and included practitioners such as James P. Johnson, Early Hines, Fats Waller and Art Tatum
- The Swing era of the 1930s, and two great band-leaders, Count Basie and the inimitable Duke Ellington who made an indelible mark on the music
- Analyse some of the styles that emerged postwar from the 1940s onwards, including the innovations of bebop as well as post-bop, abstraction, funk, and some of the key features and players of these different styles including Thelonius Monk and Bud Powell
- The pianists who emerged in the 1950s and 1960s including Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Have an overview of the development of jazz piano from its origins in New Orleans through to the present day
- Distinguish more clearly the different styles of jazz piano which evolved over the last century and some key figures associated with these styles
- Understand better why certain styles of jazz piano evolved in the way they did and how some of these styles fed directly into and influenced popular culture.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge or skills required, only an enthusiasm for the music! You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (google meets) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom. This course is designed as an overview for absolute beginners. However, we may look at occasional music manuscripts and learn to identify key features of music notation (how many voices are singing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Sara Dhillon is a composer, arranger, pianist, vocalist and bandleader, born in the UK and educated in Los Angeles. She plays with various jazz, salsa and samba bands on the London music scene. She plays regularly with her own jazz trio and also leads the popular salsa sextet 'Grupo Malanga'. She has worked with artists including Joss Stone, Geri Haliwell, Darius, Juliet Roberts, Talvin Singh, Kuljit Bhamra and Jocelyn Brown, performed at Elton John's wedding, and has toured with Shakespears Sister. Sara composes music for TV and stage, including a West production of "Twelfth Night" set in modern day India for which the music blended jazz, Indian classical music, Hindi pop music and spiritual songs. She also wrote string arrangements for top-selling Bhangra/Hindi pop artist Sangeeta's album "Footsteps in the Sand." Sara teaches at City Lit, Morley College, Royal College of Music (Junior Department), and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.