Tips for practicing chord progressions in jazz?

I’ve been playing jazz on the piano for a while now, and while my technical skill at the piano is about up to snuff I’m having trouble keeping up with the chord progressions. I can more or less follow a blues if I really concentrate but that’s it. So can you guys and gals give me any tips on how to keep up with a song’s chord progression and especially on how to practice that?

3 thoughts on “Tips for practicing chord progressions in jazz?

  1. jazzman

    You might want to try what they used to call music minus one records. Now primarily CD’s…..What they are is a rhythm section playing thru various tunes…..and you have the book with the chord changes included. The recorded rhythm section plays around 20 choruses of a given tune and you play along with them…As a pianist you can practice either soloing or comping along with the record….the rhythm section never gets tired. Its a new take on going to jazz clubs and asking to sit in. One of the best to work from is the Jamey Abersold records. Look in the back of Down Beat magazine or Jazz Times magazine. Hope this helps you out. Best of Luck!!

  2. pianojazz man

    it comes down to this–
    you must know how to play & voice every chord!
    if you have to think about the notes before you play it–it will pass you by!!

  3. Soulmate

    both of the other posters have valid points.

    One thing that might help you keep your place is to hum the melody to yourself while you play. Eventually, learn to do that “humming” inside your head instead of aloud.

    Another thing you might do is take a music appreciation class, a music theory class, or a performance ensemble class (for example, at your local community college.) Each of these classes will expose you to the concepts and skills associated with understanding musical form and internalizing it, which is what you’re trying to do. In particular, the ensemble class should provide some hands-on help with keeping your place in a tune, which is a common struggle for beginning players. Good luck.


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