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Blues Piano: More Top Tunes for Jams and Gigs

Overview

This follow-up to last fall’s “Blues Piano: Top Tunes for Jams and Gigs” offers an additional set’s worth of tunes. This is an ongoing, practical crash course in songs commonly played at gigs, jams, open mics, and living room parties. Students are encouraged to sing if they wish and to bring in a tune that they’ve encountered at gigs or jams.

Prerequisites: Basic piano proficiency; ability to read basic two-handed keyboard parts.

Tuesdays 6:30 – 8 pm
9/18 – 11/27 (10 weeks) no class 11/20

Jennifer Jolly • $415

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This follow-up to last fall’s “Blues Piano: Tunes for Jams and Gigs” offers an additional set’s worth of tunes. This practical crash course acquaints students with songs commonly played at gigs, jams, open mics, and living room parties. Students are encouraged to sing if they wish and to bring in a “warhorse” tune to learn.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

Students will be able to play several common blues tunes and will learn the protocols for playing along and calling tunes at blues jams, open mics, etc.

 

COURSE PREREQUISITES:

Basic piano proficiency; ability to read basic two-handed keyboard parts; familiarity with major and minor chords.

 

REQUIRED READING/MATERIALS:

Written materials provided by instructor. Audio source material will be posted in a Dropbox folder online.

RECOMMENDED READING/MATERIALS:

N/A.

 

 

 

COURSE OUTLINE:

Note: Sequencing and topics may vary depending on class members’ experience levels and progress.

 

Week 1

Introductions and course overview.

Introduction to protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Straight vs. swung eighths and “degree of swing.”

Chord/scale review as needed.

Common blues forms.

How to fit in when guitarists or bassists are/are not playing.

Develop a “core groove” for each tune.

Begin Tune #1.

 

Week 2

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tune #1.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Stage fright, performance anxiety, etc.

Distinction amongst lyrics sheets, chord/rhythm charts, lead sheets, and sheet music.

Begin Tune #2.

 

Week 3

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1 and 2.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Choosing the key.

Essential info to convey to fellow players.

How to count in a tune.

Tips for memorizing lyrics.

Begin Tune #3.

 

Week 4

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-3.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

How to listen and decide what to play when you don’t know the tune.

Intros.

Turnarounds.

 

Week 5

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-3.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Endings.

More on turnarounds.

 

Week 6

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-3.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Taking solos.

Begin Tune #4.

 

Week 7

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-4.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Directing solos.

Begin Tune #5.

 

Week 8

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-5.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Directing fills.

Look at tunes students have brought in.

 

Week 9

Q&A from previous week.

Review Tunes #1-5.

More on protocols for jams, open mics, etc.

Begin Tune #6.

Role-play a jam session, open mic, etc.

 

Week 10

Final Q&A.

Course review.

Role-play a jam session, open mic, etc.

Share learning and reflections.

 

 

Jennifer Jolly (piano, keyboards)

B.A. UC Berkeley. Keyboardist, melodica player, vocalist, composer, and educator (keyboards, world music, improvisation). Specialty in New Orleans R&B, African, Caribbean, blues, soul/funk, rock, Americana, jam bands, country swing, Cajun/zydeco, groove/percussive and improvisational music. Currently performing with Zulu Spear, Babá Ken Okulolo & Friends, Big B and His Snake Oil Saviors, The Jolly Gibsons, and several reggae/ska, blues/R&B, and Americana groups; frequent sub with Tom Rigney & Flambeau. Current accompanist for choruses, churches, and musical theater productions. Previous performance credits include Phil Lesh, Kotoja, Barbara Dane, and Hot Links. Long-time faculty instructor at the CJC, Cazadero Family Camp, after-school programs, and private studio. Secondary instruments include steel drums, flute, and percussion.

 

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