Jazz Piano Studies


Northwood Jazz Piano Studies Programme (Beginner-Advanced)
Welcome to Northwood’s premier programme – Jazz piano studies is considered the holy grail of music improvisation. Jazz piano is one of the most challenging and also the most creative musical form where spontaneous composition is often required (as opposed to a ‘studied’ piece). We offer two programmes for Jazz Piano.

Jazz Studies Programme -An absolute must for anyone wishing to embark on authentic Jazz learning. If you like Duke Ellington, Diana Krall, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, etc. and have a relatively strong knowledge of chord progressions and some level of improvisation, this is tailored for you.
The Jazz Studies Programme covers the following:

101 Module:
A. Ethnomusicology and characteristics of jazz genres (stride, swing, blues, bop, modal, cool, etc.)
B. Swing Concept
C. Jazz chord theory: dominants, upper structures, altereds, sus and adds.
D. II-V-I cycles
E. Blues Foundation: Form, Licks and Chops
F. Basic Jazz Repertoire

202 Module:
A. II-V-I-VII cycles in different keys
B. Stride Piano: Techniques and application
C. New Orleans Piano: Techniques and application
D. Jazz Modes: understanding and application
E. Modal Jazz Repertoire
F. Latin Jazz: Bossa, Samba techniques, grooves and patterns

303 Module:
A. Jazz Transcriptions
B. Jazz Trio/Band Exposure and Jam
C. Bebop Jazz Repertoire
D. Latin Jazz: Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Mambo, Clave variation, Montunos

404 Module:
A. Post Bop Jazz
B. Jazz reharmonisation
C. Alternate and Advanced Jazz Scales
D. Jazz Trio Jam/Performance

The Jazz Piano Studies Programme is suitable for those who already possess a very high level of pop improvisation and where playing by ear is largely not an issue. For those who are new to improvisation, it is highly recommended that you attend our Intermediate Contemporary Piano programme first before embarking on Jazz.  This programme is dedicated to learning pure jazz piano, as opposed to lounge-based, pop piano where songs are jazzed up – for this programme, please refer to our Pop Piano Programme instead.

learn how to play jazz

We also offer two graded Jazz piano exams for children who are starting out:

London College of Music Examinations (LCM) Graded Jazz Piano

We offer the London College of Music Examinations (LCM) Jazz Piano programme. London College of Music Examinations is part of the University of West London and is recognised as an awarding body by Ofqual (UK). It is also approved by the Department for Education and jazz grades 6-8 students can generate points on their UCAS tariff for UK University entrance -good for those considering applying to UK universities.

Under the LCM, we offer a broad range of music qualifications:
-Jazz Graded Exams : grades 1-8 – a very rigorous syllabus entailing set pieces, improvisation, knowledge of modes and blues, etc.
Candidates can:
A) embellish and improvise any part of their set pieces to demonstrate creative improvisation
B) choose their own 3rd piece as long as it is within the grade level entered. This is a great enhancement to promote self-ownership and mastery of your own musical choice.

-Recital Grades: a graded exam (grades 1-8) focusing entirely on performance

-Leisure Play: Flexible performance-only exams, including an own choice option (levels 1-8)

-Performance Awards: set pieces (within the LCM syllabus) examined by DVD submission – an opportunity to gain a performance assessment (levels 1-8) without attending an exam venue

ABRSM Graded Jazz Piano

We simultaneously offer the ABRSM Graded Jazz Piano syllabus (Grades 1-5).
There are four sections to a Jazz Piano exam, giving candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their skills through prepared work and musicianship tests.

The tunes cover a wide range of styles – from New Orleans and swing through to modal, jazz-rock and Latin jazz. Each arrangement contains a fully notated Head and at least one section for improvisation, with a simple chord sequence and set of guideline pitches.

The ABRSM Jazz Piano exams include:

Three tunes from the list for the grade
A blues, a standard and a contemporary tune. All include improvisation.
Scales, arpeggios and broken chords
Common patterns found in jazz.
Aural tests
Testing all-round aural awareness and musicianship skills.
Quick Study
To play either at sight or to reproduce by ear a short phrase and to improvise a response.

Music Improvisation Collective (MIC)

Music Improvisation Collective(MIC) is a community initiative and a sister site to Northwood Music.  MIC seeks to promote the art and science of improvisation to the public and offers direct opportunities for live  jamming and performance for all, giving your learning experience a truly authentic one.  Go to www.mic.sg for more details.

AEP-NAC programmes:

Our selected Jazz programmes are also endorsed by the Singapore National Arts Council (NAC) under the NAC AEP (Arts Education Programmes). Schools are entitled up to 50% co funding by NAC for our endorsed  programmes.