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Jazz Piano Lesson: Learn How to Play “Tune Up” with George Whitty


If you’re a lover of jazz music then you’ve definitely heard the classic standard, “Tune Up” by Miles Davis. First released by Miles on his 1954 record, Miles Davis Quartet, “Tune Up” has been performed and recorded by countless iconic jazz musicians around the globe. It was even recorded and performed by Miles and his various groups in a variety of different styles, instrumentations, tempos, and more throughout his career. Needless to say, it has become a jazz classic and a staple of modern jazz repertoire.


In Part 1 of this multi-part online piano lesson, master jazz pianist, recording artist, producer, and ArtistWorks instructor, George Whitty deconstructs many of his improvisation techniques and teaches you how to solo over the chord changes of the iconic Miles classic, “Tune Up.” Specifically, George outlines how he uses the bop scale in combination with chromatic approach patterns to seamlessly navigate the chord progression, and perform tasteful, classic-sounding improvised jazz lines.


To explore Part 2 of this lesson and more, join George’s online jazz piano course here. To learn more about chromatic approach patterns and how to implement them into your improvisation techniques, check out George’s lesson here, which we published in a prior blog.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play jazz piano from a master musician like George Whitty? Try some free online piano lessons now!


“‘Tune Up’ is one of those classic pieces that every jazz musician should know,” George explains. “We’ve heard Miles play it a number of different ways, as a slower piece and also as a brighter uptempo piece. So, there’s a lot of room for creative freedom with this tune.”


The chord progression throughout the bulk of “Tune Up” features a series of ii - V - I progressions fluidly shifting between keys. The bop scale works perfectly over the top of these progressive ii - V - I passages. However, the tune eventually migrates from an A7 chord to a Bbmaj7, and at precisely that moment, chromatic approach patterns can be utlitized to transition effortlessly from one harmony to the other.


“The trickiest section of this tune over which to improvise is the transition from the A7 to the Bb,” explains George. “But, once again, approach patterns to the rescue. There are tons of ways that you can use these approach patterns to transition beautifully from the A7 to the Bb.”


To learn how to improve your improvising skills over the jazz classic, “Tune Up,” and seamlessly connect the bop scale and chromatic approach patterns, dive into this online piano lesson from George Whitty:


Learn How to Play “Tune Up” with George Whitty:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play jazz piano? Through our comprehensive piano lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like George Whitty, and get personal feedback on your playing.


George’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner piano to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, jazz standards, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as pianists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



Jazz Piano Lesson: Learning Approach Patterns with George Whitty

ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—Explore the Styles of Jazz with George Whitty

Piano Lesson: Creating and Effective Practice Regimen with Hugh Sung




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