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Jazz Piano Lesson from George Whitty on Pentatonics

Imagine yourself at a party where you don't know anyone. After making small talk with a few people, you notice that in the corner sits an old dusty piano that no one is playing. It keeps calling to you from across the room... maybe it's lonely? Although it's been awhile, you fancy yourself a piano player so eventually you work up the nerve to go over and introduce yourself. "Hello, I don't think we've met."

The piano stays silent, yet so seductive that before you know what's happening, you're sitting down and ready to tickle the proverbial ivories. But there's already music going in the background, so now what do you play?

"How about some jazz?", you hear the piano say - or is it the wine talking? 

"Ah, if only I could," you tell yourself, "but it's so confusing! If only there was someone out there who could teach me how to play jazz piano in a way that actually makes sense..."

Enter George Whitty, jazz piano teacher at ArtistWorks. He knows from experience. He has an entire curriculum with hundreds online piano lessons all dedicated to teaching you how to play jazz on piano. He understands that playing jazz can seems like a really mysterious process, but only if you don’t have the proper tools.

In this short jazz piano lesson, George Whitty breaks down the pentatonic scale. As you will see, there is a lot you can do with the pentatonic scale that will help you sound great when playing jazz.

Let’s start with the name: pentatonic. Right away we can tell something very important about his scale. Since it contains the prefix "penta," this lets us know there are 5 different notes in the scale. In this case it's a C Minor Pentatonic scale so the notes are as follows: C, Eb, F, G, B, then it goes back to another C - only this time it is one octave above the first C where the scale started.

George demonstrates how this scale can be used to solo over a backing track with just bass and drums (which comes from the Jazz Piano curriculum at ArtistWorks). Keep in mind he’s only playing the five notes of the Pentatonic scale in a C Minor 7th chord - sounds pretty good right? As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with just these 5 notes!

So the next time you find yourself staring at those black and white keys not sure what to play, remember the 5 notes of the pentatonic scale. Put some feeling into it and see what interesting note combinations you can come up with. Remember to relax and have fun with it. You'll be sounding jazzzy before you know it.

Check out the link below for more info about George Whitty's jazz piano lessons at ArtistWorks. Besides the lessons, you can submit your practice videos right through the website for George to review in a Video Exchange® - it's the best way to learn online!  

jazz piano lessons with george whitty at artistworks

Learn jazz piano online with George Whitty at

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