Jim’s jazz piano lessons NYC

These lessons, available in person or online via Lessonface, are well suited for pianists of course, but also for all instrumentalists who wish to strengthen their fundamentals (in harmony, arranging, composition, improvisation…) as well as singers who wish to hone their piano accompaniment skills.

In addition to the actual lessons, make sure to check out my “Jim’s Jazz Piano Lessons NYC” blog posts regularly for in depth study of many hot jazz topics as well as tips and ideas on what and how to practice!


The goal is to bring out the student’s musicality within the realm of jazz aesthetics, through musical training based on thorough and attentive listening. The following practices will help us improve on this path:

  • playing everything in all 12 keys;
  • oral and written melodic/harmonic transcriptions; rendering of these transcriptions (with the voice or on the instrument);
  • singing (themes, solos, guide tone lines, bass lines) along with recordings of the jazz masters and/or while playing a different part on the instrument;
  • independence exercises (being able to hear and render several musical elements simultaneously) ;
  • etc…

Technical ability (instrumental as well as jazz technique) is thus not seen as an end, but merely as a tool, admittedly indispensable, used to serve each and everyone’s musicality. We will therefore also spend some time practicing the following:

  • harmonic progressions (II-V-Is and others…) in all keys;
  • “So What” and quartal voicings, upper structure triads, drop 2 block chords, …;
  • study and use of the chords and modes that stem from major and minor harmonies, symmetrical scales (diminished, whole tone), pentatonic and hexatonic scales;
  • practice of melodic motifs derived from various tetrachords and chord tones;
  • etc…

Finally, let’s always keep in sight the essence of jazz and its concrete application: the musician’s self-fulfillment within the jazz community (study of performance in various contexts: solo and ensemble playing, at jam sessions…). The student will thus develop the following skills:

  • building a repertoire;
  • interpreting and harmonizing a melody;
  • accompanying a soloist;
  • improvising.


The repertoire studied during the lessons can be as vast as jazz is diverse… Examples of material include:

  • jazz standards (Great American Songbook), Brazilian & Latin jazz standards… Tunes composed by past and present jazz musicians;
  • free improvisations;
  • pieces from the AfuriKo and Word Out repertoires.

Books & Methods

  • Jamey Aebersold, Charlie Parker Omnibook: for C instruments (treble clef) (Alfred Music Publishing)
  • Fiona Bicket, The Barry Harris Approach to Improvised Lines & Harmony: An Introduction (BarryHarris.com)
  • Charles-Louis Hanon, The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises for the Piano (Schirmer)
  • Mark Levine, The Jazz Piano Book (Sher Music Co.)
  • Mark Levine, Jazz Piano Masterclass: The Drop 2 Book (Sher Music Co.)
  • Mark Levine, How to Voice Standards at the Piano: the Menu (Sher Music Co.)
  • Frank Mantooth, Voicings for Jazz Keyboard (Hal Leonard Corp.)
  • Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art (Tarcher/Penguin)
  • Neil Olmstead, Solo Jazz Piano: The Linear Approach (Berklee Press)
  • Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Musician Within


Jim Funnell
Lessonface profile
Email: funnelljim [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com
Cell (US): +1 (929) 229-9250
Cell (FR): +33 (0)6 58 34 20 62
Skype: jimiroquai91