Monday, July 23, 2012

Free Jazz Piano Lesson #18: Autumn Leaves Etude

In this week's lesson we take on "April's Line," my tune based on the very popular jazz standard "Autumn Leaves." Like in previous lessons, I have written a rhythmically complex and harmonically interesting melody over the original chord changes. Very little reharmonization has been done. However, I have taken the opportunity to write out any chord alterations as best as possible to better suit the melody. The alterations may be kept or thrown out while improvising over the tune. The etude may be played on any instrument even though it is best suited for jazz piano. Even if you are not a jazz pianist, give it a try!

 I have provided a purchasable lead sheet available if you are interested in playing this melody within your own group or any any other context. The .pdf contains parts in C, Eb, Bb and Bass Clef transpositions

Get it here: "April's Line" Lead Sheet in C, Bb, Eb and Bass Clef

How to practice this jazz piano lesson:
Turn on the metronome at a slow enough tempo where you can play the exercise effortlessly.
1) Play each hand as written while concentrating on hearing the melody in your head.

2) Play the L.H. as written while singing the right hand melody.

2b) An alternative to this step include pantomiming playing the right hand while singing. This helps connect the physical action of playing with your aural memory.

3) Sing the R.H. melody away from your instrument.

Was that not enough of a challenge for you?
1) Consider taking small sections you enjoyed through all 12 keys.

2) Practice displacing each phrase by half a beat, a full beat, or one and one half beats.

3) Practice improvising with the melody by altering the rhythms within each phrase.

Click here to download your free .pdf of this lesson on Scribd.

Consider supporting my website by purchasing the lead sheet of this lesson:
"April's Line" Lead Sheet in C, Bb, Eb and Bass Clef
Click here to download your free .pdf of this lesson on Scribd.

Did you like this lesson and want to see more like it?  Please donate to help me keep making videos!
Thanks for watching!  T.J. Martley


  1. Hi im by no means a great reader, and would be most grateful if you could clear up a discrepancy that i am really baffled by. On the sheet music in bars 16 & 20 in particular, the last note is on its own at the end of the bar then the next chord comes is afterwards - is that correct? Thats how im seeing it written. Only in the song you play the last note of the bar at the same time as the NEXT chord (in the next bar). Could you say why that is or am i reading it wrong?
    kind regards from a grateful subscriber.

    1. Thanks for writing. I wrote you a response on the YouTube video comment.


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