Stride Blues is a very popular way to play solo Blues piano. It works well because the style contains the bass, comping and soloing. Stride also works well in other jazz styles.
This course is not for beginners. You will have to have basic knowledge in jazz theory and be a functional pianist. It is suggested that you learn each step deeply and completely, this course will greatly help you to learn this style. When music is subconscious, it is easy . . . and it is fun.
Also, it is strongly suggested that you listen to many recordings of stride. Listen to the groove, the comping, the licks and the soloing.
To mention: this lesson is part of my online jazz piano course, “JazzSkills for Piano”. If you are looking for a complete and serious course in jazz piano, this course is for you. Also, JazzSkills will help you to gain the basic skills to develop Stride Blues skills.
I am happy to answer your questions and hear your suggestions and feedback.
Step #2: The Stride Blues 12-bar Blues Form. Below is one of many variations of the Basic 12-Bar Blues. This is a good example of a 12-Bar Blues form used for Stride Blues. It is a great idea to learn this form thoroughly. First learn it in C. Then play it in all keys. (key of C - all chords are dominants) Section I: ||:C7 C7/E | F7 F#dim7 | C7 G7 | C7 | Section IV: | F7 F7/C | F#dim7 | C7 B7 | Bb7 A7 | Section V: | D7 |G7 G7/B | C7 A7 | D7 G7 :||
Step #4: Developing the Chord Inversions In this step, you play chords and their inversions in the right hand. Remember, the blues uses mostly dominant 7th chords. This means you have four notes and consequently, four inversions. Play through the entire Stride Blues form playing all the chords in all inversions. Do this until you are completely comfortable.
Step #5: Combine LH Bass & RH Chord Inversions. Normally the stride blues is performed primarily in the left hand. But, for the purpose of initial practice, we will play the bass note (with lead-ins) in the left hand and the chord (with inversions) in the right hand.
Step #6: Developing the Stride Groove. The best way that I know to develop a groove . . . is to sing it first. Then play through the stride blues form over and over until the groove is natural and easy.
Step #7: Playing all with the left hand. Play the bass note and the chord in only the left hand. This is very difficult. I suggest that you practice this slowly. Then, pick up tempo as your skill increases.
Step #8: Playing fast stride. Practice playing the left hand stride fast. To play faster, you must simplify lead-ins and chord inversions. Take a long time to work on this step.
Step #10: Open Voicings Series Exercise Practice the Open Voicing Series Exercise. Notice that it is organized by the left hand. Learn this series of voicings in all keys.
Step #11: Open Voicings Bouncing Chords Establish two of the voicings in the right hand. Notice that the top voicing is the melody. Once we have done that, we can play two voicings in the left hand. If the right hand has a third in it, then do not play a third in the left hand. This prevents playing a double-third. Practicing freely "bouncing" through all the voicings in one-chord, noticing the top melody note. You can do this for all triads and all keys. Eventually play this quickly and fluently.
Step #12: Make Up Your Own Progression To start with "Make up your own progressions", take one of the open voicings and ask yourself: "How many ways can I move to the IV chord with good voice leading?" Try not to double the third. Practice playing this in all keys. Then, take one of the open voicings and ask yourself: "How many ways can I move to the V chord with good voice leading?" Then, move to a new open voicing of the I chord and repeat this exercise. Then, play various voice leadings using variations of the I IV V I. In this case, this will sound like creating a hymn.
Step #13: Add in Seventh Chords Now, play through the Stride Blues using Open Voicing Dominant Seventh Chords. Think melodically. Try not to double the third.
Step #14: Play with thirds, sixths and tenths When you are playing Step #13 above, look at your hands for thirds, sixths and tenths. Then you can create melodic ideas moving in harmony. Always think musically.
Step #15: Using 10ths and Sixths in the bass When you are playing a stride left hand, you can play a single note in the bass. But, you can also play a tenth. If you can't reach a tenth, then consider arpeggiating to the tenth (over the fifth). Or you can play a single bass note to a sixth. So, when you are playing in the left hand, use single notes, tenths and sixths. Play through the Stride Blues using only the left hand.
Step #16: RH & LH with Open Voicings Now play the left hand stride with single note bass, tenths and sixths with the right hand playing open voicings. You are doing a little bit of both. Use your ears and musicality. Always play forward to the next chord.
- Should be a competent pianist who wants to develop jazz and blues playing.