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After a few weeks of reviewing the Improvisation and Musical Freedom course for Pianote by Jesus Molina, I have finally put together my thoughts.
Since the course is brought to you on the Pianote platform, it follows a similar workflow as some of the other courses in which you can replay lessons and take your time watching videos/completing tasks.
I believe Jesus does an incredible job connecting with pianists on every level. Not only is this a terrific course that is exceptionally well put together, but it’s also fun and engaging.
I’ve been playing the Piano for over twenty years, and it is not easy to connect/teach, especially when trying to present something as challenging as Improvisation.
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Let’s take a look at what the Improv course has to offer below.
Improv And Musical Freedom
In this course, you will follow an 11-video series that covers the very basics of improv to some more advanced jazz/fusion improv that Jesus is known for.
Side note: I’m a fan of Jesus, so this was a lot of fun for me to check out and review.
In order to access this course, you will need to purchase Pianote. Should you want to test the waters, you can try Pianote for 30 days free at the link above. Below is the pricing structure of Pianote:
- Annually: $197
- Monthly: $29
1) Who Is Jesus Molina?
In this section, we learn about Molina, and I think he does a fantastic job narrating and setting the initial stage for what you get with this improv pack by Pianote.
For this specific course, Jesus dials into the key of B Flat Major, which I believe is a wise choice as it keeps students focused on learning the theory behind why certain notes/progressions work before transposing to new keys.
You also get to see Molina’s personality pop through in this first video, which is great to give you an idea for what’s to come.
2) What Is Improv?
In this section, Molina focuses on the popular tune, “Happy Birthday.” You are then tasked with several lessons that get you into the beginning stages of learning to improvise.
3) Classical Improv
In this video, we take an in-depth look at Happy Birthday from a classical perspective. Jesus touches on the chords typically found in classical music and also sets up some great counterpoint in the left hand for you to try out.
This was fun to play through as it took me back to the beginning with improv.
This is a fantastic lesson.
4) Jazz Improv
In this section, Molina takes a look at Happy Birthday jazz harmony. This is arguably the most important section of this course as you begin to learn jazz piano theory, which is challenging at first.
For this section, you are prompted to learn the ii, V, I chord progression in all keys. This will definitely take you time to learn, but it is essential.
After this, you will learn the ii, V, I, and Vi chord progression in all keys. You will also be using complex chords such as 13’ths and 11’ths frequently.
In my opinion, he does an incredible job laying this part of the course out.
5) Latin Improvisation
This section is one of the more difficult sections of this course by Molina. If you don’t have much experience, take your time here and conquer these lessons.
You will be challenged when it comes to reading notes and playing rhythms that might be difficult to grasp as a beginner.
6) Stride Piano Improv
Stride piano impov is another fun lesson that is detailed exceptionally well. You will learn some more jazz techniques, as well as build your chops when it comes to being able to play faster.
Once you get to this point in the course, you will find that you have learned a significant amount about Improvisation. I find this to be a fun section of the course again.
7) Power Ballad Improv
For this section, Jesus busts out the electric Piano and shows some beginner-level arpeggios that you will find in every classic power ballad.
I am a huge fan of ballads, so this was one of my favorite parts of the course, as I was inquisitive to see how he would go about presenting this information.
Overall, this is a fun section that you might want to check out before the jazz, should that section give you problems.
8) Practice Like Molina
I like what Molina has to say in this section. To sum it up, take multiple techniques and combine them when learning. Always be thinking about how you incorporate something new while practicing.
9) Six-Month Plan
This section presents you with a detailed PDF outlining exactly what you should do. I like that this is presented as it will help students keep up with the material and challenge them to continue growing.
In terms of improv courses, this is one of the most well-put-together courses I have seen on the internet, thanks to Jesus and Pianote.
By the course’s end, you will learn the very basics and be left with a foundation to conquer improv for the next six months. Should you follow this plan for six months, you will make extreme progress when it comes to piano improv.
This Improv course by Jesus Molina is just one of the courses you can check out should you sign-up to Pianote – the best online piano lesson platform currently available.