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Add some jazz and pizazz to your song!

Are you bored of playing the same songs the same way? Do you need a challenge at the piano again? I’ve got something for you to exercise your brain— introduce jazz ideas into your music! I’ve included a few ideas as to how you can make Jingle Bells into Jazzy Bells. Feel free to give any and all of these a try!

7th chords

7th chords are a jazz musician’s best friend. The 7th interval is known for spicing up a measure. There are even five types of 7th chords: major, dominant, minor, half-diminished, and diminished. Here’s a quick guide to the types of 7th chords: 

  • Major: Add the note of the major 7th. For a C major chord, this would be C-E-G-B.
  • Dominant: Add the note of the minor 7th. For a C major chord, this would be C-E-G-B♭.
  • Minor: Take the minor chord and add a minor 7th. For a C chord, this would be C-E♭-G-B♭.
  • Half-diminished: Take the diminished chord and add a minor 7th. For a C chord, this would be C-E♭-G♭-B♭.
  • Diminished: This contains a double flat on top of a diminished chord! For a C chord, this would be C-E♭-G♭-B♭♭.

Add some flair!

One of my favorite “flair moments” in music is Billy Joel’s piano riff at the beginning of his hit song “Piano Man”. He makes those high notes trill and then they start to drop down closer to the range that the melody notes are in. It’s a short diddy, and not totally essential to the song, but rather quintessential. How many people will know what song is about to start after that intro section of about three measures? Most people, at least near our age. Ha!

Uneven rhythms 

Jazz is known for having rhythms that don’t follow a perfect 1-2-3-4 count. There’s a bit of a swing in the rhythms, whether that be 1-and-2-…4, or playing on the downbeats of 2 and 4. No matter what style of rhythm you want to incorporate into the song, it is important to count the beats and (if you’re really a perfectionist) potentially even use a metronome. 

However, you should still be HAVING FUN at the piano! If you find jazzing songs up isn’t your style, that is perfectly okay. And if you find great fun in changing up songs and experimenting with different chords and different musical styles, then that’s awesome too. 

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