blues piano lessons portland

“This Is Such A Blast. I’m Finally Learning What I Wanted, Improvise Blues Piano.” – J. Simmons

“Playing The Blues By Ear Has Always Been My Dream. What Fun.”   – Sandra Michaels

“Soon I’ll Be Able To Jam With My Friends” – D. Baker

Why Blues Piano?

blues piano keyboard

Learning Blues Piano is a great way to expand your piano skills. Blues piano is a great introduction to learning to play by ear, playing jazz, and becoming fluent on the keyboard. Students who acquire basic facility with blues, experience a sense a freedom of being able to play piano with ease and little effort. What makes Blues Piano so much fun? It’s spontaneous, energetic, experimental, imaginative. It’s the most playful type of music.

Students who already play, will discover that learning blues improvisation, will revitalize and energize their playing. It’s a terrific way to learn how to jam along with your friends. Those of you who are complete beginners, will want to spend a few months learning to read music before beginning blues. Once you have basic playing skills, blues is an excellent way to be introduced to new playing techniques.

Along with blues, you might also be interested in working on some extra theory, learning arrange your own music, and writing original music. If you sing, you might want to learn to accompany your voice with chords. Children love to experiment on piano, and blues gives them a way to use their imagination. They take to it immediately and it’s inventive nature.

What Is The Blues?

blues piano player

Blues is truly the original American music. It’s artistic, soulful, and very innovative. The twelve bar blues progression is a structure of chords combined with melodies and improvised. Blues played on the guitar is generally slow and melancholy, and accompanied by vocals. On the piano, blues often has no vocals, and the music is much faster, and full of creative energy.

Blues is a kind of jazz, and it’s a great way to get introduced to the world of jazz improvisation. Blues and jazz have influenced music for decades. It’s everywhere, and internationally loved and appreciated. Some popular blues players piano players are: Oscar Peterson, Abdullah Ibrahim, Otis Spann, Dr. John, Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, Professor Longhair, Barrelhouse Chuck. Blues piano can evoke emotions in many ways. Its constant swirl of textures can be imaginative, delicate, rambunctious, evocative, captivating, elegant, and playful.

Getting Started

play blues piano

Music stores are full of ‘Learn To Play Blues Piano’ books. However, I’ve yet to find a student who could make sense of the material presented in book form. They end up confused and frustrated. Learning blues piano is a hands on experience. I’ve  taught hundreds of students to understand and blues. One-to-one training is effective, and the way to go.

Playing blues on the piano is very well suited for beginner players. To learn to play blues, students don’t need any previous piano experience. We can start right at the beginning with reading music. As soon as the student has enough playing skill, we can begin the blues. If you already play piano and have a good ear but don’t read music, then we can begin blues right away.

The Lessons

blues improvisation

My approach to blues is unique; modern, clean, easy to understand. Learning 12 bar blues starts with the left hand chord progression and right hand melodies. I’ll show you all the steps you need to play a real nice blues. After a short time practicing the basics, you’ll be improvising your very first original blues. I’ll teach you everything you need to know to master the basic styles of blues.

You should find blues piano to be a delightful introduction to improvisation. Those who are starting piano from the beginning will enjoy the freedom of playing without music. Those of you that already play will find new energy and expression in this engaging music. If you have tried playing jazz piano, and found it too hard, blues piano should be a much easier style to learn. Each student is a unique individual, so the lessons are guided by each students interests and comfort level.

Some of the things covered in the lessons:

  • Understanding Basic Chord Theory
  • Left & Right Hand Swing Rhythms
  • Left Hand Walking Bass
  • Left Hand Rhythmic Variations
  • Alternative 12 Bar Chords
  • Diminished Chords & Scales
  • Boogie Woogie & New Orleans Styles


Norm Zarr


Piano Lessons & Keyboard Lessons Studio

Portland, Oregon