LEARN TO PLAY JAZZ THE WAY YOU
LEARNED TO SPEAK
I call this course Conversational Jazz because we'll learn by doing. As an older (and wiser) musician once told me, "Experience first. Then explanation."
It's the way you learned your native tongue. In a relaxed environment, where trial and error were part of the game. And new information meant new possibilities. Believe it or not, our brains still work best this way.
At what point does fear of embarrassment and failure enter the picture? I don't know exactly, but I do know that it can become a dominant force that holds us back from trying, from doing things we always dreamed of doing: learning a new language, traveling to new places...and yes, learning jazz improv. Trust me—I’ve been there.
I'll walk you through the very same steps that I took to learn jazz from the ground up
(no metronome or sheet music required)
During this course, I'll retrace the steps I took to learn this music (believe it or not, it took me twenty years to take the plunge—the fear is real), and created this online course to help you get the results you want.
When I first tried learning jazz, I looked everywhere for guidance. Textbooks were of little help; memorizing scales and patterns was useless without context, which is rarely given. Jazz sheet music (yes, it's actually a thing) was the dead end of all dead ends. Listening to jazz recordings was helpful—to a point. What are you supposed to do with an Oscar Peterson solo when he's playing sixteenth notes at 80 miles per hour?
It wasn’t until I hit the restaurants, bars, and local street corners that I started to discover the best way for me to learn, which became the same method I'll use to teach you.
Over the years, I've used these principles to teach others and have seen them achieve remarkable success learning the genre. They start out thinking they’ll need years of formal training, but within a matter of weeks, they're riffing and creating their own renditions of their favorite tunes.
And now it's your turn. Let's play some jazz.
ABOUT THE COURSE
Conversational Jazz is an eight week course that gives you a solid foundation of the most fundamental principles in jazz, the way I learned it. The goal is to teach you how to think for yourself within this music, build chords, improvise your own solos, and learn new tunes for years to come.
New material released each week, plus a weekly live Q&A with me will provide you with fresh and stimulating content to keep you moving throughout the course.
- Overcome the most common obstacles to learning jazz
- Learn fundamental building blocks of jazz
- Gain confidence improvising your own melodies and solos
- Learn to build jazz chords intuitively
- Understand basic song structure and form
- Explore the blues (my favorite)
Each lesson will be posted in our private online studio (you'll receive access after registration), where you can watch and learn at your own pace. The videos are short and easily digestible so you'll have plenty of opportunities to practice what you learn as you go along.
ADDITIONAL COURSE FEATURES
New Content Each Week
To keep you moving at a steady pace, we'll release lessons one at a time. This will give you time to work out the concepts and ask any questions that come up along the way.
Weekly Office Hours for Q&A (optional)
Each week for the duration of the course, we’ll hold an online Q&A session where you can ask me questions and get help with anything you need for your progress. If anything becomes unclear throughout the course, just ask me. I'll be there to guide you all the way to the finish line. All Q&A sessions will be recorded and archived, so you can refer back to them at any time.
You keep lifetime access to your course, including video lessons, Q&A calls, and all downloadable resources to support your learning.
About Doc Watkins
Doc Watkins is a pianist, vocalist, bandleader, and the owner of Jazz, TX. He co-hosts the weekly radio show, “Live at Jazz, TX” which airs Saturday nights on Texas Public Radio. He's the creator and host of "The Doc Watkins Show," an online live-stream program created during the Great Quarantine of 2020. He's also the host of the new podcast, "The Place to Be." A typical year for Watkins involves over two hundred live shows with multiple groups under his name, and so far he has released nine albums, covering multiple genres including Classical, Jazz, Blues, and Texas Swing.
Watkins received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Music Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and moved to San Antonio, TX in 2006. He has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Russia, and Europe, and has performed twice at Carnegie Hall.
In 2016, Watkins opened his own music venue, Jazz, TX, and performs there regularly with his groups. Deeply committed to the heritage and tradition of Texas music, he includes a wide variety of styles at Jazz, TX including Jazz, Blues, Texas Swing, Salsa, and Folk music.
Watkins currently resides in San Antonio with his wife, Jessica and their four children. He is a self-declared enthusiast of Texas BBQ.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Click the question to read the answer)
How does the course work?
Do you offer and kind of refund?
Am I ready for this course?
...How do I know if I'm "good enough?"
How much time will I need to spend practicing?
What should I expect from this course? What's the end goal?
I've never done an online course before. How "techy" do I need to be?
Is the course only for pianists, or does it apply to other instruments?
Is this course suitable for kids?
WHAT WE PLAY
- Louis Armstrong