Buy NowBook Now

Hear a preview

Find us on Facebook

Come and join the 500 students worldwide...

Big thumbs up for the course and Ed’s teaching style and I couldn’t recommend the course highly enough!
Mike Gunn, Stratford Upon Avon, United Kingdom

I’m a pianist but I’d heard Ed’s jazz harmony course was really easy to understand. I’d always played classical piano but now feel comfortable improvising and pulling myself away from the notes on the page…now I need to get to a jam session! Thanks, Ed.
Kate Chandler, New York

Everything is explained so clearly and Ed is really motivational. He offered me a private Skype lesson for free at the end of the course so I really felt the need to prepare for that – that was motivation enough. Thanks, Ed, it was great and I’m looking forward to the next course
Grigory Parkhomenko, Moscow

This is a brilliant course, very well structured and presented in a way no book can. It makes Jazz harmony straight-forward and fun to explore. The backing tracks are superb, and from a top flight band.
Ted Rockley, London

Ed’s a great teacher and the course is amazing value – it’s like having a private teacher all year round!
Victoria Markou, London

I really enjoy my lessons with Ed. Good quality, A lot of good content. Definetly worth the time and effort!
Matty Dempster, London

This course is as useful for composers and arrangers as it is for performers and improvisers. It is most definitely a resource I will be re-visiting, throughout my musical career. Thanks, Ed.
Richard Norris, Paris

Ed is a really fantastic teacher and learning with him was a great experience for me. Ed’s such a positive person, loads of energy, lots of fun and always very encouraging and that really comes through in his lessons.
Max Jaworski, London

I found the course insightful and informative, clearly explained and easy to understand. Ed makes the concepts of jazz improvisation theory attainable rather than overwhelming and I really enjoyed the course. Ed is a great teacher.
Daryl Oliver, London

This course by Ed Barker is great for jazz musicians of all levels. Ed takes you through the very basics, in a clear, comprehensive manner, and guides you through some complex content that many pros use on gigs today.
Donna Schwartz, Los Angeles, California

Learn The Language: Jazz Harmony Course

Learn the language of jazz and how to improvise in just 6 months with this comprehensive, step by step jazz harmony course taught by GEORGE MICHAEL’s Sax Soloist, Ed Barker.

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 20.27.30 Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 20.27.50 Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 20.28.02 Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 20.28.12

Pictures from the Lessons

FAQsIsn’t jazz really complicated and advanced? Aren’t there millions of scales and chords?

Absolutely not!  I think some people like you to think that what they do is so complicated that you’ll never be able to master it.  Jazz harmony and improvising is like anything else – if you really want to learn it, with a bit of work and some methodical teaching, you’ll grasp it in no time.

Ed will be teaching you the most succinct, simple and efficient ways of accessing the beautiful sounds of jazz and you’ll be surprised at how quickly his shortcuts become part of your harmonic framework.

Do I have to be a sax player to take this course? 

No.  Ed will sometimes demonstrate using a sax but also uses a keyboard, the PDF handouts and sometimes even sings!  The instrument on this course is the brain, not the sax, and we’ve got string players, piano players, vocalists, brass players and even a xylophonist currently taking the course!

Is the course hard?

No topic is hard if you have the drive, enthusiasm, passion and dedication.  If you REALLY want to be able to improvise and understand all the rules of jazz harmony,  this course will make it happen for you and will unlock your potential.

Who is this course for?

You need absolutely no knowledge or experience of any type of harmony to take this course.

This course is for you if you are either completely new to jazz and want to learn how to improvise and tear yourself away from the notes on the page or if you have already done a bit of jazz and improvising and want to re-visit the basics and consolidate everything and solidify the foundations of your learning.

This is also a great course for those of you who don’t even want to play jazz but who want to become more rounded as a musician so that you understand where the notes on the page actually come from and why they work and also to help improve your arranging and composing.

I want to improve my harmonic capabilities but am not sure I love jazz!

Jazz harmony is the mother of all studies in harmony.  The rules and methods you learn on this course are as applicable to rock, pop, soul, funk and gospel as they are to jazz.  So even if you don’t want to end up playing jazz, your harmonic mind, improvising, composing and arranging will be improved so much by understanding jazz harmony. There really is no better way of exercising the musical mind…



Course StructureLearn the Language: Jazz Harmony Course
Lesson 1Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.20.09

I thought we’d start lightly to begin with. I want you to think about why you are taking this course, what sort of music, harmony or jazz inspires you? What instrumentalists, singers or composers really move you?

At different points in my life and musical development, I’ve loved completely different types of players, composers and music – from Rachmaninoff to Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley to Mahler, Oscar Peterson to Nigel Hitchcock…and many more!

This week I want you to do some listening and some serious thinking about the sort of musician you want to be at the end of this course. Yes jazz harmony is about theory – and that’s what this course is all about – but to be able to go from having learnt the language (after 6 months) to being able to speak it fluently requires you to get passionate about the music you love and to listen to it, to transcribe it and to eventually allow it to become part of your own vocabulary. This will take a lifetime and I’m still on that journey…

Lesson 2Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.20.49I hope you had fun listening to your favourite artists and writers this week and thank you for your email.

Today we are going to look at intervals – the building blocks of harmony. It will take you a while to get used to the sounds but once you can hear intervals in your head, without having to play them on an instrument (an interval describes the relationship of any note to the root of the chord you find yourself on), your musical brain will have become eminently qualified! Hearing intervals is the basis of all harmony.

Lesson 3Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.20.40The most important chord sequence in jazz and popular music is the II-V-I. In today’s lesson, I’m going to show you where it comes from and how to form it in the key of C major.

Lesson 4Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.20.28Today we are going to ease up a bit as last week’s homework was hard. I want to look at chord notation. You’ll see all sorts of chord symbols all over the place if you’ve ever looked at a jazz chart and I want to help you navigate through them and also tell you which symbols I prefer and why.

I’ve also made the answers available for the theory exercise I set last week. Download them here by right clicking and saving (or simply left click to open).

Lesson 5Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.20.19When I was 19, I remember spending the Summer holidays going through my favourite Charlie Parker solos and finding the great II-V-I phrases he used. I then went around the ‘circle of 5ths’ and practised them in every key so that I could become fluent.

The circle of 5ths is a relationship between notes that is used a lot in jazz and in today’s lesson, I explain where it comes from and how we’ll be using it.

Lesson 6Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.24.11I hope you’ve been having fun with the triad exercise on the backing track.  You’re beginning to sound like a real jazz musician after just 5 weeks!

Now let’s take it one stage further because you don’t want to have to play those four notes, in that order, every time you see each of those chords.

In today’s lesson, I teach you about voice leading – a way of making your improvisation really lock on to each chord.

Lesson 7Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.58I hope the voice leading exercise has been making sense and that you’re starting to feel comfortable enough in identifying each chord’s 3rds and 7ths so that exercise C is beginning to feel comfortable.  Keep practising those exercises this week as this week’s lesson and homework is purely theoretical.  We put it into practice next week.

Today we are looking at the 4 main scales we use in jazz: major, minor, diminished and whole tone.

Lesson 8Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.48First of all, here are the answers you’ve been waiting for from last week’s tutorial.  As you’ll see, there are 3 whole/half and 3 half/whole diminished scales.  Whole/half and half/whole are essentially the same scales so don’t worry too much about the distinction.  I’ll get into the diminished scale later in the course (Tutorial 16).  The whole tone only has 2 scales.  If this doesn’t make sense, please (as always) post your questions on Facebook and underneath last week’s video.

Now, onto today’s lesson.  So far, over the backing track (which is the major II-V-I around the circle of 5ths) you have been playing your four note triads and the three voice leading exercises.  Now it’s time for you to take this further as your options are fairly limited so far.

Here is today’s lesson, where I look at the major scale and how it is applied over the II-V-I.


Lesson 9Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.38Sometimes, the chords we’ve been looking at are ‘altered’ meaning that certain notes in the chord are flattened or sharpened.

Today we will look at the first of these alterations and how you handle it when you see or hear it.

Lesson 10Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.28Do you remember in Tutorial 8, we mentioned ‘avoid notes’ and how you always avoid the 4th degree of a I chord (an F over a C maj7) and often avoid the 4th degree of a V chord (the C over a G7, for example).

Well the reason I said ‘often’ and not ‘always’ in relation to the V chord is because sometimes, you actually want to emphasise it.

Lesson 11Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.18Two things I must say before we carry on.  First, congratulations on getting this far.  We are covering a lot of material and if you’re keeping up, you are working very hard and it will show in your playing and in your understanding of music and jazz harmony.

Second, obviously the scales that I’m teaching you are the correct scales to play over the chords but you don’t necessarily have to wait to see those specific chords to bring out those particular harmonies in your improvisations.  If you see a V chord, you may want to give it a suspended feel, even if it doesn’t say it’s a sus chord.  Or you may want to embellish a I chord by bringing out the sharpened 4th in your playing.  You don’t have to wait for the chord to appear on the page or to hear the other musicians in the band playing it – you can bring it out in your playing and lead them.  Listen to each other, communicate and use your ears – that’s what jazz is all about.

Today’s lesson is the last one on the major scale.  I want to teach you about a different type of Vsus chord – the Vsusb9 chord.  It’s a beautiful chord and I talk all about it here.

Lesson 12Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.13It’s a beautiful sound that Vsusb9 chord, isn’t it?  Hope you’ve been having fun with the fourth of the backing tracks.

Do you remember in Tutorial 7 we looked at the 4 main types of scale we use in jazz?  Well we’ve covered the first, the major scale.  Today we are going to turn to the second, the minor scale.

Lesson 13Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.19.59So we’ve covered the major scale, in all its glory.  Now onto the melodic minor scale.  Today we are going to look at the modes of the minor scale and how you use them over a minor II-V-I.  Unlike the major II-V-I (where the same major scale could be used over each of the three chords) you actually have to use a different minor scale over each chord for the minor II-V-I.

Lesson 14Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.19.39You might just be starting to feel that the material is beginning to get too heavy for you to keep up and practise everything properly.  Don’t worry – I know that last week was pretty intense (as today will be) but we will have a breather next week as I’ll be reviewing everything we’ve done in the course so far and giving you a summary of all the harmonic options we have covered to date.

Today’s lesson is about the remaining minor modes that we discussed in Tutorial 12 and how they can be used to spice up V and I chords.

Lesson 15Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.23.05So today is time for a breather.  You’ve been working really hard and in this tutorial I simply review everything we have covered so far.

Lesson 16Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.57Right, time to move swiftly on to the third of our four scales, the beautiful diminished scale.  This is my favourite scale ever and I talk about it here.

Lesson 17Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.43So today is my favourite topic of all time.  Your life is about to change forever!

This is where I show you how you get the beautiful sounds of the diminished and altered scales with just a couple of simple devices.  Jazz doesn’t need to cause you a head ache and never again let anyone tell you that you need to learn millions of scales to sound any good.

Before you check out the tutorial video, please check the answers from last week.  I hope they make sense and that you got them all right.  If not, please re-visit last week’s lesson before proceeding as today we will be building on that knowledge.

Lesson 18Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.34I hope you’ve been having fun with last week’s theory.  You’re probably wondering why it took you until now to discover this.  Didn’t I tell you that with a little bit of thinking, you can narrow down the amount of information you need to go out there and sound great!

Today, I want to turn to the last of the 4 scales – the whole tone scale.  I don’t use it too much but it’s a nice additional colour to add to your playing.

Lesson 19Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.21.54Today we aren’t going to look at any new scales but I am going to give you one of my favourite harmonic devices to use on a I chord.

Most of today’s lesson is about slash chords – find out more by watching below:

Lesson 20Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.22Today I want to introduce you to the bebop scales.  These scales make major and minor scales more even (giving them 8 rather than 7 notes) by adding chromatic passing notes.

Lesson 21Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.22.03So last week we added an 8th note to the major and minor scale.  This week we are narrowing down the choice of notes you have when playing a major scale.  We often use pentatonic scales – 5 note scales – as using them creates more of a sense of space.

Lesson 22Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.21.31Today I want to cover two topics – the only way I can get everything in within the 6 months!!

Every V chord has a chord which it pairs with which opens up a whole new world of harmonic options for you.  When you use a V chord’s ‘pair’ we call it tritone substitution.  I explain in more detail here and then go on to discuss enclosures.

Lesson 23Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.21.01In the same way that we did in Tutorial 15, I want to review everything we’ve done from Tutorial 16 onwards and give you a checklist of options to use.

Lesson 24Preview

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 21.21.44Welcome to the final tutorial in this series.  You’ve been a delight to teach and I hope you’ve found the course useful.