About Sonja Joubert

Sonja Joubert is a master pianist classically trained by the late master Mr Josias Van Der Merwe and the late Adolph Hallis. She is also an excellent piano teacher with over 40 years of teaching experience specialising in both jazz and classical piano.

How do I Approach a New Piano Piece for the First Time?


Most students, when receiving a new piece to learn, will immediately try to play it from the first notes of the written music, being eager to hear and play the melody. However, there are a few factors to take into account before even reading the very first note. Important factors like the key it's written in and the time—whether a waltz time or maybe 6/8 or the normal four beats in a bar.So, What is the Best Approach to Your New Piece?The most important aspects before playing a single note will be the key signature and time signature, but factors like [...]

How do I Approach a New Piano Piece for the First Time?2024-04-11T22:07:23+01:00



What is Syncopation? In music, syncopation involves a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, thereby making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. More simply, syncopation is described as "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm": it is the "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur." - Wikipedia One of the most common forms of playing off the beat in piano music is a rhythmic concept called syncopation. To understand syncopation, you have to know about downbeats and upbeats. Start tapping your foot to [...]


Preparing for Your Piano Exam


Preparing for your piano exam is more than just knowing your pieces and your scales but also working through the ear training syllabus and sight-reading.Many times ear training and sight reading get overlooked in preparation because of the vast amount of work that you have to prepare for your music exam.When I studied for piano exams, the former mentioned was in most cases left for the last month or two. Fortunately, most students studying music will have a good ear to be able to recognise intervals, chords, etc., and you could get away with only practicing it the last two months [...]

Preparing for Your Piano Exam2023-10-09T14:28:16+01:00

Rhythm and Beat


All music has what is commonly known as rhythm and beat. Beat and rhythm are two distinct concepts, and one should not be confused with the other. Musicgateway states it as follows: “Beat is the underlying pulse of a piece of music, while rhythm is the pattern of notes and accents that create the musical texture.” source In a big band, these concepts are sometimes nuanced by a specific section of the band, e.g., the rhythm section and the percussion, but all the instruments will be contributing to the beat and rhythm to a smaller or larger degree. It is much [...]

Rhythm and Beat2023-10-10T12:31:00+01:00

Playing Piano by Ear or by Sight – Which is Best?


Playing the piano by ear or by sight - which is best? There are often disputes between musicians as to which of these two ways of playing music is best. The ear players see their way as best, and the note-reading players say, “no, our way is best!” So what would be the best way for you to learn to play the piano or an instrument? Let's look at playing from music sheets and not playing by ear. A significant advantage of playing by sight is being able to read music pieces from the score - even if you have [...]

Playing Piano by Ear or by Sight – Which is Best?2023-01-27T09:49:44+00:00

Understanding and studying the lead sheet: Autumn Leaves


“Jazz standards are musical compositions that are an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners... The jazz standard repertoire has some overlap with blues and pop standards.” Jazz standard - Wikipedia Autumn Leaves “One of the most popular jazz standards of all time is “Autumn Leaves” by Joseph Kosma... Autumn Leaves is an excellent jazz standard to start with because it covers some basic chord progressions and harmonic concepts found in jazz”. 30 Nov 2017 - How to Navigate Autumn Leaves - [...]

Understanding and studying the lead sheet: Autumn Leaves2021-03-01T11:08:58+00:00

Creating jazz piano voicings for the adult beginner


What are voicings? Voicings are created when you move the order of the basic chord tones of your jazz chord around so that an authentic jazz sound is created. Using the normal jazz chord in its root position with its stacked 3rds on top of each other sounds boring and not like real jazz. I already discussed the building of jazz chords in the article: “Fundamental jazz chords”. It is best to change the order of the chord notes by moving them around forming not only intervals of 3rds on top of each other, but also 5ths or 7ths or 4ths [...]

Creating jazz piano voicings for the adult beginner2021-03-01T11:09:35+00:00

Jazz chords and knowing your intervals – for the adult beginner


In this article, I will be discussing the 7th chords or jazz chords which are formed on any given major scale or key using the natural notes of the given scale. We will be working from the major scale on which western music is built. This structure is called the tonal center. There are 12 possible major or minor keys any particular song can be played in. This is because of the 12 notes on the piano keyboard. This means that anyone of these twelve notes will be the tonal centre or home base. How can we determine the home key? [...]

Jazz chords and knowing your intervals – for the adult beginner2021-03-01T11:08:01+00:00

Is it important to learn music theory as an adult beginner?


Many people think that learning the theory of music is merely time-wasting and not really important. The fact is that learning and understanding music in its written form and knowing the basics concerning the theory behind it can only be to the advantage of a student. It can never be to your disadvantage. You might think that you only want to be able to play your instrument and make music. That you are not interested in studying the background or theory of music but rather in being able to play your instrument. But alas! To really enjoy and understand your music [...]

Is it important to learn music theory as an adult beginner?2021-03-01T11:07:14+00:00

Teach yourself jazz theory: chords built on the major scale part 1


Today we will be discussing the jazz chords built on each of the steps of the major scale and how to implement these chords into your jazz repertoire. In the article called “Jazz chords and knowing your intervals”, I discussed the basic scales, intervals and the combination of intervals and chords that form the four basic jazz chords namely the Major 7th, the Minor 7th, the Dominant 7th and the Minor 7th b5 chords. In this article, I will be discussing the different 7th chords or jazz chords formed on each step of the major scale.  When building chords, you will [...]

Teach yourself jazz theory: chords built on the major scale part 12021-03-01T11:07:03+00:00


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