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i thought it might be nice to share with everyone the aboslute best piano lesson i ever got.   i was studying classical piano in college with a lady named jane allen.  at the time i was playing shows at six flags and playing many other gigs with various jazz and pop groups.  i   felt like a fish out of water in the classical world - in other words i was intimidated.  i felt as if "classical" musicians knew something i did not.

since i was playing so many gigs and trying to keep up with my homework, (my gigs were paying for my schooling) ,i was barely keeping up with jane's lessons.  i was scooting along doing the bare minimum.

i don't remember what pieces i was working on at the time but i remember there were three of them and it took about 20 minutes to perform the three.  we started the lesson by my playing all three pieces.  when i finished she said, "just a minute" and walked across the room to start a reel to reel tape recorder.  she then said,"play them again".  so i did.

after i finished, she walked accross the room, saying nothing, and played back the recording.  when the recording was finished playing she just looked at me and said, "okay?"

i was shocked and sickened by what i heard.  i had no idea how badly i was playing.  however, by forcing me to listen to myself, she gave back to me the power to be the musician i am.  i know what music sounds like, and what i heard was not music, but  sloppy noise.  could i refine it having heard what i had heard?  you bet.  that's what practicing is all about.  will i ever be finished?  nope, that's what music is all about:)
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Jazz Piano Notebook Series
Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 1 - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 1 of this educational jazz piano book contains 15 jazz piano exercises, tricks, and other interesting jazz piano techniques, voicings, grooves, and ideas Scot Ranney enjoys playing.

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Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 2 - jazz piano tricks of the trade you can use today

Volume 2 has 14 jazz piano exercises and tricks of the trade, and quite a bit of it is Calypso jazz piano related material, including some Monty Alexander and Michel Camilo style grooves. Jazz piano education is through the ears, but books like this can help.

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Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.

Tim wrote the well known "Exploring Jazz Piano" and "Improvising Blues Piano" books and has several others to his name.

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Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 4 is by Jeff Brent, a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author of "Modalogy" and other acclaimed jazz theory and education books. In this book Jeff shares detailed analysis of transcriptions of live performances. He covers everything from the shape of the songs to the tricks and licks he uses in improvised lines to the ideas behind his lush chord voicings.

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