jazz is really hard and i think i'm going to quit jazz piano because i don't think i have what it takes to play jazz. i call this sloppy improv.
There are 27 comments, leave a comment.
you are probably right.

hey man, don't give up.  your only real problem is time.  i know because after a 30 year layoff, it took me a while to get my time back.  just start practicing with a strict time reference like  drum/bass or even a metronome.  your note choice is not bad.  you just need to practice playing in time.  practice playing in time for a week and then make another recording.  i know it will make a huge difference.  we won't know it's the same guy.  peace and hope - ken
kaon99 how long have u been learning jazz?
if you really are thinking about quitting, perhaps it is time to give it a break. i once quit playing for almost 4 years. part of me still regrets having done it, i wonder where i'd be now if i hadn't, but on the other hand, coming back to it after a break i think i understood much better the obstacles that had been standing in my way. questioning yourself and doubting yourself is kind of part of the process. i'd be willing to bet there are exceedingly few musicians in the world who have never at some point in their lives said "man, i suck at this." also remember that becoming proficient at jazz takes years, not weeks or months. sometimes progress is so slow it seems like it isn't happening at all. you sort of just learn to have faith that improvement is happening, even when you're convinced it isn't, or that it isn't happening fast enough.

for what it's worth, i definitely see improvement here compared to the last video you posted, the one with you playing autumn leaves. your phrases here clearly have better definition than before. you're putting some spaces in places where it makes sense to have some space, as opposed to a continuous stream of notes. you're making a little more use of dynamics, your touch on the keys seems a little more relaxed. your swing accents still need a some work.

if had just one piece of advice, it would be slow down!! these days i'm more and more realizing how critical it is to practice slow. there is never any reason to play something faster than your fingers actually feel comfortable with. practicing slow should never mean "boring," it should never be mechanical, quite the opposite. "a foggy day" is one of those tunes that sounds great as a really down-tempo swing. the idea is to really give yourself all the time in the world to really shape your phrases exactly the way you want, and to make sure you're playing the ideas in your head exactly the way you're hearing them. once you can do this at a slow tempo, it's amazing how much easier it becomes to play the tune at faster tempos.
jace, baby,

you sound good man.  we all go through the "i suck, i'm gonna quit" thing from time to time - but i bet ya can't quit :) (i know 'cause i have been trying to quit for over 30 years now)

music is a language.  lanuage is our means of expression and communiction with others.  jazz is a form of all of the above.  although i'm using english and bad typing to try to get a point accross, there are others here who are likely to inspire you whether their use of english is better or worse than mine.  they may have thoughts or emotions they may or may not be able to express.  we're all on different levels...yada yada.

to me it's  exploration and the journey  that's important.  while comparing yourself to others can be helpfull,  it can also be stifling if you're feeling a need to play like someone other than yourself.

as you can see from poking around this website, there are folks who express their likes and dislikes about people that are regarded as icons in jazz history - one guy says he doesn't like oscar peterson, another doesn't like kieth jarrett, etc...who cares??  what/who do you like?  how about jace??

althought i've been playing for over 40 years, listening to your recording adds to my collection of musical experiences.  you will obviously do things differently from me, therefore i  learn from you. listening with an open mind, to everybody and everything is the key to being a musician, be it jazz or whatever.

so if you truly don't enjoy playing, you should quit (even if just for a while).  just don't quit because you think you suck - you do not...


might i ask what the hell is wrong with you?

here we try encourage people to play jazz piano. here we try to let people know that if they work hard enough and if they really love the music, they will eventually succeed.

i'm a firm believer that if somebody wants something bad enough and are willing to work hard they will get it.

but yours is the first response to this thread and you're trying destroy the guy with this "give up now, kid - you're totally wasting your time" vibe.

the music profession is a brutal cutthroat business, but jace did not indicate that it was his goal to become a professional.

i feel that your response to jace was completely inappropriate and just plain mean-spirited.

you owe jace an apology. big time.

hey jace,  

you might want to give this book a try:

it's the kind of book you either love or hate, but it makes a good point. if one is trying to achieve fame and wealth playing jazz piano, then it is a very long shot, and probably a rocky road.  
but if you are trying to express yourself through music, you can achieve instant gratification. i probably shouldn't try to paraphrase the author here. amazon has the book on pdf so you can look at many pages inside.  

take a break from playing, read that book.  

-- knotty
jace, i did notice that the song got better as time went by.
in addition to metronomes, playing along with band-in-a-box can be
helpful for getting the time down.  you are right about jazz being a hard art form.  it takes a certain amount of discipline.
the payoff to me is to get the ever elusive better sounds out of the piano.
for what its worth,  i enjoyed listening to you.  your improvisation was far better than most players ever achieve.  it would be a shame if you quit after reaching that level.  i hope you ignore a ss + s  comment,
oops i mean  jazz + comment, probally a bad batch of weed man,
jace  take a little break from your practice routine and spend some time listening to some of your favorite players.  i don't mean just piano players.  listen to some blues players.  check out the laid back style of t. bone walker or charles brown.  listen to them find that pocket and stay in it.  find that swing.  i always find some inspiration when i listen to monk.  every note says something to me.  you're on the right track.
thanks everyone for your support and advice.
wow, that was not pretty. :{
i enjoyed it. if i sat down now to play foggy day i know what you played would influence me.

is a foggy day a great choice? how about love is here to stay. this swings along and is more fun to play! i really like playing here's that rainy day - the chord changes seem to create a sense of motion and some lovely harmonies - one of those songs (like moonlight in vermont) that seems to play itself!

bet if you played your stuff on a classy grand piano you would sound awesome!!!!!

it sounded jazzy man - it sounded jazzy - you got it!!

jace- i sincerly enjoyed your performance of foggy day. most people that take up the piano don't get to your level. keep of the good work.
jace- i enjoyed your performance of foggy day. most people that take up the piano don't get to your level. keep of the good work.
hello jace, you sound great and pls. don't quit playing jazz piano!

once i played a bass/piano duet gig with the legendary buddy catlett.  this was a long time ago, i was just getting started.  i apologized after the gig, apologized for my piss poor playing.

buddy said, "hey man, don't ever apologize for your playing.  you're where you're at, and everyone was there."

the moral of the story is that everyone goes through the same stuff and if you work smart and hard you'll get better.

so you're where you're at, be thankful that you think you suck, that means you can work harder at playing the way you want.

be very thankful that you don't think you're a great player- people who think they are great players have a much harder time getting better because they think they don't need to improve.

if you want to quit, quit, there's nothing wrong with that.  if you're looking for sympathy and support, fine, there's plenty of that here too.  if you want seeds of motivation, that's here too.  

there are several paths a person can take when they feel like their playing is inadequate.  they can quit, sulk, or smile and practice some new stuff, work on a new transcription, whatever.  

in the end you have to follow your heart because there is absolutely no rational reason to be a musician.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.

see - i knew there'd be someone who could say it better than me! - and i'm okay with that:)
i've been playing piano for a little over 2 years now. i started when i was 21 i'm 23 now.  i've been taking classical lessons for 2 years and recently 5 months ago, he started teaching me jazz.  we don't do a lot of jazz because it's hard to fit both classical and jazz lessons in a 45 min session so we do a little of both. i told him i wanted to learn jazz only, but he thinks classical will help me with technical stuff and will also help when i try to play jazz. i was thinking about learning another instrument because i'm tired of playing piano all the time.  anyone here play other instruments?
just a comment.  if you have only been playing the piano, period, for 2 years, you are doing very well!

bass might be fun for you to try.  or maybe saxophone if you're really tired of the rhythm section.
i'm mainly a drummer but i spend most of my time working on piano. also i mess around on the vibes and marimba.
ok, for what it's worth, here's the way i've been thinking about this:  i've tried a bunch of different things in my life from skiing to basketaball to flying.  i finally figured out that i could be pretty good at almost anything although being good would take some work, time, and dedication.  it was then a simple matter to ask "what do i really want to be good at?"  and the answer was simple too.  now, i'm not good ... yet, but if i live long enough, i will be.

by the way, jace, you're sounding good.  keep at it!
i wish i could play the drums. i think banging on the drums could relieve a lot of stress.
brotherdavies, i don't know that song that you mentioned and my teacher gave me the lead sheets for those 2 jazz songs that i learned to play. i'm new to jazz music so i never heard of autumn leaves or foggy day before he gave them to me.
thanks cynbad, i don't know anyone who started learning piano in their early 20's like me. its hard because i go to school, work, and try to learn piano so it get's frustrating at times like right now.  are u talking acoustic or electric base.
"in the end you have to follow your heart because there is absolutely no rational reason to be a musician."

that's what i meant with "you are probably right." i was just quickly agreeing with what you were saying about yourself figuring that you know yourself best.
and now that i have actualy just listened to your clip i will say that i think you have got a lot of what it takes to play good jazz piano: good time and feel, and a good left hand. especialy considering how short you have played and how new to jazz you are. good job so far!
thanks guys, but i'm taking a break from jazz and from this site. i'm just going to play arrangments from now on.  anyways, see you guys later and good luck to everyone who are trying to play and learn jazz piano.
Please sign in to post.

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.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version - videos

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.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

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.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

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.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Most Recent Discussions
Volume 5 of Scot Ranney's "Jazz Piano Notebook Series" is up and running!
How to Develop Your Improvisation from Beginner to Advanced
Big Chief
How to Play Bossa Nova
Best Pianos for Beginners
How to Reharmonise a song

Volume 5 of the "Jazz Piano Notebook Series" is Available!
LearnJazzPiano.com File Downloads News
One Hour of Relaxing Piano Music
Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook
Fundamentos Físicos del Sonido
Aprendiendo a tocar PIANO gratis con partitura

Top Sheetmusic Picks

Jazzy Christmas Arrangements
Cocktail Piano
Best Songs Ever, 6th Edition
Christmas Medley
Moana Songbook
Late Night Jazz Piano

Jazz piano education is cool.

be the main character in your own story

Rock on. Follow your passion.

Sign In

privacy policyterms of serviceabout • 50,656 messages 63,069 accounts 53,806 logins
LearnJazzPiano.com Copyright © 1995-2019 by Scot Ranney • website software and design by scot's scripts
LearnJazzPiano.com is For Sale - Serious Inquiries Only