hey all,
      what do you guys practice on a regular basis to improve your chops? ..technical exercies, scales, transcriptions, etudes??  
   i'm looking to setup a new technical routine and would love to see what some of you technical wizzes either did or are currently doing to get there.  i've done alot of scale playing in the past (most modes) but i'm not sure whether or not it is really useful for jazz improv.  maybe you guys do this but have found away to make it more useful or practical?
    previously i've used the tunes i was playing/gigging with as a vehicle but i've definitely run into a dead end i.e.  
look forward to hearing!

james
There are 11 comments, leave a comment.
i think your on the right track with using tunes as a practice method for developing technique. isolate a dificult section and work on it really slow/relaxed and gradually speed it up. try different fingers, but be consistent with your fingerings that you decide to work on.  play it in all keys. play it in the left hand. play it in unison. the list goes on and on.....
i practice whatever i am working on. this month it's descending major and altered pentatonic runes in sixteenth note triplets a la art tatum.  
also, the red garland method of block chords for melodies and solos.  

i always practice solo piano and as an accompanist.
practicing solo piano i pay attention to keeping the time with a really good feel and a lot of attention on the voicings.

so many technical exercises are not directly useful and therefore not a practical use of my time.
i agree with this. i'm not one to have practiced too many technical exercises.

i was a bit burdened technically initially because i did not study piano as a kid. i reached a certain level of proficiency without special instruction but there was always a limit to what i can do.

recently, i studied under a classical teacher for the sole purpose of refining technique. i have to say it improved my chops practically overnight. i accomplished it without really doing much in the way of technical exercises. chops seem to naturally improve from relaxation and knowing how to move your arms, hands and fingers. it is important to find the right classical teacher for this. i found one that had special instruction on technique in a direct line from liszt.  

this teacher had me doing a few czerny exercises which i soon dropped in favor of jazz tunes that had similar problems. i was getting lessons on things that didn't pertain much to jazz so i skipped those portions (like intense octave playing - nice for effect but not necessary). i did manage to improve my lh significantly to be able to do two handed unison melodies.

i'm thinking to myself that even if i spent a zillion years on exercises, it wouldn't have made a difference because it is how to play the exercises that counts and that came only from a teacher. doing all these exercises the wrong way would have ingrained more problems into my playing imho.

note that at no time did i start playing classical music. my lessons were solely on technique and lasted only a few months.

the only caveat was that initially after these lessons, i lost my swing chops. but i regained it (although not instantly).
i usually work on classical stuff like beethoven, debussy, chopin, mozart for technique,and then for jazz i try to transcribe 16-32 measures of a solo per day.
you transcribe 16-32 bars a day? that is impressive! what are some solos you've transcribed and what are you working on now? i'm particularly intested in in solos that you think would good to start with. thanks!
i do scales and arpeggios.  i work on playing the stuff in different intervals a lot, and i also like to do fast arpeggios in the left hand while playing accompanying chords in the right.

i'll learn bebop heads in 12 keys, work on transcriptions, and do the rachmaninoff exercise five times a week.

my chops are great, though after looking at that peter nero vid of him playing chopin from the video room, well... more work to be done!
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

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Use the contact link at the top of the page.
i try to play new styles of music.  things with different rhythms and voicings that i'm not used to.  i also try to play new pieces (or old ones) off written music so i can't "cheat" my way out of something or fall back into patterns and shortcuts.  i think it really does improve chops as a whole.  

sort like jazzwee, i didn't start too young (at 12) and have had lessons but have somehow never had proper technical training.  so unfortunately my technical limits in some aspects of playing are fairly low.  i would like to correct that.

since i think it relates to this topic:
1.  how does one go about finding a teacher specifically for technique?
2.  do teachers get offended if you come in and say "look i'm sure you have a wonderful graded rep you teach and all, but i just want technique work while i study with you." ?
it's easy to learn technique with good classical teachers.  you just learn some classical tunes and they drill the proper technique into you as you learn them.  same as learning jazz- you learn some tunes and as you do, you incorporate harmony and other things you've been working on into the tune.
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.
this:  

ziggysane, as you know jazz teachers don't spend a lot of time focusing on technique. so one day, i watched a "teacher" recital and there was this incredible pianist. she blew everyone else away and she played the most difficult material (liszt). i asked here if she can teach technique and that's when i found out that she also learned only technique from one of her teachers. so she was very happy to teach me all that.

the point is that, you will recognize those with higher technical facility than others in classical music. and that means they work and learn their technical craft at a higher level. they will not be offended since they'll understand you're not into classical. and let's face it, they are doing this to make a living...
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