i've noticed in every jazz book, website, or anything related to jazz, the emphisis is always placed on learning in all keys. songs, licks, scales, bass lines, everything.

but transposing to all keys takes alot of time. it takes alot of focus as well. for that reason, it seems to me splitting up and learning maybe three keys at a time very well seems more efficient, that way you don't get bored and unfocused. what's your opinions?
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yeah it takes alot time. break it down in small components. maybe start with a two or three note blues lick just in the right hand. then maybe learn an easy blues progression in all keys or 2-5-1 progressions.
also maybe do one or two keys a day.
when time is limited, i always suggest practicing things in mainly the five most common keys in jazz:
c, f, eb, g and bb
yep, those five keys definitely are the most common (for standards anyway):

take a look at this-"effective use of practice time vs. ........."
i think it's a good idea to make sure you're up on blues and rhythm changes in those (all) keys.  they really help ingrain how it feels, mentally and physically, to play in those keys - in other words you'll find it easier to get around.

after learning those changes, they are a great vehicle for you practice applying your palette of licks and ideas
my routine is to work a single key each night.  now, i wish i had the time to do everything in that key that i have or would like to work on but even that would take too much time given what i have to work with.  so instead i do some real basics (scales and arpeggios) just about every evening and they pick several things from the list (well, whatever i think of before i get tired of exercises and other repetitive stuff and head for tunes) and work them in the key of the day."  this seems to work as i find when i return to a key it seems stronger then when i left it.
i like to work on things in the "hard" keys. b, gb, e, etc... the standard keys are pretty easy for me these days, but it takes a little more effort to transpose into keys where i get into areas my fingers don't know as well.  seems to help quite a bit.
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playing in every key is good when you don´t really know what to practise. just try transposing the tune you play a half step upwards all the time and continue using the same voicing patterns. you will get a lot of new material to work with. that is what i do. transposing a tune only a half step at a time makes it easier to go back and check what you were doing in the key you already know. i have played a lot of tunes in every key. a good bebop head is also good to know in every key. i played donna lee in every key in both hands last year. that helped me a lot!!! i strongly recommend!!!
i always hated transposition so i never played anything in more than one key until lately.  why lately?  i have started to enjoy it as an old man.  all of a sudden i get a perverse kick out of it like i invented it or something.  its fun for me all of a sudden so the first thing i do once i have learned a new tune is learn it in another key.  but learning a tune in a new key used to be the equivalent of my momma yelling for me to take out the garbage...i did not take out the garbage and i did not learn tunes in more than one key.  did that hurt my carreer as a pianist and my general ability as a pianist?  yes i think so.  just like my momma dont like me as much as my other siblings.   but i still have had a damn good career as a pianist.  so is it absolutely necessary ?   no.      you can also tell your momma where to go sometimes too.  but in the end what do i tell my students to do?
transpose as much as you can      and
do what your momma says.
some thoughts about keys:

1. i like my boogies in c. f and g as well.

2. i play all my stuff in the c, f, g, bb and eb keys - as the 'home' key. the other keys are coming though - bridges in e, gb, db etc.

3. even in c you may have to play over a b7 chord - so you need to know the b scale - and which notes to flat or sharpen for #11 etc.
i practice my major scales in all keys because pentatonics and top triads in all keys crop up all the time - even when the home key is safe.

4. i do aspire to play in all keys - and it's coming. i play solo piano and i am not planning on sitting any exams so why spend my precious time trying to play songs in all keys - it doesn't help my creativity!!

u just ain't boogied till u boogied in db.  ray liked to boogie in db sometimes thats what made me try it... its cool.
ok - i'll move up half a step tonight!

ray brown?
ray charles?
one thing that inspired me to learn different keys was the way people like bill evans and dick hyman, when playing solo piano, would often modulate unexpectedly in the middle of a tune. i find it's a great way to break out of a monotony when you feel your solo is not going anywhere.
i've noticed that my favorite pianist, gene harris, played a lot of his songs in db.  i also heard that stevie wonder and ray charles liked to play in db because the keys had more "texture" and being blind, it was easier to play and feel around.
"i do aspire to play in all keys - and it's coming. i play solo piano and i am not planning on sitting any exams so why spend my precious time trying to play songs in all keys - it doesn't help my creativity!!"

if you play enough songs you will play in every key anyway, although maybe not every song in every key.
well i am not on a first name basis with ray brown.  but seriously i was not aware that ray brown plays boogie piano.  wheras ray charles was a master of the style.
i used to practice around the circle so that i will be ready when songs came across the plate that were in the difficult keys.

but there was a hidden benefit i found as well-jazz can get pretty chromatic and even if you're in the easy cheese keys, a little db or b can sneak in for a few measures...
i used to only play in db - before i started learning jazz i used to improvise pop songs, classical melodies, tv themes etc, always in db. it took me 15 years to try another key. i always found it easier to feel my way around on the black keys. c i think is a particularly hard key as there are no geographic reference points at all.

in the last 3 years i have started playing in all keys. i have heard somene say this before but once you have transposed into a second key, the third becomes easier, the fourth easier still and so on. after 3 years i no longer worry about transposing - it still takes thought, but it is no longer a real struggle. the main thing is that you must get the tune down properly in the first key, be able to sing it. then transposing is easier.
you played for 15 years in db and then you see c as a hard key!

i think i played in f for 10 years and still feel nervous about db!
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