hey all, just two quick questions:

1) i currently have no access to a car to get to the only jazz teacher i could find in austin (eddy hobizal) since i'm a poor college student. i've played classical piano for 9 years and i'm pretty good. what would be the best way to learn jazz piano/impro without a teacher (resources, etc.) and what kind of progress can i expect?

2) not sure if anyone here composes music at all, but i've been composing a lot of keyboard music on my synthesizer. even though i've played piano all through grade school, i never paid much attention to the music theory lessons so i pretty much know no theory. how important is theory with regards to creating your own music (as opposed to simple trial and error)?

thanks guys.
There are 7 comments, leave a comment.
1.  progress varies from person to person and for many different reasons.  this website is a great resource and it's free!  

the best way to learn any kind of music is to listen to it...a lot.  i think playing by ear is a must for playing jazz.  if you're not used to that, i would suggest picking out familiar tunes and transposing them to other keys.  if you combine listening with playing by ear, you will be well on your way.

2.  the music came first; theory came later.  i think of theory as the written part of the language.  you can certainly learn one without the other, but when you get familiar with both, i would think you would enjoy trial with fewer errors.  i think learning to listen first makes the theory easier to understand. (if you've seen a rose, then the word "rose" will be relevant to you)
i agree with dr. whack.  i would try to get into some live venues if you can and see some technique in action.  that has helped me as well.
spend a lot of time in the elephant bar in austin
this is a great time to learn music on any instrument. if you can get online, you can learn. just go to youtube and start looking up jazz lessons.

remember this: jazz is a science.  the harmonies, the melodies, the things you can do to improvise, it's all based on formula. you can study that from a book, like grammar.  get the mark levine jazz piano book, it's a great one for giving you all the formulas.

while you're doing that, get on youtube and find your favorite pianists and start copying what they are doing.  don't feel bad about copying stuff- how did you learn to talk?  you didn't make your own language, you copied what the people around you did. now that you're older and wiser you put your own thoughts into words, but you wouldn't have been able to do that unless you had copied in the beginning.

jazz is a language and thinking of it that way (rules of grammar, society rules of how to use grammar, etc) will really help you along.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

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hey! all this is fantastic advice and i'm mostly self taught and think you can learn a huge amount from listening to artists, transcribing solos, reading a few books and grabbing all the free online stuff you can find, especially on youtube. however i have stumbled upon on subscription based site that i really rate. the rates are very reasonable and it gives you full unrestricted access to a huge collection of piano video course for all levels, designed and taught very well by a guy called willie myette. the site is www.jazzpianolessons.com/ he also has now designed similar sites for gospel, blues and funk. i've just signed up for the free trial which i think he still offers, unlimited acess for like three days or something. i watched allot of his stuff in those three days and i have to say, even though i've already been playing jazz for years i still found this stuff really good.
maybe you could take a theory class at your college? it sounds like you have a good background with classical piano. learn theory, listen to lots of music and try to start copying things from recordings (transcribe)
i agree with scot, dr whack and others, but i personally find that working through a book, and ticking off the tunes, exercises and chapters as a i go, is a good discipline, and challenges me to master things that i otherwise would pass over.  i like tim richards improvising blues piano, and exploring jazz piano, but there are other (e.g. the jazz piano book by mark levine is a great resource).
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