hi folks:

so as a refresher, i'm a hobbiest. i taught myself to sheet read and play from thompson's classical method years 1-4, then took jazz piano lessons for about 1 year. i was away from piano for almost six years until recently when i was given a piano as a gift from a local church. it's a wurlitzer 1959 45" upright. sounds pretty good. has firm key presses and a nice walnut finish and pretty good tone.

i have a few jazz piano instruction books. recently, i started with noah baerman's beginning jazz piano for review, finger exercises, and getting back to basics. i have his intermediate book as well.

where i left off in my previous studies was learning a bunch of music theory and chord constructions through 7ths and 9ths. but no improvisation and no real use of extensions. i was taught to read lead sheets, circle of 5ths, tri-tone sub, chord construction.

but my playing was not what i'd call jazz. my teacher never showed me what i was after...no fault of his. just a part of the short time we had together. but i really wanted to learn how to add extensions to get the start of the jazz sound...9ths, 11ths, 13ths. and i wanted to learn different voicings (block chords, spread voicings, etc.) to play as a solo pianist. and i never learned improv of any kind.

so here i am today. i'm going through noah's book quickly and slowly. quickly in that the knowledge is coming back very fast. slowly in that my body forgot how to play and my fingers need re-training. it's fun, and i'm enjoying myself.

so what today's post is about is help regarding self-directed learning and approach towards getting to my goal. i'm a hobbiest. i want to be almost like a coctail piano player (yes, laugh all you want, but i love it!), to play jazz standards with rich jazz harmonies, melodies, and a bit of improv.

i'm wondering if anyone can advise me whether noah's books are the right path to take or if they have other recommendations? i'm also wondering if there's any printed curriculums out there that i could use by myself to develop my skill through a road map of learning on my own.

remember, i'm a hobbiest. i'm not interested in going to berklee. and i'm not interested in becoming some professional player. i just want to get to an intermediate level of jazz *solo* piano.

i'm having fun with a little ipad app called ireal-b that is like a pocket version of band in a box. i plug in the movements of a lead sheet or lesson from baerman's book, then practice playing along with it doing the drums, base, guitar. one day, when i have money again, i'll probably get band-in-a-box. but today that's outside my budget.

i'm not looking for short cuts or cheats. but i'm not looking to get a phd in jazz either. i just want to get back on a course of learning that can get me down the road in a disciplined manner.

so any guidance would be appreciated. learning paths, curriculums, better books.

one day, maybe i'll have the funds to get a teacher again. but as before, here in buffalo , ny it's not like it's a hub of jazz instruction. toronto's probably the closest but i don't have a passport.

any mentors want to offer any guidance? i'm really just trying to find a roadmap of learning i can put together to get me to where i want to go!

thanks for reading and i'll await your advice! thanks!
There are 4 comments, leave a comment.
so i looked in teh book review section here and saw the referrals to exploring jazz piano 1 & 2.

i think i'm going to give them a try. on the surface, they seem exactly what i'm looking for.

anyone have any thoughts?
the question is whether tim richards exploring jazz piano (ejp) is "exactly what you are looking for", and your goal is "self-directed learning and approach towards getting to ...[playing]... almost like a cocktail piano player ...to play jazz standards with rich jazz harmonies, melodies, and a bit of improv."

the answer is that ejp is a good book, i recommend it, and it does include some techniques for playing solo jazz piano.  however, the focus of the book is much wider than that, and is aimed at teaching you the range of techniques required to develop as a jazz piano player, usually playing in a band or combo.

i should also note that improvising blues piano (ibp) is recommended by the author as preparation for ejp.

i'm no professional, and have been using both ibp and ejp for a few years, and have found them very helpful.  however, there may be a more direct route to your goal.
thank you for the thoughts.

what do you think the more direct route to my goal is?  i'd be very open to your suggestions.

i've been practicing noah baerman's books to catch back up to where i was before. i've a bit to go to get to where i was. my fingers still have suffered so much in memory loss. four finger chords (in one hand) aren't comfortable at all, like they used to be. so i'm using these books from baerman for now as they seem to cover much of the knowledge i used to have.

last time i played and took lessons, i enjoyed myself. but i dabbled too much and didn't follow any real structure or method. my piano teacher didn't really have a curriculum as much as he was teaching me music theory (chord construction, intervals, etc.). it was good.

but this time around, i really want to follow a regimen to get better on a self-directed basis with help from you folks and friends online. i'm much poorer this time of my life, and can't afford lessons.

so i'm hoping to develop a curriculum of study, perhaps find a good method (richards?). at least the richards books seem to use standards. baerman seems to make up tunes. interesting, i guess.

i'm just lost and wandering. i figure i'll do the baerman books for now until i can define a clear pathway forward.

when i get a little money, i would like to get ibp and ejp 1 & 2. i don't know. i'm just lost. i know where i want to go, but don't really know how to get there.
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