Scott gave my Improvising Blues Piano book a rave review some years ago, Last year I posted some free tuition clips linked to the book. They are linked to a few basic blues left-hand styles:
1. Walking Bass Lines
2. Walking Bass Lines (two-bar patterns)
3. 'Barrelhouse' Left Hand
4. 'Yancey Special' Left Hand
5. Left-hand Shuffle/The Rocks
Hope some of you might find them useful. I've just posted some clips for my Exploring Jazz Book too...
Thanks a lot for this video. I don't yet have the book, but it's at the top of my Amazon wishlist and it'll be the first thing I grab for sure. I was wondering: Do you think learning blues piano is a good solid foundation for learning jazz piano? I'm studying out of Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book, and so I'm learning important foundations (I'm only still doing the inversions, taking my time trying to really internalize them in every key), but when I came across this video, I couldn't help but think this would be a great thing to add to my practice routine because it actually works on my chops - I'm a complete newcomer to piano, so although I've studied out of Levine's other book, The Jazz Theory Book, I have no instrumental technique to speak of. I guess what I'm asking is whether these exercises would be a good way to start on piano. I've been doing exactly what's being shown in this video for a week now and I'm still just working on the first chord rhythm you introduced, but I'm seeing definite improvement (until I try and move up to F, where I inevitably accidentally play an E minor triad instead!). I'm finding this video contains enough information for weeks of practice by a complete "newbie", just by working on that all-important hand independence. But mainly my question is: Do you think blues provides a good enough foundation for learning jazz piano? As opposed to starting with classical? Thanks again.
You don't necessarily need classical lessons unless you have some question with your piano technique. It certainly would not hurt to take some classical lessons for a few months just to make sure you're playing right and not going to run into physical problems later in life that will force you to stop playing - carpal tunnel, tendonitis, shoulder problems, hand/wrist problems, etc.
One of the things I notice the most about people who are self taught is that they use their fingers for power. Obviously you have to use your fingers to play, but all power should be coming from big muscles- forearms, shoulders, triceps.
The best trained players have rubbery looking fingers and they won't ever damage themselves. Self taught players often appear to be jabbing at the keys, and even though they may sound awesome, it's only going to lead to injury eventually.
Learning how to play jazz from Tim's vids and books is a great way to go and if you want to continue the self taught thing, be sure to take videos of your hands while you're playing and post them here so we can see if you're doing anything that's going to lead to trouble down the road.
Two things you want to do as you learn to play is start your practice sessions off with scales and arpeggios. Find videos that will help. And, start with "hard" scales, not easy ones. B, Db, E, A, etc...
Keep us informed of how you're doing!
Thanks for the reply. That's a good point, a teacher at least provides that feedback, yeah. I'm taking my time and trying to do it the right way, not in any hurry, and during scales I notice myself become more relaxed and legato as I warm up. I definitely don't want the injuries, so I'll keep a close eye on my form and use of my shoulders and arms. I may also look for lesson with a teacher if I can afford them. I don't have a aversion to classical, either, I love Debussy's stuff (I naively bought a book of his piano music, having no IDEA what level of playing that music requires, wow), Ravel, Bartok, etc. (I also can hear how classical can contribute to one's playing jazz when I listen to Bill Evans and Chick Corea). I'm thinking of checking out Alfred's Adult All-In-One course, too.
Keep us informed of how you're doing, it's great to see people make some progress.
Alfred's are great classic learn piano books- I had them when I was first studying classical as a kid.
In addition to the books, I forgot to mention one of the best ways possible to get good at jazz fast: learn songs by ear. Start simple with some blues or something, but try to learn everything the pianist does. Don't spend a lot of time on stuff that makes you crazy trying to figure it out, but get the melody down, some comping chords and/or rhythms, some of the cool licks the pianist does in their solo, things like that. That's the "original" way of learning jazz, learning via the ear (by rote), and guys who do it this way make progress at light speed compared to learning everything from books.
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.
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.
Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.
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.
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