Visit Scot's personal site for various bits of outdated information:
There are basically two steps to being good at anything.
- Repeat step one
The trick is practicing right and concentrating on the details. Once you master the small things, the big picture comes into focus on it's own.
I've been composing and playing jazz piano professionally since 1989. Music has given me a lifetime of experiences and opportunities to enjoy life. I'm poor as dirt, but I enjoy my life!
My first jazz piano mentor was Marc Seales, the jazz piano professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He's a good "real world" teacher in that he teaches you to teach yourself - the way it is in real life. He is also one of the top monster players in the world. His blues and gospel background comes out in his bop playing.
I highly recommend the UW jazz program. Look for Marc's recordings- he is a monster player with a blues and gospel background.
One of Marc's philosophies has been a reason why I've enjoyed any sort of success at all: take care of business first then there is time for play.