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Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video #1205440
05/25/09 11:08 AM
05/25/09 11:08 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
TryingToPlay Offline OP
Full Member
TryingToPlay  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
I recently purchased Scott Houston's newly released 1-on-1 Series teaching video of Autumn Leaves. Here are some of my early observations:

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed. Although the video contains worthwhile information, it does not at all succeed in teaching one to play the tune like a pro -- which, by the way -- is what the cover art promises. I understand that the vast majority of all these piano teaching aids vastly over-promise. I get that. But this video contains lots of good stuff; if it included more details -- either in the DVD or via written material -- it would be far more helpful. The fact that it doesn't represents a disappointing deficiency. Let me explain further:

One of the later lessons of the course, Scott calls "Ballad Wrap-up". In this lesson, he says he is going to play the tune (in Ballad style) demonstrating techniques taught in the course. And when he plays the tune, he does demonstrate many of these. But he also includes multiple riffs that he has not demonstrated at all. And it is many of these that make the tune really listenable. Now it is not at all the case that these added riffs are exceedingly complex. Most have to do with the basic task of keeping the rhythm/harmony interesting. But it's not possible for me to learn them just from the play-through. I need to have them explained. And I expect that is the case for the typical buyer of the video. (Folks who can learn just by watching the play-through, don't need this course.) I'm not at all suggesting that I'd expect to be able to quickly play the tune the way that Scott does in the wrap-up. I understand that for most folks, playing well is a difficult skill to acquire. I'm willing to spend the time. My disappointment is based on the fact that he just doesn't sufficiently teach it.

If any folks are interested, I'll be glad to post a more complete summary of the course contents. Also, if there are players out there who also own the video and would like do discuss how we could possibly help each other with it, I'd be very happy to do so.

Lenny


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Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: TryingToPlay] #1205449
05/25/09 11:19 AM
05/25/09 11:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 552
N
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member
nitekatt2008z  Offline
500 Post Club Member
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Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 552
I have seen the Scott Houston infomercials in different segments when he also features other piano players demonstrating some standard tunes. I don't know much about his DVD's but you might want to check out the Sudnow Method. I have heard his program is very easy to follow and produces fast results if you practice the approach to learning how to play standard tunes with hip voicings. Check it out

katt

Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: nitekatt2008z] #1205569
05/25/09 02:49 PM
05/25/09 02:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
TryingToPlay Offline OP
Full Member
TryingToPlay  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
Katt, thanks for your response.

Re your comments, one of the shortcomings of the video course is that a few of what should be key segments are a bit too much like his TV shows where various colleagues play tunes beautifully with some commentary, but no real detailed instruction. (Don't mean to overstate this; the video does show Scott's hands very clearly while he plays, and his commentary is far more detailed than his TV shows, but -- to my mind -- much less so than required.)

And yes, Sudnow is quite popular on this forum; many folks have achieved fine results with it.

Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: TryingToPlay] #1206302
05/26/09 05:32 PM
05/26/09 05:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elssa  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
I've only watched a few of the Scott Houston videos on youtube but have to agree with you, Lenny.. He (or his guest) very often do riffs, runs & fills that are not explained at all, and I can't figure out what they're doing just by watching the video. It's annoying because it sounds great, but they don't give you a clue about how to play it yourself.

"If any folks are interested, I'll be glad to post a more complete summary of the course contents."

Yes, please do. Thanks. smile

Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: Elssa] #1206725
05/27/09 09:52 AM
05/27/09 09:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
TryingToPlay Offline OP
Full Member
TryingToPlay  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
Elssa, below is a summary of the course contents. As a prelude to that, let me mention that I listened to a number of tunes on your blog; you are a wonderful player. Have you had lots of training? Do you play from sheet music? --from lead sheets? -- by ear?

I was hoping you could give me some suggestions for improving my playing (other than, give up the piano). Here is a link to a rendition of Autumn Leaves that I recorded last November.

http://www.box.net/shared/6b1r5q3di3

Unfortunately, it is nothing like your recording of the same tune on your blog. Aside from the fact that there are multiple occurrences of my not playing on time, my recording is boring and thin; the arpeggios sound nothing like the flowing harmonies/rhythms on your recording. Let me ask a specific question about that: In Autumn Leaves, on measures consisting of one note held for the entire measure, do your arpeggios consist of eight notes? -- or more? Also, are you just running up and down using sequential notes of the chord? -- or do you do something else?

I'd appreciate any other hints you (or any other posters) might have.

Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Course Summary:
One DVD; 13 lessons:
1-4 cover his basic 1-note melody in RH, 1 block chord/measure in LH approach
5-6 cover some advanced chords and voicings. Instruction on voicings is very sketchy. He essentially advises to just spread out the chord notes between multiple hands and play the notes in different orders.
7,12 contain additional information on ballad styling.
8,13 contain additional information on up-tempo styling.
9 contains some miscellaneous tips/tricks
10 contains info on Intros/Endings
11 provides some info on Accompaniment

In addition, he provides:
-- two lead sheets - a basic and advanced. The advanced is identical to the basic but with the advanced chords.
-- two recordings of the tune, one which includes the piano portion and the other which omits the piano portion to allow the student to play along.
-- couple fillers of minimal value: bio of the composers and a discography.

Now this summary really doesn't tell anything about the value of the course. A course containing these chapter headings could be super great -- or not so great; as with so many other things, the devil is in the details. Although there's some good stuff here, for me, the details are less than expected.

For you, Elssa, it's hard to see why this DVD would be any of great value. Lessons 1-4 are far too basic for you. Regarding the more advanced lessons, your blog tunes already beautifully incorporate many of the riffs/patterns Scott tries to teach. Scott's up-tempo version, as just one example, is very much like your lovely jazz version.

Lenny


Last edited by TryingToPlay; 05/27/09 09:56 AM.
Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: TryingToPlay] #1206879
05/27/09 01:44 PM
05/27/09 01:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elssa  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Hi Lenny,

Thanks so much for your kind comments and for posting the course content outline! smile I've been thinking for a while now of making a little video of my runs & fills techniques, etc., and am going to move forward with that now. I'm a real newbie to that video techology, but I'll try to get it done soon. Sorry, but it's just too hard to explain in print what I'm doing with the runs, etc., and in my video I can show the exact hand positions and play it all very slowly and explain in detail (unlike most of the other instructional videos I've seen). confused My style and "stuff" that I do is just a mix of many years of playing, listening and lessons, pop/jazz and classical...For example, one of my left hand ballad patterns is straight from one of the beautiful Chopin Etudes. Thanks again. smile

P.S. I thought your recording was very nice! I can show you how to "fill it out" some more, though, in a video. smile

Last edited by Elssa; 05/27/09 02:00 PM.
Re: Scott Houston's Autumn Leaves Video [Re: Elssa] #1206908
05/27/09 02:30 PM
05/27/09 02:30 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
TryingToPlay Offline OP
Full Member
TryingToPlay  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 111
Raleigh, NC
Great, Elssa. I look forward to seeing your video. I suspect it could be helpful to lots of folks here.


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