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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3031985 10/04/20 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Okay, I have this book, and started the first lesson today. This better be good, or I'll be comin' back here to hold you all accountable! laugh

Always ready! ⚔️

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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3033241 10/07/20 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Okay, I have this book, and started the first lesson today. This better be good, or I'll be comin' back here to hold you all accountable! laugh

Haha, that's awesome. I feel somewhat confident...but...I guess we'll have to see how it shakes out. wink


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3033523 10/08/20 06:42 PM
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Don't worry: it's a big book, so it'll be a while before I finish it ... laugh


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3046264 11/15/20 03:54 PM
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Sigh. This is really hard. :I I'm moving REALLY slowly through this book, partly because it's only a small part of my daily practice (which is primarily devoted to classical), and partly because I want to make sure I'm really learning everything thoroughly, but even so, I feel like I should be moving faster. I have no trouble learning the music as written (I'm early RCM level 5, so I'm not hitting much that's above my general technique level), but the improvising ...

Like more than one person in this thread has said, as soon as I start thinking about what I want to play in my right hand, my left hand screws up. It mostly happens when I am (or should be ... ) changing chords. I can keep the simple LH pattern going pretty well if I stick to one chord, but then I get lost in my solo and forget to switch chords, or remember but screw up the fingering / shift.

I have every intention of keeping at it, and I don't mind putting in the work and taking the time; still, I'd like to be able to improve blues piano before I'm 100 years old ... I'm already experimenting with a different approach to the material where I break the "etude" right hand parts into licks, and learn to mix and match licks rather than thinking of it as coming up with melodies "off the cuff" as it were, and that's working a little better. Still, I can't help feel like I'm doomed to failure ... frown


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3046370 11/15/20 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
...Like more than one person in this thread has said, as soon as I start thinking about what I want to play in my right hand, my left hand screws up....

That is it in a nutshell.

And .... sadly .... there is nothing to be done about that other than practicing that left hand part until it is on auto-pilot.

And .... there is nothing you can do to speed up the process .... other than .... practice it some more.

Good Luck


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3046503 11/16/20 08:18 AM
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Yah, everywhere I go, I keep hearing "automatic left hand," but I also keep hearing, "and I can't do it." smile It makes me wonder if there's something else going on that would help to know.

I think about when I play classical, including things like Bach where the hands can have very independent parts. I don't simply put one hand on automatic pilot and focus on the other; I let one hand go on automatic pilot for a few seconds while I focus on the other, and then switch back and forth.

I wonder if an approach like that might help me more. Maybe memorizing some RH licks to mix and match with the "pure" improvising would help, since I could put the RH on auto-pilot during a lick while focusing on making the chord change with my left hand. Or something like that ...

Time to experiment!


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3046577 11/16/20 11:13 AM
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Hi Theophilus

The automatic left hand thing worked for me for boogie-woogie. I have 3 or 4 different LH boogie patterns that I can do without thinking about them. My RH is then free to improvise. As Don said it is simply bloody minded repetition.

However, another aspect to consider is the form itself. Assuming it's the 12 bar blues form, you should be able to hear when the chord changes are going to happen. If not listen repeatedly to some examples, to get the form ingrained in your mind.

So it's not only repetition of the LH pattern, it's also repetition of the 12 bar form itself.

Well that's how it worked for me, but of course we are all different!

I've not bothered to read the large number of previous posts here, so I'm probably just repeating something that's already been said. And I've assumed that we are talking about an ostinato LH part.

Cheers


Simon

Vox Continental 73, Casio PX-S3000
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Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3046599 11/16/20 11:54 AM
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Thanks, Simon: I appreciate the feedback and encouragement. I'll certainly keep at it, and we'll see how it goes. I just fell as though, for me anyway, there's a gap between "here's an example" and "now improvise!" laugh I suspect I need to ingrain more RH stuff alongside the LH stuff, whether that's licks, arpeggios, scales, or whatever.

Onward!


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3046939 11/17/20 03:14 PM
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A bit more practicing today and observing myself ...

Thinking about the first Beginner's Boogie (pg. 15) with the R353 quarter note LH pattern. I'm still mostly screwing up when I change from one chord to the next. The problem isn't knowing / hearing the changes (I've been playing upright bass in jazz combos since I was a teen, decades ago ... ), and the problem isn't the automatic R353 pattern; the problem is when I need to change the fingering to facilitate the shift, playing R353 R352 on the F or G chord before switching back to the C chord. I keep playing R353 R353 and then screwing up the shift because my fingers aren't in the right place ... I'm working on switching my attention to the LH for just a second to remind myself about that 2, but without the RH crashing. Slow practice is helping, as is just playing RH ideas that let me pause for a second, or at least keep my RH fairly stationary, so I can concentrate on the LH shift.

On a happier note, I'm playing the Beginner's Boogie on page 18 well enough as written that I was ready to give improvising a shot. It wasn't perfect, but it went surprisingly well. I think even though the LH pattern is a bit more complex, it's easier for me because I don't have to switch up the fingerings the way I do in the previous Boogie. It also helped when I took the approach I was thinking about in the previous posts, mixing and matching bits of the various RH parts from this and the previous Boogie, transposing them to the relevant chord, etc., rather than simply trying to come up with something out of thin air. Thin air is still the goal, but this does seem to be a good bridge between learning the written part and the thin air part.

Fun stuff!


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3048332 11/22/20 03:32 PM
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Another random observation: I seem to do better at improvising when I don't look at the keys any more than I have to in order to make a major shift / jump / change of position. When I close my eyes and try to hear the music and just feel my way around the keyboard, it seems to go much better. Weird ...

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 11/22/20 03:34 PM.

Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3048393 11/22/20 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Yah, everywhere I go, I keep hearing "automatic left hand," but I also keep hearing, "and I can't do it." smile It makes me wonder if there's something else going on that would help to know.

I think about when I play classical, including things like Bach where the hands can have very independent parts. I don't simply put one hand on automatic pilot and focus on the other; I let one hand go on automatic pilot for a few seconds while I focus on the other, and then switch back and forth.

I wonder if an approach like that might help me more. Maybe memorizing some RH licks to mix and match with the "pure" improvising would help, since I could put the RH on auto-pilot during a lick while focusing on making the chord change with my left hand. Or something like that ...

Time to experiment!

You absolutely can do that.

The only thing that really matters is having one hand playing something that needs very little attention while the other hand is doing something that needs much attention.

However, you have to be careful not to turn the entire piece into an ARRANGEMENT where you know in advance what each hand is going to be playing. If you do that .... you are not improvising.


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3050171 11/27/20 02:46 PM
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Note to self: GO SLOWER!!! laugh That's really helpful when attempting to improvise ...

I'm also reminded of what the local jazz band teacher tells his students when they are learning to improvise in the Jazz Band class (in which I sit on the occasions when he's lacking a bassist): keep it simple. There's a tendency to want to keep playing non-stop, coming up with a different idea every other measure, but that's not only difficult, it's usually unmusical. Sometimes just coming up with one idea, repeating it, varying it, transposing it from chord to chord, etc., can be much better.


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
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