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Self-taught piano (jazz) #2369519
01/04/15 09:00 PM
01/04/15 09:00 PM
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jazzy_caz Offline OP
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Hi all, I'm new to this forum (I was informed that I originally posted this in the wrong place). I'm actually mainly a drummer, and have picked up some patchy piano advice along the way and tried to learn on my own, but haven't taken proper piano lessons. I mostly play jazz these days on drums, and have learned some basic piano voicings by going through Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book, and have also sat in on a few courses in jazz harmony.. I can play some jazz standard heads by memory, and have tried to play along with a couple of solos on these standards (from Miles Davis cds, and Charlie Parker using the omnibook, but after I learn them I tend to forget them quickly!). Things are progressing slowly, but I'm wondering if things would progress quicker if I got some proper lessons. I just wanted to ask some experienced pianists, has anyone been at this stage and found that getting lessons really helped to move things forward, or does it sound like I'm doing the right things on my own?

Since it's a second instrument I kind of enjoy that there's no pressure to practice scales/arpeggios and to worry about technique etc, and I wonder if getting proper lessons would force me right back to the beginning and away from the aspects that I enjoy.

Thanks for reading,
Caroline

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Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2369528
01/04/15 09:33 PM
01/04/15 09:33 PM
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KlinkKlonk Offline
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I started taking classical lessons to work on technique some ten years ago, and it had a huge impact on my facility, but it was also "boring" as in scales, arpeggios and god knows - and then applied it to jazz. So, in my opinion, yes, lessons would probably help you advance faster, but like you say, it might also spoil your fun.
Why not try and transcribe some Charlie Parker and figure out the fingerings as you go? If you use some software to slow it down and sing along with it I think you'll have an easier time remembering it. And it will expand your hearing

Cheers.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2369571
01/04/15 11:10 PM
01/04/15 11:10 PM
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Dfrankjazz Offline
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A good jazz teacher would be 100% benefit to you.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2369690
01/05/15 07:59 AM
01/05/15 07:59 AM
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dire tonic Offline
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greetings Caroline. I had a couple of lessons years ago which amounted to little more than being pointed in the right direction. I think if your natural curiosity is alive and driven you can get a long way under your own steam. I see from your YT recording you've got a great little band so why not just quiz your keyboard player from time to time? Pure exploration on the piano - finding things out for yourself - is an unparalleled adventure. I can't say there aren't shortcuts but when the penny drops through your own trial and error it really drops with a mighty clang! And whatever you learn, you can push into all twelve keys. Two things about that; i) it's a big job in itself which requires deep commitment but no guidance and ii) you'll discover a great deal about the relationships between keys and, crucially, the topography of the keyboard. Nothing, but nothing, is as important is having this intimate familiarity with where the notes are and how they're going to sound when you play them. (I should say other than playing in 'popular' keys this is advice I never even followed myself.... until now, already an ancient arthritic, all too late!).

As to online teachers, I'm sure you know there are plenty of them who simply cannot play or play very badly so if money's going to change hands, make sure you vet them thoroughly beforehand!

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2370007
01/05/15 10:41 PM
01/05/15 10:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
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raleigh, nc
JazzPianoOnline Offline
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caroline, a few lessons with a good teacher will immeasurably improve your playing. it sounds like you are curious enough to drive your own learning so a bit of info will go a long way.

check out me free lessons. they can help you with chords, improv and more.


Bill
bill@jazzpianoonline.com
www.JazzPianoOnline.com
Comprehensive, in-depth jazz piano lessons on any device.
Yamaha DC7
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2370151
01/06/15 10:01 AM
01/06/15 10:01 AM
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jazzy_caz Offline OP
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Thanks for your replies. Dire_tonic I've spoken with the pianist in my band and we're going to try trading drum/piano lessons for a while. I've heard people suggest to others about transposing things into all 12 keys - I did it with Autumn Leaves, just with playing the head and then trying to solo over the top a little in each different key.. It's hard work, but is probably a really good way to get familiar with 251s and minor 251s in all keys, it got easier as I went. Do you really do this for everything you learn?? I'm a bit concerned that I lack decent ideas and phrasing in any one key just now, but hopefully that'll come with time.

KlinkKlonk, I did try that a bit with slowing down Charlie Parker, using the software Transcribe, although I really struggled with his fast phrases so cheated and started using the omnibook.. but the plan now is to try learning the notes then play along with the slowed down recording. I think it'll be a long time until I can get any of these solos fast enough though!

JazzPianoOnline - thanks, I'll check your website out.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2370200
01/06/15 12:35 PM
01/06/15 12:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,047
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dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzy_caz
Thanks for your replies. Dire_tonic I've spoken with the pianist in my band and we're going to try trading drum/piano lessons for a while. I've heard people suggest to others about transposing things into all 12 keys - I did it with Autumn Leaves, just with playing the head and then trying to solo over the top a little in each different key.. It's hard work, but is probably a really good way to get familiar with 251s and minor 251s in all keys, it got easier as I went. Do you really do this for everything you learn?? I'm a bit concerned that I lack decent ideas and phrasing in any one key just now, but hopefully that'll come with time.

No, but I wish I had done it! A lost opportunity...but I do it now and I'm sure it's paying off. As you say, it gets easier. Also it gets your fingers to stay alert - the same idea in a key remote from the familiar one will probably need different fingering. Ideas and phrasing...yes, those are the biggies. But if you already have the seed of an inspiration or a way of identifying the hurdles and how to talk about them then you can open up a discussion here and there'll always be a response, often a lengthy discussion! Ideas will flow.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2370252
01/06/15 02:32 PM
01/06/15 02:32 PM
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzy_caz
I'm a bit concerned that I lack decent ideas and phrasing in any one key just now, but hopefully that'll come with time.


Get a book called "Blues Scales Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Greenblatt. It will help you see the light.

Quote
I think it'll be a long time until I can get any of these solos fast enough though!

You're not supposed to get the solos "as fast as Charlie Parker". You're supposed to learn each little piece (building block) and learn how it makes sense musically, so that you can put together these building blocks in a way you like at appropriate places in the music. But in my opinion you're jumping ahead of yourself. You need to learn the basic chord progressions and voicings first.



Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/06/15 02:34 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Michael Martinez] #2370309
01/06/15 04:17 PM
01/06/15 04:17 PM
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Nahum Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez

Get a book called "Blues Scales Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Greenblatt. It will help you see the light.


I wrote a review on it in Amazon - a very practical book.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: dire tonic] #2370841
01/07/15 07:30 PM
01/07/15 07:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Originally Posted by jazzy_caz
I've heard people suggest to others about transposing things into all 12 keys - I did it with Autumn Leaves, just with playing the head and then trying to solo over the top a little in each different key.. It's hard work, but is probably a really good way to get familiar with 251s and minor 251s in all keys, it got easier as I went. Do you really do this for everything you learn??

No, but I wish I had done it! A lost opportunity...but I do it now and I'm sure it's paying off.


You call yourself a jazzer but you don't play in 12 keys?



Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Michael Martinez] #2371007
01/08/15 04:19 AM
01/08/15 04:19 AM
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dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
You call yourself a jazzer but you don't play in 12 keys?

- you can call yourself any manner of things on the internet. I'm sure you know that as well as anyone....

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Nahum] #2371369
01/08/15 08:40 PM
01/08/15 08:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
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36251 Offline
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36251  Offline
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez

Get a book called "Blues Scales Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Greenblatt. It will help you see the light.


I wrote a review on it in Amazon - a very practical book.


Could someone sum up the major concept from this book? I like finding alternate studies on improvisation but I've been burned too many times to just purchase them all. I've been reading reviews and it seems cool and so does another book by him "Minor is Major!"

12 keys - Eventually the work has to be done in other keys, but I think it might be more important to be a master of one key, as long as you are breaking it down rhythmic and harmonically. This way when you think you're ready, migration should be easier. Of course, this encouragement is something I need to get better at smile


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2372220
01/11/15 06:43 AM
01/11/15 06:43 AM
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dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251

12 keys - Eventually the work has to be done in other keys, but I think it might be more important to be a master of one key, as long as you are breaking it down rhythmic and harmonically. This way when you think you're ready, migration should be easier. Of course, this encouragement is something I need to get better at smile

I see the virtues in this approach too although over time some fluidity is bound to spill over into a key's IV or V neighbour anyway. Working musicians of necessity will be playing in a variety of genre-dependent popular keys. I would never bother to attempt to do 'everything' in every key; the deeper you dig into one key the more burdensome 'all keys' becomes, obviously. These days I try to spread attention around the keys by, for example, noodling a couple of days in Eb on one idea or tune followed perhaps by a similar spell in A on something quite different.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2372247
01/11/15 09:36 AM
01/11/15 09:36 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251


Could someone sum up the major concept from this book? I like finding alternate studies on improvisation but I've been burned too many times to just purchase them all. I've been reading reviews and it seems cool and so does another book by him "Minor is Major!"



[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]





Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2372688
01/12/15 03:35 PM
01/12/15 03:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
California
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez

Get a book called "Blues Scales Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Greenblatt. It will help you see the light.


I wrote a review on it in Amazon - a very practical book.


Could someone sum up the major concept from this book?

Yes, shows you how to develop meaningful phrases, starting with a three-chord blues tune using a *single* blues scale, then slowly introducing additional scales and how to transition from one to the next so that you are playing the changes. The main thing that makes this book smart is the type of exercises that he asks you to do: you slowly build up a vocabulary of phrases, some are his. Also he doesn't confuse you with theory. It's about playing and listening. But probably the biggest selling point is that he teaches you to play jazz in the way that a lot of people learned to play it 60-100 years ago. Nowadays they don't teach you like this, but back then you started out playing blues then you learned how to adjust the blues scales and transition from one to the next to fit the jazz chord changes. The CD that comes with the book reflects this: first "simple" blues. Slowly but surely progressing. By the end of the CD it is true jazz improvisation. In my opinion a much more natural and better approach than the "surrounding chord-tones with approach notes" type of thing that is the "Berklee-school version" of teaching jazz.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/12/15 03:41 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2372936
01/13/15 07:00 AM
01/13/15 07:00 AM
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So I found part of "Blues Scales Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Greenblatt," on internet and the major concept seems to be, play traditional blues scale on IV an V degree of blues. For the the I chord play traditional blues scale a minor third down. The author didn't explain it that way but it seems to play out that way.

I realized I've used that concept since I first started playing, although not to the extent of really developing my own concept.

I'm not sure what happens after about page 24. For those of you who own it; is there any other major concepts or just exercises based on premise I highlighted?


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2373120
01/13/15 03:13 PM
01/13/15 03:13 PM
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251

I'm not sure what happens after about page 24. For those of you who own it; is there any other major concepts or just exercises based on premise I highlighted?


Keep reading. It gets more involved.


Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Michael Martinez] #2373200
01/13/15 06:59 PM
01/13/15 06:59 PM
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36251 Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by 36251

I'm not sure what happens after about page 24. For those of you who own it; is there any other major concepts or just exercises based on premise I highlighted?


Keep reading. It gets more involved.


Not ready to buy the book. Google books didn't have whole book. I'm assuming they remainder of the book talks about adding notes to those two scales so they'll work in non-blues tunes.


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2373498
01/14/15 03:58 PM
01/14/15 03:58 PM
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251
Not ready to buy the book. Google books didn't have whole book. I'm assuming they remainder of the book talks about adding notes to those two scales so they'll work in non-blues tunes.


A wrong assumption, but you seem convinced of yourself regardless


Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Michael Martinez] #2373545
01/14/15 06:11 PM
01/14/15 06:11 PM
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36251 Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by 36251
Not ready to buy the book. Google books didn't have whole book. I'm assuming they remainder of the book talks about adding notes to those two scales so they'll work in non-blues tunes.


A wrong assumption, but you seem convinced of yourself regardless


Please don't tell me how I'm feeling. I'm not convinced about anything. I'm just trying to get someone help me understand the book, which can be more useful.

Maybe you can demonstrate how it's helped your playing?

Last edited by 36251; 01/14/15 07:46 PM.

AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: 36251] #2373725
01/15/15 06:15 AM
01/15/15 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 36251
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
A wrong assumption, but you seem convinced of yourself regardless

Please don't tell me how I'm feeling. I'm not convinced about anything. I'm just trying to get someone help me understand the book, which can be more useful.

Maybe you can demonstrate how it's helped your playing?

-quite!, how about it, Michael? You have a lot to say for yourself yet, apart from a recording of 'Misty' which I think was from your days as a beginner (and now absent from your website!), your piano playing is an unknown quantity. It's not at all clear that you're competent enough to press even your recommendations with any authority, let alone to 'educate'.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373812
01/15/15 12:27 PM
01/15/15 12:27 PM
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RonDrotos Offline
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Hi Caroline,

As a pianist, I'm actually a little jealous that you already play drums, since I struggled for a long time to get my hands working well together, rhythmically!

You can relate to your question, though, since I was largely self-taught as a jazz pianist until I got to college, when I took jazz improv classes (at UCONN) and studied with jazz pianist BillyTaylor during the summers. For me, I had lots of fun before I took lessons; practicing out of books, jamming with my friends, etc. When I started taking lessons, I found that a lot depended on who the teacher was. I found that some of my teachers tried to teach me to play like them, while others (such as Dr. Taylor) encouraged me to develop my own style at the same time I assimilated what they had to offer.

In retrospect, I'm VERY glad that I started taking lessons, but it was at the right time for me. In my case, I needed to "find my own way" for a few years before starting lessons. I would have progressed faster with lessons from the beginning, but my early experiences on my own gave me the excitement of exploration and teaching myself, which I think all musicians ultimately do.

If and when you decide to take lessons, make sure your teacher teaches YOU, especially since you already have a lot of musical experience. Good luck with your music smile


Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373856
01/15/15 02:15 PM
01/15/15 02:15 PM
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by 36251

Maybe you can demonstrate how it's helped your playing?

It's for my students, and it does help them a lot.

Originally Posted by dire tonic
-quite!, how about it, Michael? You have a lot to say for yourself yet

The day you post something of your own, then I will respond. But I'm not holding my breath, because I've asked you that before, and you always have some lame excuse why you can't. What will it be this time? You have arthritis? Your keyboard is in the shop for repairs?
Quote

your piano playing is an unknown quantity. It's not at all clear that you're competent enough to press even your recommendations with any authority, let alone to 'educate'.

This is funny coming from a guy who claims to be some sort of music expert but you can't play in 12 keys. In addition to recordings that I have posted, anyone can pick up one of my books on harmony, particularly the later volumes, and can judge my competency for themselves. In your case, you are nothing more than an anonymous internet entity with no publications, no writings, no recordings.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/15/15 02:18 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: Michael Martinez] #2373888
01/15/15 03:53 PM
01/15/15 03:53 PM
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- just to be clear, I'm ready to upload something non-classical if you are. I have never made any excuse - lame, arthritic, material or otherwise - to avoid posting a recording. The PW archive will confirm your dishonesty in saying otherwise. You can already catch some Mendelssohn, Grieg, Chopin, Joplin and there's an upcoming Schumann - all YT performances under my PW moniker, diretonic - easy to find.

No, I am not an 'expert' but I'm a retired professional having worked in a number of commercial fields. I make no claim about myself in my posting signature. I express my opinions to have them rejected or accepted on an equal footing with anyone else here who makes no claim about themselves. On the other hand you - without any notable skills or ideas if your posts are anything to go by - have awarded yourself the title 'educator' seemingly to steal some respect and I guess to lure some unsuspecting students?

Quote
In addition to recordings that I have posted

I don't see any recordings or links to your recordings on your website or anywhere else. Or are you claiming to be the Youtube MM? But he plays pop rather than the jazz or salsa that you claim to play. He has a different bunch of friends and has quite a profile - one which given your nature I would expect you to trumpet loudly. Also, you would surely link to those videos from your website? You don't.

It would be fairly easy to confirm your separate identity as fact, one way or the other. If you are one and the same I will eat my piano and apologise grovelingly.

There are countless books available many of which are a rehash of the same-old. I canít vouch for yours. Perhaps someone will post about it and sing its praises?

Quote
you are nothing more than an anonymous internet entity with no publications, no writings, no recordings

Since Iím anonymous in this forum, how can you know what I have or haven't done outside it?

Incidentally, it probably wasn't such a bad idea removing the link to your recording of Misty but don't you think an 'educator' should have at least one recording to showcase his abilities?

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373903
01/15/15 04:27 PM
01/15/15 04:27 PM
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Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 6
Thank you for your many responses, I appreciate you all taking the time. I'm yet to begin lessons with the pianist I mentioned above, but am looking forward to it. The Dan Greenblatt book looks like a good progression for someone at my stage from the table of contents. One thing I'm trying to avoid that I've run into with drums, is getting oversaturated with new material - so I'm not ready for a new book just yet. For now I've made a list of 10 jazz standards, and plan to stick with these and only try out new principles that I can apply over these tunes, to limit things. I'm enjoying trying these tunes in 12 keys (slowly!), and playing arpeggios and parts of scales over them along to Aebersold backing tracks... With no fixed rhythm, so the phrasing is a bit more natural. Along with learning bits and bobs from the Omnibook. That in itself seems like it could take forever! If I can get the right facilities in future, I'll try posting a video of playing one of the tunes. There's a long way to go, but it's definitely fun so far smile

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373983
01/15/15 07:48 PM
01/15/15 07:48 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 984
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member
36251  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 984
Here's a little free publicity since you choose to not be anonymous.



AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373988
01/15/15 08:06 PM
01/15/15 08:06 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,047
uk south
D
dire tonic Offline
3000 Post Club Member
dire tonic  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,047
uk south
- an odd coincidence, same name, same state, but they're different players, different agenda, different website/address. This guy (above) is a very competent pianist, mainly pop stuff.

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: jazzy_caz] #2373990
01/15/15 08:09 PM
01/15/15 08:09 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 481
K
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member
KlinkKlonk  Offline
Full Member
K
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 481
and he seem genuinely nice...

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: KlinkKlonk] #2373991
01/15/15 08:18 PM
01/15/15 08:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,047
uk south
D
dire tonic Offline
3000 Post Club Member
dire tonic  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,047
uk south
Originally Posted by KlinkKlonk
and he seem genuinely nice...

yes, that too!

Re: Self-taught piano (jazz) [Re: dire tonic] #2374002
01/15/15 08:51 PM
01/15/15 08:51 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
E
EM Deeka Offline
Full Member
EM Deeka  Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
Looks like unsupervised visiting time now ...

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