2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Week Deals
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
67 members (anotherscott, An Old Square, accordeur, bubbaXzone, BWV846, 22 invisible), 632 guests, and 540 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
I recently bought both Improvising Blues Piano (IBP) and Exploring Jazz Piano (EJP) volume 1 (both by Tim Richards) and I’m wondering about the best approach to working through them.

Would it make sense to do one chapter of IBP and the one chapter of EJP and go back and forth between the two books? Is there any reason not to do that?

Some background about me: I’ve been playing piano for over 20 years and although I started as an adult beginner, I am definitely not a beginner any more. I’m probably upper intermediate level now. I am a very confident reader and all the chord theory I’ve worked through so far in IBP is review. Playing and improvising over the left hand is harder of course, esp. since I am new to improvising.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 07/19/21 09:36 PM.

Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
When I first got the books, I just played straight through to get a feel for the examples. This is probably more of a "classical" approach, but it's a nice way to get the lay of the land.

After that, my initial approach was to work through each chapter, but, Tim Richardson chapters are progressive; they start at a beginner level and become more difficult as you move through the chapter. I found myself getting bogged down, usually around the last few exercises of each chapter. On the advice of my then new blues/jazz teacher, I instead practiced the first exercises from each chapter as a set and working on those all together - until I was ready for the next set. For example, practice the 1st exercises from chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc. as a set. Move on to the next exercise in each chapter when you feel you're ready. This last approach was the most successful for digesting and internalizing all the information in the book.

After that, I had an epiphany when I realized each chapter is really a study of each type of chords. So I found it helpful to go back and re-study a chapter (e.g. 6th chords) and switch it in my brain from"a chapter with 6th chords" to "12 ways to play the 6th chord". Mentally organizing the skills and info like that made it more readily available while improvising.

Re: Blues vs Jazz books
The Blues book is really a primer for the Jazz book, with the Jazz book taking the simpler Blues concepts in a different direction. So while the chapters overlap, the actual exercises are very different. Personally, I found it was overload to mix the two together, but depending on your level you might be able to do it.

The Jazz book also has progressive chapters, so practicing the easier examples at the beginning of each chapters and then moving on from there is also a valid approach.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
One other thing, I wasn't able to fluently improvise until I really got many of the licks/riffs/bass lines internalized. It took a long while to get them automatic so that I could comfortably improvise on top of them and apply different rhythms, skip/add notes, move across the keyboard, even mix up the riffs (e.g play half of one, followed by 2nd half of another), or even flip the timing at the beginning and end of a lick/riff/bass line (e.g. straight into swing time). If you really want to improvise fluently, this stuff has to have fully passed from your conscious to unconscious part of the brain so it just happens as you feel the music.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
Originally Posted by Groove On
Re: Blues vs Jazz books
The Blues book is really a primer for the Jazz book, with the Jazz book taking the simpler Blues concepts in a different direction. So while the chapters overlap, the actual exercises are very different. Personally, I found it was overload to mix the two together, but depending on your level you might be able to do it.
For me the Blues book was mostly 4 5 1 practice, while the Jazz was 2 5 1 - yah I know I'm Captain Obvious, but just in case.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Groove On, thanks for all of these comments!!

I think I will try going back and forth between each book and see how it goes.

Also, pardon my ignorance, but what does this mean:

Quote
For me the Blues book was mostly 4 5 1 practice, while the Jazz was 2 5 1 - yah I know I'm Captain Obvious, but just in case.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 153
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 153
4-5-1 are the chord numbers. In C that would be F - G - C. The standard chord progression in Blues.
2-5-1 would be D minor - G - C. Standard chord progression in Jazz (amongst many others).

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
ErfurtBob, right, thank you. I wondered if it might be that, since I know that I, IV, V (etc.) is just as often written in arabic numerals.

So, back to Groove On's original comment:

Quote
the Blues book was mostly 4 5 1 practice, while the Jazz was 2 5 1

What do you mean by this? Chord voicings, or chord progressions?

(Also, note to self: the fact that I'm asking this question probably means I'm doing too much *reading* of the left hand and not enough *playing* the LH parts based on those chord names...)


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Quote
the Blues book was mostly 4 5 1 practice, while the Jazz was 2 5 1
What do you mean by this? Chord voicings, or chord progressions?

Yes, I meant chord progressions. The Blues book focuses on 4 5 1 based progressions (e.g. 12-bar blues), while the Jazz book focuses on 2 5 1 based chord progressions. Just something to think about if you're jumping between books.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
... asking this question probably means I'm doing too much *reading* of the left hand and not enough *playing* the LH parts based on those chord names ...

Definitely. The "classical" play by the notes approach is marginally useful with the Tim Richards books (I know because that's how I started). Practicing to get fluent with the fundamental harmonies, hone your chops and build your vocabulary is where it's at. As someone pointed out, classical is about playing what's on the page, blues/jazz is about playing what's not on the page; with the best smart-ass remark being "well then where the heck is it, if it's not on the page?" wink.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Originally Posted by Groove On
Yes, I meant chord progressions. The Blues book focuses on 4 5 1 based progressions (e.g. 12-bar blues), while the Jazz book focuses on 2 5 1 based chord progressions. Just something to think about if you're jumping between books.

So, why is it a 4 5 1 progression (or 2 5 1) rather than 1 4 5 (or 1 2 5)? The chord progression doesn't start on the root?


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,437
N
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,437
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
So, why is it a 4 5 1 progression (or 2 5 1) rather than 1 4 5 (or 1 2 5)? The chord progression doesn't start on the root?
This is an interesting question. Classical chord cadence 14 5 1 = Tonic Sd Dom Tonic consists of two equivalent acoustically parts: 1 resolves in 4, 5 resolves in 1, there is no acoustic connection between 4 and 5, and 1 forms a circulation.
2 5 1 is no less interesting: in jazz in a pack 2-5 2 is a sprout from 5, and it can appear or not. However, in jazz they try not to leave 5 alone.
An unstable 5 is certainly resolved in 1. Therefore, cadenzas such as 125 and 145 are unfinished, and are used in classical music in the middle of constructions.

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Nahum, I was asking about how the chord progression starts, but you're talk about how it ends.

The 12-bar blues introduced in the first Richards book is goes like this:
1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 5 1 1

A variation is:
1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 4 1 1

If I had to describe that using only three chords, I would write it as 1 4 5 (or I IV V), because those are the chords used, and that's the order in which they appear (although there's more to it than that).

But Groove On wrote 4 5 1, so I asked about that, and now you're talking about the ending (resolution). I do understand resolutions (because I can hear them!)

But I am confused about this shorthand, and about the significance of saying that IBP (blues) is 4 5 1 while EJP (jazz) is 2 5 1.

Is it safe to translate that into the following chord progressions?
1 4 5 1
1 2 5 1

Although now that I said that, I realize that the 12-bar blues is one pattern, and I haven't started studying the jazz patterns yet....


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,956
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
But Groove On wrote 4 5 1, so I asked about that, and now you're talking about the ending (resolution). I do understand resolutions (because I can hear them!) But I am confused about this shorthand, and about the significance of saying that IBP (blues) is 4 5 1 while EJP (jazz) is 2 5 1.

I used 4 5 1 and 2 5 1 as shorthand, mainly because it's easy to see the two are related. As pointed out, they are commonly the ending cadences, but the actual progression can have many-many combinations - depends on the piece/song and mood of the musicians. Tito Puente's shorthand for it was - fo' five and he would tease people with that. (Do you know the fo' five?)

Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Is it safe to translate that into the following chord progressions?
1 4 5 1
1 2 5 1

Yes, to me, these are basically the same thing, a generic way to refer to pieces/songs using those chords.There are pieces that use that particular combination, while others mess with it and put them in a different order.

Here's a few 12-bar chord combos. I'd file these under 4 5 1 or 2 5 1. If we were working on an actual piece/song, I might refer to the specific chord combination; but keep in mind, even these chord combos are generic. One unwritten rule is that most of those are 7th chords and the actual pieces may contain additional chord qualities (diminished, half-diminished , sus, minor/major etc.). Even then people change all that while improvising - "so it's more of a guide really" (name the movie!).

1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 4 1 1

1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 4 1 5

1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
2 5 6 2/5

1 1 1 1
4 4 1 6
#5 5 1 1


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Ok, great thanks for this clarification!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 191
G
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
G
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 191
I was one of several who recommended Exploring Jazz Piano. I also bought the Exploring Blues book but I never really used it. After awhile I ended up getting the Exploring Jazz Piano 2 book. As for your initial question, it depends on your interests in various genres of music. The blues form for jazz is introduced in book 1.

Last edited by gracegren; 07/24/21 09:49 PM.

Kawaii ES-110; Casio Privia PX-S-1000
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Thanks for that comment, gracegren.

I am finding that a lot of what's in IBP (the blues book) is on the easy side so far, which is why I'm thinking to go back and forth between IBP and EJP (the jazz book), esp. since I don't have a background in this, so it's good to work through the stuff in the blues book to lay the foundation and then punch up in the jazz book.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 191
G
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
G
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 191
Sounds like a good plan!


Kawaii ES-110; Casio Privia PX-S-1000
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 219
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 219
Tim Richards' books never taught me anything. That may not mean that they aren't useful for many budding blues players, but without constant (and I do mean CONSTANT) listening to the recordings of the masters or live music, the books are useless. Try to play along with recordings, play with musicians that are better than you, and never, ever, try to play transcribed stuff off the page like it's a classical piece. Use the books as a bank of musical ideas, steal some of this and some of that, and then try to apply it to your own improvised blues playing, rooted in your listening experience.

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
7000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,037
Dr. Bekken, these books are definitely not useless for me. But then my playing experience (20+ years, traditionally trained, always playing from a written score) is quite different from probably most people who pick up these books. And my goals are probably different as well.

I'm having a blast with Improvising Blues Piano and am about ready to finish the first chapter, at which point I'll start chapter 1 of Exploring Jazz Piano and see how that goes.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 219
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 219
Oh man, I really don't want to knock your experience, ShiroKuro....I just wanted to point out that the classical, sheet music based, approach is very different from the original aural way blues piano was passed on from player to player. I think it is very important not to fall into the trap of believing the books can teach you everything. Listening and imitating (not duplicating) is the essence of blues learning. The books are fine, but will never give that essence.

Last edited by Dr Bekken; 08/12/21 08:09 AM.
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 04:38 PM
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 03:44 PM
My tech knows I am OCD
by RobAC - 12/02/21 02:09 PM
A little OT - a Thanksgiving Day piano float
by Rich Galassini - 12/02/21 01:50 PM
Preventing noise transmission
by happyhacker - 12/02/21 01:35 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,354
Posts3,150,268
Members103,492
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5