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Piles of books and videos.....and don't use squat


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Trying to learn jazz piano, I have amassed all types of Aebersold play-a-longs, pdf's from the net, instructional videos, forum posts and the sort.

 

The problem is that after about a year I still am not progressing and don't know one tune thoroughly. I have learned a couple of tunes and have picked up a few things but are all long forgotten.

 

I still sit at the keyboard and noodle for hours on end maybe throwing in some hannon here or there or doing some exercises.

 

I have the jazz piano book but haven't really started on it because I seem to be in this perpetual search for the answer to unlock my playing. It probably goes back to there being an endless supply of info available so we try to go through it endlessly searching for what strikes us as the most effective.

 

Having said that I believe I need to focus on a limited strategy. But where to start? The play-a-longs? Levine? what?

 

Right now I'm interested in being profficient in solo ballads and being able to pull off some nice extended dim and altered scale runs.

 

 

***note: a teacher is not an option and I can sight read chords and identify the notes on a staff but thats it

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I think you need to set some specific goals, both short and long-term. But only do this after you have an idea of what you want to do overall. That should be something specific, not just "be a better player" or "be a jazz player." You have to know where you are going in order to get there.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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***note: a teacher is not an option and I can sight read chords and identify the notes on a staff but thats it

 

Getting a teacher would have been my suggestion but you're not open to that suggestion ... and why is that not an option?

 

It would seem you've wasted a year of your life and not really accomplished anything regarding the piano. Instead of asking for free advice why don't you .... nope, can't do that.

 

This is a dilemma.

 

Post again in a year and next time give us more options.

 

You know, there's a 12 half step program that seems to work for some folks but you have to believe in a greater Power than yourself ... a divine being .... a teacher.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Well my short term goals are to learn some dim runs,

improve my timing and accuracy, use my fourth finger more,

and to incorporate melodies into my playing (used to playing in bands where I had bass in LH and chords in RH).

 

Ultimately I want to be able to do some jazz gigs and be profficient in the various styles.

 

 

For a few months I did Hannon religiously learned a couple of tunes and would practices scales chord etc. and it helped but I felt like I hit a plateau and fell back into using my practice just noodling.

 

Anyways, just wondered what you all thought should be focused on in order of importance. Or what you found to be an effective strategy at the intermediate stage.

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Fair enough.

 

I'll start doing that again.

 

I guess I stopped because it wasn't helping me develop my sophistication in voicings and soloing.

I was just playing the same chords in the same way I already knew.

 

Thanks

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Pick a song that has really cool voicings for the first one that you learn. I am not much a Jazz guy but, maybe a nice Bill Evans piece. He always made things sound good....IMO

 

I would rethink finding a teacher. I am thinking about hooking up with a jazz teacher and I have played for over 42 years. Last time I took lessons was about 12 years ago. It is just good to get another perspective and to hear things through another set of ears once in a while.

 

My problem is my reading skills are gone. I can write down what I play but I can't read worth a darn anymore.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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If you need "drills" - here's one.

 

Improvise on ii-V7-I in *every* major key. Use the diminished (half-whole) scale on the V chord *exclusively*. Slow the tempo as necessary in order not to make any mistake.

 

Every time you go thru the circle of fifths, choose a different order for the keys. For example, semitone up, semitone down, circle of fifths, circle of fourths (descending fifths), whole tone up or down, etc.

 

After a while, send me an mp3. :D

(better yet, post it here!)

 

 

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Fair enough.

 

I'll start doing that again.

 

I guess I stopped because it wasn't helping me develop my sophistication in voicings and soloing.

I was just playing the same chords in the same way I already knew.

 

Thanks

Learning songs top to bottom is the first step. Pick tunes you really dig.

 

Along the same lines, pick a jazz pianist who plays those sophisticated chord voicings and solos. Transcribe their work.

 

Of course, being able to sit down and work things out with a teacher would be better. Otherwise, technology provides a workaround.

 

Unless one is born with a gift, there is no way to get around putting in the work. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Thanks marino thats the type of suggestion I was looking for.

 

These are the types of runs I'm trying to get under my belt but are to difficult for me to get by ear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGg1oKS0um0&NR=1

 

I know this a common type of run. Any suggestions on tunes or albums that may have something a little simpler to start off transcribing but can lead in this direction?

 

***I don't endorse Rosenwinkel but I just stumbled upon this

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I'll give one piece of info though really suggest you study with someone.

 

If you happen to play a line you like, analyze the shit out of that line using numbers. Bear in mind there are only 12 major keys (14 on paper) at the keyboard and by reducing every thing to numbers it makes it manageable. That 'lick' starts on scale degree x, travels diatonically to scale degree x .... and so on.

 

If I play a line I like, I work it up in all 12 keys. I don't think letter names, I think numbers, relationships, chord tones, diatonic tones, half step below chord tone, diatonic step above chord tone ..... etc., etc., etc..

 

A teacher will explain this to you and administer the information in bite size portions.

 

When you finally hook up with a good teacher you'll come back and tell us how much time you saved and what a bad decision it was to teach yourself.

 

Bye ... and good luck.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Thanks marino thats the type of suggestion I was looking for.

 

These are the types of runs I'm trying to get under my belt but are to difficult for me to get by ear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGg1oKS0um0&NR=1

 

I know this a common type of run. Any suggestions on tunes or albums that may have something a little simpler to start off transcribing but can lead in this direction?

 

***I don't endorse Rosenwinkel but I just stumbled upon this

 

No offense but you don't need Carlo to tell you to focus on one thing, you can do it yourself.

 

I know what it is to have so much learning material you don't know what to practice. Then I learned to just focus on ONE THING at a time. So what if your other books sit there untouched for months? You'll get there, maybe. But often it's much better to run in one direction than to constantly jerk yourself back and forth and back and forth.

 

Just sit wtih the instrument and work out a cool diminished run. It won't take long. Just play some of the scale tones and meander through some changes. THEN take that and work it through different keys, different sitautions. Don't get nervous about the fact that while you're doing that you're not working on your Hanon or your classical or a tune or your voicings or your latin playing or your composing or your arranging or your ear training or your bebop or your transcribing. You'll do that another day. But stick with a concept for awhile and really dig in. Chew on it, get inside it. It's fun. And guess what, while you're doing that, you really ARE working on your technic and ear training and a tune. Because all that stuff goes along with it.

 

And don't put so much pressure on yourself to progress! I've been there and life's too short. If you do that it soon gets to the point where you hate to sit down and practice at all - it's like failing a test everytime. That's obviously not a useful atmosphere to try and be creative in and not why we do this.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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fb000, I feel your pain. I've been in the exact same predicament for the last 5-6 years. I also have tons of books, watched videos, etc. and yet still couldn't unlock the mystery. LH bass and RH chords is also my biggest problem. After so many years you have to learn a whole new way of playing, and that could be very tough and make you lose patience. I find that the difficulty with learning jazz on piano is that you have to learn to play all the roles. You got to play the head, you have to solo, you sometimes play bass lines (solo work) and do all of those while you comp rhythmically. It could be a bit overwhelming at first.

 

So I tackled one thing at a time. First learn to comp through songs comfortably. No solos, not even the head. Just comp. Experiment with different voicings. Learn how to build the harmonic density throughout the song, and pull back when the bass solos. When you feel comfortable, add the head. After, embellish the head (add fills in-between lines, play with melody while staying true to the spirit of the song. At this point you could start sitting in on the bandstand. You could be able to play virtuosic solo all you want, if you can't comp while others solo nobody wants to play with you. Once you've achieved this then start to do very simple solos, and work your way up from there.

 

Personally, I only started to "get it" when I started getting out there on jam sessions and play with others. Don't forget that in Jazz, nobody plays any standard the same way. So when you've played a song like Stella By Starlight in 5 different styles and 5 different grooves and tempos, that's when you could say that you've learned that song.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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For 20 years I wanted to play jazz, and accumulated a lot of instructional material, although it was much slower going in the days before the interwebz. But just as rubbing medical texts with your hands won't make you a doctor, just having all these Mehegan books didn't make me a jazz pianist.

 

Two years ago I joined a smooth jazz band. That simply exposed how little I knew about jazz. The demos on our band website are painful evidence of that.

 

One year ago I put myself under a teacher - the head of the State University's jazz dept. - a blunt, uncompromising instructor who's kicking my butt and identifying the many flaws and weaknesses in my playing. And working with me to specifically strengthen those weak areas. That's stuff that cannot be done with only books, tapes and private practice.

 

Everyone I play with has remarked how different my playing has gotten in the last 9 months. While so much has changed, I still realize how far I have to go, and still hear so many things with the inner ear that I cannot yet translate into my playing.

 

So at least anecdotally, I'm a guy who was in a similar place as you are, and found the best solution for me was...a teacher.

..
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Have to second everyone, sounds like a teacher is what you need. You of course have to learn to teach yourself, but that is part of what you learn from a teacher, in addition to the music itself.

 

Also, as far as plateaus go, they are a natural part of musical development - everyone hits them. How you respond to them - sounds like you "relapsed" or gave up, at that point. Instead,

 

1.) Hitting a plateau may be an opportunity to focus elsewhere. For example, you could have dropped the Hannon, and taken that time to learn the tunes you already knew in all 12 keys. Or transcribing a particular solo that you like, or whatever - some new task.

 

2.) Think of persevering, and trusting that you will get some momentum again. If you are working out at the gym, and hit a plateau after a few months, you don't stop working out. You tough it out, and eventually, you get off that plateau - so you are developing mental discipline.

 

You'll have to fine tune your balance between change and perseverance - you don't want to give up on something and never revisit it when you hit the wall, but you also don't want to spend a year practicing just the same 4 tunes.

 

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