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Do jazz pianists have a personal coach?


delirium

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Just wander, every professional sportsman has a coach, classical pianists have it too, how about professional jazz pianists?

Are they mostly on their own and they learn and improve themselves mostly through contacts with other players and listening?

 

I know in this forum there are many great players, so how do you guys keep in shape and improve. Just alone practice plus performing?

 

I was actually thinking about getting one, since sometimes I sit at the piano and Im not sure where Im heading :freak:

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I would sayyy...not.

 

I think probably most people have had a teacher at some point, when getting started on the piano. But once you reach a stage of technical profficiency in music then the need for a mentor to point you in a direction with improvising kind of defeats the purpose because to me improvising is meant to be something you yourself are doing and making up but if your being taught it then its not really your imagination, its your tutors.

 

I think that the way to become good at improvising is just to listen to a LOT of music! And pic up ideas from the greats of times gone by.. That way your improvs are not the brainchild of your own personal tutor, but a collage of ideas from all places on which you can stamp your own personality and style.

 

That said, I'm 17 and I'd consider myself fairly decent at improvising, but when it comes to grade 8 classical I'm afraid a teacher is required for me :(

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Get a teacher!

 

It will force you to find some musical goals, and your teacher will provide tactics to achieve those goals. When you stop progressing, take a break or find a different teacher.

 

... but good teachers get harder to find as you progress.

 

Luck.

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hanon.

 

Hardcore style. It makes you get bitchin chops... if you can withstand the awesomeness.

 

I dunno having a teacher is cool, coz you totally have to reach quotas and stuff to impress them... it's like having a coach is more motivation to practice coz you're getting judged and you might suck.

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personally I think I need sometimes more a muse then a teacher. But that topic is not about me, I'm not a pro (yet :) )

 

I wander what They do to stay on top, also I didn't use word "teacher" because at that level it

is more a mentor/master thing then a teacher.

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Well I've said this before Delirium, a teacher is important. I couldn't possibly progress to my current pace without a teacher. My teachers are top people in jazz. But each of them, as good as they are, still had mentors, and not necessarily a piano player.

 

In jazz, there's always someone better than you. Or there will always be someone better than you. And the level of expertise is so high that I don't think a lifetime is enough to learn everything. If these masters are humble enough to accept that, don't you think they understand that mentoring is essential? Problem is that these mentors are dying (or have died).

 

And I don't mean they take classes. Sometimes it's an exchange of opinions about one's music.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I always travel with one. Between sets he gives me a bottle of water to drink from and a bucket to spit into. He throws a towel around my neck and sometimes massages my shoulders. He gives me pointers on how to approach my opponent and is, well, he's just always in my corner.

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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im most definitely not one of those "many great jazz players" in this forum, but one of my teachers who was a very well respected jazz pianist in Sydney was.

 

while she was one of the busiest gigging pianist in the city, she still took out some time each year to attend masterclasses and stuff (she passed me on some notes/ex from a Barry Harris masterclass she attended). She also used to maintain lessons with a classical pianist while she wasnt touring. so more like a Hometown coach!

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Yes, in my experience, it's not the PROFESSIONALS who think they know everything!

 

Actually, I have dealt in my time with beginners who may (or not) be talented, and you can't even SUGGEST anything to them! "Who are you to tell me...??" "I ain't nobody, but if the band modulates from C to D, you have to, too.. simple mathematics..." 2+2=4, right, regardless of who I am or who you are....

 

But then again, I was a beginner once, too, and so had to learn humility the hard way... if indeed I have learned it.....

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Let's see:

 

Jazz musicians play music the average person barely wants to hear and don't get paid much to do it.

 

Athletes work for billion dollar corporations and get paid huge sums of money to play games.

 

I don't think most jazz musicians can AFFORD a coach. OTOH, athletes have coaches regardless of whether they want them or not. ;)

 

Beyond "formal" training i.e. music theory, jazz musicians study recordings, practice and jam with others.

 

If a musician already knows the language, how to read and/or play the tunes, what is the purpose of a coach or teacher?

 

Practice this, play that, voice it this way, etc., sounds more like a disciplinarian.

 

Jazz educators have really just found another way to make money in addition to gigs. I'm not mad at them. :):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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Originally posted by ProfD:

Jazz educators have really just found another way to make money in addition to gigs. I'm not mad at them. :):cool:

For some Jazz educators, it's because no one would hire them for gigs...
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Originally posted by kanker, apparently:

Originally posted by ProfD:

Jazz educators have really just found another way to make money in addition to gigs. I'm not mad at them. :):cool:

For some Jazz educators, it's because no one would hire them for gigs...
Knowing these 'jazz educators' first hand, let me say you've got it all wrong. I can mention names and gigs (but I won't publicly -- I'll tell you if you PM me). These same top jazz musicians you watch teach too. That's where I get my teachers. Gigging is tiring. They travel. They sleep in hotels just enough to get 8 hours and they're moving on again. So given that, obviously, they can get a little rest by staying home and teaching. My teacher is out this week gigging all over the country. Couple of weeks ago he did a live recording of a performance. As good as these guys are, they don't have the ego to say that they have stopped learning. Maybe that's why they are at the level where they are.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Originally posted by Jazzwee:

Knowing these 'jazz educators' first hand, let me say you've got it all wrong. These same top jazz musicians you watch teach too. As good as these guys are, they don't have the ego to say that they have stopped learning. Maybe that's why they are at the level where they are.
I don't need names or gigs. I know top flight musicians too. ;)

 

I am curious to know what they teach. Is it how to apply alternative scales, modes and/or chord voicings to "Misty" or something else?

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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Originally posted by Jazzwee:

Knowing these 'jazz educators' first hand, let me say you've got it all wrong. I can mention names and gigs (but I won't publicly -- I'll tell you if you PM me). These same top jazz musicians you watch teach too. That's where I get my teachers. Gigging is tiring. They travel. They sleep in hotels just enough to get 8 hours and they're moving on again. So given that, obviously, they can get a little rest by staying home and teaching. My teacher is out this week gigging all over the country. Couple of weeks ago he did a live recording of a performance. As good as these guys are, they don't have the ego to say that they have stopped learning. Maybe that's why they are at the level where they are. [/QB]

I agree, I believe it's the natural thing when you

become a master in some proffesion, you'd like to share your knowledge not only for the money but also not to let it die with you.

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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Originally posted by ProfD:

Originally posted by Jazzwee:

Knowing these 'jazz educators' first hand, let me say you've got it all wrong. These same top jazz musicians you watch teach too. As good as these guys are, they don't have the ego to say that they have stopped learning. Maybe that's why they are at the level where they are.
I don't need names or gigs. I know top flight musicians too. ;)

 

I am curious to know what they teach. Is it how to apply alternative scales, modes and/or chord voicings to "Misty" or something else?

For my teachers at least, there's little discussion of theory. It is just assumed that has been answered at a basic level. When I'm given a tune, I'm expected to know all the scales and common subs.

 

This is the comment I got once: "What is the difference between us and these jazz greats?" (referring to Dizzy, Coltrane, Evans, etc.). "The difference is their profound understanding of 'time'."

 

That in a nutshell gives you an idea of what is being taught.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I still get together with one of my old teachers to just catch up, play together, and basically exchange ideas. We have more of a peer relationship now, rather than student/teacher. The things we discuss are usually more conceptual, not technical, and it's a two-way street.

 

Also, classical pianists only retain a coach/teacher (the words are really interchangable) for competitions up to a certain level. Like everyone else, at a certain point they go out on their own.

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Jazwee,

 

I took another lesson last night from my Teacher. 16+ years of Jazz piano now as you know. Although my initial technical studies probably stopped around year 8, during the past 8 yrs. though he has functioned as my coach I would say, though I do not define it in those terms!

 

Through that time (past 8 yrs.) I gigged extensivly every weekend sometimes 2-3 gigs a week. I had lost my day job and basically used my music to make my income playing and teaching for the first time in my life for about 2 full years of those 8. He got me into teaching very successfully.

 

The lessons now are more like 2 players getting together and hanging. I play , he plays, we talk, we listen , we play again etc etc... Goals are still very much set and every week there is a new layer, a new angle, a new approach and a new growth....

not alot of written music is involved anymore, though transcription and ear training and singing solo's are!

 

He also has become a good friend and it's

a friendship I would like to keep for many more years to come. It's really become more than a music lesson!

 

This kind of relationship really depends on the teacher as a teacher foremost I think. In jazz because it is so multi facited, endless ideas and skills exist... it is a land of endless chops really weather you play piano or horn of drums or bass or guitar! It is not for everybody...

 

I do consider myself lucky to have had it

in my life ...... It was probably the most enriching thing I have ever done for myself..

 

I don't think this kind of relationship is easy to find though......I do believe the Tristano influence on him beside his own nature did help foster it though as LT and Sal Mosca(his teacher) are noted for their teaching legacies...! Almost similar to classical music teaching..

 

I do basically what I want outside the lessons goals though, whatever music I want to play!

 

Again I'll site the fact Pablo Calallas

in a documentary on PBS from about 15 years took a lesson every week into his 90's and he was considered the gretest cellist in the world!

 

A musical life is not just gigging/recording! It can be much more than that...... and I have gigged probably more than most since the age of 15!

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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As Bridog6996 said, it's more of a peer relationship now. I still pay him though, He's very inexpensive compared to other piano teachers/coachs of his level anyway! It's a very good deal!

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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"What is the difference between us and these jazz greats?" (referring to Dizzy, Coltrane, Evans, etc.). "The difference is their profound understanding of 'time'."
Here's a tab for Summertime... use your own understanding of 'time' to spread the notes out :D .

 

http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/8325/summertimegv5.jpg

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Okay, I guess coach/teacher is another aspect of woodshedding. Still, we don't have to pay/charge for the exchange of information. :P: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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Originally posted by lerber3:

"What is the difference between us and these jazz greats?" (referring to Dizzy, Coltrane, Evans, etc.). "The difference is their profound understanding of 'time'."
Here's a tab for Summertime... use your own understanding of 'time' to spread the notes out :D .

 

http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/8325/summertimegv5.jpg

I don't have Summertime leadsheet to look at to analyze what you displayed lerber3 but I can almost guess that we're talking mostly chord tones here. So I'm going to guess that the mystery of the music is not just in the selection of notes, but when and how the notes are selected (time and phrasing).

 

I guess we all know this. ;)

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Profd,

 

you said:

 

Okay, I guess coach/teacher is another aspect of woodshedding. Still, we don't have to pay/charge for the exchange of information
That's hard to find I think! Unless all the people on the Forum liver close to each other maybe!

 

I agree though, like the relationship between Bud and Monk that was supposed to be a special dialog, I heard they could hang out and not talk alot to each other just play and hang! A deep understanding.

 

I would prefer not to pay but I didn't know any other way to do it. Most of my old friends were into Rock and Roll and the one good old well trained piano friend I had moved to Manhatten. . . He was more compositional anyway.... became a very successful gingle writer...we exchanged info.... but early on he charged me cause he taught at the old Jazz Workshop across the street from Lincoln Center.. that set the tone of the relationship, pay for knowledge.. We were young (28-29) and he needed the bread,so!

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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Again I'll site the fact Pablo Calallas

in a documentary on PBS from about 15 years took a lesson every week into his 90's and he was considered the gretest cellist in the world!

Cello lessons or piano lessons?

 

(We're taliking about Pablo casals, right? In addition to his primary instrument (the cello), he played the piano. Without having seen that documentary, I would guess he took piano lessons ... but that's just a guess.)

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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"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear ..."

 

I don't know what "most" jazz players do, but I do know of some very good players around here (they get to be sidemen in national acts and/or have a pretty big name for themselves locally) do continue to take "lessons" from time to time. If someone has knowledge you want to study indepth, and you aren't in a band with them, and having them explain and show things to you is feasible for them to do in a series of discussions, why shouldn't that person be paid for their time? That's how I look at it.

 

I personally don't take regular lessons anymore, but I am always learning. Sometimes I pay for instruction or the occasional lesson, sometimes (and mostly) I just learn from playing with players who are better than me, but it's all valid.

 

One thing in common I've noticed with better players is, they always seem to be open to learning. I'm inspired by their example and hope I never stop learning.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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