Creative jazz practice: chapter 12, book 3

This is an extract from book 3 of Learn Jazz Piano. Click here for your link to all 4 eBooks Chapter 12: Creative jazz practice Keyboard                 The ideal is to practice on an acoustic piano, as the sound and action will always be superior to an electronic keyboard. However, if you are playing on an… Read more »

Jazz Practice

Why practise jazz? The obvious answer has to be that we practise in order to improve. But why does the very word cause many of us to go running for the TV remote? Is it just possible that the thought of jazz practice conjures up the brain numbing activity of running up and down scales… Read more »

Working with jazz singers

Understandably, most of my jazz piano students want to improvise; their prime aim is to solo creatively. However, my 40 years as a pro keyboard player has taught me that being given the opportunity to solo comes as a bonus. A more realistic expectation for a pianist is that we will spend most of our… Read more »

Teaching the blues is all a part of jazz!

A moment after writing the title of this article, up popped an image of John Lee Hooker smiling and shaking his head. “Nobody can teach you the blues. Blues is a feeling, something you have to live.” I tried explaining that I’m a jazz piano teacher and that teaching the blues is part of my job… Read more »

Stop playing jazzy. Start playing jazz!

Here is the third in my series of articles for the website ‘All About Jazz’ I concluded my last article in this series with a piece of advice handed to me by one of my old jazz piano teachers: ‘Don’t try to play jazzy.’ I’d now like to explore this statement and demonstrate how it… Read more »

Stop trying to swing in jazz

What do we mean by the word swing in jazz? Dave Brubeck tells the story that Miles Davis approached him at the end of a gig and murmured in his ear “You’re the only person in this group that swings.” Had Brubeck replied: “What, exactly, do you mean by swing?” I suspect he would have… Read more »

Playing without the dots

Playing without the dots Why you should memorise tunes Sheet music is just information, it’s not the music itself. The more you read what’s in front of you the less head room you’ll have for creativity. Playing without the dots opens up your ears! Which tunes should  I learn? This, of course, is very much… Read more »

Learning to play jazz

Play jazz: practice and theory Have you ever been asked the question “What do you do?” When I used to reply “I’m a singing coach” the usual annoying response was “Do you know anyone famous?” Now that I teach jazz piano, an equally infuriating reaction is “Learning to play jazz? How can you teach improvisation?… Read more »

Finding the sweet notes

Finding the sweet notes In video lesson 24 of Learn Jazz Piano  I focus on how songwriters employ ‘sweet notes’ to add that spine tingling effect to their melody. I then relate this to jazz improvisation and show you how to employ this technique in your solos. Here’s an extract from chapter 10 of my eBook… Read more »

How to play a jazz solo

How to Solo My learn jazz piano video course is now around half way through the series ‘How to play a jazz solo.’  There now follows a summary of these lessons so far with a link to my jazz course. Lesson 21:  Connecting hands   In this lesson I take you through techniques to incorporate… Read more »