When the melody goes up crescendo. When the melody goes diminuendo. The change will be small unless the composer indicates otherwise. The other exceptions are clearly marked in the score. The last note in a melody before a rest is played gently unless the composer indicates otherwise.
Please check out the following recording.
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The three most neglected aspects of music study.
Theory: knowing what you are doing makes everything easier. The knowledge and application of theory allows us to discover and understand the notes which leads to insight and artistry.
How you think about the drum set, what you have heard, and what you understand about the musical past of the instrument determine how you play the instrument musically. Ed Soph, master teacher
History: Different eras of music sound different. Why? The study of the history of your instrument and the history of music in general will answer that question and help your interpretations.
Now the big one.
The list goes on.
Some folks have it easier here than others, but I can confidently say I started with a tin-ear and over time developed it to a remarkably high degree.
I can help you too.
Here are my thoughts for acquiring jazz chops.
1. Learn and memorize tunes by ear.
2. Join a band and play as much as possible.
3. Transcribe like crazy.
4. Record everything you do.
5. Learn more tunes.
6. Technique with a metronome. Various tempi.
7. Play Bach, Debussy and Faure.
8. Keep up your lessons.
9. Join a second band that plays only original music.
10. Write some original music.
Bonus. Read and explore the history of jazz prior to school.
If I can help you call me.
How to practice the piano.
What do I practice is the perennial question? Here are some of my thoughts gleaned from decades of my personal practice and observing countless numbers of students.
If I can help, call me. I've been teaching online for over a decade.
Jazz is primarily about rhythm and articulations, those tricky bits that are impossible to notate. Harmony is like math, fun for many and much easier to get your head around for most. Or so beginners believe. But when the moment of truth arrives at a jam session theory goes mostly out the window and instinct kicks in. Adam Maness explores this theme in his video "Why do I still suck".
Jorge Mabarak, on Facebook, puts it well, theory is a tool. I propose that rhythm is the key. And ear training is the secret to unlocking the mystery.
Here is a practice time breakdown that may work for you:
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The rankings follow the descriptions:
In my experience of teaching jazz, I would rank these traditional methods in the following order:
Jazz attracts adults of a certain type. Likely just like you. Professionally successful, academically trained, and determined to figure it out. The kind of person who sets goals, allocates resources, makes time, gathers intelligence from books and the internet, and then applies focus to solve a problem or pursue an opportunity.
Alas the kind of learning traditionally associated with professional success can lead a student off in the wrong direction when learning to play jazz. First, music is a manual skill which requires many years of practice to play at even a basic level of competence. Second, playing jazz is an aural skill. Manual skills and aural skills are not traditionally part of most people’s education. So, a mindset shift must occur. Those professional skills will come in handy though; I’ll just help enlarge them.
(Authors note I own more than 100 drum books, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts on drumming, I’ve subscribed in the past to a Jazz education subscription service promising great masterclass from my jazz heroes, and I live on YouTube. Furthermore, I own too many drum sets, snare drums, and cymbals. So, I understand.)
What can I do for you?
In short, I will present material to you in a logical fashion based on your specific circumstances and provide weekly feedback. Old fashioned teaching in a modern 21st c. multi-modal manner.
Playing well ultimately means playing by ear.
Adult piano students tend to rely on their visual and analytical strengths. The parts that lead to professional success. Their tactile and auditory sides are often weak.
“Tactile, what’s that?”
“Playing by ear? I’m no good. Or really?” They either have little confidence, or they are unaware of how to use this skill already in their possession.
Piano studies are traditionally a visual study based around the authority of the text. Obedience and deference are the watchwords.
But to realize your musical dreams and reach your aspirations this side will have to be developed and refined until you can confidently rely on it.
A classical pianist executes a game plan. Every note has been planned and rehearsed. They have tried different approaches and made their decisions. They have learned every note by heart to a point where they can play with the music. What they hear they can execute. What they hear is based on years of study, practice, transcription, coaching feedback, concert attendance, theory and history studies and lots more.
A jazz pianist plays what they hear in their head. They never execute an idea and say, "dang, where did that come from?' No way, their minds are singing just slightly ahead of their hands. What they hear they can execute. What they hear is based on years of study, practice, transcription, coaching feedback, concert attendance, theory and history studies and lots more.
Playing imaginatively by ear requires a rich reservoir of musical ideas and experiences.
I can get you started by helping you play by ear.
4 hours of practice: No Grinding.
Top 5 tips for practicing any musical instrument
General and Jazz Specific Theory
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Working through the Four Star Books is recommended. An effective book, but, hardly that exciting.
Sometimes we work out by ear famous Rock era "licks" or motifs from well know melodies.
The famous opening melody uses B, C#, and D. Have a listen and give it a go.
Classical motives are fun too. Opening motif is in C minor, starting on G. Da da da DAAA, da da da DAA
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted student and teacher of the drums.