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
If you would like some help, call me.
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.