Tomorrow Part 2. Learn more about Gary's jazz journey.
This is a sample from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. Title, composer, level.
Hey Jude Beatles
Prelude in C JS Bach RCM 5
Sonata in C 1767 Haydn RCM 5
Atacama Wynn-Anne Rossi RCM 2
Take the A Train Strayhorn
Sonatina in G Clementi RCM 4
Quiet Lagoon Jon George RCM 2
Mexican Jumping Beans
Serenade Franz Schubert
Saving the best for last Air Supply
Sonata in F Mozart RCM 9
March Dmitry Kabalevsky RCM A
1st Gymnopedie Eric Satie RCM 8
We Are The Champions Freddie Mercury and Queen
Dundas Blues Boogie Woogie David Story
Menuet en Rondeau Rameau RCM 2
Sneaky Sam Melody Bobar RCM B
Sonatina in G Thomas Attwood RCM 3
Charlotte's Daydream Pieter de Graaf
Intermezzo in A minor Brahms RCM 9
Cathryn goes to Hollywood David Story
Bouree in F Telemann RCM 7
Etude in D minor Czerny RCM 3
St. James Infirmary Trad Jazz
Sonatina in A minor Bender RCM 3
Study in D major Swinstead RCM 8
One interpretation among many possibilities. I marked the right hand legato and the left hand quarter notes staccato. These would be 'wet' staccato, or "portato". Slightly detached, but marked to give the music some forward momentum.
James Maddox present another lovely rendition closely resembling the edit above. He places less emphasis on the broken chords in measures 9 and 16 though.
Short, charming, relatively easy, level 5 and 6. What can a harpsichordist teach pianists? How to pace the music, notice the subtle flexibility to the flow of the music.
In the 2nd video the performer talks about the works.
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.
A partial list:
Adult Exam preparations for May and June 2021
1 RCM Prep A
1 RCM 1
1 RCM 3
2 RCM 7
3 RCM 8
1 RCM 10
Theory is fun. I'd forgotten how interesting and satisfying writing a fugue can be.
The performance is a computer rendition. To be playable with two hands I'd need to transpose the left hand starting at mm. 8., but then it wouldn't sound as rich.
If you would like some help with music theory call me.
Setting out to create your own music has many satisfactions.
But first a story.
I'm 13 years old, a self taught guitarist. Full of confidence I head off to music camp in Kirkland Lake Ontario in the summer of 1972. Oh boy! The instructor Harry Forbes, was kind and tolerant. Good thing, I sucked.
One day I spotted a strange looking keyboard in the corner of the room. I asked, "what is that Harry?"
"It's a ARP2600 Synthesizer".
"What does it do?"
"It does this"
"Holy *D*D(#KD+!" I was hooked. I've never looked back.
So why create your own music?
1. Personal expression.
2. Participate in the sound of our time.
3. Keep the "play" in playing music alive.
4. Creative exploration and discovery.
5. Learn some new instruments.
6. Join an online community of music makers.
7. Become a rich and famous DJ
Electronic music has some of it's own terms.
DAW Score paper
How to get started.
The cheapest way is to explore apps on your phone like garage band. This can be expanded with the addition of a specialized keyboard attached to your phone. $100+
Next up, purchasing a USB keyboard and a Digital Audio Workstation and pair of audio speakers. $500+
All in, purchasing a USB interface, USB keyboard and a Digital Audio Workstation, microphones, yards of audio cables, a pair of audio speakers, a specialized desk, and a room to put it all in. $5,000++
I can help you get started, call me.
How does a impatient student find the patience?
How does the piano teacher maintain the students enthusiasm while working with this constraint?
As long as we find time to work on core skills, it's great to explore repertoire way over our heads. We will have fun and learn a lot from the experience. But, if we neglect to cheerfully embrace the discipline of mastering core skills, we will grow bored and discouraged. In the end it's faster to learn the skills, embrace this discomfort of hard work than to jump all over the place.
Core music skills:
Here is a short story from my parallel passion of drumming. I devote a large chunk of my practice time on the core skills and fundamentals of drumming. I spend hours a week on time and tone. Yep, left, right, left, right or LLRR or RLRR and LRLL. I listen intently to the results. I analysis my movements. And on and on. I've learned to be patient. I've made some real progress over the last decade of study. I'm confident I will make more.
To learn more check this out: What do drum teachers practice? (superfundrumlessons.com)
Let me help you.
Call me. Let's get started.
Planning an interpretation
I can help you understand the plan my student and I created prior to "practicing" the piece.
So much planning goes on before we play.
Planning an interpretation
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.
A sample of what is on for this week.
Nine brave and committed adult students are preparing to sit for their classical piano exams this spring and summer.
1 RCM Prep A
1 RCM 1
2 RCM 7
3 RCM 8
1 RCM 10
If you would like to join us. Call me.
I'll send you a Zoom link, a list of learning materials required for the first lessons, and suggestions from colleagues on setting up Zoom audio and a picture on where to set up your camera.
See you in class.
You play primo.
Learn your part, put on headphone or ear buds and play along. Remember YouTube videos can be slowed if required.
I'm excited to share new ideas with my students going forward.
Over the duration of the classes, I've upgraded and tweaked my technology, lesson plans, and much much more.
So many students are seeking the "secret", the secret that sends them to the front of the line.
Alas, there is more than one secret. And they are all hiding in plain sight.
Here are a few of the secrets:
1. Practice technique with a metronome.
2. Master theory appropriate to your level, including harmony.
3. Read music history, knowing the repertoire and the historical context from whence it comes.
4. And most importantly, ear training. Connecting the ear with the hands.
Known by some students as the boring bits. Recognized by professionals as the exciting bits.
Below is a video of the Duke Ellington student staple, Satin doll. The video is cued for the B section or middle 8. Listen to the trombone "lick" played when the chord progression lands on F. Figure is out. It is in the key of F, starts on A. Now check out the video I've made on what to do with this lick.
If I can help, call me.
www.finchcocks.com/Finchcock Piano Courses UK
One week of piano among other pianists with 1st rate tutors, food, and wine.
Click above for more inf.
My students have eclectic tastes. I love it. If you would like join us, call me.
4 hours of practice: All joy, no grinding.
Top 5 tips for practicing any musical instrument
If you would like some help, call me.
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.