Here are my thoughts the acquisition of jazz chops.
1. Learn and memorize tunes by ear. Generations of Jazz musicians have taken this route. If playing by ear is difficult, call me for ear training lessons.
2. Join a band and play as much as possible. A young musician asked Art Blakey how he could improve. "Play every night" was his response.
3. Transcribe like crazy. If this is difficult, I teach music theory.
4. Record everything you do. Recording yourself is the best feedback you have between lessons.
5. Learn more tunes. "The musician with the largest repertoire wins".
6. Practice your technique, at various tempos, with a metronome. All great musicians have a deep sense of time.
7. Play Bach, Debussy, and Faure. Jazz piano is notoriously diminishing of our left-hand skills. I practice classical music to maintain my left-hand piano skills.
8. Keep up your lessons. I’ve been taking lessons for over 50 years.
9. Join a second band that plays only original music. Playing original music solidifies the skills and knowledge of composition, theory, history, leadership, notation, and more.
10. Write original music for solo piano.
Bonus. Read and explore the history of jazz prior to heading to jazz school.
If I can help you call me.
Revised August 2022
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 percussionist and drum teacher.