This course is an introduction to learning how to REALLY play piano. It uses jazz as an example, but can apply to any style of music you want to learn. Music can help you in your daily life. No, it can't solve everything, but it can connect you with something bigger than yourself, and offer refuge and connection in yourself, and for others when you ultimately play for and with them. Yes, it takes some discipline, but even a minute a day is a start. This course presents information in a clear and simple way. It doesn't teach you "pieces" that you learn like typing. It teaches you how to connect your ear to the piano, and ultimately, play whatever you feel and hear inside. And the piano is so fun, like a giant box of color paints that never runs out, so you are learning a skill that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
We will look at such things as keyboard geography (the keyboard is like a city you visit, and learn to walk around!), the importance of good time and how to keep it (it's learning a rhythmic dance!) by tapping your foot, how songs are made of two melodies, how a good song teaches you its own harmony (no paper no nothing needed!) how to play what you hear, not hear what you play. We look at how to connect your singing voice to what you play on the piano (I don't care WHAT your 3rd grade teacher said about your musical ability, all humans are musical!!), with the ultimate goal of having fun, expressing your own musical soul and playing for yourself and if you want, for and with other people.
It's also really cool to note that a recent study based out of Harvard Medical School shows that "Music has the unique ability to go through alternative channels and connect different sections of the brain." Musicians have an "enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight." and "the ability to improvise improved brain connectivity resulting in less dependence on working memory." In other words, Music wires you up to better see the world. It's like having a magical ability. And, it's never to late to learn.
Most Jazz is taught in what I consider a disconnected fashion. You get lots of info on reading notes or charts, playing scales, what mode works over a chord, the mathematics of harmony, etc., butthey never really talk about learning a song and improvising with it at its most simple, fundamental level.
It is interesting to note the Art Tatum, long considered to be the greatest Jazz Piano player who ever lived, couldn't see.Errol Garner, another amazing jazz pianist,who composed "Misty,” couldn’t read music.So what's going on here?This course will tell you.It will teach you to learn piano like the greatest players always have, from the ground up, by ear, using your fingers to feel your way, governed by the rhythmic dance of time you teach to your body.Accept no shortcuts.
Here we begin to discuss the why's behind learning to play what you hear, at a very simple level, to begin mastering jazz piano.
Some people would argue that jazz is a specific repertoire of songs. In this lecture, I give my particular take on this subject.
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In this lesson, we learn a common language forfinding our way around the keyboard, and describing the locations we find.
- A piano/keyboard, one working ear, two working fingers, and a willingness to explore.
- You'll learn and understand the basic skill set that the best players use to learn to play Piano.
- You'll grasp how to connect your ear to the piano, in order to play what YOU hear, not just learn by rote.
- You'll gain a concrete set of terms, and insight into how to understand the keyboard in a geographical sense, like a city you can explore, by feel.
- You'll learn about the incredible importance of keeping good time, and how to do just that!
- You will understand that there are TWO melodies to every song, and between them they make a whole tune. This will also SHOW you the harmony, rather that having to read it off a jazz "chart.".
- You'll learn a simple song as a model for how you learn all songs, at their simplest core level, so you can actually hear and play and improvise with them, rather than learning a static, higher sounding level by rote. Static meaning you can only play it the same way every time.
- You'll master simple, clear shortcuts to improvisation, which, by the way, are the way you really improvise.
- You will have fun and be able to show off at parties and get dates :)
- You'll start to master the ability to express who you are through the medium of Jazz Piano.
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I began playing piano at the age of 6. As a teenager, I became completely enthralled with boogie woogie, jazz, Scott Joplin, Bach, and Gershwin. In 1989, after college coursework and practicum in music and music theory at Grinnell College and the University Of Washington, Marc Seales, my professor and a noted jazz pianist in his own right recommended I study with his teacher, Jerry Gray, a world renowned player and teacher. Jerry's ability and focus were on connecting my ear to what I played, not what I learned by rote or “lucked in to." This teaching fundamentally changed my understanding of music, and I have been learning and teaching this way ever since.
I had the honor of a lesson on soloing from famed one of the most famous jazz guitarists of all time, Joe Pass, during a visit to Seattle in the mid 1990s.
I have written as a Jazz Critic for Seattle's Earshot Magazine, have completed Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend as an Educator and Vocalist, studying under the likes of such world class luminaries as Rene Marie and Cyrille Aimee. I continue enjoy teaching and performance, while pursuing song writing which I love.
As an Aerospace Engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration, I was the sole propulsion specialist charged with maintaining safety of the Boeing 737NG fleet consisting of 3300 aircraft, equaling a total passenger load of approximately 495000 people. If you've ever flown on a 737, I did my best to regulate Boeing and the airlines, in order to keep your plane as safe as possible.
Additionally, I designed and built liquid fuel rocket engines and test stands for the Aerospace Industry to explore the idea of building low cost rocket engines to facilitate civilian access to space. I was offered employment as an astronaut training engineer at NASA, but turned it down to pursue working at more self-directed pursuits.
I compose original songs, words and lyrics, on an ongoing basis. Mostly jazz, and have at present written over a dozen original tunes, debuted by world renown jazz singer Rene Marie, on her recent European tour.
I design and build the most powerful water guns in the world, because I am at heart, still a boy.
I am a highly accomplished machinist and can build whatever I can think up.
My other areas of invention include medical design, burner design for glass working and metal melting, toys and games.
I went on my first family vacation to the Dunes Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas at the age of 6. The staff spent a week chasing me out of the casino, which fascinated me. This recurred over the years, always to the Dunes, as my folks were connected with the casino and everything was comped (free) for us. They often made a profit on our vacations. Before I'd go to school in the morning, my mother would pull out a deck of cards, and say "Once through the deck, Blackjack!" I learned my craft from Mike Goodman, a pit boss at the Dunes, who got tired of seeing people get completely taken by the casinos, and taught me the right way to play each game to have the very best shot for my money. I owe Mike a debt of gratitude, as these principals apply not only to casino games, but to all areas of life.
I am an accomplished designer and engraver and create my own coins from scratch. This involves cutting dies to stamp them and pressing a blank, usually of pure silver, copper or gold, under tons of pressure to produce an “art" coin.
I hold a Bachelor Of Science, in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor Of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in English, from the University of Washington, Seattle. I have studied piano, music theory and jazz for over 45 years. I have also attended Grinnell College, Northwestern University and the School Of The Art Institute, Chicago.