Jazz piano 101
October 23, 2011 8:57 AM Subscribe
First steps at jazz piano - how would you go about it?
I'm not going to go through my previous piano credentials, suffice to say that I had a 18-year break since I last cried over the 88 keys, and after going through the entire grief cycle of recovering from the trauma of being forced to play the piano since toddlerhood, I find myself drawn to that instrument again, but on my own terms.
So, I recently fell in with a group of jazz pianists, and I've been listening to jazz piano since about two years. Just listening.
The piano is undoubtedly the most versatile tool for self-expression, and I think I'd like to get myself playing again but I don't know where to start.
Yesterday for the first time since literally decades, I sat down at a beautiful Yamaha grand piano, onstage at at jazz bar here and I just played some scales and arpeggios over and over again. I had a good laugh at myself, because I'm more than rusty even at basic scales. I goofed around with some pop melodies, but I couldn't remember even one single classical piece.
So, I got a number in hand for a jazz piano teacher that comes highly recommended, especially for his teaching abilities.
I probably can't sight-read any more, and I'm really not too eager to learn from sheet music again, not too eager to have the metronome as the background music of my days, either.
What I do want is to learn the fingers, the chords, the logic behind jazz, the near-endless scope for creativity. Hell, I want to learn several standards, I want to goof around, I want to explore what's dormant in my mind. I absolutely loved, freaking eff'ing loved, being onstage at that Yamaha in the jazz bar, it was after hours, waiters cleaning tables, but I loved the background noise, the glasses clinking, the voices.. Once I progress beyond scales, you know, I think I would love to play in that environment, it felt totally natural. But I'm not gonna quit my day job, I don't want to be "on track to be a career pianist", I want to keep this fun for me.
Anyway, where do I go from here? What do you suggest? All ideas will very much appreciated.