Are you learning jazz piano backwards?

If you love jazz piano but are frustrated that you’re not progressing fast enough, maybe it’s because you’re learning it backwards.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Most pianists nowadays actually learn jazz piano backwards and as a result, they don’t progress as fast as they’d like. Here’s what I mean:

All the great jazz pianists that we look up to learned it by first developing a sense of flow with their improvising. Like water flowing. Whether it was by playing the chords to “All The Things You Are,” or embellishing the melody to “There Will Never Be Another You,” they learned how to do it with an ease and flow that made it really enjoyable for them to play. Even if they played a simple melody, they played it with a flow that emulated water flowing in a stream, or river. At first, they didn’t try to play the most complex voicings, because that would get in the way of the flow.

It was only after they established a flow that they began incorporating more advanced voicings and techniques into their playing, all the time keeping a water-like flow going.

But these days, most pianists learn jazz the opposite way: they start with the complex voicings and then become frustrated because of the steep learning curve of trying to make them flow.

It’s backwards.

But fortunately, it’s easily reversed.

Go for the flow, and all the rest will come easier for you.

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