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About Ron

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So far Ron has created 1093 blog entries.

Flowing Water

By |February 28th, 2021|

When I was in college (UCONN during the mid-1980s: “Go Huskies!”), I read about a book about creativity. I don’t remember the title or author (maybe Rollo May?), but I do remember what surprised me the most about it: Flow. Yes.. Flow. The author had interviews dozens of creative people in all different fields, from music and the visual arts to science and lot of other professions. And they all used the same word to describe the creative process: Flow. Well, even though I had never thought of “flow” in this way before, I thought that if all these great [...]

Enjoying the musical journey

By |February 21st, 2021|

Hey Improvisers! Have you ever thought that you knew how something would go, only to discover that it turned out differently? This happens to me all the time. We go to the store to pick up a gallon of milk, and end up having a wonderful conversation with a neighbor on the sidewalk or in the parking lot. In school, we sign up for a supposedly-boring class, only to find that the teacher makes the subject “come alive.” And we listen to our kid’s or parents’ music and acquire a few unexpected new favorites. Music is like this too, and [...]

R.I.P. Chick Corea

By |February 15th, 2021|

An end of an era has occurred with the recent passing of Chick Corea. Chick was one of the wave of musicians in the late 1960s/early 1970s who began combining jazz, rock, Latin, and classical music in a way that truly reflected the energetic social and cultural changes of the time. Beyond that, he was/is one of the greatest pianists who ever played the instrument. If you’re new to Corea’s work, here’s the piece that basically defined his career: Chick Corea: Spain https://youtu.be/sEhQTjgoTdU Perhaps my favorite recording of his is The Trial, from the album The Mad Hatter, which was [...]

5 concepts to guide our musical lives

By |February 12th, 2021|

Hey Improvisers! One of the fun things about both playing and teaching piano for so long is that I’ve had a lot of time to really study the learning process, both in myself and with my students. Here are the 5 most important concepts that will help us become the musicians we want to be: 1. Enjoy the journey Every mountain climber knows that each step of the journey is just as satisfying as arriving at the summit. Or, to put it another way, the experience of arriving at the summit is much better after putting in the effort of [...]

Snow Day!

By |February 7th, 2021|

Today, New York City was blanketed by the gentlest, most beautiful snowfall we’ve had in recent memory. Snow Day!!! With all local activities cancelled, I enjoyed an entire afternoon of free time at home. The question arose: “What do I want to do?” I decided to dig a little deeper, and ask myself, “What do I really want to do today, that I don’t usually do?” The answer came to me: “I want to play some music that makes me happy.” “Music that I don’t often play for one reason or another.” So I went to my bookshelf, pulled out [...]

The place where Jazz, Rock, and Gospel piano all come together

By |February 2nd, 2021|

Hey Improvisers, I’ve just posted the newest video in our Journey Through The Real Book. It’s Keith Jarrett’s early composition “In Your Quiet Place” and it features two contrasting musical sections. It begins with a gentle, tender musical feeling and soon builds to a lively gospel/rock groove. “In Your Quiet Place” is a lot of fun to play and, as I explain and demonstrate in the video, it brings together the type of gospel/jazz/rock that was “in the air” during the late 1960s and early 1970s. If you enjoy listening to Elton John, Leon Russell, and Keith Jarrett, you’ll enjoy [...]

Which topic resonates with you?

By |January 24th, 2021|

Hey Improvisers! It’s interesting how various concepts resonate with us differently at different times. One day, a certain quote or phrase seems to be exactly what we need to hear and the next day, it’s something else altogether. I’m finding this out first-hand while making my 31-day video series on Keith Jarrett. Each day, I get really inspired by the topic I’m diving into, and it changes every day. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a few of the videos I’ve recently posted, so you don’t have to necessarily wade through them all to find which one inspires you today. [...]

Peak moments at the piano

By |January 21st, 2021|

Hey Improvisers, If we play piano only once in a year, the chances of playing really well are fairly low. If we play twice, the odds are a little better, but still not so great. If we play a few times per month, one of those times may be wonderful. And if we play every day, we’ll experience peak moments on a regular basis.. After making 178 previous Journey Through The Real Book videos, I hit the jackpot with #179: In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning. Although it’s not a tune I’ve played countless times, something “clicked” as [...]

Overcoming Practice Paralysis (for Improvising Pianists)

By |January 17th, 2021|

Hey Improvisers! When I coined the phrase “Practice Paralysis” (sometime around 2014), little did I suspect that this affliction would grow much worse over time. In fact, the emails people send me demonstrate that it’s probably the single-most common obstacle that improvising pianists have today. In pre-internet times, pianists used to get Practice Paralysis from the stack of piano books on their shelf. They’d feel inspired to sit down at the piano to practice, but their eyes would glaze over as they gazed up at that mountain of stuff to practice and before they knew it, they’d have the TV [...]

A Piano Improv Exercise from Keith Jarrett

By |January 10th, 2021|

Wouldn’t you love to study piano with Keith Jarrett? Believe it or not, he has actually done some private and even occasional group teaching over the years, and as we might expect, he is able to share his deep insights with his few lucky students. Jarrett has occasionally discussed his teaching methods, and in one interview I once read, he gave a wonderful piano improv exercise. The exercise is simple enough for every pianist to do, and I’ve found it to be a very effective and powerful exercise on many levels. Watch me demonstrate the exercise on this video, and [...]