I’m noticing more and more these days that the traditional, effective way of learning piano improv styles has been reversed, and this is holding a lot of aspiring pianists back. Even more importantly, it’s preventing many of us from fully enjoying the process of playing music.
All too often, piano study becomes 20 years of feeling we’re “not good enough.”
Traditionally, a beginning rock, jazz, or blues pianist would learn a few chords, or a scale, and immediately begin jamming with other musicians, having tons of fun right from the beginning. Think of the Beatles. Jazz musicians such as Horace Silver describe this too. These generations of musicians spent most of their time jamming, whether by themselves at home or with their peers. Then, they supplemented this by learning new theoretical concepts and techniques.
They learned music as we learn language. (Thanks to Billy Taylor for introducing me to this concept!)
These days, there’s an implicit feeling that we can’t begin jamming until we’ve learned everything in a 40-page book on chord voicings, or something similar. And that we’ll have more fun when we’re “better.” This holds us back, both from thoroughly enjoying our music and also, ironically, from improving at a fast rate.
I was lucky, because I formed a rock band at age 15 with my friends before the internet age, and we didn’t get overloaded. As soon as we learned 3 chords, or the blues scale, we happily played that over and over and over and over again for hours, loving every single minute!
To help you do this yourself, I’m making a Rock Piano for Beginners 31-Day Workout Challenge on YouTube. Each day, you can jam with me for 20 minutes and have fun at every step of the way. You’ll be playing at a whole new level of flow and fluency after just one month.
I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey. I’ve just posted the first video today; here it is:
Day One: Rock Piano for Beginners 31-Day Workout Challenge!
Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”