Piano Improv: Year In Review (Mailbag)

Hey Improvisers!

Inspiration goes both ways, and I’ve definitely been inspired by the responses you’ve sent regarding last week’s Piano Improv: Year In Review.

Some of the emails were very touching, and asked advice on how to get past the “solitary” aspect of piano-playing. Because these were of a personal nature, I won’t publish them. Instead, let’s all feel a sense community with one another, as we support each other in our musical pursuits.

Yes … Piano over Television in our home is the RULE!


Thank you for this. All certainly true, except perhaps the fact that I’ve chosen piano over television. I’ve done my fair share of movie and series watching this year as well, given all the stellar work coming out on the streaming channels.

For my own growth, the biggest difference for me this year has been the fact that I now think in chords/ chord sequences much more than I ever did before. I sat down recently and played a holiday tune just by looking at the chords and picking out the melody, instead of solely following the music laid out on the page. I was then able to play around with both arpeggios and rhythmic chords to change it up a little. Having come from a classical background, this type of thinking is very exciting for me, since I no longer feel I have to write every note down when beginning a new composition. And I largely have you to thank for that… your teachings continue to be enormously helpful! So thank you, thank you, thank you again!

Now, because you’ve shared so much music with me/your students over the past year, I’d like to share three of my favorite arrangements of holiday songs:

Jingle Bells – Imani Winds

Ding Dong! Merrily On High – Bach Choir and the Royal Philharmonic – John Rutter, conductor

Hallelujah – Pentatonix

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

I recently saw some of your videos online, and just read your article. It seems only natural that more people explored their musical side this year. Lots to protest about, not to mention things they missed doing with others.

I know I did some recorder playing, and I looked around for some classic jazz LPs to listen to.

Thanks for the effort you put into your site; it’s a treasure for us music enthusiasts!


Dear Ron,

I don’t have to remind you what an inspiration you have been to me, but I definitely want to thank you again. Finding your 31-day Rock and Roll Workout Challenge on YouTube was a game changer for me. I sat down at my piano every day in July, then continued with your Jazz challenge in August while repeating the Rock and Roll sessions. I have continued dipping back into favorites, encouraged by your replies to my comments.

And I have been branching out into playing tunes from books I have, then going back and just playing the chords with left hand, improving with my right. Nearly every day. And I will continue to return to those jams with you.

Also, I’ve been listening to lots of piano players on Pandora, and my experience has changed, become more analytical. Next step might be play along with them. I’m pretty sure I can do that!


Hey Ron,

thank you for being my loyal companion almost every afternoon over the last year.
I had my ups and downs trying to improve my piano playing, but your on line lessons and your
encouragement (“have fun!”) helped me over the difficult spots. You certainly have made this dark
year brighter.
Have a happy Christmas and a healthy new year with a lot of musical fun!


Enter your email here to get your free copy of my ebook, Pop and Rock Accompaniment for Piano

* indicates required

Leave a Comment

Sign up for Blog Updates