A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“How My Heart Sings” is a tune by the jazz and classical composer Earl Zindars, and is the title tune of pianist Bill Evans’ 1962 album of the same name. It’s a beautiful piece that moves from a lively 3/4 waltz to a straight ‘4.’

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to these YouTube links, I’ve indicated the original album names wherever possible so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings!

Tony Williams Trio featuring Mulgrew Miller

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“How My Heart Sings” is a challenging tune for several reasons. For one thing, it doesn’t go where you thin it’s going to go! The melody and chords start out in the key of E minor, but this only lasts for 2 quick measures before it shifts to C major/A minor for the remainder of the long phrase. Measures 9-12 look like they’re going to stay in A minor for a while when an EMajor7 chord comes almost out of nowhere to begin a phrase in the key of E major. And then, instead of repeating anything we already know, the meter suddenly changes from 3/4 to 4/4 and a series of suspended-type chords takes over.

That’s a lot to digest in a short amount of time, and “How My Heart Sings” can be tricky to play for this reason. Even once you become comfortable with the melody and improvising over the chords, it can be really challenging to create a coherent solo over this form.

Once you spend a good deal of time with the tune, however, it’s internal logic slowly reveals itself and you may come to enjoy its melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic twists and turns.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

Further links and resources:
Earl Zindars: Wikipedia

How To Learn Jazz Piano
A podcast to help you learn jazz piano more effectively

How My Heart Sings: Journey Through The Real Book #155

Jazz Piano Video Course
This extensive, well-sequenced video course will get you playing jazz standards with a sense of flow and fluency.

Jazz Piano Lessons via Skype
Personal guidance from an expert, caring teacher. Beginning through Advanced.

Take a Free Jazz Piano Lesson

Previous Song           Table of Contents           Next Song

Learn the 5 Essential Left Hand Techniques with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You'll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration