I hope you’ve been having a great summer, winter, rainy season, or whatever it is in your part of the world! I arrived back in New York City from Alaska last Sunday, and went right in for jury duty the first thing on Monday morning. It’s taken a full week, but I’m now back in my usual groove here!
One of the fun things about being at The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is that I got to play so many types of music. The students in my Piano Improv class wanted to know how to play pop, rock, and blues styles as well as how to “play from chords” while looking at a piece of sheet music. And in my “Sing Your Song” vocal performance class, I accompanied my students on jazz standards, down-home blues, musical theater selections, contemporary pop tunes, and even some folk songs with audience sing-alongs. Both the classes and the concerts were a big success and very invigorating for all the performers and the audiences!
The festival was two weeks long, and in the concert we had on the first Friday night, I sat down at the piano for a featured solo. It was an interesting moment, because I could play anything I wanted. Although I could have gone in a jazzy direction, or performed an arrangement of a Beatles song, I decided on the spur of the moment to go to the mic and introduce the piece as “The Type Of Blues That You Don’t Hear Much Any More.”
I improvised a slow, relaxing blues in the key of F, with some walking 10ths in my left hand. The audience was with me and laughed when I threw in some piano-humor about halfway through. (Feel free to use this bit yourself. I’ve seen others do it too and it works every time!)
When I watched the video the next day, I realized that this was the way I used to dream of playing, back in my college days. It’s gratifying to hear the fruits of one’s own labors, and I’m living proof that if I can do it, you can too!
Here’s the video:
Ron Drotos Blues Piano Performance: Fairbanks, Alaska – 7/16/19
The nice thing about this type of slow blues is that it’s the place where jazz, traditional blues, and rock all meet together. Jazz musicians like Art Tatum and Charlie Parker played in this style, and we can hear Otis Spann and Eric Clapton explore it as well.
If you’d like me to help you develop your own blues playing, either in the jazz or blues/rock direction, you’ll find tons of material in my video course. There are dozens and dozens of blues lessons that start at the very beginning levels. I’ll also be available to give you personal guidance at every step of the way. It’s a very effective combination of instruction and personal inspiration that surpasses either element on its own.
If you’re interested, you can begin here. In just a few months you’ll be a better pianist and enjoy your time at the piano more.
Thanks for being here. Inspiration flows in both directions and I wish you the very best with your music!
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