What don’t you know yet?

Here’s the thing: we think we know what we don’t know, but we don’t really know it until we learn it, right?

This isn’t just semantics. It’s what’s limiting our musical experiences and our abilities at the piano.

Let’s take improvisation, for example. We each have a “specialty,” or perhaps several specialties. (Rock, jazz, etc.) And we each have an idea of the music we can’t yet play. (Latin, Middle-Eastern, etc.)

But here’s the thing: we don’t actually know what it’s like to play that other kind of music until we actually do it. And by actually doing it, that new musical world will become bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. Much bigger, in fact, than our present image of it. Exponentially bigger.

We don’t realize how much we limit ourselves by putting the musical styles we don’t know in a little box. We actually cancel it out before we’ve ever experienced it.

But on some level, we musicians already know this.

I’ve had this experience too. Coming from the worlds of pop, rock, classical and jazz, I used to have a vague and indistinct image of what Brazilian music was. But once I began playing with a few musicians from Brazil, a whole musical universe opened to me. Gradually, I realized that there is an almost infinite variety of Brazilian music that I could experience. From the inside. Wow! I’m still not an expert in playing Brazilian music, but now I know what I don’t know. And, ironically, this enables me to experience Brazilian music in a much richer way.

It’s the same with everything in music, from pop and blues to classical improvisation. Start by asking yourself “What don’t I know yet?” And then begin to find out. This is a win-win situation.

Most of all, enjoy the journey and “let the music flow!”


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