What Time Is It?

Ron's blog on piano improv and the role of music in our lives

Being inspired to learn a particular song

Hey Improvisers, What do you do when you look at the leadsheet for a tune you’ve never heard? Well, if you’re like most people, you probably turn the page and look for something more familiar. Yet, this approach, while understandable, also limits us. Part of the challenge is that the days are long gone when … Read More

Piano Improvisation is becoming mainstream again

Hey Improvisers, Once upon a time, in the days of Bach and Mozart, most pianists improvised. They added embellishments to written melodies, created their own accompaniments from figured bass, and learned to improvise preludes, fugues, and variations on folk songs and operatic arias. Gradually, though, improvisation died out in the classical music world, and became … Read More

Will learning fancier left-hand accompaniments make you a better pianist?

Hey Improvisers, When I begin working with new piano students, I begin by asking them about their musical goals. Often, they’ll say that they want to “improve” by learning a bunch of fancy left-hand accompaniment patterns. Whether they play jazz, rock, pop, or whatever, they dream of watching their left hand fly up and down … Read More

Deepening the way you play jazz waltzes on piano

Hey Improvisers, When we sit down to play a jazz waltz, we very often begin by emulating Bill Evans or another great jazz pianist who plays jazz waltzes well. But let’s ask ourselves, how did they themselves learn how to play jazz waltzes? And, would we benefit by approaching jazz waltzes in a similar manner? … Read More

How to practice Keith Jarrett’s “Moonchild”

Hey Improvisers! Our Journey Through The Real Book has brought us to a tune by one of the greatest improvisers of all time: Keith Jarrett’s “Moonchild.” “Moonchild” is a short-yet-potent early composition by Jarrett, from the Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett album. Recorded in 1970 and released in 1971, the recording captures a vibrant time … Read More

The Inner Game of Piano Improvisation book

Hey Improvisers, Wow – the first few days of my book’s publication have been amazing! Thank you to everyone who has grabbed their digital copy of The Inner Game of Piano Improvisation. It’s the #1 New Release in the Piano Instruction category and it’s very gratifying to hear how readers are enjoying it so much … Read More

A 4-Step Method for practicing fast jazz tunes

Hey Improvisers, We’ve all struggled to play fast, uptempo tunes, and if the tune’s chord progression is complex, it even more difficult to keep up with the pace. Yes, it’s challenging, but attainable with the right approach. Here’s a 4-Step Method I’ve developed to help you become comfortable improvising on those fast, uptempo jazz tunes … Read More

Improvising on The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling”

Hey Improvisers, One of the great things about The Beatle’s music is how it draws on so many types of musical influences. In the case of “Oh! Darling,” the primary influence is good old 1950s early rock and roll. The Beatles were teenagers during the 1950s, and the music of that time really inspired them … Read More

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