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Jazz piano - can anyone share experience/expertise please?

(6 Posts)
lingle Fri 11-Sep-09 09:30:26

DS1 (6.7) recently started piano. My father is a semi-professional jazz musician, very well thought of.

I'm wondering about Ds1 learning jazz piano rather than just classical.

Any experiences?

Katisha Fri 11-Sep-09 09:44:25

The Associated BOard do a jazz syllabus. I am quite interested in this for DS(19) who is Grade 2 in the normal scheme, but his teacher insists the jazz syllabus is much harder and doesn't want him to do it at this stage. But I suspect she is a traditionalist.

lingle Fri 11-Sep-09 09:50:52

Katisha,

I think that lots and lots of "ordinary" teachers and musicians are a bit scared of jazz.......

What appeals to me is the focus on rhythm and improvisation. Also the fact that when he's in his 20s he'll have a real following if he can sit down at a piano and play jazz piano, less so if he sits down and plays a classical sonata moderately well!

Dad says (and to be honest I agree) that the majority of classically trained music students are rhythmically "stiff".

Katisha Fri 11-Sep-09 09:59:37

Sorry DS is 9 not 19!

Yes - I am a pianist and can't improvise to save my life. But that's not to say all classically trained people are like me - I think increasingly these days people are crossing over between classical and jazz and other types of music as well.

But anyway DS is getting quite unkeen on piano and I thought this might be a way forward to keep him interested, so I am surprised the teacher is so resistant. I know she does teach the jazz grades to some. I think she feels he has a talent for piano (which he does) and wants to make sure his technique is good before he starts wading off into unchartered waters.
I shall monitor the situation. If he continues to feel iffy about normal piano lessons I'll have to look around.

lingle Fri 11-Sep-09 10:33:04

"I think she feels he has a talent for piano (which he does) and wants to make sure his technique is good before he starts wading off into unchartered waters"

dad thinks that classical teaching methods actually dampen down the rhythm and improvisation "bits" of your brain. You lose the swing........

It doesn't have to be that way. We had a near-beginner viola player in our string quartet the other day. After a few failed efforts to keep up reading the music, we just started yelling out the root of the chord to him which he played in a crotchet rhythm - so he actually got the experience of ensemble playing.......and was doing what he'd be doing in a rock band(Purcell meanwhile was turning in his grave).

snorkie Sat 26-Sep-09 15:49:37

Missed this before. I know a child who did jazz grades & they seemed to work fine as an alternative to the traditional ones (though the child gave up at around grade 4 as I recall). His teacher had never taught them before - most haven't and many are a bit reluctant to try - as you rightly say a bit scared by it. This teacher was also a bit reluctant, but in the event really enjoyed it - the books are well presented too apparently with everything you need (including scales) in them. The exams stop at grade 5 though, so if you want to go further with exams classical is the only way.

Ds joined a swing band recently & I heard his first performance as a jazz pianist today. He was certainly enjoying it & seemed to be doing the right things. He's done classical all the way so far & is approaching grade 8 standard, but I'm not experienced enough to say if he had enough natural swing for jazz or, if not, if it's irreversably gone due to classical training. It will be a shame if that is the case, as I think jazz might well be ds's thing, though he does enjoy classical as well.

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