This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode celebrates the 100th JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode
Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!
Today we are celebrating the 100th episode of JazzPianoSkills! Wow, 100 Podcast Episodes! 100 hours of jazz piano education! In fact, the two-year anniversary of JazzPianoSkills is quickly approaching which warrants additional celebrating. What started as a way to simply provide some additional educational help to my current jazz piano students at The Dallas School of Music has quickly evolved into a full-service educational jazz piano website. A jazz piano website that hosts a weekly podcast production with a global listening audience and educational podcast packets. Very thorough sequential and interactive courses, weekly online masterclasses, a private community and forums, and of course educational support. So today, I thought I would all hit the pause button and take the time to reflect upon the various jazz piano podcast episodes that have been published and how best to go about listening to them and studying their educational content. AND, I thought it would be nice to have some fun and do a little playing as well. So today, you are going to:
How my Jazz Piano Convictions govern my entire Educational Approach;
from my podcast episode topics to my sequential jazz piano courses
How to successfully organize and approach studying the various podcast episodes
that have been published to date
Or I should say, I am going to play a few songs from my recently launched
Saturday Standards Program
Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills Member, Listener, Supporter, Friend! It is a joy to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!
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Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Visit JazzPianoSkills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.
Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!
Dr. Bob Lawrence
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Today, I'm pretty excited. I'm pretty pumped up because today I'm celebrating the 100th episode of jazz piano skills. 100 episodes, that is a lot of teaching. It's basically 100 HOURS of Jazz Piano education. In fact, this blows my mind too that the two-year anniversary of jazz piano skills is quickly approaching next month. What started as a way to simply provide some additional educational help to my current jazz piano students at the Dallas School of Music has quickly evolved into a full-service educational jazz piano website that hosts the weekly podcast production with now a global listening audience and educational podcast packets. Very thorough sequential and interactive courses weekly online masterclass is a private community forum, and of course, educational support. So today, I thought I would hit the pause button sort of speak and take the time to reflect upon the various podcast episodes that have been published, and how best to go about listening to them and studying their educational content. And I thought it would be nice to have some fun and do a little plain as well. So today you are going to discover how my jazz piano convictions govern my entire educational approach. From my podcast episode topics to my sequential jazz piano courses, you're going to learn how to successfully organize and approach study in the various podcast episodes that have been published today. And you are going to play or I should say I am going to play a few songs from my recently launched Saturday Standards Program. So as I always like to say regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner an intermediate player, an advanced player, or even if you consider yourself a seasoned and experienced professional, you will find this jazz panel skills podcast, this 100th episode to be very beneficial.
But before we dig in, as I always like to do each and every week, I want to personally invite all new listeners all of you folks that are new to jazz piano skills, I want to personally invite you to become a jazz panel skills member. Take a moment and visit jazz panel skills.com To learn more about the abundance of jazz educational resources, materials, and services that are available. To help you become an accomplished jazz pianist. They are available for you to use. For example, the educational podcast packets that I mentioned earlier, the illustrations the lead sheets to play alongs they are available for every single weekly podcast episode that you have access to and you can download to use while studying and practicing. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the sequential jazz piano curriculum. Now, this curriculum is loaded with comprehensive courses using a self-paced format, educational talks, interactive media, video demonstrations, play alongs and so much more. Also, as a jazz piano skills member, you have a reserved seat in my online weekly masterclasses, which are in essence, a one-hour online lesson with me each and every week. And as a jazz panel skills member you also have access to the private jazz piano skills community, a community that hosts a variety of engaging forums podcast specific forums, core-specific forums, and general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy. And last but certainly not least, as a jazz panel skills member you have unlimited power private, personal, and professional educational support whenever and as often as you need it. Again, visit jazz piano skills.com To learn more about all of the educational opportunities that await you and how you can easily activate your membership and there are several membership plans to choose from. If you have any questions, please reach out to me, let me know I'm always happy to spend some time with you. Answer any questions that you may have and help you in any way that I can. I also want to remind everyone to check out the jazz piano skills blog 100% Free whether you are a jazz piano skills member or not, you can enjoy reading some additional insights regarding the jazz panel skill of the week, and you'll find the blog and all the blog posts in the menu bar that runs across the top of the page at jazz piano skills podcast.com. Or you can just simply scroll to the bottom of that page and you'll see the entire blog section. I take some time at the end of each week to jot down some final thoughts about the jazz panel skill explored in the weekly podcast. And hopefully, at the same time provide you with some additional words of encouragement and inspiration as well. So be sure to check out my blog. And let me know what you think your feedback as always, is welcomed and very much appreciated. Okay, let's kick off this 100th episode, let's discover, learn and play jazz piano. So approximately two years ago, I set out to help illuminate for my current students at the Dallas School of Music, the correct path to follow
in order to reach their goals of becoming accomplished jazz pianists. The reason the path needed to be illuminated was and is due to the fact that we all live in an age of information overload. And information overload has been caused due to the enormous popularity of a phenomenon called the Internet. And I have to admit, on one hand, it's amazing that so much information is at our fingertips. And on the other hand, I am so incredibly thankful I did not have to try to navigate through all of this easily accessible information when I was learning how to play. Because as you all know, not all of the information on the internet is guaranteed to be good information, just simply due to the fact that everyone and I mean everyone can create a document, a video or heck, even a podcast and publish it on the internet for all to consume. And I think all of us would agree that this reality has caused some monumental problems, not only with regards to the study of jazz piano but quite honestly, with just about every facet of our lives that we experience in our day-to-day living. But again, my vision for jazz piano skills has always been to just simply help you by illuminating the most efficient and effective way to approach the study of jazz piano. And within this goal of helping you successfully study jazz piano lies the most important question. In fact, this question is so important that every aspiring jazz pianist, every inspiring jazz pianist must successfully answer this question before setting out on their journey to discover, learn and play jazz piano. If you fail to answer this question successfully, the return on your investment the time you spend chasing your goal chasing your dream will be will produce minimal results at best and honestly, that's an optimistic prediction. So what is this crucial question? The question is this. What is jazz? The study of think about it. If you want to study jazz, don't you think you should know what jazz is the study of? I certainly do. Every student that I have taught over the past 35 years when confronted with this question, looks at me like a deer in headlights. This is interesting, right? Because if you do not take the time to find the correct answer to this all-important question, your approach to studying and practicing jazz piano will be detrimentally skewed. In other words, you're doomed before you get started. And that is a big bummer. So okay, so what is the answer to this all-important question? What is jazz the study of? Well, the answer is this. Jazz is the study of shapes and sounds. And it is this reality that governs my entire educational approach found at jazz piano skills. And in my studio at the Dallas school of music, jazz is not the study of what I like to call dots and buttons. It is not looking at a piece of written music sheet music that's on a page and then determining what button what keys to push on the piano.
And once you understand that jazz is shapes and sounds, then you have to find the answer to the second most important question. And that question is, what are the shapes and sounds of jazz. And that is the entire purpose, the entire goal of jazz piano skills to help you discover, learn, and play the shapes and sounds of jazz piano, so you can develop into an accomplished jazz pianist. But before we take a look back at the previous two years, a jazz piano skills 100 Jazz Piano podcast episodes and 26 courses. I want to briefly go over the shapes and sounds of jazz because it is with this awareness that you begin to see that you will begin to understand my teaching approach the method to my madness if you will. To begin, our tuning system produces 12 notes. This is a finite number that produces finite possibilities. This only makes sense right? Because infinite possibilities cannot be produced by something finite. Now, these 12 notes produce the five primary sounds of music, Major, dominant, minor, have diminished, and diminished. That's it period. Everything else that had this very moment you may be thinking about as being the possible sound, a flat nine sharp nine flat five sharp five, sharp 11, flat, 13, augmented, etc. is simply an embellishment to one of the primary sounds. In other words, an embellishment does not create a new sound. A C dominant flat nine flat 13 is still a dominant sound. A major seventh with an augmented fifth is still a major sound. A C minor nine is still a minor sound. I like to tell students all the time you can barbeque chicken, you can fry chicken, you can grill chicken. You can tear yaki chicken, but still what chicken, it doesn't matter how you embellish it. It's still chicken. So once we experience the musical epiphany that there are only 12 notes in music that produce the five primary sounds of music. We can then begin wrapping our minds around the fact that the sounds can be played harmonically and melodically harmonically as chords and melodically as scales and arpeggios. So this musical reality produces the third important question, which is how many chords scales and arpeggios are there? Which is a great question. The answer is 60. There are 60 chords 60 Scales 60 arpeggios. Now, how do we arrive at this number? Well, simple math. Our tuning system produces 12 notes. 12 notes produced five primary musical sounds 12 times five equals 60. Now another way of thinking about this is, we have 12 Major sounds 12 dominant sounds 12, minor sounds 12, half diminished sounds and 12, diminished sounds. All of which can be played harmonically as chords, and played melodically as scales and arpeggios. Now, of course, some of you are thinking, Wait a minute, Dr. Lawrence. There are a whole bunch more than 12 scales in music. What about the blue scale? What about the pentatonic scales? What about the symmetrical scales like the whole half diminished and the half hold the many scales? And I would respond well, you are correct.
There are a whole bunch of melodic patterns that are inappropriately labeled as scales that musicians use when playing. But my job as an educator as a teacher is to keep things very clean, very tidy for you, the student, right, clean and tidy for you, the student, when you are trying to successfully discover, learn and play jazz piano. Now once we have a command of musical norms, we can begin to successfully tackle musical exceptions, norms first exceptions second. So establishing a clear and solid foundation is the very heart of my teaching philosophy. It is the heart of jazz piano skills. We have 12 notes, five sounds 60 chords, scales, arpeggios. If you gain a conceptual, oral, and physical command of this musical reality, these shapes, and sounds, then you are on your way to becoming a very accomplished jazz musician, a very accomplished jazz pianist. So now, let's take a look back at the last two jazz piano skills, years 100 podcast episodes, and 26 sequential courses. All of the podcast episodes are categorized. The category categories include technique, voicings, improvisation, theory, tunes, and transcriptions. The most important thing, however, for you to keep in mind when perusing the various podcast episodes is that they are not produced and published each week in sequential learning order. If you want a sequential learning process, then you are going to want to dive into the 26 current courses and the future courses being prepared for publication. They are indeed sequential. The podcast episodes however cover a wide variety of jazz piano skills for a very diverse listening audience. However, with that being said, it is important for you to keep in mind that any and all of the podcast episodes are worth listening to and studying. I in fact, I mentioned every week that if a particular podcast episode, if you perceive a particular podcast episode is over your head so to speak, then it is still worth listening to so that you are now introduced formally introduced to and can become familiar with this new jazz piano skill. While the opposite is also true, right if a particular podcast topic or skill initially sound As if it is just way too simple too basic to fundamental for you, then I would encourage you to listen anyway, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have attended a seminar or workshop clinic presentation where I went into it knowing, knowing that I already knew the material.
And honestly thinking I actually know more about the subject matter knew more about the subject matter than the presenter did. And I walked away being blown away because a perspective or insight was shared that spawned new ideas and new directions for me to explore. Again, all of this is to say that the podcast episodes are not in sequential order. And they cover a wide variety of jazz piano skills from very fundamental to very advanced. Now, considering that study of jazz is the study of shapes and sounds, I would recommend beginning with the episodes that harmonically explore the shapes and sounds first. The reason for this is that melody flows from Harmony. In other words, Melody, whether it's composed or improvised, is the linear or horizontal representation of harmony. So the better you know harmony, harmonic structures, chords, voicings, the better your understanding and creation of melody will be.
I used to have old jazz or say to me all the time, Bob, if you really want to get good at improvising, if you really want to get at melody, study, harmony, had no idea what they meant. At that time, I'd certainly do now. So harmony first, Melody second. The podcast episodes I recommend to study and practice. I break them into two categories for us today. I have an essential harmony study, and I have advanced harmony study. So let's go through the essential harmony study list first. So here are the podcast episodes, I would start with November 24th, 2019. There's an episode called chords by family. November 26, 2019. chords by key. Both of the host podcast episodes absolutely essential chords by family chords by key December 8 2019, traditional shell voicings and December 16, 2019, contemporary shell voicings, these are voicings for the left hand, January 20th, 2020, altered dominant voicings, then march 3 2022 handed voicings part one, march 10 2022 handed voicings part two. Right now these traditional shells contemporary shells altered dominance, two-handed voicings part one and part two will be very confusing if you have not spent time with chords by family and chords by key the very first two that I mentioned on October 13, 2020, primary minor voicings, November 10th, 2020 primary major voicings December 8, 2020, primary dominant voicings, then January 12, 2021, primary half diminished voicings and then February 9, 2021, primary diminished voicings that is I bundle all of those podcast episodes together underneath the title essential harmony study. Right essential harmony study. Now, the advanced harmony study, once you feel you have a command you've listened to and you've studied those podcast episodes, and you've utilized the podcast packets to help you gain a functional command of those skills. Then you can start to turn your attention to what I call the advanced harmonic study or harmony study. That would begin with the June 5 Episode 2021 harmonized major scales and then I just go right in order June 22, 2021, harmonized dominant scales, June 29, 2021, harmonized minor scales July 20, 2021, harmonized half to many scales, and then July 27, 2021, harmonized the many scales These are big-time skills Big Time jazz piano skills. Then finally, and we just wrapped up a five-week series starting on September 7. That dealt with the lock hands again big-time jazz piano skill. So back on September 7, 2021, locked hands minor voicings, September 14, 2021, Locked hands dominant voicings, September 21, 2021, Locked hands major voicings, September 28, 2021, locked hands half diminished voicings, and then October 5 2021, locked hands diminish voicings that was an intense five-week series. And that that series came to a conclusion really last week on October 20, October 19, 2021, with locked hands, the 251 progression. So both categories right, the essential harmony study in the advanced harmony study is a very thorough study of harmony that will make your study and in practicing of melody scales and arpeggios so much easier, and quite frankly, so much more enjoyable. In fact, there are currently between the two categories that I just outlined, there are 23 episodes dedicated to the study of harmony. The remaining 76 podcast episodes deal with various approaches to studying scales, arpeggios, improvisation transcriptions theory, and tunes. My advice, attack the 23 episodes dealing with harmony first. Don't rush through those, study and practice those skills. And then dig into the 26 sequential courses. The sequential to 26 sequential courses, which contain a lot of harmony exploration with video demonstrations and all 12 keys. You can actually watch me play these harmonic structures, these voicings, these harmonic skills, you can watch the video demonstrations simply invaluable. Most importantly, I mentioned this quite frequently in the podcast episodes, I want you to be patient with all the skills even if the skills are considered fundamental skills. Whether they're fundamental or advanced, I want you to be patient with yourself. As you practice and study these skills. They do not come overnight, they take time. And they take perseverance.
Take perseverance. So please be kind to yourself, be patient, and continue to persevere and I promise, the skills will start to settle in and you will see the fruits of your labor, no question in that at all. Now, I also want to take time, you know, in addition to spending time with the podcast episodes and the sequential courses, I want to encourage you to also if you already are not doing so to take advantage of the new program that I recently launched called standard Saturday. Every Saturday, I email all jazz piano skills members, the chord changes the harmonic function. And he play along backing track for a popular standard typically pulled from the Great American Songbook standard Saturday as I call it is a great way for you to explore a new tune every week, especially exploring the tune how harmonically to see how well you have the various shapes and sounds of chords under your fingers. The function lead sheet, the functional, he will solidify your understanding of keys and improve your ear training exponentially. And of course, the play-along track that's provided will help you develop your sense of time and feel as well. So I thought I would take a little bit of time in this podcast episode to play a few of the standards we've enjoyed over the past couple of months. It's also a way for me to do a little playing for you, other than the exercises that I model for you every week. So back on August 28. I sent out one of my favorite tunes of all time, composed by the great songwriter Harry Warner. The song there will never be another you. In fact, I played this tune for my wife Tamlyn at our wedding. So what better tune to start with we'll start with them this timeless classic. I'm going to bring in the ensemble and I'm actually going to play instead of an acoustic piano I'm going to play my Fender Rhodes sound you know I grew up in the 70s so I have a fond love of this sound because honestly, I grew up playing this the Fender Rhodes piano and all the gigs that I used to play during that time. It was a beast to carry around but it was a great sound and it's still a great sound. So I want to bring the ensemble and I want to share with you a little bit of there will never be enough for you. So here we go, I hope you enjoy it.
A great tune, so much fun to play. Great melody, great harmony, and fantastic lyrics. On Saturday, September 25 I sent you all another great tune written by the amazing duo of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Mercer. And once again, phenomenal chord changes terrific melody and Yes, beautiful lyrics. I'm going to play a little solo piano on this classic tune I thought about you. So here we go. Let's have some fun
so much, so much can be done with that too. It can be treated so many different ways, which of course is always one of the characteristics of a great tune. A week later, on October 2, I sent out one of the most requested tunes ever and I'm not kidding. It is absolutely one of the most requested tunes ever. It seems like every time I play a gig someone Someone wants to hear fly me to the moon, made incredibly popular by Frank Sinatra and Count Basie with the amazing Quincy Jones arrangement. I am currently working with a student who is beginning to develop his solo piano skills with this tune so I thought I thought I would play a quick solo this jazz classic as well. So so here we go. Here's fly me to the Moon.
too much fun, right? Just another great tune that once again can be treated so many different ways. If you haven't explored the chord changes and melody for fly me to the moon, I want to encourage you to do so it's that standard circle motion throughout the entire tune in the melody is 100% diatonic with the exception of one note. And with the standard key B and C major, it's perfect for your list of first tunes to learn so check it out. If you haven't done so already. begin learning fly me to the moon. Okay, one final tune for the day. Last week I set out the chord changes the harmonic function and play along for one of the first jazz tunes that I ever learned. Teach me tonight. So many great recordings of this tune, it's hard to single out. One is my favorite. But if I had to do so it would be Earl Gardner's 1955 concert by the see recording. It's fantastic. Another great recording. A close second would be read Garland's rendition so if you haven't heard either one Earl Earl gardeners read that rendition or read garlands in check it out. But do so after you after you listen to my rendition. Because it's always better to move upward and after hearing Earl Gardner and red garland you will no longer want to listen to mine. So, so here we go. I hope you enjoy Teach Me Tonight. And again, I'm bringing the ensemble in with me. And let's have some fun with this great standard. Here we go.
Well, I hope you have found this 100th episode of the jazz piano skills podcast to be insightful and of course to be beneficial. And I want to thank you all for being listeners and supporters of jazz piano skills. It has been an amazing journey over the past two years. I look forward to many many, many more years as well. So thank you. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz piano skills masterclass. 8 pm, central time to discuss this podcast episode in all 100 podcast episodes in greater detail and to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. As always, you can reach me by phone at 972-380-8050 My office extension is 211 You can reach me by email Dr. Lawrence. That's Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills.com or by SpeakPipe found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well, there is my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy all 100 episodes of The Jazz Piano scales back, enjoy the journey, and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn, and play jazz piano