JazzPianoSkills welcomes Peter Friesen, a Canadian jazz pianist and educator.
Welcome to JazzPianoSkills! I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence, and it's time to Discover, Learn, and Play Jazz Piano!
Today I welcome to JazzPianoSkills Canadian Jazz Pianist and Educator Peter Friesen. Peter began piano lessons at age 6. He paid for his lessons by mowing his piano teacherʼs lawn. At age 12, he became a rock star after seeing pictures of Rick Wakeman and thinking Rick looked like Jesus.
By 14, Peter was playing in bars and restaurants. He has taught piano full-time since 1984 and plays piano at weddings and corporate events.
Peter has written several self-published books. He has been presenting teacher workshops since 2008. Peter’s pieces have been performed at festivals and Canada Music week celebrations.
So, please sit back, relax and enjoy my interview with Mr. Peter Friesen.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 0:32
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence, it's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Well, I hope everyone has been busy practicing your C fingering patterns for the standard sounds major dominant minor, half diminished and diminished. And the altered C sounds sharp 11, flat 13, flat nine, flat 13. And fully altered right, flat nine, sharp nine, flat five, sharp five. And, of course, last week's adventure with Charlie Parker's blues for Alice, let's not forget that, no doubt, a ton to tackle a ton to practice. So that is precisely why we are taking a little breather today to enjoy a recent interview that I did with Canadian jazz pianist and educator, Peter Friesen. Peter has been an active member of jazz piano skills for a little over a year now and has had a musical journey. like none other. So I want you to sit back and watch and relax. Welcome to jazz piano skills. Mr. Peter Freisen.
Peter Friesen 1:46
Dr. Bob Lawrence 1:49
hey, I can't believe you know, like I just said to you before we went live here. I've been threatening to have you on jazz piano skills for a long time. And I'm finally happy to make do on my threat. And here here. Here we are, man. Welcome to jazz piano skills. Glad to be here. Wow. Okay. So real quick, before we get into your background, before we get into your story, you've been you've been an active participant in jazz piano skills now for over a year, right. I mean, that's how we met through jazz piano skills. Almost a year. Yeah, almost a year now. And it's been, it's been a joy to get to know you through jazz piano skills and the master classes and then our correspondence back and forth. Through email, of course, you you have a, you know, an eagle eye because you catch all my mistakes that I have in my materials. And so I appreciate it.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 2:45
I do write because I'm churning that out. I'm cranking stuff out. And I get going really quickly. And, and it's great to have folks like you that find,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 2:54
find the little typos, the little glitches, the little mistakes, and let me know about it. And I know all the other jazz piano skills members appreciate it as well. So anyway, so you know what's fascinating about you, you are a jazz pianist, you are a jazz educator, and have been for many, many years. And of course, like all jazz educators, we consider ourselves jazz students, I mean, where students have this incredible art form.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 3:22
And that's exactly right. That's right. So so what I want to do is I want to I want to turn the microphone over to you, I want you to go back to the beginning. Fill us in on your childhood, how you got into music, your parents, siblings, all that kind of stuff. So, Peter, my friend, the microphone is yours. Tell us your story.
Peter Friesen 3:43
So I grew up in a little village, maybe 1200 people. Wow, it was a Mennonite community. My parents were refugees from the US. They came over my dad came over late 50s. Okay, because his sister lived near he was a displaced person in World War Two.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 4:04
Canada, Canada, right. We're in Canada.
Peter Friesen 4:07
Dr. Bob Lawrence 4:07
Peter Friesen 4:08
So in that little village, I never left home, that we didn't have a car. My dad was 70 years old when I was born. We didn't play ball. We didn't have a television till I was 13 years old. So what lived on dysfunction Avenue.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 4:29
Right? Well, lucky for you, man. I in many ways, that's a blessing.
Peter Friesen 4:34
Well, it's part of the journey, and it's part of the story and it really shaped who I am and why I'm here and doing what I'm doing. Yeah. So my dad was a violin maker by trade. So, but it's not like he was in a little village and in the middle of no place. It wasn't like there was 5000 people at the door every day. But there were people coming by to have their instruments repaired or put Just Russian I found him. And one day when I was about six, he traded the violin for a piano. And that's the beginning of my piano journey there. Well, so anyway, I just took lessons they were we have teenager neighbors came to buy. We didn't have a bunch of money. So I ended up mowing my mind a couple of teachers later, I ended up mowing the teacher's lawn. And it was never good enough to just go one way you had to do it the other way too, so that the lines would match. double duty.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 5:34
That's some good jazz training for you right there, man perfection, making sure there's semetry there. That's awesome.
Peter Friesen 5:40
Well, it's about being meticulous, I guess. Right. Well, that's part of the that's part of it. Right? Sure. So I played away and I did my thing. But when you cut that you cut the grass. That's that was your that's how you paid your teacher. Yeah, that's, that's unbelievable. Her husband was a violinist that had like, that whole family played violin. They were well known in outside the community, too.
Peter Friesen 6:06
So they had all my dad's violins. They used to come to our house and play and play and it just rattled my bones when you can. When you're six years old, and somebody comes in and rips out on the violin and the piano together. It was like, that was like, something shocking. Really rattles your system, right? You go like, yeah, it's Oh, yeah. Right. Did your mom play your mom's your mom? My mom sang a lot. And I Okay, she was not well, either. When I was two, she had brain cancer. So she had an operation and lost her short term memory. And wow, it was, it wasn't really
Peter Friesen 6:42
a great time for everybody. So right, but she sang a lot of Mozart. And I went to Germany maybe five years ago. And I met up with her extended family, and they're all musicians. They teach music in the public school, which is like, very classical, right? Kind of
Peter Friesen 6:59
kind of pedagogy is all just classical history. And you know, right, if I saw some of the tests for grade six, it's like, name and oratory, blah, blah, and all that kind of questions. It's like heavy duty stuff. Yeah, I don't have to take that says. So in Munich, there are 32 people in an orchestra and they're all related. They're all cousins of my mom. Then they play Vietnamese Cafe Music.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 7:22
Wow. So you come from you come from a long line of musicians. I mean, it's running through your veins, right. Wow. So okay, so I met so Alright, so there you are. You're in this small community, you finally got your hands on a keyboard, you're cutting grass. The pay for lessons? The I'm assuming these are traditional kind of classical piano lessons at this time. Right. Your lessons?
Peter Friesen 7:49
Yeah. Yeah, right. Still around. Yeah. Right.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 7:53
So okay, so somewhere, then, did the jazz journey begin in your childhood? Or does that that come much later?
Peter Friesen 8:02
When I was in the seventh grade, so 12 years old? It was I saw a picture of Rick Wakeman. And I don't know if you recognize that picture where you had a big cape and long flowing hair. Just like Jesus man. And he's got he's got like this, like, bathing in the glory and I thought wow, I want some of that.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 8:26
That's funny. So oh my gosh
Peter Friesen 8:29
so there's a mentor. The funny thing about that is it came around on YouTube there's a Rick Wakeman plays a solo and these days and somebody goes somebody commented, hey, look, it's Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 8:46
Oh, I can honestly say Peter I did not see this comment. This is this is a shock. So okay, this so this is how you got into jazz, right?
Peter Friesen 8:52
Yeah. So I had friends and they one paid drums one played guitar and we got going and we've been playing a minor for three hours and Jam Jam Jam.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 9:03
So these guys are all part of the same community, your community right?
Peter Friesen 9:06
Dr. Bob Lawrence 9:06
So So within that small community you you were able to hook up with a drummer or another kid playing drums. Wow, that's fantastic.
Peter Friesen 9:14
That was all rock. Well, it's a minor chunk chunk, but a yeah, we're rocking and of course I know a minor now. That's
Dr. Bob Lawrence 9:22
That's how it starts.
Peter Friesen 9:23
So there was some guys that moved to town and they used to be in a band to town. And so they just invited me and my pal to come and play so by 14 I was playing in a local pubs. I don't know how I got last things I don't know how what happened.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 9:45
That's funny, man. So, alright, so I mean, here you are 14 years old. You're starting to branch out your your you got your classical traditional piano lessons that you've been taking. Now you're starting to branch out play some rock, classic rock, maybe some jazz. So who were the who were the early jazz? And when was it that you actually said, Wait a minute, man, I really have to dive into this. This jazz stuff is captivating. I really needed I really need to focus on this.
Peter Friesen 10:18
I started playing pubs regular. So till I was like, we had a house gig. So every weekend we play this place. And you notice when you come in at two o'clock in the afternoon, hey, there's a guy staring a hole at the bottom of his beer. At two o'clock at night when you went out. He was still there staring a hole of beer. And when people get drunk, and they get rowdy and obnoxious at 17, it scares the crap out of you.
Peter Friesen 10:49
I decided there and then enough, I can't be here. Well, I mean, the dream was I was going to be a musician, but not that kind of musician. Right? That's no life. And it's still not. I still get I can go to the gym at the local pub. They're still playing those songs. There's called after 50 years of hard living. They don't look so good. Yeah.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 11:11
Is that same dude still there staring at the bottom of his bear? His brother's there.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 11:20
Okay, so All right. So then, so what did you do? How did you make? How did you make that? How did you make that transition?
Peter Friesen 11:27
Well, when I was in high school, I started like this. I heard Oscar Peterson. Have to work cool. I mean, I didn't know what that was. I was a rock star. Right? Yeah. Right. So but I like wow, that's pretty fantastic. And by that time, my parents had passed away. So I was on my own. 17 years old, living with my 16 year old sister. I don't know how that happened. No adult in sight. But I used to hitchhike after high school and I had a job after school, doing some work. So I had some pocket money. So I hitchhiked to Vancouver, Oscar Peterson elephants, Gerald. Joe pass these the tour together? Yes. Right are and I saw them on a regular basis. They come around once a year or so.
Peter Friesen 12:13
George Benson on the breezing tour. Yep. And then he had a keyboard player and I think is Ronnie Foster. And there's an art solo in some of that stuff. And that right there. That's Jim rising. So I want something.
Peter Friesen 12:28
And so I decided it's time to go to music school. So I got on a bus and I traveled $400 miles into the wilderness and there was a jazz school there and got off the bus and 20 bucks in my pocket. No parents, so I quickly signed up for a student loan.
Peter Friesen 12:49
Anyway, I was there a couple of years. The problem was what was it? What was the name of the school? It was called David Thompson University Center. Wow. And it was it was all programs go in, there was a classical program and your jazz program. So but the problem was there was not a jazz teacher there for piano, it wasall classical. But then. So I buckled down and I had very poor technique. So I had to relearn everything. It was like, don't play any of your old songs. We're starting fresh here. We're gonna do it. Right. So not a discipline to do that.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 13:22
So when you're at a jazz school, no jazz piano teacher. So you're, you're at a jazz school taking classical piano lessons. Yeah, working on just working on the technical techniques side of stuff, right?
Peter Friesen 13:33
Yep. So I had to fix that situation. So what I ended up doing was I used to get on all like bus 12 hours to Vancouver. Take a one hour piano lesson with a jazz teacher and get back on the bus five hours back home. So two days to get back and forth. was an 800 mile journey.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 13:52
Yeah. Okay. I just want before you go on any further, I just need to stop you. I need to make a couple of comments here. First of all, it's really, really apparent how much you love music, and how much you love jazz because for you to be confronted with the hurdles that you've already been confronted with, and you're only 17 years of age 17 years of age, and you're piecing together these this way for you to have a music education, and, and then go even an extra mile with these bus journeys. In order to get 12 hour journeys in order to get a jazz piano lesson, my friend, I have to just I don't even need to hear the rest of your story to be quite honest with you. It's unbelievable. It's fantastic. Peter, I must commend you, man. It's it's your love for music runs deep and very deep because I don't know quite honestly. I'm not sure I know a whole lot of I don't know a whole lot of folks with that kind of perseverance and that kind of determination to do that. So congratulations, man. I think it's it's fantastic. It's unbelievable.
Peter Friesen 15:02
And part of it is because I lost my parents early, and nobody was there to help. Right? And you kind of wonder whether you believe there was a social system in Canada, but it didn't come to my house. Right? You learn like, it's not a sad story. You learn to pick up your boots and let's get going. Good for you, brother. Yeah, that's awesome instrument if I need to fix the problem. Hey, it's about pursuit of beauty. Yeah, that's what this whole journey is if you want to boil it into a pot, this is about pursuit of beauty. In hardship. Yeah. You learn to appreciate the beautiful part. Yeah. Yeah. So so it makes it wow, this is so this 12 hour bus trip.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 15:39
This is a private, this is a private jazz pianist that you that you hooked up with when he was teaching private lessons. Okay. Wow. Yeah. Tell us tell us about his your experience with him. How what was the approach? What? What did you guys work on?
Peter Friesen 15:56
That guy was dried. So left handed pattern root 510 Yep. five chord root chord five chord that was the left hand pattern. Every sound? Yeah, right hand. Octave. To note, Phil, every song, you harmonize every eighth note on the beat. The off beat goes on off. Right. And so but that was like two years on that.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 16:20
Yeah. So that there's that. And that's not very, that's not uncommon, right. I mean, at that time, you know, I had a piano teacher who was very much, you know, solo piano playing equaled stripy piano play? They were like, they were synonymous terms, even though that's not we know that not to be the case. Right? But that's, that's very common. So okay, so now you've
Peter Friesen 16:43
had does learn your your chords, you know, an octave and Phil, right? And it's like, hey,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 16:48
well, hey, and honestly, I'm not sure I know of anything harder than stride piano.
Peter Friesen 16:55
Yeah, it's hard. Right?
Peter Friesen 16:56
So okay, so. So how long were you? How long were you with this gentleman? Two years, two years. They closed and then they closed the university. Just out of the blue. Were closing you down. It was sort of a political thing, because the town had never voted for the ruling government. And there were always very, very, so it was time to get out there and hammer at heart. So you know, I was just I needed two more credits to finished my two year diploma and Hey
Dr. Bob Lawrence 17:32
Peter, man, your story. That's unbelievable. I can't I can't take them. You think you're that close? You're two hours away from a degree and they close the university?
Peter Friesen 17:41
Peter Friesen 17:46
So I had to go. I ended up staying in town for another two years in teaching. Okay, which was glorious, and also played in a country and western band with a bunch of young men who drank too much. Yeah.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 17:59
Okay. So why did you transfer your could you transfer your credit hours someplace else and finish up your degree? Or did you just say, add the heck with I'm going to start my professional. I'm going to start my professional journey. Now.
Peter Friesen 18:10
I was able to transfer my students my credits to another university in Vancouver, for it was also a two year program. So for the two years minus the two credits that I needed. I had to start at year two. So I got in one year I could spent there. And Wow.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 18:31
All right. So that's good, man. So okay, you started teaching at this time?
Peter Friesen 18:37
Yeah. 19 I think yeah, it was 19. Wow, they taught music store.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 18:43
Wow, fantastic. Well, hey, you know what they say? Right? No better way to learn something, then start teaching it right.
Peter Friesen 18:50
Learning in the trenches.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 18:51
Yeah, that's right. So okay, so here you go. Now you started your ninth 19 years of age, that you've had classical training, you've had an awesome, solid jazz instruction. You're 19 years of age. So what got you it was? Did you start teaching more, more from a survival perspective or a love that you felt you're being drawn to teach? Because a lot of times in our profession, people start teaching because they want they they need some money. So what was your What was your catalyst there? What What prompted you to start teaching at 19?
Peter Friesen 19:31
I needed some money.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 19:32
I was playing in that cowboy band. We were doing okay, I was 21 at this time, but anyway, so I was in a cowboy band we played every weekend. And such we were situated perfectly one hour away. There was another town with a bunch of bars. And so it was one hour and about five different towns you could hit in one hour, so we were working steady. And that was cool. Yeah, but no more bar music and same thing. I mean, you guys really drank hard man couldn't sing until he had six beers.I would drive home I think I played take it from there and he wouldn't know. He phoned me the next day and say how to get home drove.
Peter Friesen 20:19
And I'm so happy he didn't hurt anybody but Right.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 20:22
Exactly. Oh my goodness. So okay, so now you're teaching, you're gigging this all sounds real familiar, right. Many listeners, many folks in the music profession this is this is kind of a normal path here right now. Right. We're teaching. We're good. And we're making ends meet. Yep.
Peter Friesen 20:40
So I found out I love teaching. And I also I know how to get along with kids. They weren't. I was like,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 20:48
yeah. Cool. Yeah. So okay, so. So you started teaching at 19, 21 years of age right in there. And you've been teaching ever since
Peter Friesen 20:59
Dr. Bob Lawrence 20:59
Wow. Wow. So let's talk about let's talk about your teaching, man. So you got a private studio there in Canada, where you're living?
Peter Friesen 21:08
I do. I have okay. 35/40 students? I don't know. Yeah.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 21:12
Are they? Are you teaching traditional classical literature? Teacher jazz combination of the two? What combination?
Peter Friesen 21:18
Yeah, there's a large Asian population where I live actually. Okay. I think they are the majority where I live. Okay. A lot of them would like to do the classical thing. And, of course, Brown is kind of easy. I mean, you open the book and you say,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 21:33
Here's a Bach Two-Part Invention and let's play it.
Peter Friesen 21:36
I got it. Mostly, like between six and 12. Yeah.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 21:42
So okay, so let's talk about your, your jazz journey. You know, you started with stride piano. Where to go from there? What kind of things were you? What kind of things were you searching for? What? Who are you? Who were your influences? You mentioned Oscar Peterson? What? What jazz pianist? What jazz musicians? Were you listening to that were influencing you? What did you do to try to navigate toward that sound? Your the, your your idols, the folks that you were being influenced by? Talk to us about that a little bit.
Peter Friesen 22:20
So Bill Evans was on the list for sure. Right. Sure. Then there was a whole period of David McKenna was the man and listen to that left hand.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 22:29
Peter Friesen 22:31
And I like classical was still part of it. I love Bach. He's the pinnacle of everything to me.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 22:37
Yeah. Right. So are you still playing a lot of classical literature? You still you keep up with that. Are you just focused? Yeah.
Peter Friesen 22:45
I play the pieces my students are learning and that's about it.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 22:49
Okay, so. So you're influenced by Bill Evans. You got Dave McKenna? The other two greats. Obviously, Oscar Peterson. Okay, so after the stride piano? What did you What did you start diving into educationally that in practicing that you were doing to help shape you as a jazz pianist? What else were you working on?
Peter Friesen 23:10
When I went to finish off this the last year of my college and ended up like the guy was studying with was the college teacher. Okay, so after a steady diet of for note, right hand stride, stride stride, I'd say Hey, can we learn something like this? And you just you're not ready. thinking maybe I just don't fit your paradigm because you've got this little you've got your method. And honestly, everybody went through the same things in the songs came in the same order. It was like, Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Yeah. So I got a little fed up nice. There was another guy in town. There was a big club here called the cave. It was Hollywood north in the early 60s, a rat pack would come up here. Wow. studied with a guy named Ted Collins. His was a well known teacher around town. He was the host piano player for the cave. So he was telling me stories about you know, Frank Sinatra and these guys came to town rehearsal was by the guy a turkey sandwich so we can stand up for the show. Because they were drinking heart. Like maybe I'd say I want to learn jazz and you say what do you want to you're never gonna work if what do you want to play that crap? You're never gonna work. So I had I learned a whole bunch of stuff like to beat. Yeah, World War One song, every ballot. And he listened to me play from the stuff I was learning with the other gun. You'll watch that crap. So it opened up a bit, so I got what I needed. Like it was cool. Yeah. And it would be his lessons where it was 45 minutes you play for 35 minutes. He'd be in the other room. And you could hear clink, clink, clink, because he was born himself a whiskey. But he'd come out after 35 minutes and say you played this song. You didn't do this. You didn't do it. You could have done this. You could have done that. And then that's when I slammed my tape recorder on and I go home and I just go over that last 10 minutes. So, getting blasted.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 25:02
Wow. Wow. So what part of Canada is where? Okay, Vancouver. Okay. Wow. Okay, so, so very interesting, right? So you know, it's one of the things it's, it's hard. It's hard to find jazz teachers, right? There's a lot of jazz musicians. But it's it's hard to find jazz teachers, somebody who can really accurately assess where you are, what you need, and then how to communicate to you the various skills and approaches that you need to incorporate into your practicing in order to move toward accomplishing your goals, would you not? I mean, in your journey, did you not find that I always found it difficult. I found great jazz players. But I always had I always had difficulty finding great jazz teachers. Aren't me about that. Do you concur with that?
Unknown Speaker 26:03
I think we might have shared the same beginning like you weren't on the John Mehegan book. Yeah, I got that other library. But also, I ended up with the Berklee book. That's where I started. Two five ones were like, the world's biggest revelation to me. So I six days a week, six hours a day to phi one's gonna learn this. So I did a while. And I don't know if I'm a slow learner. But tell me I can't and I'll do it. Yep. Right. Anyway, and then as far as jazz teachers, like, honestly, the the dudes I have studied with heavy dudes, like they've written the Oscar Peter transcription book, right? studied with one guy studied with Oscar. Another guy was the I studied with a lot of old men thinking these guys know what they're talking about. And they've been around the block. Right, right. Right, there's that that's kind of a two edged sword. Because for a lot of those guys, it seemed like Miles Davis came along and started in piano players started using quartals. And that's where music got wrecked. Yeah, right. It was definitely dated to. We're doing traditional voicings and none of the five notes stuff. Right, right. And the other thing was like, it wasn't like, here's, here's the pedagogy. We're gonna do this, this and this, it was like learning songs. And whatever happened during the song is what we're gonna do, and it's like, and so like, that was all cool. But it wasn't never was the teaching was never their focus. It was like I am a gigging musician, but I can't make it meet. So I'm gonna teach.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 27:42
Yeah, you know, I tend to think I'm gonna go out on a limb here and make this statement. I've kind of I think I've made this statement before. I always tend to think for students looking for jazz teachers, if the first thing they do is pull out a song, you should run the other direction and find another teacher. Because, because quite honestly, I know, we all want to play songs, which is really, I mean, that's the whole point, right? But a song was never designed to teach you how to play. A song was never written the teacher. Right? So, you know, George Gershwin never wrote a standard and said, You know what I really love about this standard, it's going to help so many students learn how to play, I mean, that's not the point of the composition. And, and so oftentimes, inexperienced jazz educators will just turn to too much, well, let's play this tune. Let's play that tune. Let's work on this tune. And I get that, but at the same time, I'm, as a jazz educator, I'm more concerned about teaching how to play the piano. And if you learn how to play the piano, you're gonna learn how to play, you're gonna be able to play 1000s of tunes, right? So just for listeners out there, I would just say to you that, you know, if you're trying to hook up with a teacher, and the first thing they do is put a song in front of you, that's a red, that's a serious in my book, that's a serious red flag. That's a serious red flag.
Unknown Speaker 29:04
There's definitely going to be holding in the pedagogy, if that's how you're going to learn.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 29:09
Yeah, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. So yeah, because sooner or later, you have to confront things you already mentioned to five ones sooner or later, you got to confront voicings, sooner or later, you got to confront being able to practice scales in the right way, right, not just straight up and down. But scale time scale patterns, arpeggios, ascending, descending motions, sooner or later, right. You have to if you're serious about playing, you have to hit the pause button on tunes. You have to do a big time out and say, Man, I gotta work. I can work on some skill sets here that are going to allow me to play 1000s of tunes and not just focus on trying to play one tune, thinking that somehow magically that tune is going to teach me how to play.
Unknown Speaker 29:52
Sure. So what I would do like speaking to five ones, teach the 251 then drag out satin ball. You got five Keys towards yourself and that one's Oh, it's like, teach the exercise. present something that is using that technique.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 30:08
Yeah. Right. So, okay, so, you know, you've, you've, you've hooked up with a lot of older teachers. How did you how did you start getting? How did you start getting acquainted with some more contemporary styles of playing jazz piano and voicings and, you know, contemporary quartal type shapes and moving away from your traditional shell voicings and and stride piano? What happened? How did how did that how did that enter into your jazz education?
Unknown Speaker 30:42
A long time. So maybe 10 years ago, I hooked up with this teacher. And we started doing melodic minor theory and chording that was what like I write. Right. And I love the sounds that those chords create. On Yeah,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 31:03
right. The altered sounds coming from those melodic minor minor harmonic minor scales. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 31:11
But even air like, never did like five note chordal comping. Yeah, play, it was always solo piano bass. And they didn't use quarters now. And then, but nothing like comp the whole verse, of course, in my court. So I had one teacher present, the drop for two to four in a one hour lesson, all keys and every kind of cordons like, yeah, right. See, in five years, that was eye opening. So that's what I was doing in the last 10 years, his that approach is different than your primary, secondary. So I'm doing both approaches and see which one? Yeah, gonna work for my head.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 32:02
Well, you know, you bring up a great point, right? There are different ways, you know, when you start getting in to the study of harmony, which, by the way, that's where, personally, I think it begins, right. Melody flows from a harmonic understanding I used to have old jazzers was telling me all the time they used to ask me, they used to say, Bob, do you? Are you serious about really wanting to improvise? Are you serious about wanting to really improve your melodic plan and, and be able to play great melodic ideas and Imperva? Are you serious about doing that? I go, yes, of course I am. And these guys would say, well, then you need to study harmony. And when I was a young kid, I used to always think like, well, what the heck Wait a minute, that doesn't make any sense because you were just talking about melody. And now you got it. Now you're telling me to go study harmony, I'm not understanding. Well, now I do, right because through a strong understanding of a harmonic structures and voicings and and left handed voicings, two handed voicings, these shapes these are what the stronger foundation you have harmonically melody flows from that understanding of harmony. And, and so that's kind of where that's kind of where I think a lot of jazz students run into a brick wall. Because the study of voicings I think, is one of the most confusing topics that's out there, all kinds of information on voicings and and it can get like I always say it can get like fishing fishing line, it can get tangled up real real quickly, about how to voice and how to practice voicings, you know, and that's the other thing, right? It's one thing to show somebody a voicing, a voicing type. But it's another thing to show somebody, how do you how do you practice that? How do you practice those shapes so that they become an instinctual oral and muscle memory that that that you develop that will then be the catalyst that will fuel melodic invention. So it's one thing to show you a voicing it's another thing to show you, how do you practice it to get it under your hands? In your fingers. And so I think it's great that you're studying multiple voicing types. Because through that, you start you, you then start to formulate how you're going to approach the piano harmonically. And then that will govern how your melodic development takes place. Would you Would you agree with that, as an educator and as a student yourself,
Unknown Speaker 34:32
the way it's like, the rules that are being applied here for primary voicings mean just to put that in a shoe box and it's like this big and it's like got boundaries, right, right. The other guy I had a teacher none of that he'd say, Oh, I don't follow patterns. And then his his approach was okay, you're on this chord. This scale goes with it. You can play one note two notes, three or clunk all eight notes that are in that scale doesn't matter to him. I'm okay. Maybe. But now, I mean, he'd be playing and I say, Well, I mean, like, look at it. And I'm like, hey, those are just stop voicing them. Yeah, I mean, he had one he likes seconds and a fourth. Yeah. So it was I only play by shape.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 35:17
Maybe, yeah, see? And that's the kind of stuff as educators, right, we're trying to avoid with our students, you know that I mean, I get I get, you know, it's kind of like I heard a teacher one time, a student asked this, a student asked this individual, hey, you know, when you're playing that C dominant 7, what notes? What notes? Are you thinking? Alright, are there particular notes that you're thinking, when you play that C seven, improvise, or that C seven, and the teacher said, Well, there's 12, pick one
Unknown Speaker 35:50
of your podcasts. And it's not like this, Hey, I was the guy asked him that question. That answer comes to you, it destroys you, man,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 35:58
it does destroy you. Because that's just like, you know, as an educator, I go, I went like, okay, I get it. Right. I get what you're saying. But dude, that is like, really bad instruction. That's just really bad guidance. To tell us
Unknown Speaker 36:11
it's harmful, man. And like, yeah, teaching gig is you got to get that kid to believe they can do it. Yeah, let's toss one of those comments out. You just killed it.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 36:20
Yeah. And unfortunately, that's very common in our profession. I hate to say it. I mean, I hear that I hear that I hear stuff like that come out of teachers mouths all the time. And it's it's very, it's very frustrating. It's very, like you said, it's very deflating. It's very, very deflating to a student.
Unknown Speaker 36:38
Right? This is about making people believe they can do the undoable, right? I bet right. I mean, it is doable, but you got to do the right steps. But if you want to kill it, tell the kids something negative. Yeah, right.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 36:50
You know, so with voicings, you know, if you say, hey, you know, you can clip down, I don't play patterns, I play this replay that I play, what comes to my mind, I play what I feel, okay, that that to a student, I mean, come on, really, whatever, you know, get in your car, go leave and never come back. Because what I would say to the student,
Unknown Speaker 37:07
oh, my god, keep going, Hey, that was my 75 bucks, you just ate right there. And you know what, it wasn't worth it Not one bit.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 37:15
Right. So, you know, you've heard me say this before, as a jazz educator, you know, as a jazz educator, my job really my first and primary job is to make jazz because it's hard to make jazz, easy to make jazz simple, here, conceptually, because if if you start to think about it correctly here, and understand it in an easy format, here, then you have a shot here in the hands, you have a shot, you really have a shot to develop. But if I, as an educator, make it complicated here, confusing here, abstract here, you know, conceptually, then I hate to break the news to you, you have no shot here in the hands, you have zero. Because all you're doing was grasping graphs grasping at straws, you're throwing darts at a board hoping to hit something once in a while. And so unfortunately, that that happens far too often in our profession. So, you know, I again, your journey, right? Here you are, in your journey, you're trying to, you're trying to find answers, you're out there, like, like all of us as students are out there searching and dry, you know, taking 12 hour bus trips and, and, and, and trying to get your hands on something to allow you to kind of start to formulate an approach to formulate a way of thinking about jazz, making jazz, simple and easy here, so that you can really start to flourish and take off here in your hands. So, you know, I commend you, I think it's, I think it's fantastic. So
Unknown Speaker 38:43
so the so the aid that maybe 10 years ago, I started writing some books, published a couple of books, and process, like what I noticed of your time and teach a kid lead sheet and I do lots of like simple patterning in the left hand. Before you do jazz, let's just do triads. So even talking to lingo root 510, nine, all those numbers and getting them thinking like that, so I did a long time. It took me about two years to finally figure out how to write that and fit it because the other thing is that I just superimpose a rhythmic pattern. So root 510, even just quarter notes, and tell the kid you show them the pattern, they could never line it up with the melody. So I invented a little thing where you take a drum, a single line staff from staff, and I put all the timing underneath it, but it wouldn't name the note that would be root 510. So you're forced to think function. Yeah, that works like a hot dog. I mean, I got a 10 year old making a real five van.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 39:47
Wow. Hey man, I'm lucky 10 year old, Lucky 10 year olds man because if you the sooner that you can begin, a student can begin thinking and turn terms of, you know, function. What's the third? What's the seventh? What's the ninth? What's the 13th? The sooner that a student can think of the architectural structure of harmony, and how it's put together, the better the absolute, right?
Unknown Speaker 40:18
And then it flows. It's not like you have to wait 10 years to start putting language you can start a rational thought, That's exactly right. That's exact, simplest thing you could do is play the root of the chord for a whole beat in a single note melody on top, but if you know, I write it out, they're gonna read it. And I don't know that like the reading thing. That's, that's a different thing. Right? And some kids are really good at reading. And the other thing doesn't make they wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. So
Dr. Bob Lawrence 40:44
yeah, you know, you bring up yeah, you bring up an interesting point there, right reading, I have a love hate relationship with reading, you know, I'm, I'm a functional reader. I'm not a great reader, but But I will say this, in a way, I'm thankful because especially in jazz, right, I'm fact I mentioned this last evening in our master class, right? That we, we tend to want to process music way, way too much through our eyes, you know, way too much through our eyes. And there has to be an oral, I mean, the ears have to be put, the ears have to be put to work, right? I mean, they just can't, if everything's coming, if everything if all our musical stimuli is being processed through our eyes, our ears go on vacation, our ears go like you know what, whatever, okay? And so you know, this, being able to think to five one and not read it, and play it around and play it around the circle and different keys, be able to play your scales, not read them patterns, not read them. voicings not read them, right your process and everything I like I like I like to say music is the study of shapes and sounds. So the more that you can process shapes intellectually, and sounds aurally, as a jazz, or I think that's the way to go right? Way too much emphasis is placed on if if everything's being processed through the eyes, you're kind of missing the boat. In my opinion,
Unknown Speaker 42:08
I'm really fortunate because back when I was 12, in a rock payment, it wasn't like you could go buy the sheet music, you can go download the tab, bla bla, guess what? It was, here's the cassette Sia, Thursday, and you want to be in the band, you better buckle down and figure it out. Yeah. So listen, you're forced, you're forced, and it's in the ear. Yeah, yeah. So I learned to hear harmonic progressions, and maybe they were three chords. But I could also discern what's the piano player doing in that big blob of sound? And man, I gotta,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 42:39
I'm Peter, I'm so happy that you use the word cassette? Yeah, because now I feel like we're really connected, right? I mean, we, you know, we come from the same age group, because that man, now you're talking my language. That's how we learned everything. You're right, the guy would hand you a cassette and you'd go, go learn those tunes, and you'd go home, and you put it in your little cassette player, and you and you, for those of you jazz listeners that are listening right now you have no idea what a cassette is.
Peter Friesen 43:08
Means we're old.
Peter Friesen 43:09
Yeah, we're old. But you can get you can Google it and check it out. It was pretty cool at the time, you know,
Unknown Speaker 43:15
It was cool. But you know, I do have permanent hearing damage from the
Dr. Bob Lawrence 43:24
right. Oh, those were the days man, those were the days
Unknown Speaker 43:28
to something I want to just wanted to mention, after 35 years of teaching, what I understand is, the human brain is the laziest muscle and it's going to take the easiest route from A to B. So if you are going to learn a song by ear, but you go to YouTube and watch some guys here, put your finger here, put your finger here, that ain't hearing it. And if you force yourself into a corner, where you've got no choice, your brain will come up and do what it needs to do. But a given it has an alternative going that way.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 43:56
That's exactly right. Great point. Really, really great point. That's awesome. Well, you know, that's why, you know, that's why one of the things I do like when I send out my Saturday standards, you know, to everybody a jazz panel skills and, and I'm always just saying learn melody by ear, please just learn the melody by ear. Don't be don't be use your brain, use your ears, figure it out, don't be going to don't be going to a fake book or, you know, a real book and trying to figure out the melody, right? Do it by ear. And guess what, you're going to be really surprised because guess what's going to happen? You're actually going to learn it by ear, It will happen.
Peter Friesen 44:29
I listened to Marian McPartland show, back in the day, when she was talking about everything she does. I don't know if she could read or write because it sure don't stick in my head. Right? If you read it, and
Dr. Bob Lawrence 44:42
I'm That's right. It doesn't it doesn't it doesn't stick. There's not a stickiness there. Right?
Peter Friesen 44:47
Not at all.
Unknown Speaker 44:47
Because right? I have these gigs. And it's like a wedding and the bride says 14 of these lovely new songs for you. Well, I don't have time to memorize that. So I'll learn it as best I can. It's on a sheet but it's on the sheet It's gone. I haven't Yeah.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 45:01
Yeah. And you know, it's you know, it's really funny Peter to the more you use your ears, right at first if you're wanting to read everything is because you're, you're scared to let your ears go to work. And then once you let you're scared once you let your ears go to work and you start realizing that your ears are good, and that you can actually play stuff by ear, then you no longer want to read. It goes the other direction, right?
Unknown Speaker 45:22
So there's a cool tool online. What's it called? melodious? Okay, it's an Ear Training website. It's subscription. Okay. And they have like, Well, for one thing that it starts low sounds high sounds, they do density stuff, where how many notes are we playing, and it's really well stepped. The other thing that really helped me was the dick Grove School had. They have an ear training book, their teacher, Mark Harrison, he writes a lot of stuff for Hal Leonard, but that the course from the Grove School is there. And it's about hearing hearing resolution. So Raido Fahmida so yeah, once you start hearing those man, you don't. Intervals don't really matter. You can it's not right intervals. It's about the melody. Right. Right. Right.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 46:07
So, okay, so So here you are. A young man that happens know about cassettes, what do you what do you what are you practicing? Now? What are the things that you're studying now, at this stage of your journey?
Unknown Speaker 46:23
I listened to one of your podcasts I bumped into it just hopped on around on the internet, and learning and all went click. So I'm working on your stuff. And I've gotten this four years of weekly podcast, Bob, that's a lot of stuff. And it's not like, it's not like, hey, week one, it'll take you two hours to get through it. I'm sorry, you got six months, and a couple hours a day. So it's not like there's a shortage here. And it's also it's back to basics. So hey, now, the more you know, you can never know enough about any major scale on the list. Because the more you learn about it, the cleaner you get. Right. Right. And the more everything starts to make sense, because also, like, that's what I'm one of the reasons I'm here, this is a cool little, like a formula going on. It's a logic system, that's for sure. That intrigues me greatly like,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 47:24
well, you know, thank you for saying that. You know, it's it's interesting. When I started doing jazz piano skills, you know, the very first thing that criteria that I had was, it's not, I never ever want to present anything as being like, you know, learn how to play in 30 days, because it's not, you know, or, you know, and, and each podcast is you're right, it's packed full of information. But the, you know, Peter, that's how we learn, right? We, we want to be like, we want information coming at us. The most important thing, is it organized, is it? Is it structured? Is it does it does it does, does it connect, is there a Nexus a link between all the episodes, is there a message that's being communicated and conveyed a teaching approach to learning approach that is reinforced on a week to week basis. And at least that's what I try to do. So there's educational consistency there. And I and I hope that's I hope that comes through.
Unknown Speaker 48:29
I'm learning as a teacher, I'm, I'm looking at what you're doing. I'm looking at the package how big it is, what you're asking people to do, in one lesson. Hello, I used to be on a different web. I used to be a member of a different site, a very popular jazz site. All the guy can play like a hot diggity dog like it's godly. Right? He goes through a Tilden, hey, learn the song with me. And he go like merch and he does that. And he's like, Whoa, what the hell is that? And he's like, well, or you could do this, or you could do this, or you could do this. And I was like, Okay, there's 15 years and that one minute, you're not teaching me nothing. Except I feel like crap. That's what Yeah,
Dr. Bob Lawrence 49:02
exactly. I don't even I don't even know where to begin. I mean, all this comes at me so fast. Like, you know, I don't even know where to begin. How do I
Unknown Speaker 49:11
same with your voice? And, you know, you keep saying like, hey, there's books on voicings, yeah, great. What am I going to do with that? Right, too much information? I will. That's why I'm on your website. And why am I a member here? Because like, hey, at least it's manageable.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 49:26
Right? Right. Well, that's, that's fantastic. Man.
Unknown Speaker 49:30
You were talking about being stuck in the headlights, like a deer in the headlights because it's too much information. You don't know where to go? That's me.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 49:36
Right? Right. Well, you know, jazz is, like I said earlier, you know, jazz can be very quick, like become like fishing line, right, tangled up very, very quickly. And, and, and and we start running. You know, we start running as students as a jazz student week. It's easy for us to start running in all kinds of directions, all different directions all over the place.
Unknown Speaker 49:58
And you get nothing done.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 49:59
Cool. Practice. That's right. We're very, very busy and we go nowhere, right? Very busy and go nowhere. So, you know, that's what I keep trying to with jazz piano skills is keep kind of a path, a pathway that keep us you know, you know, kind of like the, you know, in the bowling alleys where they put the put the guardrails up to the ball doesn't go into gutter. You know, I think that's what good teaching does, right? It puts those guardrails up and prevents students from getting getting off into the gutters, and keep them on a path moving down the lane, right? So, so gotta
Unknown Speaker 50:35
be in a box. Right? Right parameters. Correct. That's right and manageable. Like don't ask somebody to do 14 years of work in 15 minutes. I've been there so many times. And I was like, Well, I feel like crap. And I know, right now I feel like I'm a turtle and I'm just banging away.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 50:56
Yeah. So let's talk about that a little bit. How do you structure your practicing? You know, do you have a routine that you go through on a daily basis? Is there a, how do you approach your practicing that you have found that become a very efficient and effective way for you?
Unknown Speaker 51:13
I've been listening to your podcasts, and I play right along with the podcast right along with you. Then I go to the exercises and I go, Okay, let's go run through that. I can handle them. Some of the new ones that we've been doing this year with a C sounds and some of the temples are a little rapid. That fingering thing, thank the Lord. But, but it's now I told you when I went to college, I had to relearn do everything. classical style. Now, guess what? I get to do it again. And I'm not sorry. Right? But it's definitely it's different. Now and I gotta get used to my thumb wants to go under all the time when I didn't. And I really went ham on on your arpeggio one because I thought Oh, cool. I'll move to new fingerings and I kind of overdid it. So I got to relax a little because my arms a serious tendinitis goal. No, that's fine. But give me something like that. It's like, Hey, you want to know why I'm such a keener? You want to take a bus ride? Come on, let's go. There's no bus ride here.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 52:22
Right? Oh my gosh. So all right. So so man, it's so awesome. Because here you are. You're you're just inspiration man to everybody. Because here you are. Life. Lifelong musician, literally. I mean, from childhood to currently a lifelong musician, lifelong student of music. So you're continuing to study you're continuing to practice you're continuing to learn and add your jazz educator, as a piano educator, music educator, and doing that every day as well. I mean, holy cow, holy cow. I mean, congratulations, Peter. Because to me, that's a life well lived, my friend. That's awesome.
Unknown Speaker 53:10
Thank you. Because it wasn't easy. I was told at the beginning, you can't make a living making music. Right? Okay. Well, you're you're not thinking hard enough. That's what your problem is. It might be harder now. Yeah. I mean, the gigs. Listen, man, I played in bands. The last two gigs. I worked three months, I got paid $35. And then the singer decided to quit and join her friends at work in a bit different than like, 35 bucks. I'm hauling, like, it takes me two hours just to set up the gear. And the other band, I got the guitar player played loud. The manager came out and yelled at us. I got 25 bucks at the end of the night and I go like, what's going on? What's going on? So it's harder now than it used to be?
Dr. Bob Lawrence 53:59
Yeah. Hey, Peter. You know, you know how you're getting old man. As musician. I get called for gigs. I have two questions I always ask when I get called for a good. First question I asked is, is there a piano there? Because I'm not carrying any gear. So that's how I know I'm getting no because I don't want to carry anymore. I don't want to set up I don't want to tear down. I don't want to carry gear. And then the next question I ask is, is it over by 10? o'clock? Yeah, because I'm not gonna I'm not staying out to play till two o'clock in the morning anymore. Three o'clock. So I guess I I've realized now my wife says, Man, you're old because you're at you don't want to carry gear and you want to be home by 10 o'clock. So yeah, I guess I'm getting old.
Unknown Speaker 54:38
Hey, I did a gig. I do a lot. I did weddings for 20 years. And it's usually cocktail hour after the ceremony before dinner. Let's go on a big fancy hotel. You wear a nice tuxedo. Nobody's listening. Yeah, right. And you play a song. Pins could drop and this is like, why am I like I'm finally getting A little bit smart here. Yeah. All right. I'd rather stay home and eat popcorn.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 55:04
Yeah. Yeah. So very cool. So that you have do you have like a website or anything like that that folks can visit? Or no,
Peter Friesen 55:13
I used to be on piano world.com somebody read my book and got excited. And we had a cloud a column. But you know, that got really difficult. Yeah, I'm on somebody else's website. So I gotta be careful. I mean, I appreciate that. I was given the space there. Yeah. And other people come in. And, you know, I started getting emails, and no, it wasn't about my book. It was like, Hey, can you figure this stuff out for me? And it's like, well read my darn book, and you might be able to do it yourself. But it can't say that either. A little tight. And anyway, the end result was I was doing lots of teacher workshops and stuff, and that was enjoyable. But you know what? I never heard one teacher play me anything back. Didn't. Wow. So So what's really going on?
Dr. Bob Lawrence 55:55
Yeah, so Okay, so if the jazz piano skills listeners want to get in touch with you or send you a message, what best way to do that is through email. Yeah, so what's your email address that they can reach you?
Unknown Speaker 56:08
P freezin. At TELUS te l u s.net. Anytime.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 56:14
All right, fantastic. Peter, Listen, man, it's been I gotta just be tell you that it has been a thrill to get to know you over this last year. And I'm so grateful that you're part of jazz panel skills I look forward to I constantly look forward to our interaction. I love your emails and helping me out in your input and insight at the master classes every week is fantastic as well. It's just been a really a joy. You know, you've heard me say this before my I had a teacher out Franzen who always used to say to me, don't at the at the end of every lesson. He literally he used to say to me at the end of every lesson, Bob, don't ever forget, the greatest thing about music is the people that you meet through it. And you know, every time I meet folks like you and spend time with folks like you, I can't help but to think of my dear friend and teacher and mentor our friends and who used to tell me that after every lesson and how true it is, it's just been a joy. And it's been a blessing to meet you and to get to know you and I look forward to our continued friendship for many, many years.
Unknown Speaker 57:15
Maybe it explains why I'm such a keener at those at those lessons. It's like there's no bus ride. How lucky you are that's that's sort of the thing. Like, I don't want to cry, but things were hard. Good. Yeah. You know what the flip side of that is you learn to appreciate what's good, right?
Dr. Bob Lawrence 57:38
Well, you've done you've done fantastic man, my hat my hat off to you. Now that I know your story. You know, I was impressed with you before but now that I know your story, it's off the charts, man. I cannot I cannot say enough good things, man. Congratulations to up to you. You're an inspiration to everybody. Man.
Unknown Speaker 57:55
You are an inspiration to me. I'm so glad my mom I found your website. And listen, you know, I'm like the little puppy dog. Let's go live Thursday night, man, six o'clock? You're talking to me? Don't talk to me. Anything happened?
Dr. Bob Lawrence 58:15
Oh, that's awesome. Well Peter, listen man, I'll be half of everybody at jazz piano skills band thank you for taking time out of your out of your day to share your story with us and and folks I can't do all your listeners out there. Feel free to reach out to Peter he's got a heart of gold and well we'll help and assist in any way that he can and and answer any questions that you may have as well so Peter, thank you again, my friend and I'll see you I'll see you next Thursday on at our at our masterclass
Unknown Speaker 58:44
Yeah, said my dinner our I'm always eating cameras off. I got something in my teeth.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 58:51
I love that man. Make yourself at home. So all right, Peter, thank you so much, man. Many blessings, my friend.
Unknown Speaker 58:57
So bless you for all that you have out there and you're presenting and your wisdom because it's really listen. I appreciate it. Man. I do. I've never been so happy in my life to be quite honest.
Dr. Bob Lawrence 59:10
Well, Peter, thank you, man. It means the world to me. Thank you. Yep, you too. Bye bye. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast episode was special guest Peter Friesen to be insightful, entertaining and of course beneficial. One of my mentors and teachers, our friends and used to say to me after every lesson, never forget, the greatest thing about music is the people you meet through it. And the privilege of meeting and spending time with Peter simply confirms our sentiment 100% Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills member I will see you online Thursday evening. At the jazz panel skills masterclass. It's 8 pm Central time, too. discuss this podcast episode featuring Peter Friesen. in greater detail and of course to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. As always, you can reach me by phone through the Dallas School of Music, my number here at the school 972-380-8050 extension 211 You can also reach me by email, Dr. Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org or by SpeakPipe that nifty little widget found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Help, there's my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the journey. Enjoy the pearls of wisdom shared by Peter Friesen. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz Piano!
Jazz Pianist, Educator, Author, and Publisher
Peter Friesen began piano lessons at age 6. He paid for his lessons by mowing his piano teacherʼs lawn. At age 12, he became a rock star after seeing pictures of Rick Wakeman and thinking Rick looked like Jesus.
By 14, Peter was playing in bars and restaurants. He has taught piano full-time since 1984 and plays piano at weddings and corporate events.
Peter has written several self-published books. He has been presenting teacher workshops since 2008. Peter’s pieces have been performed at festivals and Canada Music week celebrations.