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Aug. 2, 2022

Transcription Analysis

Dr. Bob Lawrence welcomes Josh Walsh from to discuss the launch of a new JazzPianoSkills Segment called "Transcription Analysis".

Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover and learn about the launching of a new JazzPianoSkills segment called Transcription Analysis in collaboration with Josh Walsh of 

Dr. Bob Lawrence and Josh Walsh discuss various aspects of transcribing jazz solos and discuss how their new collaboration will explore various jazz solos from professional jazz musicians throughout the decades.

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Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music



Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:32  
Josh Walsh, how are you my old friend?

Josh Walsh  0:36  
But what's up, Bob? It's been too long.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:38  
It's been too long. In fact, the last time you were on jazz piano skills, I think I looked that up. I think it was like, last year, October sometime.

Josh Walsh  0:46  
I was gonna say like six months, maybe more, maybe spent eight months?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:48  
Yeah, yeah, somewhere somewhere along those lines too long to go with your backs. There you go. Here we go, man. But you know, I'm really excited today, because you and I have been kind of quietly behind the scenes, putting our heads together with regards to doing a little collaboration. Yes, and, and what better guy to collaborate with than you when it comes to talking about transcriptions. Because I know you have a very deep fond love for transcribing. And you've been transcribing for how many years man

Josh Walsh  1:29  
as long as I've been playing jazz, so a decade at least?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  1:34  
Yeah. Yeah. So we've

Josh Walsh  1:36  
gotten more serious. I'm sorry, I cut you off. I've been doing it, I would say the last like three or four years.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  1:42  
Yeah, because since I've known you, I that has been a big part of your jazz education and promotion to students around the world. And, and so you know, I have not known you without knowing up and passionately involved with transcribing.

Josh Walsh  2:02  
Yeah, so sure.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  2:04  
Yeah, I think, Okay,

Josh Walsh  2:05  
I see, I'm sorry, I see a lot of players who come in who are like, buy a book, and they go through all the exercises, and they understand the theory. And they can do like all the techniques in the book, but then they can't play a song, right. And then you have players that are like on the other side of it, who pick up a book of transcriptions. And they have maybe they have great technical facility from being classically trained or something. And like, you sit down and play a transcription of a song, but don't have any idea what's going on and how it works. And then there's the like magic Goldilocks, people like you in the middle that connect the two dots. And you can take the ideas that you learned from one transcription and put them into another tune. Or you can use the techniques you learned from a book and figure out how to apply them into your playing. And that to me is like the magic sauce that you can't learn from like music school, or from a book or from a YouTube video that only comes from transcribing in my opinion.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  2:53  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's, that's really good. So you know, just, you know, I want to introduce this concept to the jazz piano skills listeners here, what Josh is here today, because we have put our heads together, we're going to start a new segment here at jazz piano skills, where we, we get together every, you know, month or so, or a couple months where Josh and I will hook up on jazz piano skills to look at a very specific transcription of a professional jazz musician, not just not just pianist, right? We're going to be looking at transcriptions of horn players, everybody from you know, Chet Baker to Miles Davis to you know, guitar players like Joe pass to two, you name it, right. So I think the big mistake that jazz piano players a lot of times make is that they think they have to be looking at transcriptions of piano players to have musical growth. And that is that is one of the myths that we want to debunk in our collaboration together. Would you not agree with that?

Josh Walsh  3:56  
I would absolutely agree. Although you said Joe pass, and I don't think I've done very much guitar transcribing. Except for some solo lines. I think I've done very little drum transcribing. So maybe we're in May, we should pick one of those just for fun.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  4:10  
Yeah. Yeah, guitarist are fun, you know, Kenny Burrell. I've done a lot of Kenny burrows, transcriptions and and Joe pass. Well, Jake, you know, Joe passes. Like I always think of Joe passes, like the Oscar Peterson of Guitar Man. So you know,

Josh Walsh  4:25  
well, you can do Pat Metheny. Next time.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  4:28  
Joey, Alabama, thenI, man. So all right, so, but anyway, the point is that we'll be looking at a bunch of different transcriptions from a Deaf, a bunch of different jazz artists playing a bunch of different instruments. And, and so, you know, our goal is to dig deep into these transcriptions and to look at them. Like I like to tell students to get beneath the surface and get get underneath the notes and figure out really what's going on. Because the way I look at transcriptions, Josh, I always I look at your transcriptions, if I'm looking at a Bill Evans transcription and studying it, I always I always approach it as Bill Evans is my teacher. And he's going to, he's going to guide me through his thought process, he's going to kind of open up the window to his mind, if you will, and allow me to peek in there to see how he thinks and how he approaches. Improvisation. Not only over that tune, but but even more specifically, over the various sounds found within that tune, like major and dominant minor, half diminished, and so forth. And so I always approach it. I always like to approach transcriptions of like, I'm spending time with Bill Evans, and he's my teacher, and he's guiding me. How do you approach it?

Josh Walsh  5:44  
I feel the same way. My piano teacher told me that I should hire a teacher. That sounds like the way I want to sound. But the problem is, like, I can't go call bill and have a lesson with him anymore, or Oscar or whatever. Right? And so we have, yeah, you have his transcriptions. You have his recordings. Right?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  6:02  
Right. Yeah. So okay. So before we get in more about talking about the specifics of transcriptions, and you know, we're going to spend this episode really kind of talking about some of the do's and don'ts. And a little bit about the guidelines that we're going to be using and the approach that we're going to be taking with our collaboration moving forward with transcriptions, when we start, start launching them to the jazz panel skills, listeners, but but I want you to take a moment right now and share with the jazz piano skills listeners, you got a big project going on right now, which which ties in perfect, which ties in beautifully to what we're kicking off here at jazz piano skills. So I want to just turn the microphone over you, my friend, and let you let you kind of brag a little bit about what you're doing there.

Josh Walsh  6:47  
Yeah, I mean, it's I started a YouTube channel in December or so to extend what I was doing, I run a website called Jazz Jazz dash that has a bunch of free educational stuff. And I expanded that into YouTube and video production, and all that stuff about eight months ago, about the time you and I chatted last, because you were one of my first guests actually on that channel. Right. And I've been growing that audience and building that kind of stuff and working on I don't want to give away too much yet. But there's some there's some fun, premium content coming soon.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  7:19  
Very good. And that premium content being transcription based.

Josh Walsh  7:24  
Well, okay, so it's two parts of it. And again, I don't want to give away too much of this just yet,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  7:28  
but I want to keep pushing you, man to you. I'm gonna keep pushing you till you give away. Oh, no, no, give away

Josh Walsh  7:33  
stuff. So the Dr. Bob, audiences is a good Secret Circle, it's fine. No, no, no. So it's, um, I half of it is like, just fundamental concepts it's very is some overlap with the kinds of things that you do like different voicings and approaches and phrases and rhythmic patterns and kind of the vocabulary you have to have in order to understand the transcription. And then the other half of it is literally just tiny transcriptions. I have this process called dupe, which maybe we can go into if you're interested. Where I take, let's say, like a two bar or four bar phrase out of something interesting that I'm listening to, I deconstruct it, I turned I figure out how it works. I then built exercises for me to play it in different keys and different rhythms and patterns, different offsets, and then I put it into take that same idea I heard in one tune and I apply it into other tunes. So that becomes part of your vocabulary. Right? And so that's the other half of this content is just building a library of these like, things that I'm exploring and things that I'm learning from and sharing what I'm learning with everybody else.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  8:35  
Yeah, that's fantastic. Well, that's gonna tie in beautifully then to what we are about to unveil and launch here at jazz piano skills, the two of us so that this is gonna be great fun over the next next several years. Did you notice I said years there, John. Sounds good to me. All right, man. So all right, so let's let's dive in and talk a little bit about transcribing. I'm gonna ask you some questions, and I just want you to expound upon them.

Josh Walsh  9:06  
Since we're talking, transcribing, just as this is the eight or nine hour podcast, right? Correct. That's right. Well, there's no way we're gonna do this in an hour.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  9:17  
We're gonna try. So, okay. So I want you to think back to when you started transcribing, because Okay, I think everybody that gets into jazz one of the first things that they discovered right away is they hear a lot of jazz musicians. A lot of jazz teachers talk about transcribe transcribe this transcribe that you got to transcribe if you want to learn how to play you got to transcribe you got to improve your ears, you got to transcribe transcribed grant. And they hear this all over the place. And, and I gotta be honest, I think most people when they start to transcribe, it's, it usually starts off as an epic fail. Epic, because it's, it's not. It's not easy. So I want you to I want you to kind of turn back time a little bit and go back to when you first started transcribing. And I want you to address some of the hurdles that you had to jump when you started transcribing. And I want you to also explain how did you successfully jump those those hurdles? What did you do to get over those hurdles.

Josh Walsh  10:21  
So I started with transcriptions by buying them and playing them. Instead of doing the transcribing myself, and there's some benefits to that maybe we'll talk about why we should transcribe here in a second. But I suppose a difficult subject for me to be honest with you, because the reason that I was drawn away from my classical training in into jazz was this idea that you improvised, you played on the fly, you played stuff that was in your head coming out of your head spontaneously in the moment. And I was kind of not understanding Well, at the time that even though you're improvising and making stuff up in the moment, those are coming out of things that you pre prepared things that you had thought about before. So I was mistaken, in my early thinking in that, well, there's no point in learning to play this Oscar Peterson transcription, because the next time Oscar plays it, he's gonna play something totally different. And so I use transcribing, and then beginning to kind of work on my feel. So I could try to get my articulations and my timing and my rhythm, and frankly, just to have fun, you know, just jam out alongside the recordings that I listened to, and play along with them. And then I started to notice things like, Oh, well, this, you know, bebop scale that I learned, well, here it is, like I recognize it in this thing. And I start to recognize those types of things. And then my approach to transcribing completely. So I actually do very little transcribing of whole tunes, or even of whole solos, like I mentioned a second ago, I spent most of my time I listened to something and I'm like, What in the world is that? That's awesome. I want to know how to do that. And I focus in like a laser on like four bars or six bars and figure out what that thing is. And then I may or may not expand into the rest of the tune or not from there, because it's just it, it gets it matters what your goal is, like I said, if your goal is to get the Oscar Peterson Field and play a lot of Oscar Peterson transcriptions and pay attention to your timing and swing feel and articulation with that. But if your goal was to kind of deconstruct things, then it's different. So I see there's a couple different reasons you might want to learn to transcribe. One would be just because you want to learn to play like them. I know of a lot of classical friends who pull up on our Tatum thing and can sit down and play T for two or whatever, because they just have the facility to do that. I don't. Or maybe like more like, what I want to do is I want to study it. I want to understand why it works and how it works and what I can do with it. Or maybe you're just doing it for ear training, which is another great reason, right? Just there's nothing that does more for your ear than listening and recreating what you hear. Or that's that's kind of the gist of it. Does that answer your question?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  12:48  
Yeah. Yeah, it's great. I think I think the big myth right there that you debunked right away is that when you transcribe that you have to transcribe the entire solo for heaven's sakes, right. A lot of people start off like, Okay, I'm going to, I'm going to transcribe Red Garland foggy day in London town, and I'm going to I'm going to start at the beginning and go to the very end. And you can certainly do that, right. I mean, there are folks that love doing that. But the reality of it is like what you just said, you hear something that maybe red garland plays, or Bill Evans or whoever Oscar Peterson, you mentioned. And you go, man, I want to do that. What what what was that? And you zero in on that and transcribe that. And it might be two measures, it might be four measures. Heck, it could be a measure, right? So I think I think the the first kind of myth that exists out there is that when you sit down to transcribe, you pick a solo, and you have to, you have to transcribe the entire thing from measure one to the to the last measure the piece

Josh Walsh  13:49  
yet don't miss. Don't. Don't underestimate what you can learn from like one or two. But you mentioned Red Garland. If you look at just his left hand, for just two measures, you'll get like 80% of the Red Garland signature sound because you figure out that comping rhythm that he has, which is through everything.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  14:04  
Right. Right. That's right, it defines it defines his play.

Josh Walsh  14:08  
I think the opposite is true. So if I'm sorry, I talked over you again. No, no, if you go too big, you actually might miss those things. Right? If you if you look at a whole red garland solo, you might miss the fact that he's doing that same comping pattern throughout the whole thing because, right, right, how he varies it and changes it and things like that.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  14:28  
What about here, okay, so whether you're whether whether you're transcribing a measure, or whether you're transcribing 100 measures, do you use any kind of technology, any kind of gizmos to help you in the transcribing process?

Josh Walsh  14:47  
Sure. Yeah. Why not? I use any will share. Yeah, give us give away the good I use any tune, which is like a slow downer app, which is fantastic. With that. I use my electric keyboard because when you listen to old recordings, the tunes they're not always tuned to 440. Like the mastering process makes them drift, right. And so you need to be able to adjust and match and do that kind of stuff. I actually use this a lot, a melodica instead of my piano. So this is one of like one of the things I hear people do that I think I would recommend they not do, which is like don't sit down with a recording and slow it down to 50%. And try and like just test the notes until you get the one note that matches. What I would recommend you do as you like, learn how to sing like a little phrase that you're trying to transcribe and sing it and then transcribe your singing instead of transcribing the recording. So one way you'd like Ryan's the recording to get in your head, and then you use the transcribing to get what's in your head. That's

Dr. Bob Lawrence  15:47  
a great that's yeah, that's, that's, that's a great tip right there. Man. That's a great tip, because what you just said is how I started transcribing. Dude, I know you're too young to remember this, but But I certainly it was part of my childhood. I had a Marantz tape deck. I don't know if it was a cassette cassette tape deck. I know a lot of well, I don't

Josh Walsh  16:09  
know what that tape is.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  16:11  
You all right, you okay? You know what a cassette tape is? What about a track? You

Josh Walsh  16:14  
know what they are? I don't know if I've ever touched one.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  16:19  
You know what they are? Okay. So anyway, I saw I had an old Marantz tape deck that I started off with transcribing. And that that that was considered some high technology there because I could actually flip the button, there was a button on that tape deck that I could flip, where it would slow down the recording 50% without changing the pitch.

Josh Walsh  16:41  
Oh, wow, I didn't even know. You.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  16:44  
Were Yeah, no, no, you would just slow it down. And you can still but but but here's the problem, I was doing exactly what you were saying. I was it was painful, because I was sitting there going zero, you know, rewinding zero, trying to find the note zero. And it was painful as opposed to listening to the phrase like what you just said, Listen to a phrase, listen to it over and over, sing it and then transcribe your singing of that phrase. That's, you know, that's huge.

Josh Walsh  17:14  
The other thing that's kind of similar to this is I don't start with the notes. either. I start with a rhythm, I find that I find that that gives me the structure because sometimes you get lost, you're like, Oh, this is like a 16th note triplet thing. But how far into the line? Am I? How much further? Do I have to go? Am I listening for three more notes? Or two more notes? Or what? If you get the rhythm out first? Right. All that is solidified.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  17:39  
Right? Yeah, that's really good. So So yes, you know, now now today, there is a lot of applications, like you just mentioned any tune which slows down, which allows you to slow down, I have never used it, but I'm familiar with it, right? It's the same kind of concept where you can slow down the recording and and pick off the lines.

Josh Walsh  17:59  
Yeah, you can change the pitch. So if you want to put something in another key, you can do that. If you want to know, a specific segment, you can like go from this bar to this bar and have it look

Dr. Bob Lawrence  18:08  
good. So yeah.

Josh Walsh  18:11  
Yeah, it's like 20 bucks. It's like it's a jazz player. It's like the best 20 bucks you'll ever spend.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  18:16  
Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, so All right. So then once when you are back, once you got your transcription done, you used all your gizmos, you got your transcription done, whether again, whether it's four measures or 40 measures irrelevant, then what's what's the next thing you do then you got it, you got it, you have it now what?

Josh Walsh  18:36  
Okay, so I have this process that I've never told anybody about yet. So you're the first ones to hear it. Alright, it's called spill the beans. It's an acronym I called doop de UEP. It stands for deconstruct, understand, exercise and perform. So it's what we just kind of talked about, which is first do the transcription just to get the notes and rhythms and everything in front of you so you can see it, then look at it and study it and figure out what is it they understand part of this is to look at it and figure out what it means like what scales are they playing? What harmonic structures are they playing, how does it relate to the chord and the lead sheet, etcetera, is are their rhythmic interests or their accents or their articulations, whatever you're trying to learn from this thing, you sit down, you try and you isolate it and understand it. And then you've write yourself an exercise so that you can learn to play it just start by maybe repeating exactly what's in the in the recording you're transcribing, then maybe shifted off a different rhythm, speed it up, slow it down, put it into a different key triad, instead of starting on the third, try it starting on the seventh, and explore experiment with it, learn it and all of that kind of stuff in different keys and all those things. So you build like a little exercise, you can put it in the circle of fifths and really internalize it. And then the last one p is perform which just means put it into a song. So play you know several of the pull up five or six of the standards you're working on right now and try to put that thing into it somewhere. And by that I mean not spontaneously. I mean like look at the lead sheet before you start pick out a spot at this point. I'm gonna put this thing into it and I'm gonna play it and then see if you can do it.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  20:04  
Yeah. So you take a very methodical, a very strategic and very methodical approach to saying, Okay, here's this idea. Here's how I deconstruct it, I practice it now I put, you know, a drop it into a song, right here, measure, measure three, on count four. And boom,

Josh Walsh  20:23  
I learned this by watching a Barry Harris. I learned this by watching Barry Harris teach the blues, where he says, Okay, here's a line, there's this great video of him on YouTube of teaching the horn players how to play the blues, and they invent a line together. And then he tells the rhythm section go and you put the you put the line where it belongs, but you didn't tell anybody where it belongs, you had to figure out from the line structure what the harmony was. Right? And you know, like, nobody got it right the first time. And the second time, one of the saxophone players put it right on bar nine where it was supposed to go. And then people started picking it up. And that's when I realized like, you can't just willy nilly put it in anywhere you got to be strategic and think about where does this thing belong?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  20:59  
Well, that's, that's the big mistake that I warn students about all the time, you know, you're not going to drop kick, you're not going to learn a line from Bill Evans and drop kick it into into one of your songs. It's gonna sound good.

Josh Walsh  21:09  
Or the other danger is you learn a cool 251 riff. And every time you see a two, five, you play it and all of a sudden, like you overdo right? It's not musical anymore.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  21:18  
Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so, um, alright, so how is that different than if I just took a I got a transcription of red garlin. I went out and I buy a red garland transcription book. And I zero in on a couple measures of a transcription of that transcription book and I can't I cannot do the same thing. What's what why is that any? Why is that inferior to what you're talking about?

Josh Walsh  21:47  
Maybe it works for you. It doesn't doesn't work for me. I don't know what it's called a kinesthetic learner or something like I learned by getting my hands dirty and doing it. I will pull the transcription, learn how to play it think I got it and move on. Whereas if I have to figure it out, I learned much more from it. It's just, it's just how I learn. Yeah, I have this project going, where I'm building my own real book. So I put my real buckets back. It's right there. Actually, it never leaves that shelf now. Because I hear a tune. I transcribe it. I look at it. And that goes into my I use fourscore on my iPad is my music thing. That's where all my real book tunes go. But I write my own real book by doing my own transcribing.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  22:25  
Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. I used to do a lot more I don't transcribe anymore. I mean, I shouldn't say I don't only little bits and pieces, kind of like what you're talking about. I hear two measures here, here, two measures there. And I go, what what what was that? And then I transcribe that and learn learn that, but I don't I don't do I haven't done a whole transcription from beginning to end of a piece and a long time. Maybe since the market got flooded with all the transcription books out there, that you know of artists that you can go by, you know, you know, everything from the Charlie Parker Omni book to there's Oscar Peterson transcriptions, do you name it? Right? So So I like to, you know, I do go to those resources quite a bit and we'll take we'll take a transcription and then analyze it, break it apart, study it, I like to look at, I like to look at musical phrases like, if I'm doing like Charlie Parker looking at Charlie Parker transcription, maybe from the Omni book I'd like to go through and maybe look at all the major sounds inside the solo. And how is he? How is he treating that major sound? Are there any? Is? Are there any similarities between the different major sounds in the piece? Is he starting on the ninth of the sound? Is he is he ascending? Does he like to ascend using scale motion on that major sound or arpeggio motion? Or what kind of what kind of aspects of the sound? Is he using the ninth 11th You know, the seventh What's he focusing on? So I kind of liked to get kind of heavy you know, kind of intellectual with that kind of stuff. And then and then I like to go okay, this is what he's doing. This is how he likes to treat the major sound. And then I go to the keyboard and then I start trying to imitate that approach that very approach and start to from that imitation then start to did your real book follow

Josh Walsh  24:23  
something fellow?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  24:27  
I heard it triggered a call. So yeah, I heard a click to so. So what I like to do is kind of do a real kind of I get heady with it now to where I like to see how is he thinking when he plays a major sound and then I like to take that approach to go to the keyboard and start developing vocabulary, my vocabulary utilizing that approach. What are your thoughts on that?

Josh Walsh  24:49  
Sounds very, very similar to what I'm doing the differences just I like to start with a blank sheet of paper and put the notes on it myself instead of start with somebody else's. I also I think I'm tainted because I spent so much time just playing out the real book, and there are a lot of mistakes in the rulebook to say the least Yeah. And so if you don't have that skill to build it from scratch, you kind of don't have the ability to recognize when they're wrong.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  25:14  
Yeah, so I don't Yeah. Okay.

Josh Walsh  25:16  
I don't think there's anything. I agree. There's this touring electronic kind of jazzy musician named anomaly. If you haven't looked him up, he's amazing. And he did this interview where he said, everything I learned about soloing, I learned from the Charlie Parker Omni book. Oh, really? There's a lot to learn in that book.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  25:33  
Well, there's no doubt right? From as a piano player, though, it's kind of tough because, you know, alto saxophone lines don't always translate perfectly to the piano. There's some awkwardness, there's, there's some clunkiness there, you know, some do some don't, you know, so. You know, and, and that's, that's a reality, too, that we have to, you know, take into consideration as we move forward. You know, when we're looking at horn transcriptions of horn players, you know, we have to take in consideration that their horn lines, and sometimes they don't lay out as well on the piano and vice versa, right. I remember, I remember the first time I took one of my arrangements into the one o'clock lab bandit at North Texas, and I passed out my chart, I was all excited and, and they started playing it and I stopped the sax section, and I said, What do you play in in the lead alto player said what you wrote? And I said, Okay. I said, Okay, I said, it didn't. I said, That's not sounded. I said, That's not sounding like, that's not sounding right. And he said, he said, That's because you're a piano player, and you're writing piano lines for a sax section that it doesn't translate. And so that was a huge lesson for me, because I realized at that point, when I wrote for saxophone players, I needed to write like, I needed to write lines that saxophone players play, not what piano players play, and my piano, and so anyway, goes to

Josh Walsh  26:55  
help me do this. I'm sorry, there's a lag, I interrupted you.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  27:01  
I get it, I get it. My piano teacher

Josh Walsh  27:03  
had me do this thing where he had me write what he calls a dream solo, which is just like, take the changes, take your time and think about it. Don't be so spontaneous, but actually write out what you think would be a great soul using all the facility that you have. And then he had me transcribe, Stan gets his pennies from heaven. So we compared what I did to what Stan gets played. And he's like, Well, what do you notice it's different. So actually went through, I don't remember the specific numbers, but something like it was something like 78% of the time Stan gets started on an off beat and ended on an off beat each of his phrases. And mine was like, 25% of the time. And I was like, oh, that's why it doesn't swing as hard. Right. And so that's something now that I noticed about myself that I can next time I write something I can try and bump it up to 40% 50.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  27:46  
Yeah, see, Josh, that's exactly what I'm talking about. That's, that's, that's great aspect. That's a great takeaway from transcriptions. Right? What you just talked about right there. Right? That's, that's the kind of thing that I love to do. When I look at, look at a solo, I like to try to get into the mind of the player and how he approaches the craft, how he approaches the art. So you mentioned earlier, something that I think is really, I mean, we just said it, and we we moved on from it very quickly. But I want to go back, and I want to spend a little time talking about it. You said the very first thing that you do when you transcribe is you zero in on the rhythm, writing out transcribing the rhythmic lines. How incredibly important that is the last another one, which was your cat dying back there, what's going on? Oh, no.

Josh Walsh  28:40  
earthquake or something.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  28:42  
I'm expecting like a cat that jump up on your head here any second now or something, you know. So, anyway, the rhythm. So, you know, talk to me about why it's so important and talk to the jazz piano skills listeners why it's so important. I think first and foremost, before you even look at notes, is to work on your transcribing of rhythmic skills.

Josh Walsh  29:05  
Actually, you taught me this, Bob. So if you remember back eight months ago, you told me that when you start thinking about making your lines were interesting. You start with snare drum rudiments, right, you start by thinking about a rhythmic line and you almost like scat the line rhythmically, and then you put notes to that rhythm. That's actually the same kind of thing I think I'm doing with the transcription is learning how. The reason I guess to me, the rhythm is more intuitive or simpler for me to pick up on first and the notes are, there's just fewer possibilities maybe. And so I can write down even away from the piano or the instrument entirely. I can just sit down and notate what the rhythm is. And then go back and fill in the notes afterwards. I I find sometimes I just get lost. I'm like singing a little part of a phrase to match the pitches to figure out what pitches it is. But I forget where in the measure those pitches belong and all of a sudden you have a lot of like rework to do to try and put your transcription back together because it's all shifted some way or another if you start with the right All right, just eliminate all of those problems.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  30:02  
Yeah, right, you got you, if you had the rhythmic roadmap laid out, then you're then you go through and you just drop the notes on top of it.

Josh Walsh  30:08  
Right, exactly. In fact, this is how I do my whole arrangement, I start with a blank sheet of paper. And I start simply by just counting the bar. So I'm away from my piano. So I listen to the recording, and I just count, okay, it's 32 Bar head, right? So I make 32 bars on the paper, and then I listened to it against again, still away from my instrument entirely. And I write down anything that I notice. So I'm like, okay, and bar four, I know that's a one chord. So I put a one, or in bar six, I know it ends on a eighth note, triplet. So I'll mark in the rhythm, eighth note triplet and just kind of go through it like I don't know, 10 times, filling in as much as you possibly can, without being at your instrument at all. And you'll find the more that you do this, the better at this, you get right, you'll start to recognize, oh, that's a two, five, I don't know what what two, five it is, I don't know what if this is the two five to the six, or the two, five to the five or whatever. But I know it's a two, five. So you mark to five in parentheses or something and you overtime, you start to get good at this, you can do it even sitting away from the piano and get a lot of it done. And so I find, like I felt the structure, filling out the figure, Figure out the first 32 bars first filling out the rhythm first gives me just a framework of which to lay everything else on top of.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  31:16  
Yeah, that's fantastic. That's really good. You also just mentioned another point that I think is really important that we want to stress to the jazz piano skills listeners out there, I can't, I can't begin to tell you how many times I say this to students, I think maybe every single lesson. And I think a lot of times it goes in one ear and out the other ear. But I keep repeating it, you know, because good teaching keeps repeating, repeating, repeating until it finally you know sinks in. But the importance of the study and the practice of music away from your instrument. Absolutely crucial. So talk a little bit about that, and how that has made an impact in your development and your growth as a pianist and specifically as a jazz pianist.

Josh Walsh  32:08  
You've ever met someone who says I have perfect pitch, but I don't really use it when I play this. That's that's kind of what I mean. Like, if you have perfect pitch like couldn't you just sit down and transcribe everything instantly? And it's like, no, it doesn't. It doesn't work that way. When I'm sitting in my car, driving from someplace to another place, I'm kind of listening for like, what are the things that I know? What are the things that I don't know, and trying to connect the dots, I think that's where like your musicality comes from because again, if you can recognize it in somebody else, you can recognize it in your own play. And now you have something right that you can improve on once you know where your baseline is, and what you can and can't do you know what you can do to push yourself?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  32:45  
Right? You know, another thing so well, along those lines, right? The the study the away from the instrument, I tell students that when you're, if you're sitting at the instrument, and you're trying to ascertain knowledge, process knowledge, apply knowledge, all simultaneously. That's not a good formula,

Josh Walsh  33:16  
you don't have enough bandwidth that's in your brain to handle all of it at once.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  33:19  
Right? Yeah, yeah, that's just not a good formula. Right. And I think that's another myth, you know, that I, you know, I tried to stress that the parents especially of like, junior high and high school students that I might be working with, that I stress to them that I give them a lot of practice time, practice, exercises that they need to do away from the instrument. So I said, so if you if you holler at your son, and he's in his room, and you say, what are you doing, and he yells back, I'm practicing. Don't think he's being sarcastic, because the piano is out in the living room, and he's in his bedroom, I actually have exercises that he needs to be practicing and doing away from the instrument. So I can't stress that enough. And I think that actually, when you start learning how to do that and incorporate that into your, into your musical routine, I think you start to find that your development is expedited, just expedited tremendously.

Josh Walsh  34:18  
Absolutely. I guess I just don't think you'd have enough bandwidth to do both at once. Like, I used to have this thing where I would study, study, study my classical sheet music, to where I knew what I could sing it, I knew all of it, and then I'd sit down at the piano, and my hands couldn't do it yet. And my brain forgot what it knew it was just like, it just didn't have enough RAM. That's an amount of RAM. Right to like, keep everything at once. You just have to move in smaller and slower chunks.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  34:42  
Yeah, yeah. Okay, so I'm gonna bring up another topic that I want you to talk about. I with transcribing. If I have a student that's going to get into transcribing the very first thing I do is I haven't seen I have them start transcribing things that they're going to have great success with right away. So I started having them transcribe stuff that aren't, that's not even jazz. I like to go to Creedence Clearwater Revival. I like to go to country. I like to go to country groups. You know, Hank Williams, I like I like Willie Nelson. I like I like giving them tunes, pop tunes, country tunes, simple little, little songs outside of the jazz genre, that they can have great success with right away, because I want them mentally realizing and learning right away that they can do it, that they can do it. What are your thoughts about that?

Josh Walsh  35:44  
Are you talking about, like, recognizing the changes when you talk about giving them?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  35:49  
And melody? You know, like, if if you're going to if we're going to do Willie Nelson on the road again, I want them to actually transcribe the melodic line, be able to play that. And then yes, I want them to be able to Yeah, it's a one chord going to like what you were saying earlier? Oh, that's a two five, right. I want them to say, Oh, that's a five one that's a cadence. That's a four or five one or a 251. And be able to start hearing that. And I have just found that for new transcribers, folks that are getting their feet wet with transcribing, I actually think starting with tunes outside the Jazz Jazz genre, is actually a much, much better way to go and much more successful way to go. Right away.

Josh Walsh  36:31  
Yeah, I think I agree with you. I mean, I, I listen to all kinds of music, and I deconstruct and figure out how to play all kinds of music, not just jazz music, right? When I do sit down with my students to do transcribing, I usually start with jazz stuff. But my rule is like, I never let somebody transcribe something that they wouldn't be able to play easily once they transcribed it. All right, just to kind of keep it realistic and what you can I'm not, I'm not transcribing our Tatum because I can't possibly play it. I would only learn so much from it.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  37:00  
Right? Right. Right. So well, that's, that's a very good point. Right? Might you know, so what I'm trying to do is just if somebody's wanting to transcribe, I'm wanting them to have I'm wanting to have a good experience with it from the get go. Because otherwise, I've seen so many people Hang Hang it up very quickly, because they think they can't do it because they're tackling Stan gets penny from heaven. As the first transcription I'm gonna like Okay, wow. Okay, good. That's that's a that's a lot to bite off for your first transcription.

Josh Walsh  37:32  
Yeah, I think just take the pressure off just four measures. Just do four measures. Yeah. Do these specific letters. Yeah. And it's in the GSE. And I'll give you a hint. It's all diatonic. So it's all white notes.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  37:43  
Yeah. Right. And start there. Yeah. Yeah. So okay, so How successful have you been? Then let's talk about the success rate that you've had you've

Josh Walsh  37:53  
what does it mean to be unsuccessful? Let me ask you that?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  37:56  
Well, I you know, I just, you know, I'm curious. How successful are you with when you transcribe a four measure line from I don't anybody have actually retaining that and that becoming solidified within your jazz vocabulary that now that's, that's something that rolls off of your fingers? at will, when playing standard? You're playing jazz tunes? How successful have you been with that?

Josh Walsh  38:27  
If I put it through my dupe process that I told you about, which is that methodical ticket from transcribing, all the way into twisting it around and playing with in different keys, it's really sticky. But that's because I do that for a week or two weeks with that one thing for a few minutes. And every one of my practice sessions is pretty sticky. I'm not the most disciplined at doing that. Every time that I transcribe something. We were texting just the other night about this Kenny Barron thing that I heard and I was like, Oh, I figured out learned it. I'm not sure I still remember that. Sorry. I still remember it today. It was like two days ago. I need to spend more time with it's really make it sticky. So sometimes I do it just because I'm curious in the moment, and it falls out of my head. And I probably learned something from it, but I couldn't tell you what it was. But then if there's something I'm really serious about. It's pretty sticky for me.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  39:13  
That's good. Yeah. I don't try to I don't take lines and I don't try to I personally don't try to make them sticky. I like the word that word that you're using. I like to take lines the way I look at any line from any transcription, something that I've transcribed. I always like to look at as as a launchpad. I like to look at it as a way that's going to help me lead me to my vocabulary helped me uncover my reservoir of ideas that are are being launched from that idea. So because I always I tell students all the time, it's a lot easier for me to remember me then it is for me to remember Charlie Parker,

Josh Walsh  40:02  
I'm really glad you said that. Because I don't want to come across misunderstanding what my intent is. Like, I do not assemble my own solos by like stringing together this thing from this guy, this thing from this guy and this thing. So I think, I think of this like, like you, if you really, here's an analogy, like, if you're learning to be an artist, you might pick up a book that teaches you how to crosshatch these strokes this way, or how to make thick strokes, or how to make thin strokes. And so those are all techniques that you need to do in order to draw a painting. But if you never use them to make a painting, like what was it for, I guess you're better with a pencil than you were when you started. But like you aren't getting any closer to the goal. At the end, I think about learning these, whether it's building a bag of tricks like filling your a bunch of blues licks and your bag or something, as things that I practice and things that I think very intentionally about when I practice so that when I perform, I shut it off, I don't worry about it, I let my hands go where they want to go. And I don't I find I don't generally, completely mimic the links, the licks that I heard before. But whatever subconscious part of my brain that was built, by doing them methodically comes out creatively during the performance.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  41:15  
Yeah, that's nice. Yeah. Do you ever take an idea from somebody else, and then move that idea around within the sound of the chord or the progression? In other words, if I like to take an idea, if if I have an idea that say, I've taken from Chet Baker, where he, he plays he, he enters from the third and arpeggiate up to the ninth, while I can maybe take that same idea, and then say, You know what, I'm going to enter, I'm going to do the same thing. But I'm going to enter from the fifth and take it to the 11th. Or I'm going to enter from the seventh and take it to the 13th. So I I actually take the idea, but but now I'm now I'm actually adjusting that moving that idea around within the sound.

Josh Walsh  42:01  
Yeah, that's the exercise part of my due process. I take that idea. Okay, shift it around, like you said, Maybe I the original start on the third. But now I'm going to start it on the seventh. Or maybe it was on the end of two, and I'm going to start it on the end of three. Or maybe he played it staccato, and I'm going to smooth it out a little bit. I don't like just play with experiment, get creative with somebody else's idea and explore it. Absolutely. That's, that's where all the value to me comes. Otherwise you're just rote repeating what you've heard.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  42:30  
Correct. That's, that's right. So also also, I

Josh Walsh  42:33  
think, kind of where you're going like, taking out a major put it in minor. Right, take a major lesson you learn to five riff and do it in a minor to five

Dr. Bob Lawrence  42:43  
apps. Absolutely. 100%. That's exactly right. And that's where and that's where the power comes. That's really where I think the power of understanding how to utilize a transcription to get the squeeze the to really squeeze the full value out of what you're doing and what you're looking at and studying. That's man, that's, that's gold. That's gold. That's musical gold. So, since since we're collaborating, I just have to ask you and you know, with all the listeners listening, you know, since we're collaborating, do I get the due process for free? Is that something that I get access to? Just automat? I'll trade do i get a 10% discount for the dupe process?

Josh Walsh  43:23  
Give all of your million jazz piano skills listeners a discount

Dr. Bob Lawrence  43:31  
all right, you guys heard it? Y'all heard it. Y'all heard it. So when you go to Josh's website, just let me know when you start.

Josh Walsh  43:37  
It's not live yet when it goes live, but what I will once it's live

Dr. Bob Lawrence  43:41  
Yes, you just say I'm a jazz piano skills listener and then reference reference this this this episode.

Josh Walsh  43:52  
I will honor that I promise on coupon code Dr. Bhatt.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  43:59  
I love it. I love it. Oh my gosh. So alright. So has there any been has there been any transcriptions that have absolutely that have stumped you? Oh my gosh, set out the trip. That you've

Josh Walsh  44:10  
been on the ones that oh, yeah, I fail more than I succeed. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  44:16  
Okay. Well, okay, this so important thing. This is so important. Talk to the listeners about your failure as a as trans and transcribing. Awesome, let's, let's hear it. Spill the beans about your failure.

Josh Walsh  44:30  
I've talked about one in this. I'm currently transcribing this amazing tune called my shining hour by Ben Patterson. Oh, go look it up on YouTube. It's an incredible performance. He makes it look like he barely moves. It's like it's just like his hands just glide across the piano. And he has these all these, Rick lists, all these riffs that sound similar, they move they go by really fast, but man, they're just so hip, and I was like, I just can't figure it out. I can't figure it out. I slow down it to the point where the audio was so like grainy and garbled that I couldn't figure out if there's a pitch there if it was like a snare drum or if this was a piano,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  45:03  
right? And eventually I've been there, my friend.

Josh Walsh  45:06  
And so I did this for hours and hours. And then just the other night in the car, I was singing along with it. And I was like, Oh my gosh, is a chromatic scale. Right? Like, I know this forever, how did I not recognize this chromatic scale something, there's something about just going by so quickly, maybe this is one of the ones we should talk about, I learned a lot from this transcription is something about it just going by so fast, that just like scared me to being able to pay attention to what was the simplicity of what was actually happening, because I went back through all my transcription completed, and I highlighted all the places where he just chromatic lines. And it's like, 40% of his solos are chromatic lines. And I'm like, boy, I don't, I don't use chromatic lines nearly enough. I do this kind of right all the time, but like, not to the extent of what he's doing. Right. And so I was like, wow, again, like there's something I could focus on. This is a real wow moment, even for someone who kind of sort of knows what they're doing. If you play these really fast chromatic scales, and you end on like the three year end on the seventh, it sounds super hip.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:08  
Right, right. You know, it's so funny you say I,

Josh Walsh  46:11  
but yeah, I'm sorry to answer your question. I get stumped all the time to the point where I can't ever figure it out. And I just move on to something else.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:17  
Well, and I think that's so important for listeners to hear, right? That this is a you know, for all of us, right, we don't just sit down and drop the needle, I'm showing my age here again, because I used to use albums, transcribed off albums, but

Josh Walsh  46:32  
I've also never put a record on a record player. I own some vinyl some back here. But I've never literally like to put a record on the record player and set the neat. I've never done it.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:45  
I'm feeling really old now. Josh. Feeling really? Oh. Because I still have my record player. And I still have records.

Josh Walsh  46:54  
It's cool to collect vinyl, I have a bunch of it. But I've never never Yeah, literally put the needle.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  47:01  
Well, okay, so where is going for for this, and especially for the elder elderly listeners that jazz piano skills is that you know, you don't drop the needle on an album and have 100% 100% success rate every time you go to transcribe, you're gonna have failures. And so that's just part of the game. Right? So don't make I think a lot of times people will make the mistake with the failures is that they walk away thinking, Oh, I'm tone deaf, or I don't have a good year, or that I'm not, I'm not capable of doing that. And that's just simply not the case. That's just simply not the case. I use

Josh Walsh  47:31  
doorco as my notation software, like, alias or finale, or whatever, I use doorco. And I wrote to them and asked if I could get a question mark, question, note, note head option, because they give you squares and slashes and stuff was like, Can I get a little like circle the question? No, did it? Because I just want to know, Mark that like there's something Yeah, and the rhythm, but I don't know how to fill in the gaps. And I literally can't print the music unless I put

Dr. Bob Lawrence  47:54  
something there. Man, that is a fantastic idea. The all the music notation software should have that. That absolutely should be like standard, you know? Yeah, that's fantastic. So but you know, going back to that simplicity thing, I've told this story many times, I remember transcribing a red garland solo. And I got it, transcribed it, it was an F major chord. And the line went like this Josh. F. And then he played an A, and then he played a C. And then he played an E. And I stopped. I said, That can't be right, my ears or my ears are so bad. I went and I listened to it again. And I wrote down F A C E with my F major chord. I went man that's that's not right. My ears think I went back and listened again. F A C E and I said there's no way. There's no way there's absolutely no way that red garland is playing F A C E over F major seven because this sounds really hip. This sounds really good. There's no way that F A C E over F major seven can sound that good. And I was fooled for the longest time because I was just in denial that that was what was going on like what you're saying with the chromaticism Yeah,

Josh Walsh  49:15  
I bet the rhythm was really hip. So

Dr. Bob Lawrence  49:18  
yeah, it was yeah, it was it was you know kind of offbeat, you know, how he liked to play on the and come on the backside of beats and everything with this soloing. But, but but still even that it wasn't that complicated, but it was it just, you know, his touch. It was just the touch and the feel and the articulation that just made it sound so incredibly happy. And he was just outlining the chord change which is you know, cool when you do it right. It's fantastic. So

Josh Walsh  49:46  
I do you ever so I used to have this bad habit of looking at the real book before I would start my transcription so that instead of like figuring out what the chords in the formula for myself, I would like print off the the real book with like, measures in it I would try to fill in the solo. And I would be like, Why this can't be right, because he's playing a B flat over an F major seven chord. Right. And I would like theory my way into thinking I know what the line is without actually like just hearing the line itself for what it is. Right? I used to run into those all the time where my transcriptions were wrong, because I tried to fit them into the theory that I knew instead of listening first.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  50:24  
Yeah, right. Yeah. And quite if you start, if you start with wrong, you're going to be wrong. Right. I mean, I mean, in other words, if you're using like the real book, and it's got to change, you're trying to force something into a change, that may not be the right change. That's that's actually being played. You know?

Josh Walsh  50:44  
Yeah, that's not exactly what I mean. Like, I think the changes were right. And the real book for the match the record, oh, they wait for this. What I'm saying, Okay, I limited my thinking for what the what the who, or what the artists Oh, I see eventually be playing only to things that I already understand. And so I would never hear the B flat because I'm like, what doesn't belong? It's an avoid note, you never play B flat over F. Right. But no, actually do all the time.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  51:09  
Correct? Yeah, right. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, that's what somebody said to me the other day. Somebody, I can't remember what it was about. I said, I can't remember what the what the question was about. But it was along those lines, something about, I don't know, parallel fists or octopus. I said something like, well, Beethoven didn't have a problem with it. You know, so I mean, he said, it's that same kind of thing. We get caught into these rules based on theory. And we think that that's that the musicians are fault following those all the time. And that's not the case. Yeah. So. So okay, man. So this has been fun. So we are going to kick off. Next month, we're going to come up with you have any ideas for first transcript,

Josh Walsh  51:50  
I would love to talk about this one that I'm in the middle of now, which is my shining hour that that Ben Patterson won, and it's one that you can go look at anybody can watch it, it's great.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  51:59  
Well, let's, let's start with that and see what happens. And that's, that's if you endorse it, I'm good with it, man.

Josh Walsh  52:06  
Let's do it. And I would say it's like seven minutes long. Let's let's not do that. Let's pick a section of it and talk about it.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  52:12  
Yeah, well, that's fine. Yeah, absolutely fine. So So you and I will get together and we'll we'll nail down a date to record that episode. And then the jazz panel skills listeners can look forward to periodically you and I hooking up and doing some transcription analysis. And hopefully, by doing these transcription analysis, listeners will be able to take away from all of this will be a more fruitful way for them to approach the study of transcriptions, doing transcriptions and and being able to, as we mentioned earlier, squeeze every drop of musical value out of the transcriptions that they do look at, that will help them improve their jazz piano skills, their Jazz Piano playing their vocal improvisation vocabulary. You know, that's the spirit of what that's the spirit of this whole endeavor. But I think it'd be fun

Josh Walsh  53:07  
would be have the audience recommend, like request one. And then we'll go do that, hey,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  53:12  
even if it's again, like asking, so

Josh Walsh  53:15  
from this timestamp to this timestamp in this recording, I'd love to know what's happening here. Haven't go Yeah, because you didn't figure it out. That would be fun. I would enjoy that.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  53:24  
Well, that you know what, that the line is open right? So if all your listeners out there if you want if you have some specific sections of transcriptions that you would like for me and Josh to tackle and to look at, please send it send it on to me and I'll share it with Josh and we'll we'll take a look at it. That would be fun.

Josh Walsh  53:43  
That's great. Might be unleashing the crack in here though. Like someone's gonna come back with Corey. Henry's link is solo or something and then we're doomed.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  53:50  
Well, hey, Josh. I can always say I never got the email. So it's no big deal. Lost my voice. They come back with some. Yeah, they come back with some crazy, I'm just I'm gonna hit the delete button, man. So anyway,

Josh Walsh  54:03  
I'll get my transcripts. Awesome.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  54:07  
So hey, listen, I am so excited. You know, I reached out to you. And I was hoping that you would say yes, that you would come on board and be part of this. And I am just, I just gotta tell you, man, I'm really thrilled. And I'm excited to take this journey with you. And for you and me to share our journey. With all the listeners. I think this is going to be great fun.

Josh Walsh  54:29  
I'm excited, man. I live for this stuff.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  54:32  
Awesome. All right. Awesome. So okay, real quick. Where'd all that where'd all the listeners find you again? Josh?

Josh Walsh  54:40  
You got it. You go to jazz It's got a hyphen in it jazz dash Or if you really want to be cool, go to youtube search for jazz library or my name and you'll find me and subscribe. They're

Dr. Bob Lawrence  54:52  
awesome. All right, my friend. We're gonna we're gonna call it a wrap today and we got we got a lot of work to do. So we're gonna get after it. off air here and get ready to unveil the first transcription here shortly. So, Josh, thanks again. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and then you and I will connect here soon to get to work. See you man. All right, buddy. Thanks, man. Appreciate it. Bye bye bye

Josh WalshProfile Photo

Josh Walsh

Jazz Pianist, Educator, Entrepreneur

I'm Josh Walsh, a professional jazz pianist, teacher, and entrepreneur based in Cleveland, Ohio.

As a child, the jazz piano seed was planted when I found an early interest in boogie-woogie and blues piano. I spent many afternoons in the living room with sunglasses on pretending to be Ray Charles. A yearned for the stride left hand of Fats Waller and Art Tatum.

I assure you, it wasn't much fun to listen to 8-year-old Josh try to rock out like Dr. John, but the journey had begun.

I got more serious about my future at the piano when I went off to college, where I studied classical piano at the University of Toledo and Cleveland State University. Through those studies, I gained a more diverse appreciation for all forms of music.

College did wonders for my playing technique, where I improved fluency in scales, arpeggios, and became comfortable across all the keys and tonalities. The nerd in me really loved learning more about music theory, and I took every course the school would let me.

I studied privately with a number of remarkable piano teachers, most notably at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Margarita Shevchenko, the winner of multiple international piano competitions.

After college, I narrowed my piano study to focus on jazz, which has been my passion ever since. Over years of continued study, both independently and with great private teachers, I've broken down what I've learned into a personal notebook. That notebook has guided me in teaching students of my own for many years and informs most of what I write here on Jazz-Library.

In 2001 I founded The Refinery, an e-commerce consultancy. Being CEO of that company was my primary career until 2021 when I sold my share of the business to focus on Jazz-Library full time.

I hope this resource is helpful to you on your journey in your own playing.