This truly remarkable method for learning how to play real jazz using a large "vocabulary" of chords, melodies, rhythms and scales will inspire budding jazz pianists. Entitled "My Years with Lenny Tristano", A method for teaching - Piano Improvisation, this book offers a structured, disciplined approach that guarantees success if followed faithfully.
Only three major requirements are needed to complete this method and become a great improviser - first, the desire and self discipline to do all the work in the order that it is presented in the book; second, spend an equal amount of time on all four categories; third, to have faith, patience and understanding that progress will be slow, but steady.
One of the most notable short-comings of most modern pianists is in their left-hand accompanying technique. Many good players have only two to five good sounding voicings for each type of chord. This method will not only increase the number of voicings a pianist may use, but more importantly it gives the student pianist a concept of what notes (basic and color tones) make up each sound. Two-handed chords will follow, again, in a structured and methodical manner. Consequently, over time, you will develop a sense for each type of sound, and over time you will develop the ability to improvise your own voicings.
Scales include all major, melodic minor and harmonic minor scales beginning with one hand at a time using different fingerings to ensure that all fingers develop dexterity. Scales should be practised very slowly. The metronome (an absolute must for this method) should be set at 60. If you can work your way down to 40, it will greatly improve your clarity and execution. Scales should be played slowly and evenly at all times. The more slow practice you do, the cleaner you will play. This section of the book provides step-by-step instructions for learning scales and being comfortable in any key.
Many people feel it is adequate to listen to a solo (possibly slow it down to half speed) and then put the ideas on a piano or horn. One of the reasons many young players today sound impersonal and and not very original is because of this method of transcribing. My book will introduce you to a more effective method for transcribing using music from "greats" like Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro and Bud Powell.
Learning Tunes and Improvising
Initially, a melody should be played with each hand separately; no chords or accompaniment, and no pedal. A melody should sound as good as a saxophone or trumpet player would play it. My book provides an approach and describes methods that will maximise results in a gradual way. You will add improvisational devices, build a vocabulary of melodic and harmonic techniques that develop into a style unique to you alone. A list of recommended songs to begin with is also included.
In the ear training section you will learn how to recognize intervals which will aid you when starting to improvise. In addition, my book has a section on harmonic ear training, enabling you to hear all chords in all inversions in both open and closed positions.
Ed has successfully taught Lennie Tristano's approach to improvisation to hundreds of instrumentalists and vocalists. This book, which is now available, chronicles a step by step approach to understanding the melody, rhythm and harmony of western music. If followed properly, you will develop skills to improvise music in any style you wish to pursue.
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