Piano Newsletter Nov, 2019

1. New cocktail piano set posted on YouTube
2. Now providing custom piano-lesson videos

Hello Jazzy Pianists,

It’s been a while since my last newsletter. Lots going on so I haven’t found time to write. I’ve taken two trips recently back to California to do recordings there but am now back in Phnom Penh. I will be presenting some lectures at the prestigious, Piano Shop here in the city that has a host of teachers and music classes as well. The Piano Shop now has three locations in Phnom Penh. Recently I’ve been making custom video lessons for some of my students If that interests you there is more information below. 
I’ve just posted a new set of cocktail piano tunes on YouTube that I hope you will find enjoyable and possibly informative for your own studies. The video was made casually at home, not in a studio. The camera is looking right over the keyboard for most of the songs, so you can see what my hands are doing. I position the camera there because I think that you can pick up a lot of ideas by closely watching someone play. The songs in the eighteen-minute set are: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I Wish You Love, Tenderly, (So Nice) Summer Samba, A Man and A Woman, Heart and Soul and The Man I Love.
Here is the link for, Glen Rose, Cocktail Set Two on Youtube:
If you haven’t seen “Set One” here is that Youtube link:

In this collection of songs, I’m not playing any rehearsed, set arrangements. I am simply creating arrangements “on the fly” from the tunes that I know well in my head or am using a fake book to guide me through songs that are less familiar to me. For the ballads, you will hear that I am often playing rubato, without adhering to the bar line or any set tempo. This is the luxury one can enjoy when playing solo. You can feel free to break time, cut or extend passages where you feel like it.
I want to point out a few things for you watch for that you may find interesting for your own playing.

Left hand
In my left hand, I am usually mixing one or more of the following chord tone combinations:
1 (root note alone)
1-10 (I can only stretch a minor 10th
1-3  If you can’t stretch from 1 to the 10th then you can opt to play the root and 3rd. (The 10th and 3rd are the same notes, but the sound is quite different because the 1and 3 are close together and the 1 and 10 are spread much further apart.)
At times will use rootless chords in my left hand with a single melody line in my right hand. Also, occasional walking bass lines get brought in if I feel like hearing tempo for a few bars. I mix all of the above up in my normal playing, just drawing on whatever comes naturally or I feel like hearing at the moment.

Right hand
My right hand is often playing simple 7th chord inversions with the melody on top. This means I am playing two, three and four-note chords in my right hand while my left is drawing from one of the techniques I list above. Likewise, I use rootless chords in my right hand if the melody is the top note of the rootless chord. 

Open chords
I also play open chords, spread between the two hands, 1-5 in the left and 3-7 or 7-3 in the right hand. I frequently also add supporting notes in the right hand under the melody, which may include the 9, b9, 13 or 11

What not to do
For your own playing, I want to strongly emphasize that you do not ever want to play four-note chords in your left hand in root position 1-3-5-7 to support melodies in your right hand. Playing the basic 7th chords 1-3-5-7 is just for learning how to spell the chords, not for use in solo piano playing.
You must start by learning the chords in root position first so that you can later learn how to use them in various ways to make nice sounding arrangements for your melodies when playing from fake books. You need to spread the basic, four-note 7th chords between two hands to support your melody lines or get facile with using their inversions in your right hand, placed under the melody lines.

Open-chord studies on the website
I offer a series of one-hour video lessons on the website, teaching students how to play with open chords. The series is called, Open Voicing Studies.
I believe that the open voicings are one of the more important gateways to playing with chord concept from fake books. I use the following tunes to teach the concept:
Study 1–Autumn Leaves
Study 2- Fly Me to the Moon
Study 3- Blue Moon
Study 4- Sentimental Reasons
Study 5- One Note Samba
Study 6- Watch What Happens
Study 7- Thickening the open voice chords
If you are interested the lessons, it is advisable to start with Study #1 to get a good orientation for the rest of them. To work with the lessons, you must have the fake book called, The Real Book (Published by Hal Leonard Publications) That information is on the website.

Custom made video lessons vs. Skype lessons
I have begun making custom video lessons for some of my students. We find that this is often more effective for learning than having Skype lessons. The video gives students the opportunity to review the lesson over and over. Pick any standard you’d like to learn and I will go through it slowly, showing you how I would approach it. You can choose to focus on any elements you like for the tune: open voicings, rootless chords, chord inversions under melody, walking bass lines, rhythm, ballad, etc.  Or, you can leave it up to me to show you how I might play it.
The price is $100 for a one hour, custom video lesson. I can send it to your computer via Google Drive or Drop Box.
Jazzily yours,
Copyright © 2019 Jazzy Piano, All rights reserved.

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