If you tell someone that you are taking dance lessons, the first question they will probably ask you is what kind of dancing you are learning. This is of course because there are many different styles of dance that are commonly taught, such as ballroom, country and western, hip hop, and ballet. These styles are very different and require learning different techniques in order to be successful with each individual style. In many ways, the same can be said of music.
When a person says that he or she is a musician, what type of music do you assume they play regularly? Maybe they play guitar in a cover band, or they might play oboe with the local symphony. There are many different styles of music that one can learn to play. If you enjoy listening to some great jazz music while hanging out at your favorite coffee shop or relaxing at the beach, you might want to investigate jazz piano lessons as an option. Make time for a new hobby and do some exploration to find out what options are available for learning how to play jazz piano. Your first stop may be the internet, or a local book store to find out as much information as you can about jazz piano playing. Who are the greatest jazz piano players of all time, and what types of works are considered standards in jazz piano repertoire? Listen to recordings of jazz piano playing from a wide variety of different musicians and decide if this is the style of music that you want to spend your time practicing and mastering.
Once you have narrowed down your style choice to learning to play jazz music, you need to find someone that can teach you how to play. Finding jazz piano lessons is as easy as contacting your local college or university music department (or possibly a local high school) to speak with the piano instructor, or with the jazz band director. These individuals may be available to teach private jazz piano lessons, but even if they are not taking new students, they can probably point you in the direction of someone who is. All it takes is a name and phone number, and you can contact your jazz piano teacher to set up the first consultation and lesson. They will probably want to know how much piano experience you have, but don’t worry if you don’t have any, because many instructors are willing to teach you even if you are a complete beginner.
Learning to play jazz on the piano requires the same amount of dedicated practice time that learning any other style of music will. You will need to devote a block of time several days a week (if not daily!) to improving your skill on the piano. Because playing the piano is a skill just like throwing a football or hitting a golf ball, daily practice is critical to building your coordination and playing ability. Your piano teacher can help you establish a practice routine that will produce outstanding results if you are patient and stick with it!
Jazz music has its own set of rules, symbols, and techniques that make it a unique musical style. You will need to learn not only the physical parts of how to make the piano play jazz music, but you will also need an in depth understanding of the history and theory of jazz. There are hundreds of books written on these topics. Find one that you like and learn as much as you can about how jazz began, and what makes jazz music sound the characteristic way that it does. As you are taking jazz piano lessons, try also to attend as many live performances of jazz music as you can. Watch the piano player and pay attention to the way that he plays the music, and his role within the jazz group. A jazz piano player has a distinct musical job to do, and the more you learn about that job, the better a musician you will become, especially in ensemble situations.
Try out your new skills by playing in front of as many people as possible. Play for an audience as often as you can, even if it is only a group of your close friends and family, so that you begin to feel comfortable performing as a jazz musician. If you pay attention to your instructor during your piano lessons and keep up with your practice schedule, you will become the jazz musician that you dream of being.
After you've mastered the jazz piano, you may want to look into starting with the blues piano lessons.
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