The Importance of Music Theory

The Importance of Music Theory

An understanding of music theory can help to make you a better player. And here’s how. I’ve always been someone who has been legitimately interested in music theory, and not simply because I wanted to be able to “talk shop” with the music nerds...
Looking to Buy a Piano or Keyboard? (Part 1 of 2)

Looking to Buy a Piano or Keyboard? (Part 1 of 2)

Looking to buy a piano or keyboard? Have you considered all of the possibilities? Are you sure? There is a great scene in one of my favorite movies of all-time, My Cousin Vinny, where Marisa Tomei is on the witness stand being qualified as an “expert witness.” When...
Creating Slow Gospel Blues Progressions

Creating Slow Gospel Blues Progressions

A couple of weeks ago I taught Live-to-Library Slow Gospel Blues Progressions lesson. Students had a bunch of questions and we spent a lot of time on the 2 topics I’m going to discuss in today’s article: dominant motion and bass motion (more specifically...
What Are Chord Shells?

What Are Chord Shells?

In this article we’re going to answer the question “what are chord shells?” Chord shells are a voicing (i.e., particular way to spell a chord) that is used by pianists in the left hand. Having an understanding of chord shells is particularly helpful...
Four Essential Songwriting Tips

Four Essential Songwriting Tips

In this article we’ll discuss four specific songwriting tips to help you organize and generate ideas for songwriting in a variety of styles - pop, rock, jazz, folk… whatever your fancy. These songwriting tips can be used by musicians of all ability levels,...
Picking Ideas From The Music Farm

Picking Ideas From The Music Farm

I can be more creative with a piece of music when I have a deeper understanding of its structure and form. This holds true of just about any jazz standard, including Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love. We need not look any further than the introduction of the...
Green Dolphin Street – Improvisation Tips

Green Dolphin Street – Improvisation Tips

In this article we’ll be talking about some improvisation tips to help improve your soloing using the jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street” as our example. Of course, these improvisation tips can be used and applied to any of the jazz standards...
What Gear Do You Have?

What Gear Do You Have?

“What gear do you have in your setup?” It’s a question I get asked a lot by students and other pianists/keyboardists. I understand the curiosity. I, too, love exploring the bells, whistles, and sound samples of the newest, trendiest keyboards and...
My Romance – Arranging a Jazz Standard

My Romance – Arranging a Jazz Standard

“My Romance” is a classic jazz standard by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and really an excellent solo piano piece to have learned if you’re interested in the traditional jazz and cocktail piano repertoire. In this article we’re going to...
Creating Movement Through Chord Voicings

Creating Movement Through Chord Voicings

When creating arrangements for jazz standards, students usually ask me “How do I arrange measures with only one chord in them?” Typically jazz standards have 2 chords per measure which happen on the first and third beats. This is not a rule, just an...
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