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Learning to Play Jazz Piano

Gerald Clayton Gerald Clayton Photo by Morrice Blackwell

Learning to play the piano can provide you hours of education, entertainment and enjoyment. If you've ever thought about learning to play but are unsure of where to begin, this short article will provide some tips to help get you started.

First, choose a quality instrument for practice. "A great way to start with piano is to love the sound of the instrument. That's why it's hard to get kids started on cheap little keyboards and such. There's nothin' like the real thing," said contemporary jazz pianist Tom Grant. He also suggest that you get an "easy song, or part of a song, that you can teach the new piano student." This will ensure "early success" on the piano.

Finding a good teacher is also important. Look for an instructor that is experienced in "creating new ways to keep students involved," according to Alan Hewitt, keyboardist for The Moody Blues whose music credits include "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," "Bridget Jones," "Survivor," "MTV," "Access Hollywood," "Entertainment Tonight" and the "Oprah Winfrey Show" (including "Oprah's Big Give").

Finally, commit yourself to practicing regularly. The more your practice, the more confident you will be and the more you will enjoy playing. In addition to your assigned studies, pick a few songs to learn that are familiar to you as a reward. For instance, if you love Lady Gaga, learn to play tracks from your favorite album. If straight ahead jazz is more your style, Monty Alexander is always a great place to start.

Piano Lesson with the great Oscar Peterson
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