Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jazz Transcriptions as Repertoire

Our jobs as piano teachers have many dimensions. We train ourselves to properly teach our students a vigorous and effortless technique. We act as mentors to our students in both their musical lives and their larger existence as a young person in a confusing world. We provide our students with positive performance opportunities. We attempt to help our students be good stewards of their musical talent by cultivating it in a way where they might share it with people who don’t get to hear music often. Yet, too often, we negatively influence our students’ musical horizon by not allowing them to explore, discuss, study and perform music they listen to that might not be from the standard classical repertoire.

I have found great pedagogical value in introducing my students to the recordings of the great jazz pianists.  A quick google search for "jazz piano transcriptions" turns up music for Bill Evans, Bud Powell, "Fats" Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Keith Jarrett, and Thelonious Monk.  Noah Symanzik, a very talented middle-school student in my studio, has been studying a transcription and recording of "Dinah" as played by Thelonious Monk from the album "Solo Monk."  Listen to an excerpt of Monk's playing, and then Noah's.  Noah is doing an admirable job of playing in an authentic style, honoring the tradition of this great pianist and composer, while at the same time learning about a type of music that might be out of the realm of the traditional piano lesson.

I encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to repertoire for your students with the hope of making them more well-rounded while at the same time continually stoking their motivation through the study of music that they truly love.

Dinah - Thelonious Monk


Gitaarles Den Haag said...

Very impressive. Looks like a dedicated student. I find that it is indeed nice to be an eyeopener for the student when it comes to new styles.

Moises Sol said...

Great site, great content, congratulations!

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kimberly said...

Jazz music is wondeful, is a comfortable rhythm. Every time that i am listen this kind of music i usually fell relax. Actually i am reading about it frequently becouse i love it. In my search i found a site called costa rica investment opportunities it seem interesting, so i invite you to go there.

bmpharmacy said...

can you tell me if there's some place in where I can recive Jazz class? is for my child, he is a great fan of this music type, is rare beside his age.

Extended Warranty said...

The video of him playing is incredible!