ianists can pretty much play anything they want. A solid jazz pianists is by far the most versatile musician out there. Where did they start? By taking jazz piano lessons. In case you had any doubt, I wanted to list my top ten reasons on how and why jazz piano lessons will change your life and musical career forever. Here we go.
#1 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Increase Your Music Theory And Harmony Knowledge More Than Classical Lessons Will.
This obviously depends on how good of a teacher you find. Some teachers will not teach harmony and theory because they do not know it well enough. If you are not learning harmony and theory, you are missing out. All of my students who have studied with me always tell me their knowledge on notes and relationships to chords and tunes has sky rocketed since the start of their jazz piano lessons. When studying classical, or any other style for that matter you will never learn as much music theory as you will with jazz. This is because jazz harmony and theory is an essential part of the music. In order to play jazz you must understand it. In order to improvise, you must understand it. If you are just reading licks or copying them from YouTube, you aren’t actually playing jazz. In actuality you are just playing a classical version of the music.
#2 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Allow You To Play Anything By Ear
Playing by ear is a cliché line that gets tossed around like it’s the hip thing to say. People outside the music world are in awe when they hear the words “I just play by ear.” Well that’s exactly what jazz is teaching us to do. Jazz is a conversation. When taking jazz piano lessons we are learning to speak the language of jazz through different components such as chords, improvisation, and comping. This way when we are having a jazz conversation with others we can actively participate. Through the knowledge of our first step we learn to hear certain movements, and progressions. This allows us to hear tunes on the radio and instantly play them on the piano, and to others, it looks as if we have just discovered the theory of relativity. The study of jazz theory allows us to play by ear because we understand how songs work. We can hear bass motion in a song. We can hear the quality of the chords with the bass motion. We can hear the rhythms that are happening and we can hear the melody. Put that all together and boom, you can play any tune by ear. Sorry to break it to you, but once you study jazz theory for a couple of months, playing by ear becomes as natural as having a conversation with a good friend.
#3 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Allow You To Compose Tunes On The Spot
Jazz is about freedom. It’s about breaking out of the box. Creating something new. There will always be a underlying structure from which to create, but anything becomes chaos without some small structural component. While studying jazz and jazz piano you are learning to let go. You’re learning to spontaneously create and be free. This can be the most challenging part for people who are so used to reading notes on a page. I often relate this to my new students by thinking of people who have been in prison for a long time. They are so accustom to a set schedule and a list of routine tasks they completed every day, that when they are set free it is too much. Once you begin to understand how chords work together we can begin to apply this to composing. We can literally take any chord and put it with another chord and begin to create tunes. Although it looks like magic from the outside, it is simply a matter of combining tools we worked on to compose tunes.
#4 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Let You Self Express Your Emotions
Having a crappy day? Sit down and play. Having a great day? Sit down and play. Feeling lost? Sit down and play. Jazz piano is by far one of the best vehicles I’ve seen to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions. No matter what is going on in your life, you will have a relationship with the music that is different than anyone else. It is your private relationship to have. You can trust it. No matter what you give it, it will always be there to listen and understand. This is getting a little deep but this is truly what the music does for you. As you begin to take jazz piano lessons you start to understand how you can channel your creativity due to the freedom and tools jazz provides. Improvisation is a very intimate process. You are giving yourself to music and allowing your identity to come through. This is why it is a great to be able to have this outlet no matter what is going on in your life.
#5 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Allow You To Play Anything
On a more musical basis, the study of jazz piano will allow you to play anything. You can play any style, read any pop charts, play musicals, and play old jazz tunes, absolutely anything. It’s the greatest thing ever. The tools of jazz are the basis for all music. They apply to everything. Obviously in some classical tunes there may be technically challenging parts that need practice but these are specific cases.
#6 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Give You A Life Long Hobby
It’s great to have a hobby in life. Something you can look forward too. Something that gets you excited to do. So many of us are drug down by the daily grind of work, life, kids and marriage that we need an outlet to dive into. This is exactly what jazz piano lessons can do for you. The bad news is your jazz piano journey will be never ending until you die. The good news is….your jazz piano journey will be never ending until you die! 🙂
#7 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Give You Opportunities You’ve Never Had
Unless you are a ridiculous classical pianists you won’t get many playing opportunities. In jazz, you could know three chords and be hired to play a gig at a bar. I’m serious! If you know three chords well, you could play ten rock or blues tunes for a gig somewhere with other people. How fun would that be! Gigs are a great way to play with other musicians and experience what is like to play for an audience. The fastest I saw one of my students get hired for a gig was two months after he started taking lessons with me. He knew only 4 chords. True story. Jazz piano lessons will provide great opportunities from gigs, to teaching possibly in the future or sharing stories with friends and family who have might have a similar passion for the music.
#8 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Help You Learn A Universal Language Besides Love
No matter where I am, different country, different city, jazz always allows me to communicate with others in an extraordinary way. Jazz is a universal language that allows you to have musical conversations wherever you travel in the world. You have the opportunity to go to jams, fill in at parties, and share music with different cultures. To have this craft up your sleeve will lead you to amazing experiences that you will never forget.
#9 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Make You Smarter And Improve Brain Functionality
Yes, I’m not bs-ing you. Playing music, especially jazz, will help improve your thought process on both sides of the brain. It has been researched and proven that while playing jazz your brain lights up like a fireworks display on the fourth of July due to all the brain activity that is going on. So rather than do crosswords and brain games, that supposedly look like there is one light one in the house, play jazz and set off the fireworks. Here is a link to the study that I posted on my Facebook a couple weeks ago.
#10 Jazz Piano Lessons Will Make You Happy!
Who doesn’t want happiness in your life. It could be argued the whole purpose of life is to achieve happiness through small moments. All of my musician friends and all of my students have always said the reason they study jazz and music is because it’s fun and it makes them happy when they play. This is the same reason I do it as well. I love it! When you start taking jazz piano lessons I guarantee you will learn to love this beautiful music. Jazz is a completely different ballgame then taking classical piano lessons or any other styles you’ve tried. So give it a shot. What have you got to lose?….besides the ten items I just listed…