In My Mind's Zen Garden
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Piano: Practicing Scales and Jazz Theory

piano_keysToday I mostly focus on the piano.

Later, I will practice on becoming a one man jazz trio. That will be my niche to get solo piano gigs. I’m an experienced professional drummer. So why not incorporate that into my solo piano routine?

But lately I’ve been practicing the songs I love to play. I need to force myself to play those songs that aren’t really my favorites but I know that I could grow to love. And, perhaps I’m afraid to tackle those songs because of the complexity of the harmonic structure.

But at the same time I believe one needs to continually “hone” those familiar favorite songs and use that set list as a launching pad for learning new material.

And, I must get back to studying technique and practicing scales. I’m good at practicing chord progressions… cycle of fifths, cycle of fourths, II-V-I progressions, etc.

Time to get back into REALLY studying scales until I’m blue in the face.

Improvisation. I feel I am really good at conjuring things out of the air. I need to really learn a few good piano sonatas… some Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven…

As you can see… I have a lot of work to do. It just never ends. It may seem to be always a work in progress. But at the same time. When one improvises. You are capturing a moment, given all the circumstances that surround that moment. You are taking a picture of the moment. Capturing it… and then it’s gone.

Jazz is like that in many ways.



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Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

6 COMMENTS
  1. Jim

    I always wish I’d have time to relearn a lot of the fundamentals and go over chords, scales, arpeggios, and even modal studies that pianists rarely get into but guitarists seem to always cover a lot. But, I never do… I’ve always been one of those guys who relies on his ear way more than I probably should. But, I’ve been blessed with one hell of an excellent ear, so I do get away with it. I never liked studying technique much, though — meaning, how to sit, how to hold your wrist, etc. I get too bored with that stuff. I mainly like to just sit & play. Mozart & Beethoven have always been accessible to me, but Chopin I’ve always found a bit too technically demanding. I’m more of a stride guy than a nuanced classical type — though I certainly love a nice romantic piece. In fact, I *wish* I could play something like Debussy. I long to play with that kind of expression. But, truth is, I’m way more comfortable with a Gershwin novelty or something. Weird, I guess… Here’s to a great day @ the keys! -Jim

  2. Jim

    I always wish I’d have time to relearn a lot of the fundamentals and go over chords, scales, arpeggios, and even modal studies that pianists rarely get into but guitarists seem to always cover a lot. But, I never do… I’ve always been one of those guys who relies on his ear way more than I probably should. But, I’ve been blessed with one hell of an excellent ear, so I do get away with it. I never liked studying technique much, though — meaning, how to sit, how to hold your wrist, etc. I get too bored with that stuff. I mainly like to just sit & play. Mozart & Beethoven have always been accessible to me, but Chopin I’ve always found a bit too technically demanding. I’m more of a stride guy than a nuanced classical type — though I certainly love a nice romantic piece. In fact, I *wish* I could play something like Debussy. I long to play with that kind of expression. But, truth is, I’m way more comfortable with a Gershwin novelty or something. Weird, I guess… Here’s to a great day @ the keys! -Jim

  3. Randomguru

    Jim: sounds like you have perfect pitch. your knack for stride is really inspiring me. other than reading jazz charts i haven’t really been sight reading at all. just improvising and playing whatever comes to my head.

    i think i have great relative pitch, but i don’t think i have perfect pitch. anyway to me it’s more important to rely on your ear. so, sounds like you’ve got it down, bro. ;o)

    yeah, i’m just practicing scales to become more familiar with keys i don’t normally play in, like D or Db.

    but i do think one should throw all the technique and scales out the door when performing. it’s all about expression once the fundamentals are mastered.

    okay, gotta check out some keyboards. mine broke again and i have piano gigs coming up!

  4. Randomguru

    Jim: sounds like you have perfect pitch. your knack for stride is really inspiring me. other than reading jazz charts i haven’t really been sight reading at all. just improvising and playing whatever comes to my head.

    i think i have great relative pitch, but i don’t think i have perfect pitch. anyway to me it’s more important to rely on your ear. so, sounds like you’ve got it down, bro. ;o)

    yeah, i’m just practicing scales to become more familiar with keys i don’t normally play in, like D or Db.

    but i do think one should throw all the technique and scales out the door when performing. it’s all about expression once the fundamentals are mastered.

    okay, gotta check out some keyboards. mine broke again and i have piano gigs coming up!

  5. g

    I like listening to piano music every now and then. It’s so relaxing to listen to, especially after work. 🙂

  6. g

    I like listening to piano music every now and then. It’s so relaxing to listen to, especially after work. 🙂

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