Left Hand Technique: Taylor Eigsti

While I was at the Brubeck Institute, in Stockton, CA, I had the priviledge of working with a great young pianist, Taylor Eigsti. Taylor is one of my favorite people to study with and I go back to him for lessons whenever I feel in need of some inspiration. Whenever I feel bored with a subject, he instantly finds a way to challenge me. I have lots of great ideas and exercises that I will eventually get around to posting about that I have learned from Taylor, but I wanted to take a look at this video of him playing “Like Someone In Love.” You’ll notice that throughout the video he uses lots of great runs in his left hand to fill up space, acting as exciting, modern-sounding fills.

Bud Powell’s Solo on “Celia” – Transcription by Greg Chen

I am very excited to post the first jazz piano transcription to the site for our free consumption! Thanks to Greg Chen for providing his beautiful work!!!

Bud Powell’s Solo on Celia

About Greg Chen:

Growing up in San Jose, California, pianist Gregory Chen first found his passion for music
in the works of classical greats such as J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin and at the age of thirteen fell in love with the sound of jazz, finding it to be a natural extension of his classical training. Soon, he was experimenting with and combining a variety of musical styles including funk, fusion, rock, gospel, and Latin music. By the age of eighteen, Gregory had already played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall – Lincoln Center, World Trade Center 7, Gramercy Theatre, Symphony Space in Manhattan, Puppets Jazz Bar in Brooklyn, the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis Missouri, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the American Jazz Museum “Blue Room” in Kansas City, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in Cincinnati, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club in Manhattan, among other venues. He has appeared at the Monterey and San Jose jazz festivals, among others. Gregory has had the opportunity to perform with such jazz musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Candido Camero, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Julian Lage, Bobby Watson, Anton Schwartz, and Mike Tomaro. He has studied with Garry Dial, Ted Rosenthal, Peter Horvath, Michael Zilber, Frank Sumares, and Pablo Mayor among others.

To keep track of when new information and materials are posted, please go to the top right of the home page and click “follow.” More to come soon!

What Rachmaninov Can Teach Us About Improvisation

Note that Kissin is not a jazz pianist. Rachmaninov is not a jazz composer. But check out the first piano arpeggio in this movement of the piece. I once asked my room mate, a classical pianist, to try to improvise for me. I noticed something very intriguing. He already sounded better than a lot of jazz pianists I know just because he had such a vast classical vocabulary. He took the riffs and arpegios, etc. that he knew from classical music and applied them over chords. What jazz musicians often don’t realize is that they can do this too! There’s an infinite world out there of beautiful material that can be used. This arpegio is a great example of such an instance. It is very different from the typical jazz arpegio which tends to just arpegiate a chord, but Rachmaninov adds in extra notes for color and effect. Why not do the same jazzers?

Social Media for Musicians: The Importance of Keywords

Picture this. You’re a jazz saxophone player named Bill Chaplain and you’re wondering just how prominent you are on Google. So you search your name. Turns out, there’s another Bill Chaplain who’s a killer visual artist. He dominates the search results, and all the images in “google images” are of him and his art work. This will not do…

Then you search for “jazz saxophone new york city” just to see if you come up. Instead, you find all of the other crazy good saxophonists in NYC. Once again, looks like you need some work there, Bill.

OK. So how do we solve this problem? One answer. Keywords.

In every single blog post I write, you will notice a wealth of tags that go along with it. For example, I tagged this post with “marketing for musicians,” “social media” “music business tips,” and here’s the best part, “noah kellman.” Give google a couple of weeks, and this post will show up when you search my name.

Let’s get down to business. Here’s what you need to know:

In order to show up in google, you will need to have a lot of content on the internet, and you will have to link it all to yourself with keywords. Here’s a list of steps that will get you started and on your way to being a search results master:

  1. Write a list of keywords with which you would like to be associated. (Don’t just write “Britney Spears” because everyone likes her. There are already millions of people out there who do this, so it won’t work. And besides, remember the old phrase “quality over quantity?”
  2. Go to Flickr.com and create an account. Upload tons of photos of yourself and tag them with your keywords.
  3. Make a blog on wordpress.com. You can start by posting these pictures on the blog. If you like writing, then write on your blog! Otherwise, you can always post videos from shows, interviews, pictures, updates, news, etc. Your fans will love it. The key here is to make sure that:
  • The title of each post includes some keywords.
  • Your first sentence includes keywords.
  • You put your keywords in the post tags.

From now on, anytime you post anything on the internet, make sure that you include your keywords in any of the text describing it and use tags! This will help google find you and everything associated with you.

Good luck!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please go to the top right of the page and click “follow.” There will be much more to come!

Getting Rid of Arm Pain: You Are An Athlete

You are an athlete.

Imagine that you are a professional soccer player. What steps would you take to make sure you played consistently at your prime without injury? You’d make sure your body was in shape. In order to have the right fuel for your body, you would monitor what you ate and make sure to eat healthily. To prevent injury, you would warm up before every single work out or game. You would also stretch before and after you played religiously. Part of your maintaining your health would likely include taking vitamins and supplements to ensure that your body had what it needed to be strong and replenish itself. If you wanted to build muscle and recover from training, you would want to sleep as much as possible. You would take breaks in between exercises and you would take days off so as not to overdo it. If you didn’t take all of these steps? You would get injured. You would be tired. You would not be primed to heal. If you didn’t warm up, you might pull a muscle. If you didn’t stretch after a workout, you would be sore. If you didn’t take time off, you would overdo it and injure yourself.

What do musicians do? We use our arms for hours on end. To be at our prime, we not only need to prepare physically, but mentally. We must have our body primed correctly for this type of muscle use, and we must take certain precautions to avoid injury, just like an athlete.

Get the point? If you are a musician, then YOU ARE AN ATHLETE.