Opportunities To Extend Your Expressions Exist In Jazz Piano
In learning to play jazz piano and other known styles, you’ll not only find opportunities to express yourself, you’ll also find opportunities to improvise. The same opportunities follow jazz music and although they provide for great fun, we want to warn you that
learning to play jazz piano and controlling its elements requires a bit of practice. There aren’t any real shortcuts however one solution to learning how to master its art is to understand what differentiates it from traditional, classical piano.
What Distinguishes Jazz Piano Music From Classical Piano Music
In essence, jazz piano incorporates several unique chords and inversions. Inversions are instances in music where ascending intervals are replaced by descending intervals (and vice versa). Playing both these chords and inversions at various times and places is what contributes to improvisation. From major or minor chords and inversions to suspended or augmented chords and inversions, jazz triads work to create sounds that are unique to this particular genre.
Improvisation Follows A Structure Yet Gives The Impression Of Impromptu Entertainment
If you’re unfamiliar with inversions, you can rest assured that they can be learned just as easily as traditional chords can be learned. Perhaps the ironic part about improvisation is that it follows a structure. So that means that although you’ll learn how to play differently, you’ll learn how to play jazz piano based on traditional methods. Yes, there are many different approaches to playing its music and some may not agree with our position here, but you can learn to play jazz piano by pulling knowledge from your classical background.
Classical Music Provides a Foundation To Learn
While some people may derive their sense of jazz skills naturally or from growing up by listening jazz, a classical student can build upon past lessons by shifting away from basic scales and three-finger chords to extensive 2-note inversions or even upside- down inversions. It’s important to remember that there’s no real conflict between the two courses of study and the transition from one to the other is similar to learning how to paint after drawing for many years.
As an analogy, one craft involves the use of widespread color and brush movements while the other involves the use of gray tones and pencil. Both crafts however, involve the use of eye-to-hand coordination and the art of drawing serves as a stepping stone toward learning to paint. It’s the same with learning to play jazz music. Both styles of music involve the use of ear-to-hand coordination and the art of playing classical music serves as a stepping stone toward learning jazz piano.
The only barrier in making a smooth transition is a reluctance to let go of traditional methods. There’s not much practicality in learning jazz riffs, runs, or rhythm combinations unless you’re willing to acknowledge and appreciate how they differ from traditional scales or harmonies. The lessons in jazz piano requires at once, the ability to let go, yet build upon a basic foundation at the same time. Soon enough, you will instinctively grasp its concepts without a second thought.