In order to be a successful jazz keyboard player you need to gain a solid understanding of the basic techniques that go into playing jazz music on the keyboard. This mindset holds true for any type of keyboard music you may wish to pursue.
Every jazz keyboard lesson should begin with you stretching out your finger muscles. Now this may sound silly but it is an essential warm up for piano lessons. Failing to do a finger warm up may lead to damaging the fingers or muscles. Try to run your hands underneath warm water for a couple of minutes as well. Finish the finger muscle warm up by playing the five-finger scales, arpeggio runs and the major note scales.
When you set out to learn a new jazz keyboard song, start by playing pieces of it as opposed to the whole thing the first time around. Start with the first three or four measures and focus on that for awhile. Once that portion is down pat feel free to move on to the next couple of measures. Continue in this manner until you’ve played the entire song.
If you are having a problem playing a measure, try signing it instead. This will help you gain a feel for the music without having the difficulty of trying to match sheet music notes to keyboard keys. Keep your playing speed slow at first and then gradually increase it as you become comfortable with the song. With time and practice the speed of your playing will come on its own.
An essential piece of equipment to have during a jazz keyboard lesson is a metronome. When possible select the digital version over the traditional tick-tock version. Use the metronome ticks as the second and fourth counts of a measure to help keep the typical jazz music off-beat setting.
A key piece of being successful in jazz keyboard lessons is being familiar with the keyboard layout like the back of your hand. Practice the keyboard layout every day. Follow the old saying “practice makes perfect” and study the layout for a couple of minutes per day. Studying in short time spans as opposed to long hour marathon sessions will be a more beneficial practice session.
A jazz keyboard lesson should take place in a comfortable setting for you. When you are uncomfortable, you will not be able to focus on the task at hand. Start by making sure the piano bench is at a suitable height for you. Proper placement of the bench should have you looking straight at the sheet music without having to look up or down. Adequate lighting in the room will eliminate the need for you to strain your eyes in order to see the keys or the sheet music. One final step towards setting up an ideal jazz keyboard lesson space is to eliminate any distractions. You should be in an area with no television, cell phone, MP3 player or anything else that will draw your attention away from the keys.
Utilize this information wisely and you will be well on your way towards finding success at jazz keyboard music lessons. Jazz piano music is one of the best places to enter into the world of keyboard music. You will want to do everything you can to ensure success in the jazz keyboard world.
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