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How do you create solo piano arrangements from a fake book?

​Today's jazz pianists learn to play within many different contexts. They might find themselves in a big band, a combo, or by themselves as keyboard soloists. As soloists, they must supply the harmony, rhythm, and melody while only being given a lead sheet version of a song as a guide. At the professional level, this skill can be quite complex. How...
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Chord Substitution

One thing that has always drawn me to jazz is the harmony. It is fascinating to hear how a single chord change can define one artist's interpretation of Autumn Leaves or Night and Day from another artist's interpretation. Applied judiciously, these harmonic variations will add touches of color to your own arranging and performing. When one chord is...
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An aural journey through "Spring is Here"

​I recently performed a concert celebrating the arrival of spring with a program featuring songs with the word "Spring" in the title.  ​It Might As Well Be Spring, Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, You Must Believe in Spring,  ​and  ​Joy Spring ​ proved to be fun to play and provided me with many harmonic and rhythmic opportuni...
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Playing Indie Pop

​Indie Pop is a genre of rock music that emerged in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, characterized by upbeat, melodic progressions. This article will take you through the basics of the indie pop style, beginning with simple structures familiar to all piano students.  Here is a scale of G major:  We can build three-note chords on each note...
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Scalin' the chords

​When I was about twelve years of age, my parents took me to a restaurant that featured a live jazz trio. I was amazed to see the pianist playing without written music. Unaware of the awkwardness I might cause by interrupting a performing musician, I approached the stage and asked him how he did it. His succinct reply changed my life. Without missi...
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I've got a classic case of the blues

The sounds of jazz have always fasci nated classical musicians. In the earliest years of the twentieth cen tury composers such as Debussy, Hindemith, Milhaud, and Stravinsky were all drawn to the infectious rhythms of Ragtime.' As jazz harmonies and forms became more sophisticated, classical composers incorporated more diverse jazzy elements i...
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How do you work on improvisation in your group classes?

Improvisation activities with your group classes can be surprisingly effective. Working with their peers can help encourage and motivate students to try out different ideas and get over any initial hesitation they have about improvising. It is an activity that can engage everyone, and students get to develop their aural skills as they listen to eac...
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Gershwin's Blue Lullaby

from the series: ​​It's Got That Swing: Jazz & Pop Tony Caramia, Editor George Gershwin's rhythms, wonderful melodies, and unmistakable American harmonies continue to fascinate listeners and performers. P orgy  and B ess is a mainstay of opera companies around the world. In a recent search, YouTube offered more than 500 videos of R ha...
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Welcome to our new Jazz/Pop Department

by Pete Jutras, Editor-in-Chief  If your students are anything like the  ones I've had over the years, they love  to play jazz and pop repertoire. As time marches forward, it is evident that the jazz and pop genres will stand as important musical contributions of the 20th century. With that in mind, we have decided to add a regular d...
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About The Piano Magazine

The Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to the Piano Magazine in 2019.

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