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MUSICIAN Born:

Joseph A Roberts

Joseph was born with an insatiable drive to play the piano. Once he was tall enough to reach the keyboard, he went at it until his parents had no choice but to procure adequate training. After a few years of public school, Joseph noticed that he would be routinely pulled out of class to provide music for rehearsals and assemblies. Who wouldn’t milk that for all it’s worth? By the time he finished elementary school, Joseph played cello in the orchestra, trumpet in the band and he sang in the choir. In middle school, he began to notice the difference between the sound of a piano playing music and an orchestra playing the same music

Jazz Practice

Read "Jazz Practice" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

Why practise? The obvious answer has to be that we practise in order to improve. But why does the very word cause many of us to go running for the TV remote? Is it just possible that the thought of practising conjures up the brain numbing activity of running up and down scales and arpeggios? The ...

Working with jazz singers

Read "Working with jazz singers" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

Understandably, most of my jazz piano students want to improvise; their prime aim is to solo creatively. However, my 40 years as a pro keyboard player has taught me that being given the opportunity to solo comes as a bonus. A more realistic expectation for a pianist is that we will spend most of our working ...

Teaching the blues

Read "Teaching the blues" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

A moment after writing the title of this article, up popped an image of John Lee Hooker smiling and shaking his head. “Nobody can teach you the blues. Blues is a feeling, something you have to live." I tried explaining that I'm a jazz piano teacher and that it's part of my job but the image ...

Stop playing jazzy. Start playing jazz!

Read "Stop playing jazzy. Start playing jazz!" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

I concluded my last article in this series with a piece of advice handed to me by one of my old jazz piano teachers: “Don't try to play jazzy." I'd now like to explore this statement and demonstrate how it affects my own teaching. In the 70's I played keyboards in what was known ...

Stop trying to swing

Read "Stop trying to swing" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

Dave Brubeck tells the story that Miles Davis approached him at the end of a gig and murmured in his ear “You're the only person in this group that swings." Had Brubeck replied: “What, exactly, do you mean by swing?" I suspect he would have been given short shrift. But of course both musicians had an ...

Learning to Play Jazz

Read "Learning to Play Jazz" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

With “Musings of a Jazz Piano Teacher" Paul Abrahams addresses a range of topics that can arise from working as a jazz piano teacher, reflecting on the day to day issues and challenges of teaching improvisation to students from various musical backgrounds and levels of ability. Learning to play jazz Have you ...


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