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#1112351 - 10/25/06 08:55 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
saw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/04
Posts: 100
Loc: Florida
Fog,

I tried to PM you about the book, but your address doesn't seem to work. Do you still have it?

Stan
_________________________
Celebrate and enjoy the journey!

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#1112352 - 10/26/06 01:16 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
I have very little time now that my mate has entered the workforce.

Coincidentally, the house has broken: it spits up dirty laundry and dirty dishes out of nowhere.

I've also noticed that we seem to have become host to an infeststion of small hairless primates that constantly demand to be fed and who seem to hitch rides to inconvenient destinations(I believe they are somehow connected with the aforementioned house malfunctions...)


Learning my parts for the band songs has been slow because my bandmates are aspiring to crazy things like sticking to one key/tempo and it means I have to actually learn my parts. :rolleyes:

So I've stopped learning new stuff from IBP. I warm up with "Blues for Booker", which I can now play flawlessly about half the time, "Blue Sixth Blues", "Beginner's Blues/Boogie", which I play as one song with the broken octaves bass line, "C Jam Blues" and one more in the second Chapter whose title I forget (ETA:"Jump Shuffle" --I haven't opened the book in months). As well, I've got 3 choruses of a very cool, but simple shuffle memorized that I've been playing almost every day and still haven't mastered.

Once I settle into a routine again, I'll have to work in regular practice time, but "Rikki, Don't Lose that Number" and organ parts for "Something" and "Wonderful Tonight" are my current priorities. Plus, there's a descending fourths run in "Bad Timing" by Blue Rodeo that I can play perfectly until I'm with the rest of the band...
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112353 - 01/04/07 01:09 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
Well, I talk to myself in the real world...why not here? \:D

Tim Richards can be a tough taskmaster, and sometimes it feels like my progress is slow, so if anyone is still working on IBP, here are a few more reflections on the journey through the book, for what they're worth...

I'm back into Improvising Blues Piano with a vengeance since mid-Nov. I've put in at least 1 hr a day on average. It's taught me a few things about this whole learning piano thing. The first took a while to get used to, but now I find it kind of comforting: when I'm trying to learn tricky bits or increase speed, I frequently get worse (slower, more sloppy) as I'm practising. It used to depress me. However, I've noticed that I see the expected improvement the next day, or even later.

The pieces in the book continue to be deceptively tricky for me. The current tune I'm learning (as opposed to polishing) is my favourite up to now, "Blues With Pick-ups".

It sounds the most like an authentic "grown-up" blues tune of anything I've yet played, and I thought it would take me a couple of weeks to master. :rolleyes:

You'd think I'd have wised up by now :p .

I sometimes wonder how much easier it would be if I'd started after a year of conventional lessons...

Co-ordinating the hands in "Blues With Pick-ups" has been devilish, particularly because Richards is shifting the syncopating RH parts in the second chorus, so you can't depend on autopilot to co-ordinate them with the LH, though when it does come together, I really do feel as though I'm playing the blues! \:\) . I'm about 3 weeks into it and the first (easy) chorus is nailed, but the second is going to take a couple of more weeks.

The hardest part is coming up with improvisations, though. I'm nowhere near close to doing it on the fly. I have to do it measure-by-measure, slowly and then try to bring it up to speed. Often, by the time I have the first measure of a two-measure lick figured out and near speed, I've forgotten the second measure, or vice-versa .

This is the tension i fell with this book: the pieces are starting to get really interesting now, but they're taking longer to master and I feel myself in danger of falling into the "I have a repertoire of memorized pieces I can't stray from" rut.

It's largely because, I'm beginning to suspect, that improvising requires more practise than learning a piece from music.

Because of this, I've gone back to the beginning of the book to relearn the tunes and exercises in several keys and to really come up with a selection of improvisations to insert over the simpler LH parts.

After 14 months of 1 or two weeks a month of effort, I can almost play the trills in "Trill Blues" at a decent speed. Shouldn't be more than 6 months or so before I can pull them off convincingly I hope. I've noticed, at least, that IBP has improved my hand independence to where the issue is purely finger speed, not interference from the hands to each other...

The "simple" LH of "Barrelhouse Blues" was deceptive and it took me a while (about a week) to figure out why Richards devoted two audio tracks to it. This is why a teacher is useful, I suppose. The legato, droning feel is a subtle thing and took me a few weeks to master. Even now, I have to watch that I don't slip into a stacatto attack while trying to improvise over it...

I still love this book and I'm looking forward to the next few years with, though! \:\)
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112354 - 01/05/07 11:32 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Well, after readin all this, I just hit Amazon myself. Too late to join yall unless I find myself a time machine. But I'm lookin forward to the mail coming once again \:\)
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1112355 - 01/06/07 02:00 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
zoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 102
Loc: O'fallon Il
Never too late to join, were all going at our own pace. I havent been working from this book in some time but plan get back to it. It really is a great book.
_________________________
Have a nice day

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#1112356 - 01/07/07 11:40 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Bob331 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 135
Loc: NY
I got the book a couple of weeks ago. I'm working on the Beginner's Blues (Melodic). Lots of fun.

Bob

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#1112357 - 01/07/07 07:11 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Wombat66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 262
Loc: Cornwall UK
Stick at it everyone, my copy celebrates its' 5th birthday this week, (on the 12th - I could celebrate by seeing how many beers I can drink and still play "blue fifth boogie!")
It was the first book I bought when I went back to the piano (I'd completely forgotten how to read music when it first came), and progress was painfully slow. It took me over 3 years to work through, but the effort was really worth it. If only I'd had it as a kid I'm sure I'd have never given up the piano at grade 1.
So hang on in there guys n gals.

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#1112358 - 01/07/07 07:41 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
ARIAS Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/06
Posts: 122
Loc: Tampa Bay
Glad to hear y;all still hanging around I was beginning to worry that you all had the blues \:\( or something! I've gone through the first chapter. I want to play the Cd that goes with the book and figure out where I want to go next in the book. Great Book thougn! I always enjoy looking through the book at all these old pics of some of the greatest blues artists of all times. This book is truly a classsic!

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#1112359 - 03/08/07 09:55 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
bump.

It would be interesting to know where y'all are in the book. I'm on "Blue Fifth Boogie".
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112360 - 03/09/07 11:53 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
deeluk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 163
Loc: Fort Collins, CO
Hey y'all. New to the thread and forum, tho I've posted around about how great this book is. Here's what I'd give myself on a scale from 1-10 on the pieces I've attempted so far:

Beginner Blues: 10
Beginner Blues Melodic: 10
Beginner's Boogie: 10
Beginner's Boogie with broken octaves: 4
Blue Third Blues: 10
New Orleans Triplets: 8
Blueberry Hill: 10
Five Finger Blues: 10
Trill Blues: 7
On-off boogie: 9
Happy blues: 7
Sad blues: 9
Blues for booker: 8

Sixth Blues: 10
Jump Shuffle: 8
C Jam Blues: 9
Riff Blues: 8
Sunday Afternoon Blues: 9
Barrelhouse Blues: 9
Blues with Pickups: 6
Slow Blues in D: 3
Blue Fifth Boogie: 2
Syncopated Boogie: 1
Back in the Alley: 5

Seventh Blues: 10
Blues for Sal: 9
See See Rider: 9
Smooth Blues: 6

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#1112361 - 03/13/07 04:26 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Canon_Sue Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 11
I am ready to join. I just received my book yesterday, so I working on the Beginner Blues (transposing it to different keys) and the Beginner Blues Melodic with the different left hand patterns.

-Sue

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#1112362 - 03/13/07 10:22 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
Cool, Canon_Sue!! Welcome! Seems like you're pretty fast. I had some trouble with the Jimmy Yancey LH part for "Beginner's Blues (Melodic)" as I recall... Have you been playing long?

Now that deeluk's made the list, I can cut'n'paste and add my numbers \:D :
Beginner Blues: 10
Beginner Blues Melodic: 10
Beginner's Boogie: 10
Beginner's Boogie with broken octaves: 9
Blue Third Blues: 9
New Orleans Triplets: 10
Blueberry Hill: 7
Five Finger Blues: 10
Trill Blues: 7
On-off boogie: 10
Happy blues: 9.5
Sad blues: 8 (triplets are a bit slow)
Blues for booker: 10

Sixth Blues: 10
Jump Shuffle: 10
C Jam Blues: 8 (trouble with the final C to G LH walkup at speed)
Riff Blues: 2 (didn't really try it)
Sunday Afternoon Blues: 0 (skipped it)
Barrelhouse Blues: 10
Blues with Pickups: 10
Slow Blues in D: 8
Blue Fifth Boogie: 2 (just starting it)
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112363 - 03/16/07 08:04 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Canon_Sue Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 11
I have been playing for about a year or so. I have not mastered the LH patterns yet, but it is fun working on them. Practicing with this book gives a nice balance to just practicing the classical pieces.

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#1112364 - 05/07/07 11:27 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
deeluk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 163
Loc: Fort Collins, CO
Wow, I think I need to revise my numbers. I got a metronome a few weeks ago and found out how bad my rhythm really is. Just practicing with it the past couple of weeks has really improved my rhythm. I also got my hands on a microphone and made a quick couple of recordings. Another eye opener. I can see why Richards recommends it. Bletch! Just pushing the silly record button sends my playing into a tailspin. The infamous "red dot syndrome". What I did manage to record that was halfway decent really wasn't. Ah well, gotta keep at it.

On another note, I've been making more frequent forays into chapters 3 and 4. If you haven't tried this yet, I really recommend it. I've been having a blast with Slow Blues in G (ch3) and Slow Guitar Blues (ch4). They're both pretty easy pieces (especially with s-l-o-w in the title), and I think they sound really good.

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#1112365 - 05/08/07 04:37 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
I am currently using Improvising Blues Piano with my teacher as the foundation to my lessons. We started a few weeks ago on the book and I am working on Beginners Boogie Woogie. It took me a bit of practice to get the swing feel in the left hand but gradually I was able to play it quite well. The right hand chords are a good way to practice but I'm now at the point where I am introducing the left hand melody gradually. It isn't easy but I imagine, like everything else, it will just fall into place with constant practice. Anybody else working on this one?

By the way, my teacher thinks this is an excellent book but has two criticisms to date -
1. Why on the CD Tim didn't continue the counting throughout the song to assist with the timing
2. Why he chose Eb in the early stage of a book in Blueberry Hill
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

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#1112366 - 05/08/07 10:17 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
I'm starting lessons next week. My emphasis will be on playing by ear and improvising. We'll use IBP and Dave Limina's "Accelerate your Keyboard Playing" as the basis, at least to begin with, though we'll probably incorporate lead sheets and "by ear" melodies for learning chord progressions and ear training.

I've noticed that my numbers are no longer valid. I find that a "10" level for a relatively complex tune ( i.e. NOT Beginner's Blues :p ) lasts maybe a week or two without refreshing. Then it takes anywhere for 5 min to 2 days to get it back.

I'm also working on some boogie-woogie exercises from "Learn Boogie-Woogie Piano". To keep everything rock-steady for at least 4 full choruses with no mistakes is my goal before moving to the next exercise and I'm finding it tough, because of the need to seriously overlearn the LH.

It seems to me that in order to internalize tunes so that they can be used in improvisation, I have to play them A LOT, even after I can play them through without mistakes. I've chosen six tunes from the first two chapters to work on until they're internalized. We'll see if my teacher thinks that this is a useful strategy... \:\)
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112367 - 05/10/07 04:07 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Glenn Chung Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/07
Posts: 26
I have never been to a group so I am not sure what's in it besides the posts I see here. I plan to buy IBP soon. Please let me know how I can join, thanks!

Glenn

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#1112368 - 05/10/07 04:34 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
FUNKYMUNKY Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Baltimore, MD
GILBERT WROTE:
 Quote:
By the way, my teacher thinks this is an excellent book but has two criticisms to date -
1. Why on the CD Tim didn't continue the counting throughout the song to assist with the timing
2. Why he chose Eb in the early stage of a book in Blueberry Hill
IMO this book is absolutely perfect for learning the blues so I just had to reply to these criticisms which makes no sense to me.

1. Counting throughout the song will interfere with the song itself. Use the metronome to assist you and then develop your internal clock.

2. Blueberry Hill is in the key of Bb. Eb is the 4 chord, which Tim explains clearly right next to the song. (Makes me wonder about your teacher) Each chapter progresses in difficulty, thus if a song seems difficult, go to the next chapter. There is nothing wrong with the placement of this song.

3. If those were serious criticisms, I suggest, lose the teacher and make Tim your new teacher. (I'm self taught and currently using the Tim Richards method)
_________________________
MUSIC IS MY DRUG

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#1112369 - 05/13/07 08:17 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Wombat66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 262
Loc: Cornwall UK
Glenn Chung looks like you've just joined the group.
My favourite pieces in it (list stolen from Deelux)
Blue Third Blues: 10
On-off boogie: 10
Sixth Blues: 10
Jump Shuffle: 10
C Jam Blues: 10
Riff Blues: 10
Sunday Afternoon Blues: 10
Blues with Pickups: 10
Slow Blues in D: 10
Blue Fifth Boogie: 10
Bouncy boogie: 10
Pine Tops BW: 10
Mojo workin: 8 (I usually stuff the ending)
St Louis Blues: 8 (I always get mugged in some Missouri suburb)
Honky tonk train blues: 6 (inevitably derailed at some point usually with major blood shed)

Scores have been given according to the likelihood of mistakes under optimum conditions: adjust scores according to number of people listening (minus 2 points per person), and pints of beer /glasses of wine consumed (minus 1 point per pint / glass with minus double points each and every glass beyond 2)
My daughter says I score a maximum of 6 on any piece under even perfect conditions but even when the doors shut she opens it and then slams it just to emphasise the point that she hates listening to me play, so I take 6 as quite a compliment.

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#1112370 - 05/13/07 02:30 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Hi!
I wonder if you can answer one question. I have one year of experience and am taking classical lessons but want to eventually become a rock musician. I wonder 1) if this book will help me with this? and 2) If one year of experience is enough to start with it?

Thanks
_________________________
ex - pian00b

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#1112371 - 05/13/07 03:12 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
Funky Munky, any tipson mastering the third measure in Blue Third Blues?
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

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#1112372 - 05/13/07 08:37 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
I have one year of experience and am taking classical lessons but want to eventually become a rock musician. I wonder 1) if this book will help me with this? and 2) If one year of experience is enough to start with it?
Piano00b, the answer to both questions is yes, but you'll have to work hard. If you're smarter than me and follow Tim Richards' advice to start a new chapter when you get hung up on a tougher tune, you'll probably not find it too discouraging.
My experience has been that I flail around with the tougher tunes for a couple of weeks, making no apparent progress and then something just "clicks" and the rest of the time is speeding up and polishing. So far, my improvisations are --what's the diplomatic term?-- yeah, unimpressive.


Wombat66: Care to share any improvs on those tunes with us?
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112373 - 05/14/07 11:32 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
FUNKYMUNKY Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Baltimore, MD
GILBERT WROTE
 Quote:
Funky Munky, any tipson mastering the third measure in Blue Third Blues?
1. Time and patience

2. Make sure you can play both hands separately.

3. Play along with the CD, using only one hand at a time. Put the song on repeat. Unfortunately your CD player cant slow the song down, but if you focus on one measure at a time, this is manageable. If it is still too fast turn off the CD and go back to tip 2. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Soon the rhythm will be in your head.

4. Without the CD, play the left hand part of the tricky measure over and over until it is almost automatic. When you are ready to add the right hand, dont try to play all of the notes of the right hand because that may disrupt the flow of your left hand. Add a few notes at a time. Dont forget to start slowly. Tim gives this tip on page 143.

5. Time and patience, GOOD LUCK
_________________________
MUSIC IS MY DRUG

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#1112374 - 05/14/07 04:15 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
FunkyMunky, great tips - will put these to the test, its a great tune!
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

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#1112375 - 05/14/07 05:29 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Multi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/03/07
Posts: 7
Loc: London
It just dawned upon me over the weekend that the Tim Richards who wrote this book is the same one who lectures at my local university. I met him today as I'll be enrolling on one of his evening courses in the autumn. A very nice and pleasant chap!

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#1112376 - 05/16/07 06:44 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Wombat66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 262
Loc: Cornwall UK
Multi - I'm in awe - could you pm me a lock of TR's hair ??? (although from the photo on the back of my book he doesn't seem to have a great deal of it to spare!) - or failing that at least tell him that his place on the Mount Olympus of Adult Beginner Gods is assured forever and that Dorothy Bradley, Alfred and Denes Ages can just **** @#f.
Pastafarian I'd be more than happy to humiliate myself in front of the ABF by posting some recordings but I haven't worked out how to plug my cassette recorder into the computer - I fear I might have to invest in some hard and software before doing so - suggestions and advice gratefully received.
Gilbert: blue 3rd blues is fine once you've practiced it. Slowly. Again.And again .. and again....and again etc As Funky Munky says "time and patience"

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#1112377 - 05/16/07 09:45 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
saw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/04
Posts: 100
Loc: Florida
Hey, all. I'm really tempted to get the book (have been planning to for a few months after reading all the good press), but I'm talking myself out of it.

Let me share a little about my piano journey: I'm in the third book of the Alfred Adult all-in-one series, and starting out in the Humphries "Piano Handbook". I figure finishing Alfred and working thru PH is all I can handle, maybe for the next year or more. But, I'm really tempted by IBP, because I think it would be a more "passionate", possibly more fun way to go. Would love to get a great foundation in blues and jazz, but don't know if I can take the time. Also, think that staying with what I'm doing, however methodical, gives me a good foundation to go anywhere. Buuut.,,,I'd love to try some music that would be really exciting and fun. And, it sounds like IBP, in spite of the work involved, could be just that.

Anyone in a similar situation, or have experience along these lines to share?

thanks,
Stan
_________________________
Celebrate and enjoy the journey!

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#1112378 - 05/17/07 10:36 AM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Pastafarian I'd be more than happy to humiliate myself in front of the ABF by posting some recordings
I doubt you'll "humiliate" yourself, Wombat66. Just plug the headphone jack from the cassette recorder into the "line in" of your sound card and use Audacity or (my current favourite) Audio Mid Recorder (~$30) to create shareable files.

I've just yesterday started lessons based around IBP and my first assignment is to come up with a couple of choruses of improv for "Jump Shuffle" and then to transpose it to F, G, Bb and Eb.

It's interesting to have a teacher after so much self-instruction.
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1112379 - 05/09/08 03:06 PM Re: Groups:Improvising Blues Piano
Bullitt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 76
Loc: Norway
Hi

Found this thread today and just read through it. Fun to see that we all go through the same problems. I've been using IBP piano for a couple of years myself now and also Mark Harrison Blues Piano.

I bought a book called Improve your Piano Playing I think it was called, and the most useful I found from that was to practice slowly first. I'm sure it's already been mentioned, but I find doing each hands seperatly and the togheter slowly, so I'm sure I'm not "programming" my hands/brain wrong and then speed up. Also after you learned a song, slow it down sometimes. Makes it easier to find mistakes.

Anyways great thread and I just wanted to kick some life into the thread again.

Also thanks to Tim Richards \:\) IBP 2 in near future? \:\)

Cheers

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