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#2153154 - 09/18/13 04:47 PM Tom Waits: Piano Approach
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 195

It was suggested I post in this non-classical category instead:

I love Tom Waits & the way he plays piano. Does anyone have info on how he learned? Is he classically trained?

If I were to take lessons and be able to play at a similar level would I choose a classical teacher or what? Any recommendation, what would be the best approach to learning a similar style to his? Any specific method or approach?

Thank you.


Piano & Music Accessories
#2153169 - 09/18/13 05:04 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Brad Hoehne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Ohio
I don't have an answer for you, but because you brought up Tom Waits, I'll share my favorite piano-moment in his vast Oeuvre- "The Piano Has Been Drinking" (There are many other great non-piano moments as well):

1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etudes op 10 #12 "Revolutionary" and op 25 #2 and op 10 #5
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes

#2153810 - 09/19/13 01:57 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Paging Dave Frank! We have a new master class to consider.

#2153841 - 09/19/13 02:42 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Dfrankjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 231
Loc: NYC
[censored] off Ron.


#2153901 - 09/19/13 04:38 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Think of the fun topics to cover: triad inversions, alternating roots in octaves in left hand, use of the sustain pedal, and most important: whiskey, lots of whiskey.

#2153953 - 09/19/13 05:43 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Dfrankjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 231
Loc: NYC
I waits to do that one

#2157346 - 09/25/13 09:51 AM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
LogicalConclusion Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/14/13
Posts: 4
I'm curious about this too. Found something, the only allusion to Waits taking piano lessons I've yet to find (from tomwaitsfan.com, http://www.tomwaitsfan.com/tom%20waits%20library/www.tomwaitslibrary.com/anecdotes.html):
Ray Bierl (2007) on Waits taking piano lessons from a female classical teacher, ca. 1971/ 1972: "He took it pretty seriously. He said he was able to tell her the kind of thing he was interested in learning which was not just your basic classical music. She was somebody who really saw what Tom was after and helped him on a lot of chord theory and the kind of thing that shows up in his early compositions on the piano" (Source: Ray Bierl interview May 30, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

I've also read that he's self-taught, but he said himself that "Truth is overrated." Waits is a huge fan of Thelonious Monk and Ray Charles, so maybe it's worth studying THEIR playing style, as well. Oh yeah, and every now and then, you could wear pointy shoes and bang the keys with your foot to emphasize groove. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LySDkDuqLCE
''Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.'' - Albert Einstein

I'd like to apologize in advance for my stupidity, impulsiveness, and poorly harnessed enthusiasm.

#2157432 - 09/25/13 12:33 PM Re: Tom Waits: Piano Approach [Re: johnbarnesiii]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23190
Loc: Oakland
I remember reading an interview with him, where he said that his mother saw a Steinway hanging in a pawn shop window, and came home with it after the store had closed that evening, and that is how he started playing the piano.
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