Doug McKenzie jazz piano lessons

Posted by: TonyB

Doug McKenzie jazz piano lessons - 02/13/10 01:44 PM

Doug McKenzie has a site that contains piano lessons that are really worth taking a look at. These lessons are free for the download and/or you can purchase a DVD directly from him that contains all the material on the site (i.e. videos, audio files, midi files, and PDFs of his arrangements of standards). The DVD costs $25 plus $5 shipping (he is located in Australia). I ordered the DVD a week ago and the same day I ordered it, Doug sent me email indicating it was shipping that day. It arrived within the time frame he said it would (approx one week) and it does contain all that is on his site and then some. Buying the DVD is a way of helping to support the site and it is a convenience so you don't need to be online to benefit from the lessons.

Rather than being identified as "lessons", these are shown by song title, since what he is doing is showing you how he arranges and plays the tune. Many of these tunes are done in a solo piano setting, while some are in a group setting (trio, for example), and others are backing a vocalist. Most have a video, audio, midi, and PDF transcript. The video plays on the Windows media player, and has the sheet music of his arrangement above the original lead sheet and annotations in his arrangement briefly calling your attention to various things he does that make the arrangement what it is.

The lessons are not so much a step by step "how to" taking you from beginner to jazz pianist, but instead each "lesson" is his arrangement of a standard and what is going on it. This type of lesson is a perfect adjunct for those studying the Sudnow method or other means of getting this type of playing into your hands (such as Piano Magic and others that focus on "song play"). Doug McKenzie provides a goldmine of ideas for making your arrangements sound professional and full, but you do need to be able to play songs as taught in some of the methods I mentioned to get the most from his lessons so that you "get" what is going on in the videos. Think of it as you already have arranged a tune in your own way and then Doug shows you ways to "take it to the next level" as the cliche goes these days. These lessons are like having an experienced pro showing you how to make what you are already doing, sound even better.

Somebody in another thread in these forums mentioned this DVD and provided a link to the site, and that is how I got to it. I just wanted to highlight this information because I really believe it has solid value for those of us into "song play" regardless of the path we are taking to get there.

If you go to his site at:

http://www.bushgrafts.com/jazz/home.htm

...you can see EXACTLY what he has to offer, since most of the contents of the DVD are freely available on his site. You could learn these arrangements note for note, or you could use the information to apply to your own arrangements, or any combination in between. Doug is letting us look over the shoulder of a very accomplished "song player" and improvisor, and he is letting us do it for free (or a very minimal cost for the DVD). The only other time I got to do that was by catching the piano player on a cruise ship when few people were around. These arrangements aren't "dumbed down" for teaching purposes. Instead they are at the level you would typically expect to hear from a professional player. Whatever books, DVDs, web sites, etc. you might be using to learn "song play" at the piano, this material is worth serious consideration to enhance what you are already doing.

Regards,

Tony
Posted by: knotty

Re: Doug McKenzie jazz piano lessons - 02/15/10 07:40 AM

Tony,

Doug's videos are the reason I got hooked on youtube !! They are really great.

Also check out 7notemode's tutorials for a more step-by-step approach. Just as advanced as Doug's, less music, more explanation.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=7notemode+tutorial&search_type=&aq=f

you gotta love youtube smile