Suggested Transcriptions

Posted by: h2obuff

Suggested Transcriptions - 12/12/12 04:46 PM

Hi I hope someone can help.

I had to stop playing/practicing because of wrist pain. I found a teacher that expressly works with recovery who herself was nearly incapacitated as a professional pianist but learned a new technique. I had been playing out of fakebooks/jazz and used Mark Levine's book as a reference and some lessons from local jazz pianist's previously. My current teacher is strictly classical and for the time being wants me to stick with written music while my body is adjusting to the new technique.

She would love to let me work in the jazz idiom but I would like recommendations on transcriptions to use. Or would I be better off with arrangements in a jazz style? I am currently working on more scalar playing and she says that lots of intervals are still to be avoided.

I have made progress and one of the most difficult things is that I also work at a computer all day. Some of the piano things easily translate but at the computer I have a tendency to go completely by instinct since I learned to type at a real typewriter. I have found that this causes some of the pain I had been experiencing so am having to change this as well.

So, jazz transcriptions where the style is more or less not about a lot of intervalic leaps. Or suggestions of arrangements that would be a good transition.

Thank you, h2obuff
Posted by: chrisbell

Re: Suggested Transcriptions - 12/12/12 04:53 PM

This is pretty good. http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Evans-Arrangements-Solo-Piano/dp/0634018728/
"Bill Evans - 19 Arrangements for Solo Piano"
Posted by: Tim Adrianson

Re: Suggested Transcriptions - 12/13/12 09:59 AM

The transcriptions of Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, George Shearing, and Oscar Peterson are all very good. Lee Evans and Philip Keveren also provide, IMO, jazz-sounding arrangements that are very "true" in feel and not so difficult as some of the transcription I cited above. That should give you a good start.
Posted by: h2obuff

Re: Suggested Transcriptions - 12/14/12 11:32 AM

Thank you Tim and Chris!
Posted by: Mark Polishook

Re: Suggested Transcriptions - 12/14/12 11:08 PM

h2obuff ... another way to look at it (based on how i'm reading what you say) is your teacher is suggesting to stick w/written music as a way to really control the motions your hands and wrists and arms make when playing. because improvised music sometimes means letting technique go (or forgetting about technical issues) to get to whatever idea you're trying to get out through the keyboard.

so regardless of which transcription you use, you might might to above all remember to keep everything (hand, arm, wrist, fingers, etc.) as relaxed as possible). i say this because as far as i know, most stress injuries come from a non-relaxed style of playing. and while it's true that large intervals, etc. can be demanding, you really don't see the kinds of things in jazz transcriptions that you do in lizst chopin, barber, etc. those are composers who can rip hands to shreds! if their compositions are played WITHOUT relaxation!

the thing it, it's not always that easy to monitor relaxation and to know that you can always relax even more than you think! so my suggestion: pick some music you like (or let you teacher help you with that) and then above all make sure you're relaxed and then work to relax even more!

hope this helps!
Posted by: h2obuff

Re: Suggested Transcriptions - 12/17/12 08:28 AM

Printer1 thanks. Yes, she is saying stick to written music for exactly the reasons you say, even if I write it out myself.

One way of describing the technique she is teaching is 'tension free playing'. Certain physical habits need to be relearned and physiology cannot be ignored such as the alignment of the hand-wrist-forearm which allows the tendons that pass through the wrist to be relaxed - no inherent stress from flexion, extension or other. Each new level of difficulty from stepwise/scalar to larger intervals/arpeggios to chords offers me the opportunity to slip into old habits that I didn't realize were tension filled. Yes, simply being more relaxed but also the methods I was using to accomplish what I was doing, largely self taught technically, were filled with things that stressed the body. There are better, more efficient ways of doing all the things I had been doing and it sounds better! Thanks for your input!