Best Way to “Learn” Jazz Piano
Let me preface the question with a bit of background because I’m not even sure if I classify as “beginner” or “intermediate” or anything like that.
I took your run of the mill piano lessons for 8 years. Started at 3 Blind Mice and ended with attempting to learn the full Rhapsody in Blue before junior year of high school happened and I dropped lessons because of time.
Now it’s four years later, and while I’ve been playing all the time, learning songs here and there, and writing a few short songs of my own. I really got into Jazz last year, mostly listen to Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis, and I figured learning a few of their sons wouldn’t be too hard. This was my entrance into learning how much different Jazz is than regular piano. I “learned” Canteloupe Island and The In Crowd, but soon I realized all I knew how to do was play the main chords and the basic structure of the song. I wanted to be able to do the fancy solos that were in the recordings, and soon I was on a google hunt trying to learn improv.
I learned the blues scale, and I immediately thought I was the best soloist around. It sounded good and I figured it could be applied to every song all the time. And that’s about where I am now. I can play several Hancock songs, I know one or two standards, but I want more and seem to have hit a place where everything seems to be hard to understand and most videos assume you have knowledge of all the things like every scale and every chord.
I’m a huge fan of fast Jazz, like the big band type stuff. I also like the piano bar style of it, and was very impressed when I watched a jazz pianist going to town one night at a club.
So here’s the question: where do I go next? Learning songs doesn’t seem to really help me. I know you can’t exactly “learn Jazz” but I’m doing something wrong here. I’ll sit down, play the songs I know, try and make up a few solos over them, play with some chords, get nowhere, and then burn out because I’m no longer having fun. It’s not that healthy to my enjoyment of playing.
I’d love to know the best route to take for someone who doesn’t have two hours a day to sit down and practice scales and chords over and over again.