Why learn Jazz Piano?

You Don’t Need Sheet Music

Improvisation, or "spontaneous composition," is at the heart of the jazz approach.  Outside of a big band setting, jazz musicians rely very little on the printed manuscript.  In fact, jazz music is deeply rooted in the American spirit of freedom, with an emphasis on the performers’ voice.  Classical music, on the other hand, places a much higher emphasis on serving the composer’s intentions.  One reason why …

Why does the piano have its shape?

Why does the piano have its familiar curved shape? 

The piano is actually a stringed instrument so when you hit a key on the piano keyboard it sets a hammer in motion and the hammer strikes a string.  The string then vibrates and transfers its vibration energy to the sound board and the sound board radiates to the room.  The piano has 88 keys and each key produces a different pitch.  …

Meade "Lux" Lewis plays "Honky Tonk Train Blues"

Meade "Lux" Lewis (1905-1964) was an American pianist and composer, known for his contributions to the development of boogie-woogie music. 

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he began playing piano at an early age and was influenced by the blues and jazz music that was popular in the city.  He became a professional musician in the 1920s and quickly gained a reputation for his lively and energetic piano playing. 

Lewis was a member of …

The story behind Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu

Julian Fontana (1810-1869) was one of Chopin's closest friends and they spent time together from their very youngest days.  

Their relationship whilst they were in Warsaw was very close.  In 1828 at Bucholtz Hall they performed the Rondo in C major for two pianos, Opus 73, together.  

After the November Uprising was put down Fontana met Chopin in Paris in 1832 and for some time was his student – a fact he …

Simon Barere's tragic death

Simon Barere was born in Odessa (then Russian Empire, now part of Ukraine) in 1896.  He showed his pianistic prowess from an young age.  Fellow Russian composer Alexander Glazunov had spotted Barere's talents early on, describing him as,  "Anton Rubinstein in one hand and Franz Liszt in the other". Barere was soon studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he was taught by Felix Blumenfeld; the same pianist who taught …