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  1. #1
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    Default Best book for teaching blues piano?

    Hello,

    I have a student who wants to learn blues piano. I want to find a book that will help me to teach him how to play piano in the blues style. Here are some that I have come across so far:

    Beginning Blues Keyboard and Intermediate Blues Keyboard (Alfred publishing);
    Blues Piano - Mark Harrison (Hal Leonard) (Also, Harrison's The Pop Piano Book - not sure if blues is covered);
    All about blues basics for beginners - Michael Furstner;
    Creative Keyboard's deluxe blues piano solo book - Matt Dennis & Paul Smith;
    Blues - arranged by Frank Booth;
    Improvising blues piano : the basic principles of blues piano explained for the intermediate-level pianist in an easy-to-grasp fashion - Tim Richards.

    Can any of you advise me on what the best choice would be?

    Thanks alot

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forum! :wink: It would probably help to know at what level of proficiency your student is at; but shooting from the hip I would start with Furstner's book, then the "Beginning and Intermediate" book by Alfred publishing. I'd follow that with the Dennis and Smith solo book, then the improvisation book. My $.02, but to qualify it my degree was in vocal and piano ed. :wink:
    Yer guitar pickin' friend,
    Brown Bad Boy McGee (aka Herb)
    "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'n stuff!"


  3. #3
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    He played classical violin for 10 yrs and has been teaching himself piano for 5 yrs. He knows all the scales, understands what notes make up what chords, etc. so has quite a good knowledge of theory. He just wants to be able to play those styles.

  4. #4
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    Then the Furstner book may be unnecessary. I'd figure his level and start him in the book that fits it closest, and continue in the order I listed. But like I said, it's my opinion, and I'm not there. Let me know what you do. By the end of those books, I would have also started mixing in playing by ear; and then let him listen to some of the classics like Pinetop Perkins. Blues is soul and feel; and you can't get that from any book.
    Yer guitar pickin' friend,
    Brown Bad Boy McGee (aka Herb)
    "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'n stuff!"


  5. #5
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    Tim Richard's book is the best I've seen - and I've seen a lot!

  6. #6
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    Default Books from Santa

    Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. I asked for and received some books that were mentioned in the previous posts. I got the last three out of the four Herb mentioned. I was wondering, this thread being two years old, do you still recommend the books in that order: "Alfred Publishing, Dennis & Smith, then the Tim Richards"? I keep wanting to pick up the Tim Richards first. Herb, I know you don't think books are the answer but for some of us they are a huge help. Has anyone had any experience with these instructional pieces? Surely Ed has an opinion
    In the end what matters is not the years in your life but the life in your years...........

  7. #7
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    Don't misunderstand me, dear, books are very valuable resources. It's just sight reading at live blues performance that I feel can't provide real heart and soul! I still feel those books are good resources, my personal preference is in the order I gave, but as long as they are all read and absorbed well, the order really doesn't matter. How is your ear training coming? Are you getting any more comfortable with playing "on the fly" without music in front of you yet? Are you at least getting used to feeling the chord progressions?
    Yer guitar pickin' friend,
    Brown Bad Boy McGee (aka Herb)
    "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'n stuff!"


  8. #8
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    Thanks Herb for your reply I appreciate it. Once I have played a piece or boogie many times, I put the music away and try to play without it. Most of the time this works well for me. I am definately getting more comfortable with the chord progressions (as long as it's 12 bar, the 8 and 16 bar blues still confuse me at first). I can listen to a song and figure out what key it's in then I can play the chord progression along with it but I haven't figured out quite what to do with my right hand outside of the chord but I've been working on that. If my husband is playing harp it's easier for me because I can play the bass line along with the right hand but when he's playing bass, I'll just play the root note with my left hand just the first octave below middle C. Seems like I'm not doing much, so I need to be able to noodle around with the solo alot more but I'm not sure where to go or what would sound good. I dedicating this whole day to the keyboard (in between giving my husband a hand putting our hot rod back together we just got back from the paint shop, a 66 Cyclone Convertible). I think a big obstacle I need to overcome is not to be so damned timid. I know I should just play what I feel and if it sounds bad, oh well, I'll change it but for some reason that's hard for me to do. Well, back to practicing...........Thanks again
    In the end what matters is not the years in your life but the life in your years...........

  9. #9
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    Here's another "trick of the trade" for ya - jazz and blues players usually comp with the left hand using just the root and fifth of the chord in the register between low A and middle C. That doesn't compete with the bass player, and lets the right hand chord with other notes (3-5-7 or 5-7-9, maybe even 3-5-6-9 for example) to color it up. 1-5 with the left hand on counts 1 and 3, and just let the right hand fall when it feels good.
    Last edited by herb; 12-28-2009 at 01:22 AM.
    Yer guitar pickin' friend,
    Brown Bad Boy McGee (aka Herb)
    "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'n stuff!"


  10. #10
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    3-5-6-9 Wow! Haven't played around with that. Sounds very interesting and 1-5 on beats 1 and 3, okay, I'm off to the keyboard, Thanks Herb.
    In the end what matters is not the years in your life but the life in your years...........

 

 

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