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On Being a Pianist in Kenya - Against All Odds
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Topic: Stride piano; how to start  (Read 317 times)

Offline joshgeorge

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Stride piano; how to start
on: March 15, 2023, 07:59:54 AM
Iím a beginner pianist and I want to learn how to play jazz.  I particularly like the stride players like James P. Johnson.  Can a beginner start learning stride or does one need a certain foundation before learning the stride style?  Thank you. 

Offline robertus

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Re: Stride piano; how to start
Reply #1 on: March 17, 2023, 01:41:34 AM
You definitely need a very firm foundation. However, some people can just 'do it', but that's a rare type of aptitude.

Follow these steps:
- Learn to improvise accompaniment to songs (folk songs, hymn, etc.) using chord symbols.
- Learn to improvise melodic parts over chord progressions.
- Develop very good independence of the hands (particularly, keeping a steady beat in the left hand, while doing 'anything' in the right)
- Develop a decent level of technique, to be able to play it with the necessary flair.

Note: Trying to learn stride from transcriptions is a bad idea, and will never work well. But transcriptions are helpful, to see how certain effects are achieved. It is useful to learn Fats Waller pieces from notation, though (these are moderately challenging).

I could play stride pretty well after learning for maybe four years- by then, I guess I was about Gr. 8 or Associate standard in technique. I still play in the stride style sometimes (for example, doing a stride version of a classical piece or a popular melody at a concert, as an encore). People seem to like it.....

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Stride piano; how to start
Reply #2 on: March 17, 2023, 07:03:16 AM
As what robertus suggested but doing it within the context of the 12 bar blues, it is the most logical path to take.
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Offline robertus

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Re: Stride piano; how to start
Reply #3 on: March 17, 2023, 08:49:44 AM
As what robertus suggested but doing it within the context of the 12 bar blues, it is the most logical path to take.

Definitely! And learning the blues scales to improvise with. You don't need to learn to play these like regular major and minor scales, but just to know the notes in them. More or less anything you play in a blues scale will sound great.
 

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