At first, Day 11 may have you thinking that I have forgotten we are doing a note reading series. And the answer is no, I haven’t. But as I mentioned in Day 9, if a student is able to hear the notes they are about to play, it will make playing and correcting mistakes much easier!
I have several of my older students working through Eric Baumgartner’s Jazz Piano Basics Series right now. It is too intense for the passing jazz phase, but it does give an excellent and well thought-out approach to learning the finer points of jazz. I introduce all of my students to jazz at some point, but am always looking for those who want to dig a bit deeper!
I had an epiphany while listening to one of my students play the other day. In his book, Eric Baumgartner includes several exercises to introduce a concept, Q + As to strengthen the student’s ear in preparation for improvisation, improvisation to practice a concept with a select set of notes, and written songs that ultimately prove the student has mastered the unit.
My particular student was playing his Q + As (the book comes with online recordings, the student listens and then repeats what they heard in rhythm, and are able to practice this throughout the week without me). He was playing them quite well, as he has worked on these for quite some time now. And I realized… why are my jazz piano basics students the only ones doing this? I do work on ear training with my students, but often find that it gets pushed farther to the side than I’d like when the normal note reading or rhythm issue pops up.
But engaging in ear training as early as possible will enable your students to be better note readers and rhythm readers. So often I forget that listening and reading go hand in hand!
I have committed to introducing play backs in lessons as soon as a student learns middle C on the staff. I realize that I often do rhythm clap backs, which means that when a student begins playing in Jazz Piano Basics Q + As are very daunting because they are listening for notes and rhythms!
You can download my beginning play backs below … but you can also use this as a guide to begin play backs with whatever your students are learning! I encourage you to begin small and work slowly with those who find it difficult. Some students will soar ahead, while others will need a bit more time to develop their ear 🙂
This lesson activity can take less than 2 minutes at the beginning or end of a lesson, and you will notice amazing benefits in doing play backs on a regular basis!
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