Students taking blues piano should already have a basic foundation in piano playing, that should include a basic level of technique, and some level of harmonic knowledge. Generally, at least 5 years of experience is recommended, but not absolutely required.
Repertoire / Memorization
Blues students will learn several popular blues songs from the 1950’s – 1990’s. Although much of the blues is improvised, knowing the opening melodies and forms is critical.
Technique / Rudiments
Understanding the basic blues rhythms and common soloing and ‘comping’ patterns
Students are taught to recognize melodies, intervals, and harmonic progression by ear. This significantly aids in the speed of repertoire learning, as well as enhances the memorization process, and creates a greater versatility in ensemble or band settings.
Students at every level are taught to recognize and play in real-time: individual notes, chords, melodic passages, and full two-clef writing
Students learning blues piano will learn to improvise using common blues ‘licks’ and ‘riffs’ as often heard on recordings and popular blues bands.
Applied Harmony (vs. written harmony only)
This approach treats the study of harmonic progression as directly connected with the study of performance, rather than a separate academic approach not connected with performance. Students learn to understand the harmonic motion of the pieces they are playing, increasing their depth of understanding and interpretation of those pieces. It also gives them an advanced understanding of how harmony influences improvisation and composition.
Applied Rhythm (vs. written rhythm only)
Studying rhythm in an applied sense vs. isolated requirements will increase students’ capacity for contemporary playing, as well as a stronger sense of pulse across all genres of music. It also encourages the use of rhythm as a compositional and improvisational component.