Below is a Pinboard of pictures and videos that I have created about the Great Jazz Pianists on Pinterest. So far, it includes everyone from Art Tatum to Keith Jarrett to Brad Mehldau, and others! I’m going to keep building it, so you should definitely check it out. It’s fun to look at.
While I was at the Brubeck Institute, in Stockton, CA, I had the priviledge of working with a great young pianist, Taylor Eigsti. Taylor is one of my favorite people to study with and I go back to him for lessons whenever I feel in need of some inspiration. Whenever I feel bored with a subject, he instantly finds a way to challenge me. I have lots of great ideas and exercises that I will eventually get around to posting about that I have learned from Taylor, but I wanted to take a look at this video of him playing “Like Someone In Love.” You’ll notice that throughout the video he uses lots of great runs in his left hand to fill up space, acting as exciting, modern-sounding fills.
I once asked my friend this question: “How can I ever find my own sound?” Wait… did I say once? Because that question was the most stressful thought that crossed my mind for years. Sound familiar? OK. So I don’t know about you, but I get really stressed sometimes about the level of competition out there in the music industry. Let’s face it, if you’re an artist of any sort, you’re going to face some very, very stiff competition. But here’s the thing, and I warn you, this will sound incredibly simple despite the fact that it took me years for it to really sink in. Competition has nothing to do with art, because yes folks, you are unique and your art will without question be unique. What’s the one exception? When you try too hard to be someone else. I will make you an ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW— If you are completely honest with yourself about who you are, what art you like, and what you want your art to be, YOU WILL be a unique artist and you will do things that have never been done before. Now, let me explain this a little just to clarify. As far as being honest with yourself goes, this means you have to toss aside everything that people tell you. You have to forget about the norm, forget about what other people like. Let me give you an example. For a long time, I would listen to music based on other people’s suggestions. I always thought that if, well, this guy said it, that means I should listen to it over and over. But I didn’t really like it! Forget what people tell you. Do what you love. Listen to what you love. Create what you enjoy creating! Develop what you LOVE developing, and if you do these things, I promise you that you will know yourself better than ever before and create art that cannot be reproduced by any individual out there no matter how hard he/she tries.