How to Improvise – Major Block Chords for Jazz Piano and Arranging

Here is another video about a key jazz tool for both pianists and arrangers called major block chords. Below you will find the video as well as a PDF of the block chord exercise written out in all keys. Don’t forget to go to the top right of the home page and “follow” the blog for more free info!

Free Sheet Music – Major Block Chords

Facebook for Musicians: FAQ #1

I have been receiving lots of great questions about the original Facebook tips for musicians post, so I decided to start addressing some of them directly on the blog.

From Richard S.

Hey Noah—

I agree with your general points; potential fans flock toward quality on their own terms. I also agree that the constant stream of facebook events can be annoying. But…

I checked my facebook page and it turns out that it doesn’t allow me to invite any of my ‘likers’ to events made by that page. The only way I can publicize an event made by a page is to make a status with the event in it. This does not guarantee that everyone who ‘likes’ my page knows about when/where I’ll be performing.

My conundrum: whenever I have a performance and do not invite all of my personal facebook friends to an event, after the gig a number of people say to me “dude, why didn’t you tell me you were playing in _______?” What would be a good way to eliminate that problem? Would you recommend I limit gig notifications to an e-mail list? etc.

Talk to you soon!
Richard S.

ANSWER:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the comment. Having email list is a great way to remind people about your shows. If you have a website, make sure that it’s easy for people to 1. sign up for your email list, and 2. join you on your social media platforms. There are also other steps you can take to maximize the amount of people who follow you online. For example, under every YouTube video, ask people to find you on Facebook and put a link. That way, anyone who likes your music on YouTube has the chance to follow you on Facebook and receive all of your statuses and updates.

Other important tips to consider:

1. When you post. Make sure you post at times when the most people are online and active. I personally find that this is between 9:30pm and 12:00am given the musician demographic.

2. How often you post. You want to post at least once a day. However, the way Facebook works these days, your post will get lost if you don’t get lots of “likes” and comments, so it’s OK to post multiple times a day, every couple of hours (though I would change up the posts. Don’t just post the same thing over and over). You’ll probably reach different people each time.

I think for most musicians who read this post, there will have to be a transitional period between using their normal Facebook profile and their Facebook page. It takes time to build up your “likes,” and not all your fans will “like” your new page right off the bat. However, social media is really a word-of-mouth business. By providing value to those who follow you online, they will spread the word (or “share” it) and you will gain new fans.

The most important tip I can give you is to be as creative as possible. Before you write a post, think beforehand: “What would make me click on this link?” “What can I say about this that will provide value to those who read it instead of just straight up promoting my show?” That’s really what good marketing comes down to in general. Doing something surprising, creative, or valuable. You want to stand alone. When people thing “singer,” you want to be one of the first people they think of.

Example:

1. Post your event to your Facebook page and Pin it to the top of your page so that anyone who visits will see it first.

2. Come up with a really hilarious and creative poster/picture for your show and hopefully people spread it around and hundreds of people will be drawn to your page. (By the way, pictures have been proven to be the most viral form of media on Facebook.)

And there you go. Many people who like the poster will be drawn back to your page, where they will see the event at the top and hopefully join.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please go to the top right of the home page and follow the blog! Also, please write me with any more questions or leave them as a comment below. 

Pictures of The Great Jazz Pianists

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.

The Great Jazz Pianists Pinboard

Here’s a little snippet of what’s featured on the board:

Left Hand Technique: Taylor Eigsti

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.

Bud Powell’s Solo on “Celia” – Transcription by Greg Chen

I am very excited to post the first jazz piano transcription to the site for our free consumption! Thanks to Greg Chen for providing his beautiful work!!!

Bud Powell’s Solo on Celia

About Greg Chen:

Growing up in San Jose, California, pianist Gregory Chen first found his passion for music
in the works of classical greats such as J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin and at the age of thirteen fell in love with the sound of jazz, finding it to be a natural extension of his classical training. Soon, he was experimenting with and combining a variety of musical styles including funk, fusion, rock, gospel, and Latin music. By the age of eighteen, Gregory had already played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall – Lincoln Center, World Trade Center 7, Gramercy Theatre, Symphony Space in Manhattan, Puppets Jazz Bar in Brooklyn, the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis Missouri, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the American Jazz Museum “Blue Room” in Kansas City, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in Cincinnati, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club in Manhattan, among other venues. He has appeared at the Monterey and San Jose jazz festivals, among others. Gregory has had the opportunity to perform with such jazz musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Candido Camero, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Julian Lage, Bobby Watson, Anton Schwartz, and Mike Tomaro. He has studied with Garry Dial, Ted Rosenthal, Peter Horvath, Michael Zilber, Frank Sumares, and Pablo Mayor among others.

To keep track of when new information and materials are posted, please go to the top right of the home page and click “follow.” More to come soon!