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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Here's how I might analyze my jazz piano / composition skills.

Coming along:

I have a good sense of song structure & voice leading, and I know chords in several keys. I don't just voice every chord as I, III, VII in the left hand as I used to (naively). I can put thirds in my right hand. I have a nice ear for cool sounding harmonies.

I am getting to where I can voice each chord exactly how I want to, and decide intelligently among voicings.

There is some agility in the fingers and a proprioceptive sense (I can play fine with eyes closed.)

Not very good:

Comping rhythms are stiff. I can't construct a nice sounding walking-bass line. I cannot improvise convincingly flowing lines in my right hand.

I don't know sus chords and never use augmented fifths. My vocabulary is missing some tonal registers. I use 9ths but not flatted 11ths and all those other alterations. I tend to overuse tritone substitutions. I can't play even one standard tune all the way through.


If you are good at anything, you will have analyzed yourself in similar terms. Even if you are not so good at something and want to get better. If you can't self-analyze, where are you?

Having someone else edit you is fine, even necessary. But editing is a final check once you've already got your shit together.

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