Category Archives: Piano

Eric Dolphy and Jaki Byard

Got into music school because I lived out of province sent a cassette demonstrating my piano playing, something classical and something jazz. Was glad I could send in a recording because I don’t read music. At York they thought the cassette reflected my reading skills or else they just took the money of any applicant but if you were in Toronto you had to audition in person so definitely I could not have been accepted that way. Would be seen as illegitimate because the non existent sight reading would be on display. The jig would have been up.

Probably a more cost effective procedure would be showing this video to prospective students. Whoever doesn’t start laughing or crying, (especially in the Jaki Byard/ Eric Dolphy solos) doesn’t get accepted. Simple and accurate no?

Methods of Failure

Stay in the key of C

Use the sustain pedal

Only play slow bass notes in left hand

Never obtain a piano made of hammers-hitting-strings

Keep playing that music you already know how to play

Don’t slow down if you make mistakes

…might state the obvious, to get good is to be the opposite.



new clothes

I worked with an inspiring  pianist who’s body language was the opposite of mine. I squirm and contort. My legs and torso move in different directions and my head flings back and I close my eyes. I make weird sounds and I don’t mind any of this, I’m used to trying to not get in the way of what my body wants to do. It has it’s own instincts and I like the results.

But this other person was totally still. Feet still, spine erect, voice silent, eyes open. Sometimes when I was alone I imitated it and I had a completely new experience on the piano. I bet other people find it valuable to track whatever your body already does and then try to interfere with it, privately to see if anything is different in the music experience.