Apr 21 2009, 10:20 AM
I have a 8 yo old daughter who is preparing for piano grade 3 in June. I am not musical but personally like listening to jazz. She has enjoyed playing some jazz songs, so I got her the ABRSM jazz pieces and CD for grade 1 and 2. She is enjoying the pieces, and learning to improvise herself using the CD examples as a guide, but always using her own improvisation based on the guide notes on the book.
I have contacted a local jazz piano teacher who plays in gigs. He felt that she is too young to start learning jazz, and should concentrate on classical until she is older. I called another teacher, who does teach ABRSM jazz syllabus (as well as classical), but doesn't play in gigs. She however is happy to take her on.
I wonder if people generally feel that a musician should be older and much more advanced before tackling jazz?
Apr 21 2009, 11:23 AM
I'm only another parent so I'm answering from that perspective.
My daughter has never really found Piano easy, though this past year she has made huge strides forward. She took Grade 2 Jazz after Grade 3 Piano. At 13 she already had G5 Jazz Flute and was about to take G5 Jazz Sax. She fiound the Piano much more difficult even at a lower grade on, the difficulties were technical and style of improvisation. I would guess it will depend how good your daughter's technical skills are. There's quite a lot of theory involved in Jazz playing too as I understand it.
Would your daughter end up with two Piano teachers if you go down this route? That in itself might be a problem. Could her current piano teacher do a basic improvisation course with her instead of jumping into a grade?
I wonder if you would get some better responsed if you posted this in the teachers forum as quite a few of them have been on the Jazz worshops run by AB and will have experience of teaching children your daughter's age.
Apr 21 2009, 11:36 AM
QUOTE(notmusimum @ Apr 21 2009, 12:23 PM)
There's quite a lot of theory involved in Jazz playing too as I understand it.
There's quite a lot of theory in any sort of playing though possibly it's more obvious that you are applying it?
Maybe it's not quite so easy to get away with ignoring it when playing jazz as I know some students do with classical training in spite of teachers who regularly link theory with practical.
On the original point it might just be that the jazz teacher you approached doesn't feel that they have the skills for teaching an 6 year old.
Apr 21 2009, 12:17 PM
have a little book called First Adventures in Jazz, featuring tunes composed by kids as young as 5 and 6 (with cute pictures drawn by the composers)...
Apr 21 2009, 02:18 PM
I dont think 8 is young at all, you should continue looking. Ask in music shops, look on Boards, go to a gig and ask at the stage door, be persistent.
It really is about finding someone who is prepared to teach her. If you are looking for jazz piano then yes most of the teachers I contacted were requesting that my daughter be abt G4/5. However because she had started piano with the Rockschool board, she had learnt to 'swing' most of her pieces. So I would suggest that you buy some of the old Rockschool piano exam pieces.
Moving to secondary school & new peri piano teacher, she changed from Rockschool to ABRSM and absolutely hated it! So that was abandoned. After a year of looking, asking everyone and being on several waiting lists we found a jazz piano teacher.
However she had also been playing sax with a Jazz ensemble from age 8, so she was getting a solid foundation of 'swing' and ensemble playing as well as collecting classic jazz albums. She has never taken a jazz exam in her life and doesnt intend to.
Do bear in mind that most jazz teachers gig a lot or do session work, which can mean that they are up and down this wonderful island or even jaunting overseas! So lessons often are postponed, cancelled or disappear!
Apr 21 2009, 06:39 PM
I think it depends entirely on the child. I've taught some jazz improvisation to lots of children and find some take to it in a big way because it allows them to be relatively free so they can express themselves; if they've listened to jazz and blues at home they can have a really good feel for the genre and do very well.
Others may really struggle to leave the printed page and feel really uncomfortable improvising; if they've never heard jazz or blues before they may just not connect with the music at all or feel they have 'anything to say'. In the end it really does depend on the child, their familiarity with creativity in music, their exposure to jazz and blues styles and their need - or lack of need - to express their own feelings in a musical way.
Apr 28 2009, 01:53 PM
Hi I am a jazz piano teacher based in N E London I teach 7 year olds to play and I am happy to teach jazz and blues to children of that age see me on www.tonymusicteach.co.uk
May 5 2009, 05:13 AM
I'm a classically trained pianist, and had learned to love music only after the torturous 7 or 8 years of hating Bach.
Now, I am in love with it.
To your question:
I think jazz will open up a child's mind to music and train their ears to more up-to-date harmonies than classical would.
With that said, the technique of the pianist's hands comes from classical training. I know many famous jazz pianists who are well-versed in all the chopin etudes and other difficult works.
So for a young child, I recommend perhaps both?
I'm 17 by the way.
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