Monday Mailbag – Jazz and Pop Music

Yes, I know it’s not Monday, but I have a backlog of questions, so I thought I would take a week to try to catch up a bit!

What do you think about jazz music and popular music? Do you use it in your studio?

Honestly, it depends a lot on the student. I don’t make a special point to include jazz or pop music in lessons, but if a student requests it, I will try to help them find something appropriate for their level of playing. Also, tend to evaluate or determine what I teach based on the individual piece rather than the genre. If I like a piece, I will eagerly recommend it to a student and help them work on it. Same goes for if they bring in their own piece that they are interested in learning. But if I don’t like a piece of music, I figure that I won’t be very effective or encouraging in helping the student work on it.

For example, if a student is interested in learning jazz music, I don’t just give them a book of pieces at their level, I’ll play through numerous books until I find a piece that really grabs me and then I’ll introduce that one to them. Same with pop music, although it’s a little harder to be picky with these because the options are more limited if you’re looking for a particular song!

Incidentally, I use the same approach with classical music, method book pieces, hymns, etc. I am always open to learning new music, finding out about different composers and arrangers, and looking through newly released books, but if I don’t find the song/arrangement appealing, I usually pass it up and look for something else. I tell my students the same thing, if they don’t like a piece of music (because of the sound, not because it’s too hard!), we skip it and move on to something that they do like. There’s too much music available to spend our time playing music we don’t like. That’s my philosophy, anyway. 🙂

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

Share and enjoy!

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