July 24, 2019
One of the questions we are asked most regularly by classically-trained pianists is “how can I get into jazz?” Someone uniquely qualified to answer that question is Tim Richards, who is not only a distinguished international jazz musician in his own right but one who, unusually, can explain his approach to the uninitiated. While many jazz musicians claim to have no idea how they do what they do, Tim runs regular jazz courses for classical pianists and piano teachers in London, examines and contributes to the syllabus for ABRSM jazz exams, and has written a number of popular and critically-acclaimed books on the subject, including Exploring Jazz Piano, winner of the prestigious Music Industries Association Award for Best Pop Publication.
We were therefore very excited to welcome Tim to Forsyth for a workshop on “Getting into Jazz, Blues and Improvisation” (Sunday 21 July 2019). In this inspiring, free, two-hour session, Tim covered some basic harmony and showed how it can be applied to constructing bass lines and jazz chords. He also gave tips to help with developing improv skills, using jazz standards and tunes from Improvising Blues Piano, Exploring Jazz Piano, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and his more recent books such as the Blues, Boogie & Gospel Collection, all published by Schott.
More than 35 pianists and teachers took advantage of this brilliant opportunity to learn from such an experienced and engaging musician and educator, and left both with signed copies of his books and with a feeling that proficiency in jazz was now within their grasp – some even daring to have a go at improvising in front of everybody else!
We have two more fantastic, free workshops for pianists and teachers over the summer with Susan Bettaney of the European Piano Teachers Association, and Melanie Spanswick, acclaimed author of Play it again: PIANO – join us if you can!Below: participants improvise on Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues”, Tim’s own “Funky Two-Five”, and the Mixolydian and Dorian modes.