The World According to Keitho

Just another weblog

Posts Tagged ‘piano lessons’

Bud Powell’s Sure Thing

Posted by keithosaunders on June 6, 2016

Those that follow my blog know that the pianist, Bud Powell, is the jazz musician whom I feel the closest to .  I believe he has had a greater influence on jazz pianists than any other musician.  This includes Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock, all of whom are giants in their own right.

Not only was Bud a brilliant pianist but he was also a transcendent composer.  Many of his compositions combine classical, African, and Latin American influences which are filtered through his extremely personal and infectious harmonic and melodic sensibility.  Some, such as Celia, Dance of The Infidels, and Bouncing With Bud have become jazz standards –  repertory which musicians are expected to know.  Others, such as the forward looking Un Poco Loco, Glass Enclosure, and Sure Thing are less accessible vehicles for improvising, and thus with the passage of time have been overlooked.

This year’s resolution has been to transcribe and learn some Powell’s lesser known compositions and I am proud to say that at mid year I am right on schedule.  I began with Dusk at Sandi, and last week, after about a month’s work, I finished Sure Thing.  (Next up will be Glass Enclosure)

Here is a screen shot of the first page of six:


Forgive my amateurish screen shot skills.  My patience ran out so I ended up taking it from my phone.

I am now offering jazz piano lessons via Skype.  In fact, since the main focus of lessons will be on improvising, I can teach any instrument.  The lessons are affordable, and being that I will not be leaving my apartment to teach, I charge less than my usual fee.

You may contact me via email or through my website.

OK enough with the commercial, we now return you to your regular scheduled curmudgeonly blogging.







Posted in jazz, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Teacher’s corner

Posted by keithosaunders on October 6, 2015

Twice a week I teach piano at an after school program in Orinda. The kids are nice and I generally enjoy myself. Last week I had a good introductory lesson with a new student that I’ll call Simon.

Keitho: OK Simon, listen up. This is a quarter note. It’s gets one count. A half note gets two counts. A dotted half note gets three counts. This is a whole note. How many counts do you suppose it gets?

Simon. [Thinking hard] 30.

Keitho: That’s right.

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Graduation day

Posted by keithosaunders on June 7, 2010

For the past nine years I have taught beginning piano at a Catholic School in Yonkers, New York.  A sax player friend of mine whose daughter attended the school recommended me for the job.  I was at a slow period in my work so I agreed to give it a try.  To my surprise and delight I ended up enjoying it.  In fact, it was this teaching experience which would eventually inspire me to pursue my undergraduate degree, a goal I accomplished one and a half years ago.

For years I had resisted teaching thinking it would frustrating and boring.  On the contrary.  I found the children to be engaging and enthusiastic, and talented.  And it was this routine — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 3-6 — that gave shape to my week and framed the year. 

I looked forward to the beautiful fall colors on the residential, tree-lined Yonkers streets, as well as the plethora of flowering trees each spring.  In the winter months the darkness would descend like a blanket on my room barely an hour after my arrival.  During December I enjoyed the Christmas lights that the neighborhood residents put up.  By the time of our annual recital in June my room would be bathed in light the entire day and I would have every window open.  No air conditioning here.

I loved seeing these kids grow up before my eyes; some I have had as early as pre-K.  I have seen them, as if in fast motion, speed through elementary and middle school, to emerge as confident, if not cooler-than-thou high school students.  (my school goes from Pre K-12th grade)

One of my students learned a Bach Minuet.  It was a little too advanced for her, but she had the fortitude of a Samurai and she literally willed herself to accomplish this daunting task.  At recital she played it without one  mistake. 

There was one student who had the same sense of humor as I.  Many lessons we would spend cracking each other up.  She had the kind of laugh — from the belly — that was so infectious that the more she laughed, the more I laughed, and vice-versa. 

One little girl liked to count off her own pieces by saying “One, two…one, two, KICK IT!”  Another student was obsessed with the Darth Vader theme, and still another loved the Pink Panther.  If they liked a song I usually tried to teach it to them. 

Those that I taught my first year are starting college now.  Just as I remember all of my music teachers from my youth I hope that they will remember me.

Posted in music | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »