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8 jazz things that made me a better classical pianist

  I love everything about jazz: the freedom of expression, the communication between the performers, and the edge-of-the-seat excitement of improvisation. And while my classical career never allowed me enough practice time to become more than an intermediate jazz pianist, I learned enough through lessons and working with other musicians to feel comfortable improvising, reading lead sheets, and playing by ear. What I didn’t expect when I first began studying jazz was that what I learned would go way beyond arranging a solo from a lead sheet, but would improve my classical playing as well.  For the classically-trained pianist, jazz and improvisation feels like standing on the edge of a cliff without a railing. But this sort of experience is exactly what I needed to shake me out of the prison of “right” or “wrong” and give me the freedom to try new (and sometimes unsanctioned) things at the piano, regardless of the style of music I played. I learned many valuable lessons from jazz, but th

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