Horace Silver “Song for My Father” (Jazz Piano Lessons)

Horace Silver “Song for My Father” (Jazz Piano Lessons)

This excerpt from the Public Television program
The Piano Guy is brought to you by the Roland Corporation (music) (music) In this segment we would like to work through
a great tune that was written by Horas Silver called, Song for my Father. Even if you don’t
know the title I bet you’ll recognize it once we start playing it. And to work through it I need to introduce
my good friend David Beniot Hi David Scott How are you Good, how are you? Doing very well. This one, you said you played
this like when you were a kid? This is something you heard and kind of got started on. It was, I heard this on the radio back when
jazz wasn’t so segmented, it was just all jazz, was smooth jazz and contemporary jazz
and bee bop and everything so there was a great station in LA called KBCA and they played
what I called the funky jazz, which was a Horace Silver, Vince Guaraldi, and Ramsey
Lewis. I heard this song and I said wow, it was right when I was learning how to play
the piano. So I learned it by ear in the wrong key. Oh no, just trying you just sat down one time
and did it and you never had the recording. Yea, I didn’t have the recording or anything
and I was just trying to remember it (music) And did something that wasn’t even really
faithful to the tune so when I finally recorded it on Heroes, cause I had to include Horace
as one of my Heroes then I had to go back to the, actually bought the sheet music and
oh its in Fminor and wow all these years I was playing it in the wrong key. No it’s not really the wrong key. There’s
no right or wrong, its just the recorded key. In Jazz that’s true, there’s no really right
or wrong key. Now tell me when you first started playing
piano how it all got going. Well I was in ear player, which means I didn’t
read music per say, I learned songs from hearing them on the radio. Not to say that I didn’t
have any sheet music. I had a few pieces of sheet music and my first teacher was with
a jazz pianist she played basically in bars and taught me kind of a system of playing
with chord changes. What he would do be to kind of write out kind of a fake piano arrangement
where he might have the bass and he might have the melody and he’d have some chords
and then he called this a small 7th. I stead of playing an octave you played a 7th and
these little code names for things, but basically the idea was to learn how to play in any key
and learn standards It sounds like a precursor to reading lead
sheets. Yea, I mean a lot of what you really teach
is a lot of how I really came up playing piano and I was one of those that one to play and
I would go to someone house and there would be a baby grand and I was just right over
there to the piano and it was just so much fun for me. How much time did you spend practicing? did
you really sit down and wood shed a bunch? No, I didn’t practice much and people are
shocked to hear that but I really didn’t do a lot of this (music) You know I still can’t play a C scale to save
my life but ouch. But, later on I did study classical piano and technique but in the early
days it was just at the piano all the time. So you were just playing a lot. yea, just playing a lot and discovering things,
goofing around on it and it was just like this incredible world was here and yea Yea I talk about that being quality set time,
I call that you know. Sometimes I think you can really just knock your head against the
wall trying to crack this thing. I say you know what I’d rather play than practice and
then end result is going to get you to the same spot but you know if you can spend some
really quality set time hammering through stuff you enjoy, then you kind of have these
burst of, Wow I’m finally getting this underhand which is great. Not that I am anti practice
but sometimes I think is kind of just a different focus, instead of sitting down and oh I’ve
got to play it x number of minutes. It’s like no, no, no, sit down and enjoy your time at
the piano you have and do it that way. Yea, that’s the idea. Yea my daughter is taking
a susuki violin lesson and so she’s in book 3 now and all the piano accompaniments are
all written out note for note and some of these I really had to sit down and practice,
I’m not used to that like, all this left hand sixteen note against the right hand like oh
my lord. Now just to not get to far off the tune, but
take it the next step, now you are a working professional musician obviously, a lot of
hit records and playing in LA and all of that when you go into a studio, what tunes do they
normally throw in front of you or what style they give you lead sheets, right? usually that’s what we work from in the studio.
Almost always, its very rare to have everything written out. the only time that might happen
is some of the studio musicians are playing on the movie sound tracks. A lot of times
that’s written out The scores is all written out. yes, the score. The musicians that are playing
on those really have to have a classical back ground, as I sort of found out the hard way. But if you are sitting with a band and you
come in and you have your trio and you are rehearsing for a record or whatever you are
gonna give these guys lead sheets, here’s the arrangements. And most of the times the guys will read off
the same part I do, which is basically here is the melody and some chord changes and we
come up with the arrangement in the studio. Alright, back to The Song for my Father. So
I think the super signature easy fun thing for people who are watching the show to start
on this tune is the left hand part. Go ahead and give that wary if you will. And all it is, is a bossa nova beat. You know
root 5th So you are just playing an F and a C That’s it Which reminds me of Ricky don’t lose that
number. Steele Dan, exactly And of course Steele Dan themselves have publicly
said yea we ripped it off from Song for my Father Interesting, So the first chord in this tune
is a Fminor, Fminor 7th. So you are just literally playing the root and the 5th meaning and by
5th what we mean there, if you are starting on a F, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 this one up here Ok just making sure everyone understands what
we mean by root and 5th. Then the next chord goes to an Eflat and you are going to do the
same darn thing yeap Next chord, and then there’s a little break
after the (music) Ok, that’s really a tune you can get by with
doing that and I think that maybe an advantage for some of our viewers that are saying Oh
I’m sort of struggling at the very beginning level with getting all the notes underhand,
that’s not too tough to sit and do that and just you know do that root and 5th kind of
bossa beat. So you are basically just doing the root and
5th and in the right hand just spelling out the melody really its (music) And again you have to, there is a little bit
of this going on, (pat you head and rub your tummy kind of thing) so you sort of have to
get this thing. Sometime it’s just playing it a few times letting it really get into
your brain so that it almost plays itself, so you can concentrate on your right hand Nice, I always find that the slower I do it
the quicker that comes to me. When I have those rub your tummy pat your head kind of
thing, I mean really slowing it down, that to me comes from my old drummer days, there
will be a point in slowness where you can do it and whenever that happens you can finally
get it put together and then you can pick it back up. It’s kind of like breaking through
a wall, its not as though you have to slowly ramp it up once you get it, all of a sudden,
hey I can do it and then you can do it faster. Well that’s universal in music and that’s
what a lot of people forget about it, even my daughter when she is practicing, slow it
down, almost any of that classical any of that difficult Rachmaninov, Chopin, Liszt
same thing. You know that’s what you hear, slow it down.
Until you are where, you know (music) And it will be different for everybody. But
there will be that moment of ah ha, oh well that goes with this one and that goes with
that one and the minute you do it, you know, you got it. It’s like all of a sudden you
can walk and chew gum at the same time and you are off to the races. Ok, go ahead and play through the first couple
of measures of this and then we will get down to where the next break thing happens. That’s a Bflat, Dflat, what are those two
chords? This is a C, like a Bflat in your right hand,
the root position Bflat and you have the C It’s a slash chord, a Bflat over a C or a
Csus or a C11. Sometimes a C11 you see a lot which is a little confusing cause it doesn’t
but if you were to count from say here, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 that’s the
same as a 4th only an octave up. And then the next one, This one is Fminor9.
Ok, now play through the, if there is a second bridge, the second 8th I should say Still a Bflat, back to the Fminor (music) Now this ones a little different or you could
do this either way and this is kind of hard this one this is with the melody so you have
to stretch a little bit just now, that’s with a different substitution than
I use, what is that a…An Fminor11 So this is your 11 up here by going, 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and then so we have a, its an Fminor9 but now you are adding
the 11 up here and getting the melody right on top Alright, you know whats kind of fun about
a lot of these tunes we were talking about the genres they are not incredibly long they
usually have, sometimes they are AA tunes instead of a typical AABA, so its just less
chords less everything this is kind of a good simple one for a lot of beginners to work
on yea it is Who want to get their Jazz tune, so Ok, well listen lets hear you play the whole
tune, I would love to hear you just work through it this is a Song for my Father by David Beniot All right (music) (music) (music) All right, Thanks David It was a pleasure I really appreciate it This excerpt from the television program The
Piano Guy has been brought to you by the Roland Corporation, International manufacturer of
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  1. This guys really isn't that great. He totally forgot the triplets in the melody. His solo was very jumpy and didn't flow well. You can tell that this guy is classically trained and doesn't have much jazz background.

  2. This is jazz guys. He picks up the triplets later the second time around. He’s trying to teach balancing the rhythm with the head. By the way , he is not classically trained as he points out. When he performs it , he blows it out the water. As musicians we should listen more and criticize less.

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