Sharing the Stage

Staffs-Life-Elena-with-HP-Jazz-BooksElena Cobb provided her recently released Higgledy Piggledy Jazz book as a giveaway here at Both Elena and I were so pleased and touched to read your comments. One in particular caught my eye, written by Bev Conway: "I always submit a request to win free music since I teach piano in a community center that offers lessons for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them. I provide the music for the kids (and am paid the same amount I charged 35+ years ago when I first started out). These children offer their own set of challenges but there is great reward as well."

This seems like a topic worthy of a future blog. I have way too much print music. Plus people frequently ask if I would like their music books as they are retiring, moving, etc. It would be wonderful to start a program that delivered music books to budding musicians like the ones Bev mentions above. Has anyone heard of such an organization? (Bev, you earn an extra jewel in your crown, wow!)

Again, thank you to all who contributed comments and experiences in teaching jazz, blues and improvisation. I enjoy "sharing the stage" with you and hearing your opinions and ideas. Now, back to Elena--I invited her to share a little more about what she does with her students and she offered this...

"Hi guys, my name is Elena Cobb and I am the creator of the Higgledy Piggledy Jazz Series.

Following the enthusiastic response to her blog, Leila has asked me if I would be interested in sharing my creative vision and needless to say, I was very excited to have this opportunity.

Thank you so very much for all your comments to Leila’s blog ‘Give Away For Higgledy Piggledy Jazz’ and especially to Leila who wrote the review on my book.

Congratulations to the winners of the competition - LEIA SHARMA from New Delhi and SUSANNE GRAVEL from Canada and commiseration to those who did not win. Better luck next time!

Every piano teacher will agree that piano playing, especially in the beginning, is a lonely business and with this thought in mind, I came up with the plan. I decided to give my young pianists an opportunity to share stage with a Professional Jazz band. I composed the music, recorded CD and published the book ‘Higgledy Piggledy Jazz’ for piano with a play-along CD.

Some were skeptical at first – how can a 7 year old keep the beat and hold his own against the Pros? Easy-peasy! Kids are real troopers and they cannot wait to get on stage. Reason? It makes them feel like stars.

All three Higgledy Piggledy Jazz books (piano, alto sax, classical guitar ensemble) are interactive and can be used together. I usually team up with my colleagues who teach different instruments and the concert becomes a variety show. Guitar chords are added below the stave in the piano book and all you need is to find a good drummer and a bass guitar player.

Young soloists played Higgledy Piggledy Jazz tunes live on the BBC Radio, at Festivals and smaller audiences in school concerts. Very often, their little feet cannot reach to the floor, but this early stage experience is simply invaluable as it paves the road to more important events in their lives.

Enjoy these videos of teacher and student!

To learn more about teaching jazz and more specifically, improvisation, check out will be changing homes! Continue to look for the same invaluable resources for creativity at the keys at our new, revolutionary site.

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