Mastering stride piano: Tips and exercises

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    Greg PercifieldGreg Percifield
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    Points: 161

    Hello, fellow jazz pianists!

    Stride piano is a captivating and challenging style of jazz piano playing that emerged in the early 20th century. It’s characterized by a “striding” left-hand pattern that alternates between bass notes (or chords) on beats 1 and 3 and chords on beats 2 and 4, while the right hand plays melodies, harmonies, or improvisation. Stride piano is closely associated with artists like James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and Art Tatum.

    In this thread, we’ll discuss tips and exercises to help you master stride piano technique and incorporate this exciting style into your playing. We encourage you to share your experiences, challenges, and advice on practicing stride piano.

    Here are three tips to get the conversation started:

    Start slow and steady: Stride piano can be quite demanding on the left hand, so it’s crucial to begin practicing at a slow tempo. Focus on building a solid foundation by playing simple chord progressions or tunes with a steady stride pattern before increasing the tempo.

    Simplify your left hand: To build independence between your hands, try simplifying your left-hand stride pattern by playing only roots and fifths or roots and thirds. This will help you focus on maintaining a steady rhythm and gradually build the coordination needed for more complex stride patterns.

    Practice syncopation and rhythm: A significant part of stride piano’s appeal is its rhythmic energy. Spend time working on syncopated rhythms and playing with a metronome or backing track to ensure that your stride patterns remain steady and in time.

    Share your stride piano tips, questions, and exercises with the community, and let’s help each other grow in this exhilarating jazz piano style!

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