Picture This by Molly Bang: Review

Molly Bang's brilliant, insightful, and accessible treatise is now revised and expanded for its 25th anniversary.Bang's powerful ideas remain unparalleled in their simplicity and genius: Explore the intricate and thought-provoking ideas that Bang brings to Picture This including thoughts about how the visual composition of images works to engage the emotions, and how the elements of an artwork can give it the power to tell a story. Why are diagonals dramatic? Why are curves calming? Why does red feel hot and blue feel cold? She asks the right questions to get your wheels turning while the illustrations and thoughtful designs bring the words to life. Explores the mix of geometrical abstraction and emotional expressions, plus how a few clear principles can be used to build powerful visual statements. Encourages you to answer the question, "How does the structure of a picture—or any visual art form—affect our emotional response?"Includes powerful imagery and beautiful illustrations to help readers feel connected to the text.First published in 1991, Picture This has changed the way artists, illustrators, reviewers, critics, and readers look at and understand art.Molly Bang has authored and illustrated more than three dozen books and has won three Caldecott Honors, a Kate Greenaway Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Award, among other accolades, in her long career as a writer and artist.Picture This makes an imaginative and inspiring gift for any artist or loved one who is interested in design.

Are you tired of relying on sheet music or a backing band to play jazz piano? Do you want to learn how to improvise and create your own arrangements? Then Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind is the book for you. Siskind’s comprehensive guide teaches you everything from basic chord voicings to advanced soloing techniques, providing a roadmap for mastering the art of solo jazz piano.

In this review, we will explore the structure and format of Playing Solo Jazz Piano, as well as its pros and cons. We’ll delve into Siskind’s approach to chord voicings and examine his methods for building complex harmonies. We’ll also discuss his strategies for developing improvisation skills and creating compelling solos. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of whether or not Playing Solo Jazz Piano is right for you, and how it can help take your piano playing to new heights.

Overview of Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind

You’ll find that Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind provides a comprehensive overview of techniques and concepts for mastering the art of solo jazz piano performance. As an aspiring jazz pianist, you will appreciate how the book explores the benefits of solo performance, which include increased musical freedom and self-expression. The author acknowledges that playing solo can be intimidating, but he offers practical advice on how to overcome this fear.

Throughout the book, Siskind emphasizes the importance of improvisation in solo jazz piano playing. He believes that improvisation is essential to creating a unique sound and style as a performer. The author breaks down various aspects of improvisation such as harmonic progression, rhythm, melody and phrasing in an accessible manner suitable for players at all levels.

The structure and format of the book are well organized and easy to follow. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic related to solo jazz piano performance such as chord voicings, left-hand accompaniment patterns or arranging techniques. The chapters also include exercises and practice tips that allow readers to apply what they’ve learned immediately. With Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind as your guide, you’ll develop confidence in your ability to play solo jazz piano and create music that truly speaks from your heart.

Structure and Format of the Book

As you dive into the pages of this book, it becomes clear how well-structured and thoughtfully formatted it is. The book contents are divided into seven chapters that cover everything from basic chord voicings to advanced arranging techniques. Each chapter builds upon the previous one, and the instructional approach is progressive, allowing you to gradually develop your skills as a solo jazz pianist.

The first chapter focuses on basic chord voicings, providing clear explanations and exercises that will help you master essential concepts such as rootless voicings and drop 2 chords. As you progress through the book, each subsequent chapter delves deeper into more complex topics like improvisation and arranging for solo piano. The formatting of the book is also incredibly user-friendly, with plenty of diagrams and musical examples to help illustrate key concepts.

Overall, Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind is an outstanding resource for anyone looking to improve their skills as a jazz pianist. The structured approach makes it easy to follow along at your own pace while still challenging yourself to grow as a musician. In the next section about basic chord voicings, we’ll delve even deeper into these fundamental concepts so that you can take your playing to the next level.

Basic Chord Voicings

Are you ready to dive into the fundamental building blocks of jazz piano playing? Let’s talk about basic chord voicings, specifically major and minor triads, as well as dominant seventh chords. These are essential tools for any aspiring pianist looking to master the art of solo jazz performance. With a solid understanding of these chord structures, you’ll be able to create rich and complex harmonic textures that will impress your audience and elevate your playing to new heights. So grab your keyboard and let’s get started!

Major and Minor Triads

With the major and minor triads, the piano playing becomes a canvas where each note is a brushstroke that blends together to create a masterpiece. As you explore inversions and extended chords, you’ll find that these simple building blocks can be used in endless ways. Whether you’re playing an upbeat jazz standard or a melancholy ballad, major and minor triads are essential tools for any pianist.

One of the most exciting things about using major and minor triads in improvisation is their versatility. By altering just one note, you can transform a major chord into a minor chord (or vice versa), instantly changing the mood of your music. You can also experiment with different voicings, such as root position or first inversion, to create interesting harmonic textures. And when combined with other chord types like dominant sevenths or diminished chords, major and minor triads become even more powerful tools for artistic expression. Speaking of dominant seventh chords…

Dominant Seventh Chords

Get ready to add some serious flavor to your music with dominant seventh chords! These chords are made up of the root, major third, perfect fifth, and minor seventh intervals. They’re commonly used in jazz music as a way to create tension and resolution in a chord progression.

One important aspect of using dominant seventh chords is voice leading. This means that when you play a chord progression, each note in the previous chord should move smoothly into the next chord. For example, if you’re playing an A7 chord followed by a Dm7 chord, the C# (the seventh interval) in the A7 should resolve down to a C (the third interval) in the Dm7. Learning how to incorporate voice leading into your playing will give your music a more polished sound and make it easier for others to follow along with your improvisation techniques.

Now that you’ve got a handle on dominant seventh chords and voice leading, it’s time to explore some advanced soloing techniques!

Advanced Soloing Techniques

To take your soloing to the next level, you’ll want to incorporate advanced techniques like chromaticism and rhythmic displacement. Improvisation techniques such as these can add depth and complexity to your solos, helping you stand out from other pianists. One of the most effective ways to use chromaticism is through passing tones, which are notes that don’t belong in a particular chord but are used to create tension and resolution.

Another technique that can enhance your soloing is rhythmic displacement. This involves playing a melody line or chord progression with a slightly different rhythm than what’s expected, creating surprising and interesting variations. It can be challenging at first, but with practice, it becomes easier to experiment with different rhythms and find ones that work well for each song.

When incorporating advanced techniques into your solos, it’s important not to overdo it. Chord substitutions are another example of an advanced technique that can be used sparingly for maximum impact. While they can make a solo sound more complex and interesting, using too many substitutions can also make it feel chaotic or disorganized. As with any improvisational technique, balance is key.

Incorporating these advanced techniques into your soloing may seem daunting at first, but with practice and persistence, they can help take your playing to the next level. However, it’s important to remember that there are pros and cons to every approach – in the next section we’ll explore some of these trade-offs so you can make an informed decision about how best to develop your own unique style as a jazz pianist.

Pros and Cons

In weighing the advantages and limitations of advanced soloing techniques, it’s important to consider how often and in what context you’ll use them in your jazz piano improvisation. On one hand, these techniques can elevate your playing to a level where you can create unique sounds and express yourself more fully. They can also help you break out of familiar patterns and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

On the other hand, relying too heavily on advanced soloing techniques can be limiting. It’s easy to get caught up in showing off technical prowess instead of focusing on creating meaningful musical phrases that connect with listeners. Additionally, if not used tastefully or appropriately within the context of a song, these techniques can come across as showy or gimmicky.

Ultimately, whether or not to incorporate advanced soloing techniques into your playing is a personal choice that should be made based on your individual goals and artistic vision. While they certainly have their advantages and limitations, it’s up to each musician to decide if they align with their own creative aspirations.

So who should buy this book? Anyone looking to expand their jazz piano skills, regardless of whether they ultimately choose to incorporate these advanced soloing techniques into their playing or not. Jeremy Siskind provides a comprehensive guide for developing technical proficiency while also emphasizing the importance of musicality and creativity. Whether you’re an experienced pianist looking for new challenges or a beginner just starting out, there are valuable insights and exercises in this book for players at any level.

Who Should Buy This Book?

If you’re a beginner pianist who’s looking to delve into the world of solo jazz piano, then Jeremy Siskind’s book might just be the perfect fit for you. This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic techniques to advanced concepts, making it an ideal resource for those who are new to the genre. Experienced pianists, on the other hand, will appreciate the nuanced approach taken by Siskind, which offers fresh insights and perspectives on familiar material.

Beginner Pianists

As a beginner pianist, it’s important to remember that practice makes perfect. When it comes to playing solo jazz piano, the right techniques and exercises can make all the difference. Jeremy Siskind’s book provides a comprehensive guide for beginners, offering step-by-step instructions on how to improve your skills and become more confident in your abilities.

One of the key benefits of this book is that it focuses on developing foundational skills, such as hand independence and chord progressions. Siskind breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand exercises that will help you build a strong technical foundation. Additionally, he offers practical advice on how to approach improvisation and develop your own personal style. With consistent practice using Siskind’s methods, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled solo jazz pianist.

For experienced pianists looking to take their skills to the next level, Siskind also offers advanced techniques and exercises in later sections of his book. These include tips for incorporating more complex chords and rhythms into your playing, as well as strategies for developing greater spontaneity and creativity in your performances. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your repertoire, “Playing Solo Jazz Piano”has something valuable to offer every aspiring musician.

Experienced Pianists

Experienced pianists can elevate their skills to new heights with the advanced techniques and exercises offered in Jeremy Siskind’s ‘Playing Solo Jazz Piano’. This comprehensive guide offers a wealth of knowledge on improvisation tips and advanced techniques that will help you take your playing to the next level.

The author takes a technical approach in explaining concepts such as chord voicings, reharmonization, and soloing ideas. However, Siskind also emphasizes the importance of expressing yourself through your playing and connecting emotionally with your audience. With his guidance, you’ll gain insight into how to craft an engaging solo performance that showcases your unique style. Whether you’re looking to improve your jazz piano skills or expand your musical horizons, this book is sure to be a valuable resource for any experienced pianist seeking liberation through their music.


Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind. By now, you should have a solid foundation in basic chord voicings and advanced soloing techniques, as well as a better understanding of how to structure your improvisations when playing solo.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for anyone looking to improve their jazz piano skills. However, it’s important to note that this book is not for beginners. If you’re just starting out on the piano or with jazz music, you may want to look elsewhere for more introductory material.

But if you’re a seasoned musician looking to take your playing to the next level, then Playing Solo Jazz Piano is definitely worth checking out. With its clear explanations and helpful exercises, it’s sure to push your skills and creativity further than ever before. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy today and start jamming!

Do you want to be able to captivate an audience with your solo jazz piano performances? Are you ready to take on new challenges and explore new musical territories? Then don’t hesitate – get yourself a copy of Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind today! With this book as your guide, there’s no limit to what you can achieve as a jazz pianist. So go ahead – immerse yourself in the world of solo jazz piano and see where it takes you!

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