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How My Dad Learned How To Play The Piano

My dad was an artistic soul at a young age. He knew he had special gifts. His father, Bob, was a renowned jazz pianist and teacher who became a successful business owner on his own with Philip, my dad’s idol. Bob would often take Philip to the piano to study the techniques on the instrument, before going home to practice. After listening to these lessons from his father, Philip started playing the piano himself, at the age of 12. After years of practice, my dad became a respected, international jazz musician, playing with great players such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy Gillespie’s younger brother Benny Carter, George Benson, and more.

Philip grew up playing the piano. As a teenager, he was inspired by his father’s love of jazz and the love that Bob had for music. I began to think about what it takes a musical genius to be a successful entrepreneur, and then my dad came to mind. It was such a big revelation – as a father to a young boy who always liked to play the piano, and as an immigrant who spoke very little English when starting out, that my whole perspective on music changed.

It’s amazing to think that my dad’s inspiration for building a company that he thought would help musicians around the world to develop their technical skills as musicians, has turned out to be such an effective tool to help musicians become a global community. My dad founded his company in 2007 with the goal of facilitating the development the jazz culture into a global community. Through my dad’s work as a business founder from my early teens through adulthood, I witnessed how our community would benefit greatly.

If you want to become a successful musician, get into the best music education you can find. If an instructor can’t help you develop your playing, try someone who does. In fact, if you’re in the studio with a teacher, I’d encourage you to seek out someone outside of your classroom. The most important factor for musicians today, beyond skill, is music-making experience. Whether it’s through learning to play guitar, learning to play the piano, or whatever instrument it may be, I promise that a teacher who has the ability to bring your imagination to life through musical ideas and playing is a better teacher than one who takes that same concept out of your mind and puts it into a sheet.

Achieving perfection through self instruction is the best option, but some people will benefit from being taught by musicians. Some music teachers I’ve worked with have learned through experience the value of being a musician. For example, if you’re a musician who doesn’t know how to properly hold a guitar, a drummer will have a much better chance of helping you get on your feet. When it comes to music performance, there are a lot of musicians out there who are great. There are some great teachers out there, too, I promise. For whatever reason, the internet and the world being smaller than it was 5 years ago has changed the way business is conducted. In the old days of the internet, there might have been 3+ teachers at any given school where I’ve taught. Now, there are just 2. My personal belief is that those of us who have been around long enough that we’ve seen this industry change aren’t going to sit back and let it happen to us again, or else we’ll be left behind. We’ll be the change we want to see in the world, even if we can’t control who sees it.