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Amazing Phrasing - Keyboard: 50 Ways to Improve Your Improvisational Skills Paperback – August 1, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Amazing Phrasing - Keyboard: 50 Ways to Improve Your Improvisational Skills
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  • Intros, Endings & Turnarounds for Keyboard: Essential Phrases for Swing, Latin, Jazz Waltz, and Blues Styles
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  • Playing Keyboard Bass Lines Left-Hand Technique for Keyboards
Total price: $42.18
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This book/CD set is the keyboard part of Hal Leonard series "Amazing Phrasing" with 50 bite- sized improvisation gems: Many ideas are for beginning improvisers, several are for more advanced students. For under $17 you get a book and 44 track play-along CD which is the most valuable part of the package! A similar format (1-2 pages of 50 quick ideas plus CD) Amazing Phrasing is also available for guitar, trumpet, alto and tenor sax. 
Debbie Denke wishes to extend an offer for a free 10 week syllabus (used at SBCC) to piano teachers who buy Amazing Phrasing - Keyboard & email her through her website. 

About the Author

Debbie Denke is a Hal Leonard author.
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Product Details

  • Series: Amazing Phrasing
  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634026194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634026195
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Invaluable resource for all levels of keyboardists. I wandered through the first 19 "Ideas" and thought I had pretty much been through those. Then I began reading into Idea #20. Progressively more intricate and advanced content (for me) through the remaining chapters. I have enjoyed listening to Debbie Lemke over the last 25 years here in Santa Barbara. It is great to finally have her musicianship shared in print. She cites exemplary players and composers as she elaborates on the devices they use. An included bonus is her CD with recordings of those devices to which she refers in the book.
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As an adult beginner, I find the Alfred's series excellent. They seem to be fairly 'formal' in approach, so I'm always wondering what part of that material the pros concentrate on. This book helps with that.

The book is divided into 'Thoughts' which cover different subjects. It states which formal aspects you need to have down cold - which scales and modes, and where to go from there.

I've bought several piano books, more oft than not disappointed after reading them. This one is a keeper.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been playing piano a long time, often without really knowing what I'm doing. This book helps build the foundational knowledge for the things you might do intuitively and then allows you to take them further and expand your ability based on sound fundamentals. I don't review books often - this one is worth ever cent.
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Review for Amazing Phrasing:
The premise of this book is excellent, but the execution falls far short of what is promised. Had the author illustrated each idea the way she does the very first one, providing a notated example of how to put one's own spin on an existing melody along with a sound track, this would have been a fantastic book.
Unfortunately, it is, as other reviewers have pointed out a complete waste of money. I was, in fact, quite surprised by the reviewer who said their kids had learnt to play in different styles from the book alone since the book provides woefully inadequate instructions for the beginner.
1) The introduction tells us the book will go beyond scales, patterns, and chords. However, Idea #2 talks about arpeggiation, which any pianist worth their salt knows about. No examples are provided as to how to add arpeggiation to an existing melody. Ideas 3 through 8 talk about the various scales and how they are formed with the instruction simply to "make up phrases" based on the scale.
2) The intro also suggests every idea in the Melody section will build toward creating a solo. Again, no examples or sound tracks are provided. The author merely tells would-be improvisers to use accents, rests, repetition, skips & steps, the entire range of the keyboard and to avoid being predictable. She goes on to define speed, thicker textures, and to instruct the reader to use dynamics and dissonance to create tension!
3) Licks, riffs, and runs get a single page. The author defines each, and then goes on to give us a long-winded explanation of why it would be best to make up one's own. No examples are provided, no sound tracks, no instructions as to how to go about making up one's own.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous book and a perfect follow up to The Aspiring Jazz Pianist. The book is NOT designed to provide a list of great licks or phrases you can memorize and paste into a jazz solo as several reviewer have suggested. That would be the opposite of what jazz is about, i.e. spontaneous improvisation. All the ideas a solid and provide the core for the information you need to develop jazz skills, plus an excellent CD with which to practice those ideas. I've been playing piano for 66 years and it wasn't until I started following and digesting Debbie's books about 10 years ago that I was able to have that "aha" moment and understand how jazz works. And that the bottom line is that once you know WHAT to do, you do have to practice a great deal to be able to play jazz. My professional rock musician friend said "playing rock is like algebra, playing jazz is like calculus." Before that I always thought I needed to memorize actual artists solos to be able to play jazz much like I did for the classical music I grew up studying. In fact her books, starting with The Aspiring Jazz Pianist is most amazing in that it uses that perspective to teach you how to start with a classical background and learn how to play jazz. Classical is all on the writing page, jazz is spontaneous and involves knowing how to improvise.
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Format: Paperback
We have gotten our children piano lessons for years. Occasionally we would pay a different teacher to teach a new style. When we got this book, even the younger children loved being able to take a chord and "improvise" and get a new type of music whether it is jazz or redone to have more of a "rock" undertone. I was surprised to find how much young students enjoyed it. I highly suggest it for anyone who wants to have a more varied music ability, or encourage the love of music by allowing a little "fun". Thanks Debbie Denke for this great idea - long overdue!! Love the music book Amazing Phrasing.
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