1. Upper and Lower Layers
Exs. 1a through 1c all feature a groove inspired by “La Comparsa” by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.
Try to feel the fourth and fifth bars of Ex. 1c as an eight note quintuplet, which is known as a “cinquillo” feel and
is an important part of Latin and Caribbean piano styles.
point is to feel this as if the left hand is playing two layers: an
upper melody and a lower beat leaning on the fourth beat.
2. Pivot Points and Upper Chords
Exs. 2a through 2b deal with controlling
your pivot point in the center of the keyboard, which would be the upper
Think of the lower bass line as an answer to the upper chords’
call. After your left hand hits the chords with an upward ricochet from
the wrist, quasi-staccato), it must then travel quickly down and find a
new placement in order to respond with the alternating bass lines that
are either legato or staccato.
3. Leggiero Touch
Ex. 3a and 3b focus on how to keep a
“leggiero” or light touch while becoming aware of the power present in
the palm of your hand. Try to play this passage with an even touch
between your left and right hands.
At the same time, respect the
dynamics by developing a slow, gliding centered position.
4. Pivot Points and Pedal Notes
Ex. 4 is similar to Ex. 2, but this time we’re dealing with a way of building tension by using the E pedal
notes and going to an even lower register. Here, your two left hand
layers are even more apparent, really requiring you to feel your two
pivot points as part of your physical connection to the keyboard. You
should practice this exercise as a loop while improvising bebop lines or
montunos on top of it.