I was listening to CBC while running errands this evening and they were playing jazz piano tunes, which, made me think of my last piano teacher, Matt Michaels.
I had been playing piano since 4th grade and when I hit high school I was ready to give up, but, my mom wouldn’t let me. I did love Harry Connick Jr. and I would only continue if I could leave classical behind and play like Harry. I’m not sure how she found Matt Michaels, but, she did and I continued playing (for just a bit longer.)
When I got home I googled “Matt Michaels” and sadly found out he passed away a few years ago. Mitch Album wrote this wonderful article about him and his influence on Detroit jazz musicians. While I never played like Harry – I did appreciate the time Matt spent with me and he sure did teach me the basics of improvisation and fantastic chords.
I went downstairs and sure enough in my old piano music stacks I found a few pieces of sheet music that Matt wrote out. I loved that we didn’t have books – he just had a stack of sheet music on top of the piano and would pull off a blank sheet and start writing out the tunes. Thank you Mr. Michaels.