Masterclass: Capers: The Monk - Entrada

February 4, 2022

Masterclass: Capers: The Monk

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Last June, Entrada released my interview with Valerie Capers, stating:

Valerie Capers is an African-American pianist and composer, and the first blind graduate of The Juilliard School. Her Portraits in Jazz capture twelve different jazz styles in highly appealing pieces for intermediate pianists, and were inspired by her own fond memories of studying works by Bach, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev that are of similar length and difficulty.

The Portraits are experiencing a surge of interest with teachers and students and appear destined to take their place in the intermediate repertoire beside those works by long-established composers.

I’m still wild about these pieces, and delighted that Entrada has just released my Masterclass on Capers’s The Monk

Dr. Capers herself wrote:

Thelonius Monk’s piano style was unmistakably individual. To hear him play just once was to know his sound forever more. In playing this piece, bring out the open fifths and sevenths, the biting seconds, the off-balance accents and the tightly clustered chords–all important parts of the Monk sound–and pay strict attention to all accents and phrase marks.

While preparing to release video performances of all 12 Portraits, I was privileged to interact directly over Zoom with Dr. Capers and her husband, bassist John Robinson. One of the pieces they worked me hardest on was The Monk! I learned so much about Monk’s style, rhythm, and taking greater chances with sounds and attacks that I don’t use every day. And all of this in an intermediate piece that takes less than a minute to perform. 

This piece is a blast for anyone to play, and poses some fun (and potentially frustrating) challenges in counting, in swung rhythm. 

Check it out!



Access the full Masterclass, and many more, inside Entrada!

Try Entrada Free for 14 days!

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