Today we’re joined by Steve Nixon of, one of (if not the) top websites for playing jazz piano – though actually it covers some non-jazz material too, and if you’re thinking that jazz means “advanced”, this episode is going to set you straight.

Although Steve specialises in piano, pretty much everything we talk about today applies across all instruments, and most of it is highly relevant outside of jazz too, so whatever instrument and genre you play, you’ll get a lot from this conversation.

Steve has an impressive background as a musician and music educator. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, he played over 1,800 gigs as a professional pianist in over 17 countries around the world, performing with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy.

He’s taught over 14,000 piano lessons and created, the largest jazz piano education website in the world, which reaches over 60,000 students each month.

In this conversation we talk about:

  • Steve’s opinion on the importance of musical talent versus hard work and how much each has contributed to his own enormous success
  • His philosophy on improvising – and a cool trick for how you can make your improvisation sound more interesting, even with just a single scale over a single chord
  • Plus the importance of rhythm skills and three great tips for how to develop your own sense of rhythm

And if you’re starting to think about getting called on to play Christmas music this year, you won’t want to miss what Steve shares about making the same-old Christmas tunes feel fresh and exciting for your audience.

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Musician and music educator Steve Nixon talks rhythm, improvisation, and gives his own inspiring take on the great musical debate of hard work vs. talent.