How David Gittens taught Shona to sing jazz and play the blues
“Where did you learn that!” was all I could say the other day when I caught Shona singing in the shower like I’d never heard before. She laughed, a little embarrassed – but it sounded good, different. It turns out she’s had a secret boyfriend for a couple of weeks and he taught her how to scat sing like Ella Fitzgerald.
I’m not too worried about the boyfriend though, because he’s David Gittens (“DeeGee” to his friends) and Shona learned from his Bajan Pied Piper website and the videos he’s posted on YouTube. Shona also showed me some simple blues progressions and riffs she learned too. Not bad at all.
It’s amazing what a little inspiration and somebody showing you a few tricks can do to raise your music to another level.
Most of us have seen and heard David Gittens play at one time or another. The last time we saw him was at Collymore Hall, but I had no idea that he had his website and over 100 music teaching videos. DeeGee loves to make all kinds of music but he also loves to see others progress in their own music – and that’s why he’s put hundreds of hours into creating a series of lessons to help others.
And it’s all free. Yup, free.
David’s videos are fun to watch and inspiring. He explains things simply and gives you a couple of tricks or simple but flashy riffs and you think “Even I can do that!”
You can find DeeGee online at Bajan Pied Piper or at YouTube by searching for “Bajan Pied Piper“. We’ll be putting Bajan Pied Piper in our banner rotation so you’ll get a reminder every once in a while too.
I’ll let DeeGee tell in his own words why he’s put so much effort into helping others learn and enjoy music…
I was born in Barbados and I’ve lived here almost all my life. My ‘musical career’ has spanned more than 60 years… from ‘fooling around’ with various instruments as a teenager; to being a “professional” (meaning I was earning a living) playing tenor sax in a “soul band;” to these days ~ just playing for the fun of it ~ and along the way, trying to help others get started…
Even though things are much different these days, I think of others embarking on their musical adventure and wonder if they may be experiencing some initial difficulty in getting started.
And I got a bright idea! … I could put stuff on the internet! It would enable me to reach and hopefully help new players now stepping onto the musical path, who may be searching for some direction.
I scoured the www to see what was there and I noticed the tremendous plethora of information on ‘how to play music,’ ‘how to play this and that instrument,’ ‘how to improvise’ etc. A good deal of it is excellent, though quite a lot, it seemed to me, is presented in a scholarly way and bewildering for beginners to grasp… however, I must admit I’m not the brightest boy in class and I thought this may only be my perception.
So I went ahead and did a lesson-video on ‘how to play harmonica.’ The result was startling! Just 6 weeks after posting, it had been viewed by over 2000 people from all over the world and questions and comments were coming in….
I’m happy to say I now have ‘students’ from the 4 corners of the earth! They write me with various questions – most have to do with improvising J – I was encouraged. Their questions became a ‘theme’ for the ‘tutorial videos’ I subsequently put on YouTube.