I’m six years old and in comes a brown upright piano. Immediately, I’m drawn to the black and white keys. And yaay! I’m allowed to take piano lessons! Jingle bells, jingle bells!

I’m caught. At 10. My piano teacher sends me home to finally study the notation. I’m not allowed back before I can effortlessly point the low F and the high C (and everything in between).

Turns out “accidentally” hitting the wrong keys no longer worked. Actually, afterwards, I’m glad I got busted. But I must admit I still put on my glasses when the score asks for really high or really low notes… Recognize this?
One of the jazz singers that I admire for her capacity to play the piano and sing simultaneously, is the Canadian beauty Diana Krall. I can just picture her studying her %^&* off.

She recorded some very deluxe albums, sold millions of records and performs worldwide with the creme de la creme, like the heavenly Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass.

She’s big into the jazz standards, but also writes her own material (being married to Elvis Costello may certainly give her some immaculate inspiration) – I particularly liked The Girl In The Other Room (2004).
Now… over to you!

When you want to sing jazz, learning how to play the piano is one of the best investments you can make. Because on a piano, you can SEE everything. How I love that!

Many professional singers play the piano and even have a classical background. Yes, there is joy to be found in playing Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Debussy’s Claire de Lune – but how about the joy of playing your first blues and singing to it?

So, my recipe for today: take piano lessons and learn how to read chords. Find a teacher through a music institute, check the advertisements at your grocery store, or study online.


Play a simple blues in C, take it slow, and try to time it really well.

Add your singing and keep the timing steady. And yes, sing in tune! ? And never give up! Just keep swimming… just keep swimming.

Before you know it, you may be singing and playing on the big stages. Just imagine!

With love,

Ilse Huizinga

My album tip for you:

Diana Krall: The Girl In The Other Room (Verve Records, 2004)

Diana Krall on Wikipedia: