Try this: Go to your instrument and play a C-major scale from top to bottom (C B A G F E D C). Play these as evenly spaced eighth notes in 4/4 time.
You will notice that the final note, the lower C, does not land on a solid beat (in this case, that would be beat one). Instead, it lands on the last eighth note of the previous measure.
Assuming that we want our C to land on beat one, as a solid “target note,” here’s a common and jazzy sounding solution.
C, B, A, G || F, E, D-flat, B || C
We now have the required eight notes to fill one measure, and the final C lands on beat one of the next measure – voila!
Continue reading “Jazz Soloing Tip #12”
Discovery <—> Refinement
When I was new to jazz, I spent years in the “discovery” phase. In the beginning, that was, for the most part, learning what scales go best with what chords, and also finding the “pretty notes,” as Charlie Parker once put it.
But I was so fixated on finding the coolest harmonies and scales, I forgot to practice playing what I already knew. In other words, I was skipping the “refinement” part.
Charlie Parker again, paraphrasing, “Play CLEAN and find the pretty notes.” So playing clean, that’s the refinement part.
The refinement part also – and maybe more importantly – means sticking with what you already know when you are coming up with your improvised lines. Which means you are saving the stretching out and the trying of new stuff for the discovery part. Both are obviously necessary for continuous growth.
WHY IS THIS A CIRCLE, NOT A STRAIGHT LINE,
FROM NEWBIE TO EXPERT?
The answer may already have occurred to you: We are forever learning, then refining, then learning, then refining, in an infinite cycle of growth. (Assuming we’re serious about things.)
And each activity feeds the other!
In response to student requests for sheet music illustrating licks from my video course, A Study in Blues Piano: Focusing on 12 Licks, I have so far created notation for several of the licks.
Continue reading “Optional Sheet Music for “A Study in Blues Piano” (Blues Licks)”
Welcome to A Study in Blues Piano!
UPDATE: June, 2020. A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on 12 Licks is temporarily being hosted exclusively on Simpliv.com. Note: I will also offer it here again relatively soon.
This is an in-depth study of twelve blues licks, with extensive left-hand support tips. Each lick/riff is explored in detail, including variations, fingering, playing tips, and supporting music theory.
More than just learning the notes by rote, you will get insight into the patterns, scales, chords and intervals involved, including how to transpose each lick.
As a result, each lick will be mastered as RAW MATERIAL for endless variations, with applications in many musical settings (genres).
Lick #10 of this group is actually more than a lick; rather, it gives you a complete two-handed 12-bar opening groove, including a left-hand pattern to support your licks throughout your soloing.
Students can download and print optional sheet music for several of the licks. There’s also a sample solo piece with a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 12-bar piano solo that features licks from the class.
If you want to get better at your blues piano playing, who better to learn from than Ray Charles? Try playing this video while throwing in your own blues licks on top. Also try to imitate or paraphrase some of Brother Ray’s.
Here’s some insight to help you:
Continue reading “Video: Ray Charles “What I’d Say” — Practice your blues licks with this one!”