Memorize all 12 Minor Pentatonic Scales – Today!

The minor pentatonic scale is a hyper-cool five-note scale. An extremely popular source of melodic and harmonic material in many cultures, this scale's distinctive signature is heard "all the time" in improvisational genres like rock, pop, blues and jazz.

For those of you who like to put words to your music: The word "pentatonic" comes from the Greek word pente, meaning five, and tonic, meaning tone.

The purpose of today's lesson is to give you an easy pattern to memorize, and to show you how to use that pattern to construct any minor pentatonic scale. By "construct," I mean you will visualize the correct five notes for the minor pentatonic scale, starting on any given root note.

As a result you will have "memorized" all 12 minor pentatonics on the keyboard today.

Assuming that this one pattern is not forgotten (it won't get forgotten, so long as you play any minor pentatonic scale now and then) , today will mark your permanent acquisition of all 12 of the minor pentatonics.

This lesson illustrates yet another example of how to avoid rote memorization of scales and chords. "Forget" that, I say! Discover and use their defining patterns instead. Patterns rule in music!

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How to Riff on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” – Part 3

Welcome back!

This is Lesson Three of a 3-lesson collection on the topic of "jazzy-rock" improvisation.

Jump to:      Lesson One       Lesson Two 

Lesson Three video

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How to Riff on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” – Part 2

Hello!

This is Lesson Two of a three-part video series on “jazzy-rock” improvisation.

(Lesson One is here.)

(Lesson Three is here.)

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These three tutorials would fit somewhere near the center of the jazzy-rock genre spectrum, if there was one.

I guess there could possibly be a jazzy-rock genre officially defined somewhere, like in a big canvas binder at the Genres Office, or like that. Regardless of the possibility of this being regulated, I’m using the term freely here, maybe even whimsically, maybe even having some devil-may-care attitude going.

If I had a managing editor you would not have seen the previous paragraph. Don’t worry, with your continued support, we will hire a managing editor.

Van Morrison’s Moondance is the “jamming vehicle” we’re using in this trio of lessons. Moondance is a catchy tune, and it serves really well as a straightforward case study in jazzish-rockish piano improvisation.

 

VIDEO LESSON:

Jazz improv practice: A nice drill using “approach tones”

Here's a nice jazzy drill, to give you practice on:

(1) Adding interest to your melody lines,  by sometimes preceding the "target tone(s)" of a chord with "approach tones;" and,

(2) increased mastery of any given scale, especially as it relates to the underlying chords.

As a result, the repeated act of mindfully (and not mindlessly) practicing this drill can increase your general facility with approach tones, as well as give you (possibly new) theoretical insights regarding chord-scale relationships. Dig? You'll see.

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Blues Piano Crash Course #11: How to play blues in any key (transpose)

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

This sample lesson (complete) is available to our visitors, and, of course, to our supporting members!

Lesson #11  (video)

Learn how to transpose the chords, scales, and concepts you learned in this crash course into other keys.

“All the same things” apply to playing blues in any key.  You will simply be learning the steps needed to move your musical patterns and shapes — that is, the three main chords, the blues scale, your favorite licks, etc. — into any desired key!

Especially good keys for you to learn to jam in are:

Continue reading “Blues Piano Crash Course #11: How to play blues in any key (transpose)”

Blues Piano Crash Course #10: Turn-arounds and endings

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #10  (video)

Turn-arounds and endings for the 12-bar blues.

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Blues Piano Crash Course #9: The Melody Machine

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #9  (video) "The Melody Machine"

This thing I like to call the  "melody machine" is by no means a new technique for creating strong melodies. Singers, composers and improvisers have built melodies this way forever.  In a nutshell, it's a specific way of using the underlying chord progression as a "generator" of melodic material.

Sometimes this "melody generating" concept doesn't get enough of a spotlight. By spotlight, I mean pointing it out and teaching it, in places where students can fully appreciate the power of the results.

So here's a great place for that spotlight:  the art and science of creating powerful blues licks!

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Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue notes & pitch-bending

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #8  (video)

In this lesson, we master a couple of specific blues piano tricks of the trade.  I'm using the word specific here, because we're going to use these devices with a goal in mind, a musical effect that is pretty specific.

The "tricks" in this video are focused on emulating those sounds of blues singers and other instruments who can "bend" their notes (slide or play between pitches).  You'll learn about "blue notes," and also pick up a blues-boogie playing technique called the slide-off.

The remaining content of this post is for supporting members. Your monthly membership is extremely affordable, and makes it possible for us to work full-time on the task of creating  FREE educational content, plus additional premium content, for members like you. This is a fast-growing site, and we really need your support as an "All Access" premium member   to keep this site alive.  (After signing up, you may need to refresh this page to open all the content.)

How to Riff on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” – Part 1

Kent here!

Today we have two video lessons, either of which is a good introduction to a pretty simple notion, which I sometimes like to call the “melody machine.” With this, I’m not suggesting some big new original conception. On the contrary,  the concept I’m calling the melody machine is about as old as music itself.

If that nickname sounds a little gimmicky, it’s really not meant to be. I actually do call this device a “melody machine,” in my own thinking, part of an ongoing process of internalizing my favorite composition devices. Also, it’s fun to say, just like saying “Lollapalooza” or “Isn’t she pleasant?”

In a nutshell, this lesson shows you certain ways of using an underlying chord progression as a “thought generator” for creating melodic material.

First:

How to Riff on Van Morrison’s Moondance – Part 1

Quick links:   Lesson Two   Lesson Three

And this related tutorial is from my Blues Piano Crash Course

“The Blues Piano Crash Course” Lesson #3: “Five must-know Riffing Devices”

piano with kent

The Blues Piano tradition is full of tried-and-true "stock" licks, as well as many devices for creating endless original solos. In this lecture, you will learn to use five such "must-know" riffing devices.

PREMIUM CONTENT VIDEO LESSON:

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