Blues Lick #3: “Boogie House”

Welcome back to A Study in Blues Piano!

Here’s one that feels right at home in a classic boogie-woogie piano groove, as well as in a hard-driving modern “boogie rock” or “boogie country” jam. At the end of the day, this lick fits in anywhere that is bluesy or funky.  So think of the classic boogie-woogie beat as you get the rhythmic feel of this pattern. The way that I’m demonstrating this lick keeps that boogie feeling in mind.  So, don’t just think of the individual notes; listen to the groove, and tap your foot while you work on this!

Oh, and make it fun, that’s part of the assignment, for all these lessons. It’s a very serious assignment I’m giving you, a requirement that there has to be a grand dose of fun in this mix. The fun aspect is also helpful when studying, writing, or performing “classically serious” kinds of music.  That’s why, in the end, even with much serious study, our most desirable and worthy goal with music is to play it, and never to work it.  (I didn’t make that one up, and I forget where I heard it first, but I have to remind myself of that important truth sometimes, so I’m reminding you here, too 🙂 Even the most focused and drill-like practice can be made better by remembering that it won’t be “perfect” until it really sounds like there’s some fun up in there.  OK so let’s jam!


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Blues Lick #2 : “Da-boo-da, boo-dee-ooo”

Welcome to Lesson Two!

In David Sudnow’s classic book, “Ways of the Hand,” he describes his personal journey towards becoming an accomplished piano improviser.  Eventually, he discovers the secret to playing great jazz (or blues) lines:  Sing!  That is, above all, you must mentally sing the ideas (hear them in your head, as something you would sing). Then, translate that “sound” to your fingers.  You don’t need to be an accomplished singer to do this.  It’s really about the act of singing in your head, not so much your vocal accuracy.  Which brings us to the name of this lick!  If you sing “Dabooda, Boodie You”  with a solid rhythm, it will be much easier to adapt the idea behind this lick into your solos. (Each note in this lick is tied to one syllable in the name.)


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