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San Diego California
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Jazz, Country, Classical, Rock, Blues
Below is information for some of my students as a reference
"Simplify your thinking and concentrate on the important things."
To me Jazz is not a style but an ability.
Freedom to play spontaneously in all keys, everywhere on the
neck. That takes a little work to learn the Matrix of the
fingerboard. Originality comes from thinking for yourself. If
you just pick the fruit of other players, all you will only have
their personality. Be careful not to
just be a just a "lick
machine" learning all the solos of the great players. Yes,
it is good
to study them and extract the essence.
But move on and make it your own. If you copy to much you will loose your
Jazz masters of old, did not have tape recorders, or could down load MP3's
like we can. They mostly had just there instruments and guys around them.
seclusion actually helped them to developed there own style. So again,
learn the essence and move on.
1. The first step in playing Jazz is
learning the C Major scale in all positions on the neck.
By learning these
notes of the major scale (C D E F G A B)
on your instrument in all positions, you have learned all the
sharps and flats as well with this logic: If you know where an E
is you know where the Eb is. IT IS RIGHT NEXT TO IT!
you what to know where D# is, just go to D and raise it a half
step. Do you see,
by learning just one scale you have learned all the notes on your instrument. Simplify your thinking.
As you work on the C major scale, try to hum along in your head as
you play. It is very important that you hear each note in your
head, just before you play it, then it becomes music and not
just a physical or athletic expression. Speed will come later,
so go very slow and feel/hear each note.
Look at all songs as just three chord families.
Major, Minor and Dom7. That is easy to comprehend.
Put all altered scales in with the Dom7 family (even though
theoretically they my not go there). This is true because of the
way or function of the altered stuff. Dom7 naturally creates
tensions. The C Major scale becomes many types of sounds
depending on the root tone you place over it. (We will go over
that when we study the Greek modes).
Scales are not your
melody, they are everyone's. They are like the RED dots you see on the floor when
learning dance steps. They are just learning aids. Once you learn the
steps shown in the RED dots, then your ready to grab a girl, and go
out on the dance floor and make her smile. After dancing for
awhile you will forget the RED dots and just dance to the music.
Scales serve the same function. They help to get your fingers
and ears moving along, then
scales should fade and be replaced
by your own
Realize this: when scales are played
ascending and descending in order or arpeggios everyone studies, they are melodies
you did not
write and everybody plays them, so make up your your own
Learn the essence and
Be unique, be yourself.
three most important basic scales to learn are these below.
do this in the key of C to start with:
The Major 7th scale is where all other scales are built from
The Minor 7th Scale
The Dom 7th Scale causes tension, or movement
2. The next important thing to do is learn the most important
chord progression in Jazz. This is called the Two, Five, One,
or the ii7 - V7 - IM7 pattern. This chord pattern
chords. It provides you with a chord
pattern you now can practice all the scales you have just
in the Key of C
Dm7 for 4
bars, G7 for 4 bars, and then C Major 7 for 8 bars
this loop indefinitely)
By Mastering this pattern, you will have 90% of
of all Jazz standards covered.
You don't have to re-climb the mountain for every
song. It is all re-usable.
I can not stress this next point enough.
As you play lines over each chord, and are getting ready for the
next chord to come, find the note closest to the last note you
played in your line, and melodically connect it to the next
chord. In other words, do not jump to another location, stay
where you are, and find the nearest note or notes that lead you
to the new chord family of sounds.
When I say lines, I mean melodic phrases you made up from the
scales you have learned. Scales should start to fade,
spontaneous and stylistic lines start to replace them. The goal
is to play from the heart and not just your fingers. There are
many lick machines who know every lick they have learned from
other players, or play geometric patterns fast and think that is
music. I believe you need your own voice.
Read the above two
paragraphs over and
over again until you totally comprehend its meaning.
3. The next thing to do is to learn some
altered stuff. This is where the Great Jazz guys hang out. This separates the men from the boys in Jazz. The
altered scales add the tension that pulls or pushes you to the
next chord. After you do the altered stuff you will be ready to
take any standard song, and Jazz it up. That is what we are
leading up to, right?
Click here to go to the World of Altered Stuff!!!!