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  1. #1

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    Let's start a new study group for "A Modern Method For Guitar", by William Leavitt (MMFG).

    Official start date will be Jul 22nd 2019: this should give people enough time to decide to join and, eventually, purchase the book.

    At least initially, we will adopt the same structure used by the original group, working on a number of pages per week, according to the pace set by our predecessors.

    My name is Alex, I live in Italy and I am looking forward to sharing challenges and successes with other players willing to jump on this same train.

    Let the fun begin (again)!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..." Got my book and ready to go.

  4. #3

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    Book is ready here.

  5. #4

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    I would be interested to join too.

  6. #5

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    I'm interested. It will be nice to have a new group of people to struggle along with (while having fun!).

    I've got the book, and I've worked to page 25. But, it's slow-going for a beginning guitarist like me.

    I have started with a teacher to help guide me through the book too, so I'll try to pass along anything I'm told.

  7. #6

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    Are you referring to Vol 1? I think I bought it quite a while ago and wasn't having "fun" doing it by myself but might be interested in a group. It was slow going for me but...

  8. #7

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    Yes, Volume 1 is the one.

  9. #8

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    Before we get started, just a couple of ideas to throw out there.

    1. IMO, players should not hesitate to work on Section I and Section II of this book simultaneously, should they be comfortable with that. A few reasons:

    • A player can "get stuck" in Section I for some time, and it's focused on open position studies, "cowboy chords" and so on. All of that is useful for a well rounded guitarist - but jazzers in particular work with movable forms up the neck 98% of the time, which is what Section II is focused on.
    • Section II focuses on major scales (no minors yet) and there are only 4 fingerings required. That's one fewer than CAGED, so should be achievable.
    • A player can "slow walk" Section II as they see fit. In other words, you can take your time.
    • A player can gain a much greater sense of accomplishment and motivation if they don't put off Section II for that rainy day when they complete Section I.
    • To avoid feeling overwhelmed, a player can work through page 25 or so of Section I, before starting on Section II.

  10. #9

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    Here's my second idea/suggestion:

    Leavitt's method is very supportive of jazz guitar playing, skill building etc. but is not really a "jazz guitar method" style wise. Style wise it's more of a "plectrum guitar method". It's great for technique building, reading skill, and has a lot of great "etudes" or musical exercises throughout. William Leavitt was simply an outstanding guitar arranger and pedagogue - very musical and knowledgeable.

    BUT

    Whether one studies at Berklee, another college, or their local Guitar Center, one central goal is clear - to play music. In other words, repertoire. In other words, tunes. For example, at Berklee their 8 levels of guitar advancement roughly align with Leavitt's old method but your instructor will have you learn at least 6 tunes per semester, in addition to some other improv materials etc. To this end Berklee has now published a Jazz song book which aligns with Leavitt's volume 1. And they have other books covering chords and voice leading which are Jazz oriented. The Jazz song book has nice solo guitar arrangements but is also oriented around the low end of the fretboard in a lot of cases.

    So I have another suggestion. I think it would behoove this study group to utilize some of the excellent materials that this very website offers! For example, the Jazz Standard Study Guides. Using but one example, the tune Autumn Leaves is broken down into scales, chords, arpeggios, chord outlines and phrases for jazz language improv, and a bass line. It is all broken down very nicely with helpful theory explanations along the way. We could have a parallel thread where we tackle such a tune over time, weaving in more and more material. For example, just play the comping chords and upload your recording, then the melody, then add the bass line. Or - bass, then chords, then melody. From there play the scales and arpeggios, and finally the jazz language outlines and phrases. Build your jazz tune playing capability from the ground up!

    Overall this would be supportive of a more comprehensive study plan that is leveled and graduated. Made up of Leavitt and Jazz Tunes study.

    All in all it would include - Technique, reading, etudes, tunes, jazz improv skill building.

    Finally - anybody could join this other thread, and at any time. No pressure, just fun.

    Just think about it - in two-three years you could have a solid technique foundation - AND - be able to play ten or so jazz standards convincingly. Head, bass line, comping, a little chord melody, and a solo. For the solo you could improvise, use written solo material, or a combination of the two. If you play it with a little attitude and style, 95% of the population (including your friends and family) won't know if it's improvized or written, and 99% won't give a damn.


    Would welcome others thoughts on this idea.
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 07-18-2019 at 09:46 AM.

  11. #10

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    I'm definitely on board with this and agree with jazzstdnt's suggestions, particularly getting the jazz songbook that goes along with the method!

  12. #11

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    @Jazzstdnt,
    I like your ideas/suggestions! I never thought about using the Autumn Leaves material from this website and other songs in conjunction with the Modern Method series. Thank you for that idea! I do have the jazz book you mentioned and I have been using that in conjunction with MM but not really sure if I was using it correctly. Meaning , should I have stayed in the same position as I was in following the MM book? Only play songs in notated in first position? Thanks again for your ideas/suggestions!

    George

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgebanketas
    @Jazzstdnt,
    I like your ideas/suggestions! I never thought about using the Autumn Leaves material from this website and other songs in conjunction with the Modern Method series. Thank you for that idea! I do have the jazz book you mentioned and I have been using that in conjunction with MM but not really sure if I was using it correctly. Meaning , should I have stayed in the same position as I was in following the MM book? Only play songs in notated in first position? Thanks again for your ideas/suggestions!

    George
    Hey thanks!

    On that second question I hesitate to give a blanket answer because it's been a while, but if you will ask about a specific tune I should be able to answer. I played most of the tunes in that book, with a few exceptions only.

  14. #13

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    OK, in reviewing the Berklee jazz songbook, yes it has a lot of open position stuff and lower position stuff. The fingerings are indicated so it's self explanatory.

    In reviewing some of the tunes this morning I think we should throw in a few of them along the way - but just optional. They aren't too difficult, sound good, and align with MM Vol 1 pretty darned well, as intended.

  15. #14
    A lot of great ideas and suggestions!

    I believe that any material and discussion will be welcome.

    Personally, I am already working in parallel on George Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms (by the way, if anyone has tried it, I would be happy to chat about it) and I cannot commit to any other book or plan: however, I will be happy to follow and experiment, especially in the next three/four week, as I will be on holiday, with more free time than usual.

    I am about to create the thread for the first week of study: thanks all for your participation.

    Alex

  16. #15
    Hello All,

    the original study group used to work on a defined number of pages per week.
    I am not sure of the speed of the students in this new group: I will start by assigning the same number of pages as they did in 2008 and, based on your feedback, we will be able to adjust to our pace.

    This week, through Jul. 30th, we will be discussing and working on pages 1 through 7 (next week will be pages 8 through 11).

    This links point to a couple of thread where a lot of discussion about the method happened:

    anyone else using Leavitt?

    This link:

    [Study Group] NEW A Modern Method for Guitar
    points to the main thread of the new study group.

    Have fun,
    Alex

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by atarchin
    A lot of great ideas and suggestions!

    I believe that any material and discussion will be welcome.

    Personally, I am already working in parallel on George Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms (by the way, if anyone has tried it, I would be happy to chat about it) and I cannot commit to any other book or plan: however, I will be happy to follow and experiment, especially in the next three/four week, as I will be on holiday, with more free time than usual.

    I am about to create the thread for the first week of study: thanks all for your participation.

    Alex
    Fantastic!

    And that Van Eps book is stout. Leavitt gets into similar material, especially in Volumes 2 and 3.

  18. #17

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    Where will we post, here or at the link? Here I take it.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  19. #18

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    I am going to be doing this concurrently with Howard Morgen's fingerboard book but may have time to look at other materials. I'm looking forward to the discussions.

    I am also going to be doing this fingerstyle only so perhaps we will have some conversations about fingering later on.

  20. #19

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    I was thinking about how to approach the material in this book. What picking style should I use. I've read where the material Leavitt has in this book teaches using the flat pick. I have decided to go with hybrid picking. It is just a personal preference in that style. I have always wanted to learn hybrid picking and I figure that now is as good a chance as any to learn that picking style.

    I did not run into any issues with this exercise. Seemed straight forward. Reading and playing 1/2 notes in key of C. I do have Leavitt's Reading Studies For Guitar (RSG). In RSG on page 2, he uses the same notes in the first position scale, the low C to middle C, as he does in MMFG vol 1 page 4 ex 1. I have been practicing the scale starting on the low C going through middle C up to high G. Then I go back down to low E and end back up on low C. Just trying to get used to playing all the notes in the C major scale in the first position. In the video I am posting I play the exercise as written.


  21. #20
    I am also going to do it fingerstyle, mainly using my thumb and index finger (let's call it "a la Mark Knopfler" )

  22. #21

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    I found these two exercises fun. We are still using the C major scale and the notes from low C to middle C. I like how Leavitt sets you up for the triad in the second measure of each section. He lays out the three notes and you just have to keep your fingers in those positions.

    Exercise 2 :


    Exercise 3 :

  23. #22

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    This was another fun exercise.

    Exercise 4:

  24. #23
    Great that you found the time and willingness to post your recordings: very clean and accurate playing.
    Beginners, do not get desperate if you sound different! I suspect that Jazzstdnt and George are not at the beginning of their guitar journey.

    I am now thinking about how to record the several duets that are in the book: likely, I will experiment with Amplitube and my iPad.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by atarchin
    Great that you found the time and willingness to post your recordings: very clean and accurate playing.
    Beginners, do not get desperate if you sound different! I suspect that Jazzstdnt and George are not at the beginning of their guitar journey.

    I am now thinking about how to record the several duets that are in the book: likely, I will experiment with Amplitube and my iPad.
    Yes, the truth is that the Modern Method Volume 1 was a book targeted to freshmen music majors, so it's not a beginners book, per se. Granted, it's not as tough as what a freshman classical guitarist might have been expected to play upon entry, and it's not as tough as what a jazz or classical performance major would be expected to play today. But it was published in 1966. Incoming freshman guitarists in a jazz or contemporary program frequently come from informal musical backgrounds, with little to no reading skills, etc. For example, in the mid 1960s they might have been playing Beatles and Elvis, Blues, Folk, Rock & Roll etc. (no reading, lots of cowboy chords and open position playing, you get the idea).

    So for "real" beginners William Leavitt wrote two other books (link below). They aren't nearly as popular though. One could start with Hal Leonard or Mel Bay book 1 for that, or combine those with Leavitt's first books as a way to get prepared for his modern method. The Modern Method gets to material that will support jazz and studio players faster, and the arranging is much more musical. (sorry Hal Leanard and Mel Bay )

    So I agree, don't be discouraged by this book, but be advised that it ramps up pretty quickly, so it's for the serious student. Adult beginners may be able to push through it just fine, but have to be patient and perseverant.


    https://www.amazon.com/Berklee-Basic...gateway&sr=8-7
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 07-25-2019 at 09:46 AM.

  26. #25

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    I've been getting about 30 minutes a day in on the book but progress is slow; the duet is particularly unpleasant to listen to me play. I've downloaded a multitrack recorder for Android that I will use to do my recordings, but my fat fingers do me no service. Occasionally I stop and play a part of a CM just to remind myself that I can actually play the guitar. Just like being back in school.

  27. #26

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    @atarchin You are correct. I have been in my guitar journey for a bit. The best thing about guitar and music in general is that you are always learning. I am enjoying this study group. Do not get frustrated. Flubbing notes and getting used to certain fingerings are all apart of the journey.

    @ah.clem No worries about the duet. Play to play and enjoy.
    Last edited by georgebanketas; 07-26-2019 at 05:17 AM.

  28. #27

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    Sea to Sea This was a fun duet to play. I like the fact that it puts into practice the content of the exercises up to this point.

    Sea to Sea Guitar 1:


    Sea to Sea Guitar 2:

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Yes, the truth is that the Modern Method Volume 1 was a book targeted to freshmen music majors, so it's not a beginners book, per se.
    So I agree, don't be discouraged by this book, but be advised that it ramps up pretty quickly, so it's for the serious student. Adult beginners may be able to push through it just fine, but have to be patient and perseverant.
    Yep, good on y'all for getting together a group to help you move forward on this book! You will not be disappointed! I used an instructor to push me through it as personally, I wouldn't have been able to go it alone. For me, the hardest part of the book was the Etudes! Fortunately for me, I had already done a little bit of reading in an old Nick Manoloff, Classic Style Guitar Method book but enough about me. Another thing that really helped me was Youtube and watching the videos. One guy on this forum did a great job of making video's of his lessons and Larry Baione of Berklee made a DVD of the whole book, it's referenced by page numbers. Good luck, and here's the link!


  30. #29
    OK, thanks all for working on the first week material.

    The original study group, advanced at a relatively slow pace: your feedback about the speed at which we should move is more than welcome.

    I have the Kindle version of the book and it does not have page numbers... I might start using exercise numbers and titles to reference the material in the future: with these pages, I believe we are going to cover the "Sea to Sea" duet (a lot of fun, already).

  31. #30

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    Sea to Sea was page 6, but whatever works is fine.

    Any chance that you could open a few sections in advance each week please? For example, 8-11, 12-15, 16-19. Something like that. Some studies are more difficult than others and need a little more soak time, even if on lower numbered pages.

    Thanks again for starting the thread!

  32. #31

  33. #32

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    Thanks atarchin for setting up this group and weekly threads! I'm still away from my guitar this week, but i will start to work on book next week.

  34. #33

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    Exercise 5 - pg 8:



    Exercise 6 - pg 8:



    Exercise 7 - pg 9:

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    OK, in reviewing the Berklee jazz songbook, yes it has a lot of open position stuff and lower position stuff. The fingerings are indicated so it's self explanatory.

    In reviewing some of the tunes this morning I think we should throw in a few of them along the way - but just optional. They aren't too difficult, sound good, and align with MM Vol 1 pretty darned well, as intended.
    Maybe I'm too new in my studies, but I have no clue how to align the songs in the Jazz songbook with the Modern Method Vol 1. Is there any rough estimate of which songs "align" which specific page numbers, or sections in the MM Volume 1? Or are all of the songs similar in difficulty, and any of them be begun once you reach page 6 of the Modern Method Vol 1?

    I'm still learning my Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords in private lessons, so for me there's a big difference in complexity between page 6 and page 60 of MM Vol 1.

    Thanks for any comments.

    Dave

  36. #35

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    Exercise 8 pg 9 :

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by DG40
    Maybe I'm too new in my studies, but I have no clue how to align the songs in the Jazz songbook with the Modern Method Vol 1. Is there any rough estimate of which songs "align" which specific page numbers, or sections in the MM Volume 1? Or are all of the songs similar in difficulty, and any of them be begun once you reach page 6 of the Modern Method Vol 1?

    I'm still learning my Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords in private lessons, so for me there's a big difference in complexity between page 6 and page 60 of MM Vol 1.

    Thanks for any comments.

    Dave
    I would say it's more general than that. Like the method book it gets more challenging as it goes, and single note lines move upward a little from the open position, but only so far.
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 08-02-2019 at 07:37 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by DG40
    Maybe I'm too new in my studies, but I have no clue how to align the songs in the Jazz songbook with the Modern Method Vol 1. Is there any rough estimate of which songs "align" which specific page numbers, or sections in the MM Volume 1? Or are all of the songs similar in difficulty, and any of them be begun once you reach page 6 of the Modern Method Vol 1?

    I'm still learning my Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords in private lessons, so for me there's a big difference in complexity between page 6 and page 60 of MM Vol 1.

    Thanks for any comments.

    Dave
    As I reread your post I would reiterate that Leavitt MM Volume 1 isn't necessarily a "real" beginners book. But if you are using it that way and willing to work - fine.

    In that instance, yes, page 60 is a far cry from page 6. No open position notes, eigth notes vs. half notes etc.

    But - page 60 is just a Leavitt stretch fingering that varies from a CAGED fingering by stretching for the sub-dominant pitch (F in this case). Then it throws in a chromatic G# or Ab. If one has played a few scales before, their teacher could probably show them a fret board dot diagram for that scale, and they would be playing it in about 3 weeks.

    Just something to keep in mind when you step back from it, and in consideration that you'll likely spend months working through Part 1 of MM Volume 1.

  39. #38

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    It's funny, I swear everytime I start coming back to this forum it's just after someone starts doing a new group. I'm an off and on player for years and I'm really going to try and jump in and catch up to you guys.

    @atarchin could you please edit your first post here and add dates for a timeline? Also, would you mind maybe adding links to the new forum threads per each date. I'm already behind and a little confused on where I need to get to. I know it's a little more work on your end but it would really be helpful!

    I.E.
    Pages 1 through 7 - 7/22 to 7/28
    Pages 8 through 11 - 7/29 to 8/4
    Pages 12 through #? - 8/5 to 8/12

    Or maybe this:
    Pages 1 through 7 (Exercise # to # or Name to Name for people with E Book as I've heard it doesn't have page numbers?) - 7/22 to 7/28

    If you could make these links so we can click the first one and go straight to that thread that would be extremely helpful. I've browsed the threads and see a couple people saying they are starting late, away from their guitars, and people like myself who find this late would really benefit from this organization. I'm looking forward to stopping my procrastination and actually following along with you guys!

  40. #39

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    One, Two, Three, Four pg 10 - Guitar 1 :


    One, Two, Three, Four pg 10 - Guitar 2 :


    Rhythm Accompaniment pg 11 :

  41. #40

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    Nice going George! In the page 11 "Rhythm Accompaniment", that C chord with the E in the bass and G on top really bugs my left hand coming off the F.

    Leavitt really challenges the guitarist with chord work, from the start of Volume 1 through the end of Volume 3.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Nice going George! In the page 11 "Rhythm Accompaniment", that C chord with the E in the bass and G on top really bugs my left hand coming off the F.

    Leavitt really challenges the guitarist with chord work, from the start of Volume 1 through the end of Volume 3.
    @Jazzstdnt,

    Thank you! It took a while for me to get the hang of that F to C transition. I am still working on it. Speaking of the C with the E in the bass, would it be correct to say that is the 1st inversion or 2nd inversion of C? For the G7 would that be 2nd or 3rd inversion? I am trying to understand inversions. Just wondering. Thank you in advance!

    George

  43. #42

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    well if atarchin doesn't want to do that we could always use feps old threads, couldn't we?

    They're well organized and have an index etc. The basic cadence is one set of pages per week, which you can guess your way through by observing what others play even if you don't have page numbers at your disposal. Further, you can go at your own pace. Who here doesn't do that anyway?

    Just an idea.

  44. #43

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    Hey George - Yes, the C is in first inversion (3rd in bass) and the G7 is in second inversion (5th in the bass).

    Only the F chord is in root position.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    well if atarchin doesn't want to do that we could always use feps old threads, couldn't we?

    They're well organized and have an index etc. The basic cadence is one set of pages per week, which you can guess your way through by observing what others play even if you don't have page numbers at your disposal. Further, you can go at your own pace. Who here doesn't do that anyway?

    Just an idea.
    atarchin does want it, it is only taking him a couple of days to implement it :-)

  46. #45

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    I'll start my submissions next week. I'm practicing through them now trying to get them right. I like watching / listening through everyone's so far. I've got a couple beginner questions maybe you guys could help me with.

    What tempo are you starting at? Are you working up to a specific tempo or just what you feel comfortable doing clean / without mistakes? Is it a bad idea to subdivide my metronome? I.E. I'm playing at 60bpm on 4/4 but, I set a different tone for beats 1 and 3. I struggle with the same click tone for beats 2, 3, and 4 when it's so slow.

    For "Rhythm Accompaniment" sections, are they supposed to be like the backing track for the duet? I.E. Pages 10/11, One, Two, Three, Four (Duet) is shown but then halfway on page 11 is the "Rhythm Accompaniment".

    Does the book later identify the chord names for the early triads? I know the "Rhythm Accompaniment" on page 11 identifies some 4 note chords but, I don't see any of the original triads called out by chord name and inversion.

    Did we decide on the supplementary book? I know the Jazz Berklee book was mentioned and the Jazz Standard Study Guides. Someone create a poll!

  47. #46

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    @D3MONC,
    I just go with the tempo I feel comfortable with and can play clean at the time.
    On the subdividing the metronome. I am learning how to set it to the 2 & 4. It is still awkward for me to play the 1 & 3 off the click while the 2 & 4 are on the click. The click being the high hat of the drummer. I sometimes forget where I am at in the beat and start to rush.

    I know this did not really answer your questions about tempo and the metronome. I hope you are having fun practicing. Take care.

    George
    Last edited by georgebanketas; 08-03-2019 at 08:10 PM.

  48. #47
    Thread for the week starting on Aug 5th 2019.
    This is the first thread adopting the new naming conventions: I found that the thread title is limited to a certain number of characters and I had to slightly modify the original intended format.

    Also, please, note that the last piece of last week was the duet "One, Two, Three, Four".

    Leavitt introduces four notes chords, played in various inversions and additional ledger lines, to represent notes that are too low or too high to appear on the staff.

  49. #48
    As requested, I am making available several threads in advance.

    This is for the week starting on Aug 12th 2019.

    Leavitt introduces sharps, flats and naturals signs. He gives students only the info needed to progress to the next step: no deep discussion of sharps and flats or explanation of the key signature takes place in these pages.

  50. #49
    Thread for the week starting on Aug 19th 2019.

    First, a little explanation about chord naming conventions, then the exercises and the duet that introduce eighth notes.

  51. #50

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    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 08-11-2019 at 02:35 PM.