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  1. #601

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Not at all! The purpose of this 20 weeks is to find the best within you through regular and dedicated time on the guitar. The forms and Projects give you a systematic template of areas that it's good to have a fluency in, but that's not a point of gospel, in my opinion.
    I DO think learning is non linear, and if you, for example, came out of this being able to navigate a song form, anticipate tonal areas with elegance and maybe look at tritone subs in a confident way, then that's amazing! It's the process that breaks you through.
    I'll try to provide enough of a breakdown on each project so you can have a big picture and some guideline of devices or techniques within, but anything that comes of just playing every day is pure gold. It's the only way to make the breakthroughs that make you a fluid player.
    Thank you for the encouraging words, JBN! I continue to really enjoy this process, even when it's challenging and frustrating!

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  3. #602

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    Week 8 day 4. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing. Mind wondering more than it has been lately causing me to find myself playing out on the ledge when I should have turned left down that hallway. I had the graceful recovery thing well in hand weeks ago, but tonite it was a full stop to hear where I was in the form. I'm going to call it tired from a long day and hope it straightens itself out tomorrow.

  4. #603

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    Week 8. Day 4 of "ATTYA" at 85 bpm. Like guido5, my head just wasn't in it this evening. Right before I sat down to play my head started swimming. I got through the exercises. I'll probably play through them more this evening. I spent some time last night trying to see dominant bebop scales with a #11to use over this exercise. But I still feel for me anyway, many of those 7#11, like the D7#9#11 in bar four, are better envisioned as an altered V leading to the next chord. It makes more sense to me that way. And I find I play something more musically satisfying to me ear. Oh, well. Not my best night. I'm not feeling great. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

  5. #604

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Week 8. Day 4 of "ATTYA" at 85 bpm. Like guido5, my head just wasn't in it this evening. Right before I sat down to play my head started swimming. I got through the exercises. I'll probably play through them more this evening. I spent some time last night trying to see dominant bebop scales with a #11to use over this exercise. But I still feel for me anyway, many of those 7#11, like the D7#9#11 in bar four, are better envisioned as an altered V leading to the next chord. It makes more sense to me that way. And I find I play something more musically satisfying to me ear. Oh, well. Not my best night. I'm not feeling great. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
    Barry Harris’s melodic approach to dominants has been a game changer for me: the dominant scale half-step rules when paired with the four related dominants is ear opening and gets the various altered sounds accessible by superimposing the related dominant scales over V chords in your ears without a lot of “bookwork” and theory.

  6. #605

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    Week 8 day 5. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing. Tonite was just the opposite of last night. I was loose and inventing pretty lines that stayed right in the pocket. The triplets kept falling nicely into place. I just felt completely connected to the form. Finely doing justice to one of my favorite tunes.

  7. #606

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Week 8 day 5. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing. Tonite was just the opposite of last night. I was loose and inventing pretty lines that stayed right in the pocket. The triplets kept falling nicely into place. I just felt completely connected to the form. Finely doing justice to one of my favorite tunes.
    Excellent! Great job! I'm about to embark on this evening's work. Hope I have as much fun and success as you did!

  8. #607

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    Week 8. Day 5 of "ATTYA" at 90 bpm. I continue to follow guido5's lead. I had an excellent outing this evening. So much more musically satisfying than last night. Think I'll spend some more time with it tonight.

  9. #608

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    Week 8. Day 6 of "ATTYA" at 95 bpm. Nice to get a jump on this earlier in the day. No real breakthroughs. I feel like I'm repeating myself quite often. Trying to do more intervalic leaps to keep things fresh and different. Always trying to make it musical to my ears.

  10. #609

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    Week 8 day 5. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing. It was a long day so my energy level is lower than yesterday. But it still was a nice session. Staying comfortably and intuitively in form with perhaps a bit more tendency to run the arp or chunk of scale than yesterday, but I'm doing it with triplets so that sort of counts. Doesn't it?

    A day of something different will feel good...

  11. #610
    The end of week 8. Something quite exciting happened between the week of review and the transition to triplets this week. I find myself getting comfortable with not paying attention to what I'm playing... and what I mean by that is I'm letting go of trying to focus on the individual notes and really thinking in larger units. Triplets as single units playing either a static role or forming movement. Triplet "units" working to create direction or arc over several beats. Phrases taking on distinct beginnings, areas of peak and endings. Using repeated forms to make theme and variation (First two systems creating closely related variation in the third and fourth). These kind of things. As I focus on individual devices, sometimes just using a 10 minute run to do ONLY pickups and enclosures (upper neighbor, lower neighbor, chord tone), it's not musical at all but when I do my next 10 minute segment, boy are there some solid combinations involving the fluidity of embellished chord tones. Maybe I'll give a partial list of three note combinations as units and throw them out there as study points.
    Anyway, this week the runs were actually inspiring and invigourating. Having fun.

  12. #611
    Week 9 All The Modulations in Eb Suggested speed target 104
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-31-6-46-42-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-31-6-47-03-am-png

  13. #612

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    I'm a few weeks behind everyone else, but I'm reading all the posts and trying to put much of the advice into practice and application. When I finished Day 6 of Week 6 yesterday (Saturday) at 120bpm I was feeling a bit discouraged. I felt that my playing and technique hadn't really improved much from Day 1. I still had to focus to make the changes cleanly and melodically; it was a struggle to avoid the pitfall of just noodling; and getting good, clean articulation for the entire 10 minute session with no flams or mis-picks was a bit hit-or-miss sometimes. But then it occurred to me today that I had made progress: I was making all the same mistakes, but now I'm doing it at over twice the speed from where I started. I'm beginning to realize that the point of Superchops - at least for me - is to be playing right at the edge of where things start to fall apart. The benefit will be that slower tempos will now be more comfortable (I hope).

  14. #613

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    Week 9 day 1. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. It is quite refreshing to play this old friend in a new key. I didn't feel like the sharpest knife in the drawer so I just focused on getting comfy in the new locations and really feeling the form. Hopefully more creative lines will follow later in the week...

  15. #614
    I'm REALLY looking forward to every one of these hourlong workouts. I go into each one with a technical task and having a songform to apply this to is the glue that holds it together. Or maybe I'm learning to glue solid pieces together.
    Tonight it was lower neighbor night. I pick a chord tone, start with that note, travel a chromatic or diatonic step down and return to it. This lower neighbor can be really effective in launching me into an ascending direction. C B C E D# E F G A G E C. These kind of groupings are perfect for building vocabulary, an informed ear and developing lines that have a really jazzy strength to them. C B C, D B C, that kind of thing for different chord tones.
    I figure if I take a "figure a day" approach, 1) There's no excuse for ever repeating myself 2) I'll quickly learn what doesn't work and 3) my mastery of really playing, hearing and thinking good ideas will be a natural result.

    I'm going to combine neighbors with arpeggios tomorrow. Whee!

  16. #615

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    Week 9. Day 1 of "ATTYA" in Eb at 80 bpm. I took a sneak peek and run through last night to acclimate myself. I agree with guido5. It's nice to approach an old favorite standard in a different key. It made the song more fresh to my ear. I need to try to incorporate the neighbor tones like JBN talked about in his post. I was pleased with the musical ideas this evening.

  17. #616
    Today I worked with three note (triplet) combinations that start with a chord tone. Yesterday there were note groupings that led to a chord tone, placing the weight at the end of the triplet; today's are at the start.
    This can be 1 3 5, or 3 4 5, or 5 4 3... the point is these kinds of triplets will work towards creating some sense of movement, up or down, and they make contour.
    What is the difference in strong note at the beginning or the end of a triplet? Try it out. You decide and then if you notice some discernible effect in the rhythmic flow, make your own rule about this. It'll be really useful when you make lines that have impact.

  18. #617

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    Week 9 day 2. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. Despite a tiring day moving snow around, I started to dig back into my triplet lines. Some times they started on chord tones sometimes they were just passing figures on the way to another melodic destination. No blinding insights, just doing the work.

  19. #618

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    Week 9. Day 2 of "ATTYA" in Eb at 85 bpm. I went through the exercise a number of times this evening. Trying to focus more on the triplets as well as capturing the color of the tritone sounds. I'm really enjoying ATTYA in this key. Looking forward to getting back at it tomorrow evening!

  20. #619

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    Week 9 day 3. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. Nice evening session of exploring the different approached to this fine tune. Triplets, big interval jumps, passing motifs through the various harmonic centers, scalar things, arp based things. So much nice movement to work with on this tune.
    Last edited by guido5; 02-04-2021 at 06:47 AM.

  21. #620

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    Week 9. Day 3 of "ATTYA" at 90 bpm. Tonight's work was a mental challenge. I had outpatient surgery this afternoon. Everything's fine, but I was put under general anesthesia. They told me not to drive a car or any other heavy machinery. They should've also suggested I not play over Howard Robert's advanced harmonic content while my brain is still fuzzy. It wasn't a total disaster. But the importance of a sharp mind was quite evident! Howard urges no skipped days, so I wanted to remain true to my commitment. Needless to say, I'm glad today is over. I'm looking forward to working the exercises tomorrow with a clear head!

  22. #621
    Day 4. Getting out from the omnipresent suggestion of All The Things You Are. That song has such a distinctive harmonic movement and a melody that hugs that harmony so closely, I wanted to fight the current on that. So I created lines that tried to maintain a pretty direct single direction until it met the tonic of the key area four bars down, then some twist. This allowed me to embellish my relatively simple melody with different devices. This "statement" and short "response" thinking was kind of fun, and with the awareness of where and how I might embellish, it was a real challenge.
    Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was not elegant at all, sometimes it was a train wreck, but not once did I feel I ran out of ideas.
    I did an hour of this in the late morning and then again in the evening. By the end of the day it felt strong.
    I'm having a lot of fun here.
    I'll note too that when I'm working on other pieces (today was Alfie), a lot of these phrase twists I'm working on are making their way into the ease of playing, into the comfort zone. Good feeling.

  23. #622

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    Week 9 day 4. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. After last nights wild excess, I too was feeling a bit drawn around by the tune/structure when I first started tonite. But rather than go to the same places it was calling me to, I went the other direction. Some times this lead to interesting places, sometimes not so much.

  24. #623

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    Week 9. Day 4 of "ATTYA" at 95 bpm. Pretty uneventful this evening. Even though I worked all day, I feel like my head is still kind of fuzzy from yesterday's procedure. Things weren't clicking tonight as they had the first couple days. That's okay. There's always tomorrow.

  25. #624

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    Week 9 day 5. 70 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. Got my project work in early so I could catch the Vanguard Sorey, Frisell, Lovano stream.

    My choruses went nicely without any real focus, just playing pretty melodies on the well loved changes. Lots of triplets intermingled with the other ideas. A relaxed pleasant session.

  26. #625
    Just saw the Vanguard stream of Bill Frisell. SO many new ideas, like being adventurous about note choice and the flow of sounds. I'm inspired to work on the Project a second time tonight.
    Earlier I was getting pretty fluid with triplets, today I was putting the focus note in the middle, using the first note of the triplet as an approach and the last note to pickup to the next grouping. This kind of really focused almost calesthetic approach is well suited for the program as long as I can stay "on the horse". These ornaments, run through for basically an hour, are really changing my sound. I can really get something notable in each day's work now.

  27. #626

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    So glad you could catch that. Can't wait to hear what they will do tomorrow...

  28. #627

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    Week 9. Day 5 of "ATTYA" at 100 bpm. Another slightly spacey session. I was dragging most of the day. Hopefully the cobwebs will clear tomorrow.

  29. #628

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    Week 9. Day 6 of "ATTYA" at 105 bpm. I had a better session today. Felt more focused. Usually by the end of the week, or two week run of a particular exercise I find myself repeating familiar motifs, lines, etc. Hopefully that information is being stored to be used in the future when playing over tunes. Tomorrow is a day of rest then we're at the halfway point!

  30. #629
    Week 9 at the conclusion of the week.
    I'm feeling very tangible and quantum changes in the ways my ear, fingerboard visualization, finger and hand coordination and ideation are working together. It's a combination of a familiar tune, getting comfortable with "adding" new colours to the form, and just getting my fingers to move with an ease I've not had before.
    It's really quite a trip taking such a steep learning curve for me and given the time that the pandemic affords me, just tackling things I've never really taken on before.
    For instance, there are ways to creatively outline harmony that take time to just work through. Triad pairs is one example. I'd avoided them because they can sound "notey" and I couldn't hear my way into thinking of them melodically. But with exploration time at a disciplined hour a day, I'm unlocking inversions, voice leading, embellishing and I'm finding that with raw proficiency under my fingers, they can and do find a role in playing melodic lines.
    There's a myth that great lines come from some inspired place; that I can summon a memorable stream of great ideas from scales and arpeggios. As I'm learning to play more elusive ideas, I'm learning how to use them. This format is proving to be invaluable.
    I will say as I'm comping my own parts based on the harmony, but not the voicings of the SuperChops projects, my integration of chords and lines is bridging the chasm between the two worlds. I'm really starting to work chords into my solos, lines into my chording and dyads in a whole new way. I listen to people like Fred Hersch or Ed Bikert and the veil of mystery is lifting. And this is through the close scrutiny that comes from putting down my chord backing track.

    I have a book called Jazz Composer's Companion by Gil Goldstein. It's a book on compositional ideas with contributions by Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley and tons more. They each talk about some aspect of composition and construction many of which are directly applicable to improvisational solos.
    Composing by interval. Line Shape. Symmetrical scales. ...so I'm looking through there to bring me to another level. Perhaps if anyone is interested in some things like that I can share them, but this is NOT meant to be a suggestion of how to treat the HR format, but rather, a reminder that given the time put into the instrument and the ramp up of speed on fundamental harmonic areas, there's something for everyone to bring them to the next level. I'm really feeling a coalescing that promises that the soup is starting to take on a life of its own.
    Yeah, having fun here.

  31. #630

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    Week 9 day 6. 85 BPM using the straight ATTYA ireal pro backing in Eb. Got my project work in early so I could catch night two of the Vanguard Sorey, Frisell, Lovano stream.

    This form in Eb has been a nice chance to hang with an old friend in a new surrounding. I continued to work on flowing lines in contrary directions and trying to keep focused on triplets in as many contexts as possible. But as has become the norm, I too am ready for a new tune.

  32. #631
    Week 10, secondary dominants, diatonic key centres and Blues for Alice based project 5-A
    Here're the materials to drop into the soup. Analysis, tips, observations, suggestions, questions will come when we dig in Monday.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-8-15-10-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-8-15-27-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-8-15-41-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-8-15-54-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-12-36-06-pm-png
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 02-07-2021 at 02:07 PM.

  33. #632
    A closer look:
    Project 5-A
    The form of this week's project is a 12 bar tour through the 7 chords of C major. Well, actually there are lots of ways to use this project, that's what's so much fun.
    Because it goes through the harmonized scale (CMaj B-7b5 E- G7 FMaj E- D- and turns around...) and there is a nice mixture of Secondary Dominants and/or tritone subs that preceed each diatonic area, it's got the potential to be a fun work out for your ear, your inside harmony, your 7th chords...and that's for starters.
    It's based on Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice. But is this a blues in the traditional way? Yes and No.
    Blues is in its most basic form, a journey from the I chord, and then an answer in a different tonal area (usually the IV) and then another "call" from the I and some kind of an "answer" that leads to the conclusion through the V7 chord. I IV I IV V I.
    This form starts at home tonality, C in this case, steps out and leads us to A- (VI). A min is also a tonic chord interchangable with I. Then we've got a step through to the IV chord via a secondary dominant change.
    Our E- chord is the tonic restated (think of this as the first inversion of the I chord if you'd like) and then the big turnaround via the V7 chord that takes us to the top. See the blues journey in there? Well you don't have to, it's got a great flow to it on its own and you don't need to see any kind of parallel to blues form at all.
    You'll see these kind of changes in pieces like Confirmation, and many other jazz vehicles. So this songform is an important one.
    Here's a chordal analysis of the piece. Diatonic tonal areas are in green circles. Dominant passages have arrows showing what they're "adjectives" to. It's one way to look at it. Or just ear it and enjoy the ride. These notes ARE JUST SUGGESTIONS. TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-3-50-15-pm-png
    Suggestions:
    Get off book ASAP. This is a great piece to really dig into and play by ear. Listen to Blues for Alice, find a version you like and savour the movement of the harmony. Get a gut feeling for where the changes happen and work with the form from your ear.

    Try outlining the changes with QUARTER notes first, or not really getting hung up on the triplets aspect. There'll be plenty of time once you can feel the ground under your feet.

    Outline the chords but don't always feel that you have to start with the root of the chord. Beginning your phrase with the third or the seventh of the chord will take you to unexpected places and try exploring different order in outlining the chord tones. If you can't find the chord tones of a chord within a two octave range and get to them without too much effort, then you've got a great way to apply yourself this week. THe diatonic chord format and the predictability within works great for this purpose.

    Start finding ways to connect your chord tones, and then once you're solid on diatonic areas, use the dominant passages to connect them. This tune is great to work on your fundamentals and connective tissue.

    If you're at the level where this is working for you, then give yourself this challenge: Hit each diatonic area in an unexpected part of the neck. In other words, the chords go from B-7b5 to Amin? Don't just slide to the root on the same string, branch out and root yourself on the unexpected string. Move up the neck when the harmony is moving down.

    If you remember the shape of the melody on one chord, build a variation on the next chord, or purposely create a similar but contrasting "answer" to the "question" posed by your time in the previous phrase.

    These are merely some suggestions for pulling yourself to another place or another level. The only real goal is to keep your hands moving on your guitar.
    That's what jazz is about. Learning what you can do and using that to make you a better player. This is a great piece to work with.

  34. #633

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    A closer look:
    Project 5-A
    The form of this week's project is a 12 bar tour through the 7 chords of C major. Well, actually there are lots of ways to use this project, that's what's so much fun.
    Because it goes through the harmonized scale (CMaj B-7b5 E- G7 FMaj E- D- and turns around...) and there is a nice mixture of Secondary Dominants and/or tritone subs that preceed each diatonic area, it's got the potential to be a fun work out for your ear, your inside harmony, your 7th chords...and that's for starters.
    It's based on Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice. But is this a blues in the traditional way? Yes and No.
    Blues is in its most basic form, a journey from the I chord, and then an answer in a different tonal area (usually the IV) and then another "call" from the I and some kind of an "answer" that leads to the conclusion through the V7 chord. I IV I IV V I.
    This form starts at home tonality, C in this case, steps out and leads us to A- (VI). A min is also a tonic chord interchangable with I. Then we've got a step through to the IV chord via a secondary dominant change.
    Our E- chord is the tonic restated (think of this as the first inversion of the I chord if you'd like) and then the big turnaround via the V7 chord that takes us to the top. See the blues journey in there? Well you don't have to, it's got a great flow to it on its own and you don't need to see any kind of parallel to blues form at all.
    You'll see these kind of changes in pieces like Confirmation, and many other jazz vehicles. So this songform is an important one.
    Here's a chordal analysis of the piece. Diatonic tonal areas are in green circles. Dominant passages have arrows showing what they're "adjectives" to. It's one way to look at it. Or just ear it and enjoy the ride. These notes ARE JUST SUGGESTIONS. TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-3-50-15-pm-png
    Suggestions:
    Get off book ASAP. This is a great piece to really dig into and play by ear. Listen to Blues for Alice, find a version you like and savour the movement of the harmony. Get a gut feeling for where the changes happen and work with the form from your ear.

    Try outlining the changes with QUARTER notes first, or not really getting hung up on the triplets aspect. There'll be plenty of time once you can feel the ground under your feet.

    Outline the chords but don't always feel that you have to start with the root of the chord. Beginning your phrase with the third or the seventh of the chord will take you to unexpected places and try exploring different order in outlining the chord tones. If you can't find the chord tones of a chord within a two octave range and get to them without too much effort, then you've got a great way to apply yourself this week. THe diatonic chord format and the predictability within works great for this purpose.

    Start finding ways to connect your chord tones, and then once you're solid on diatonic areas, use the dominant passages to connect them. This tune is great to work on your fundamentals and connective tissue.

    If you're at the level where this is working for you, then give yourself this challenge: Hit each diatonic area in an unexpected part of the neck. In other words, the chords go from B-7b5 to Amin? Don't just slide to the root on the same string, branch out and root yourself on the unexpected string. Move up the neck when the harmony is moving down.

    If you remember the shape of the melody on one chord, build a variation on the next chord, or purposely create a similar but contrasting "answer" to the "question" posed by your time in the previous phrase.

    These are merely some suggestions for pulling yourself to another place or another level. The only real goal is to keep your hands moving on your guitar.
    That's what jazz is about. Learning what you can do and using that to make you a better player. This is a great piece to work with.
    Thank you, JBN! A wealth of great information and inspiring ideas in your post. Much appreciated!

  35. #634

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    Week 10. Halfway! Day 1 of "Blues for Alice" in C at 87 bpm. Like everyone else, I'm used to playing this in F per the Real Book. I've enjoyed this new key signature and the harmonic twists and turns that Howard adds to the tune. Took a little getting used to in the beginning, but the second and third passes felt much more comfortable and musical. As always, I find some of the tritone sub stuff a bit awkward. Walking the tightrope of following those changes, but not so aggressively that I'm lead astray. For example, the G7b5 in bar 10 seems a bit odd. I need to get better at seeing these b5/#11 dominant chords so they pop up more automatically on the fretboard.

  36. #635
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    For example, the G7b5 in bar 10 seems a bit odd. I need to get better at seeing these b5/#11 dominant chords so they pop up more automatically on the fretboard.
    The only thing you really need to hear in that G7 is a setup dominant chord that prepares your ear for that return to C at the top of the tune. Don't worry about the alteration, that's really the choice of the player. Honestly, when I see a 7b5 or something similar functioning as a straight dominant, where many would play altered as a first choice, I tend to go for the whole tone; it's a scale I love and know many shades of. And you know what? It may not be what HR had in mind but we were both going to the same place and it works.

  37. #636

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    The only thing you really need to hear in that G7 is a setup dominant chord that prepares your ear for that return to C at the top of the tune. Don't worry about the alteration, that's really the choice of the player. Honestly, when I see a 7b5 or something similar functioning as a straight dominant, where many would play altered as a first choice, I tend to go for the whole tone; it's a scale I love and know many shades of. And you know what? It may not be what HR had in mind but we were both going to the same place and it works.
    That makes total sense. I guess that's what I mean when I talk about walking the tightrope of pursuing the alterations/tritones, but not to the point where I lose focus of the underlying harmony. Some of the more harmonically challenging detours that Howard puts in our way throughout this course I choose to tackle. Others not so much.

  38. #637
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    That makes total sense. I guess that's what I mean when I talk about walking the tightrope of pursuing the alterations/tritones, but not to the point where I lose focus of the underlying harmony. Some of the more harmonically challenging detours that Howard puts in our way throughout this course I choose to tackle. Others not so much.
    The treatment of dominants is an art/science in itself. It's the most personal, definitive, signature, obvious/subtle, evolutionary and telling part of solo construction. It's philosophy (does my note choice come from experience, study or rote imitation), aesthetics (do I want to create tension and how much do I want to incorporate dissonance and defy the harmony?), science (what are the rules by which I shape intervallic content and how are they applied?), politics (transcribe or not? Are these crucial phrase endings derived from adherence to older traditions or are we looking to create new parameters through use of new scale materials)... In short, the way you play your dominants will be with you your whole life, and at some point, you'll open that can of worms. 'til then, don't sweat it.
    The BFA project here just happens to provide a great convenient platform. Turnarounds and dominant resolutions are a loop-worthy project worth an hour a day of study alone until they're in your ear. I once had an Aebersold volume that had all kinds of turnarounds- and that was helpful for me. For a long time, my preference for dominants came from whole tones and symmetrical scales; that was from my love of Monk and Herbie Nichols. More recently my time spent hanging and playing with Mick Goodrick has changed my ear to include a much wider use of modal chord scales and the ways they can be used and that's an example of old dog new turnarounds.
    The more you understand the concepts of tension, dissonance, melodic flow, intervals and resolution, the more fun and fresh your turnarounds will be, so look forward to that chapter of your playing when you're ready to. For now, develop an appreciation for their importance and just keep developing your flow. And have fun!

  39. #638

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    Week 10. Day 2 of "Blues for Alice" in C at 92 bpm. It was a good session this evening. I'm enjoying working on these changes. I took JBN's note to heart about how to treat dominant chords. I'm trying to find the sound and approach that most resonates with me. I really enjoy the b9, so I was really focusing on that sound and shape over the b5 chords.

  40. #639
    Day 3. Progress is a constant stepping on the shoulders of what you were working on just before. In my case, I think in terms of ear and fingers and knowing. Some days I struggle with fingerings of new figures or what I call "templates for phrases"; phrases that have a structure but don't have to be played statically. Some days I struggle with hearing those very notes I'm becoming adept at playing. Some days it seems like an exercise that I can't think of ways to use this stuff musically. But in doing it day after day I've come to realize that the music comes from the moment when it all comes together.
    I'm seeing the real virtue of the HR projects because sometimes it doesn't seem like things are coming together, but two days later, when I pick up the instrument, it's as if I've known it all my life and the music just comes out of my fingers.
    I'm happy-no, ecstatic- for a time. Then I get comfortable. Then at the hint of boredom, it's time for the next challenge and it starts again.
    That's the elusive hand of satisfaction.

    D'Aquisto, how's the dominant challenge going? Would you like some ideas like symmetrical (whole tone or symmetrical diminished) scales can be used to really spice up your feeling of tension and movement?

  41. #640

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    Week 10. Day 3 of "Blues for Alice" in C at 97 bpm. A longer, more mentally draining day of work made for a bit of a less inspiring session this evening. I always look forward to picking up the guitar and playing and doing these exercises. It's also interesting to read your comments, JBN. Clearly you're at a more musically advanced stage, yet there appears to be some commonality with this program regardless of your skill level. The ups and downs. The days where it all seems to be flowing so effortlessly. The days where it all sounds rather repetitive.

    I've been trying to approach most of the dominants in this exercise from the b9 shape and sound. I'm not incorporating the full diminished scale. Sometimes I'm not sure about those extra notes as opposed to the simple arpeggio. If you'd like to pass along some suggestions, JBN that would be great.

    I do love how when I get in the groove of this tune the lines slip and slide into one another through the chords in a very be-bop like fashion.

  42. #641
    Thursday. Tonight I worked on line and contour shaping and continuing a line or figure through the bar lines. Going from a dominant section into a diatonic section without breaking continuity... it redefines the whole weight of the piece in really unexpected ways. I am going to really refine and explore this!
    I'm also reminded of how important is it to 1) clear my mind before practicing and 2) draw from the images, feelings, thoughts of things I'd done during the day (yes the two things seem contradictory but they're very related) and 3) set a short list of goals I want to pay attention to during the project time.

    Wow! Half way through the 20 weeks here. I will give you a preview ahead. The next 3 weeks are pieces that will not be devastatingly challenging, but will provide opportunities to really be imaginative with your playing abilities no matter what level you're at.
    After that, the learning curve changes quite a bit. We begin to incorporate different rhythmic aspects and really build on the foundations we've worked so hard at so far. In other words it's going to get really fun.

    Finally, a small anecdote that's always in my mind.
    I live in a city where a lot of musicians pass through, a lot of really talented and diverse personalities with a lot of enthusiasm to learn. I get to work with a lot of players and I honestly say I meet players from a very wide range of "raw talent". I whole heartedly believe that the only difference between the player who winds up seeing their "music years" as a failed experience and those who become the players you see on the covers of magazines is love of the music; love of their playing.
    Those who go on are the ones who love it so much they can't imagine stopping, so they just become better with time. Those who find more music in a YouTube video than in their own imagination are those who put the invisible wall of possibility in their path and find it more pleasurable to love music from afar.
    Just a half way boost for you all, you're becoming a player you didn't know 10 weeks ago, and no matter where you are in your journies, keep moving. There really is no limit to what will happen when it's your life you play.

  43. #642

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    Week 10. Day 4 of "Blues for Alice" in C at 102 bpm. I often find at this middle section of the week that I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a bit. Repeating many of the same ideas I've mined in the initial days of discovery. I'm trying to hear and play larger chunks rather than each measure or two. I'm also trying to keep the eighth note triplets as a central theme to my practice. Not that I'm playing them nonstop. Far from it. But I realize eighth note triplets is one of the areas of focus Howard wants us to work on at this stage. I'm still enjoying the process! During the work week I look forward to picking up my guitar and making music via this course every night.

  44. #643

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    Week 10. Day 5 of "Blues for Alice" in C at 107 bpm. Pretty good session. It started off quite musical. I tried to hone in on the 7b5/#11 chords. Maybe too much. They still throw me a bit. Not sure why. I like the b9 sound better. But I realize I should be able to play over those chords as easily as I can play over major 7th, minor 7th, Dom 7th, etc. More work to be done!

  45. #644
    Day 5. One of the joys of doing all this work is feeling the results when I'm actually playing with space and rhythm (when I'm not in practice mode). I've been working on feeling triplets as single units, single thoughts and focusing my playing on thinking in 2 bar units. I liken this to watching the road while driving and only briefly turning attention to what's inside the car. This concentrated work on the details of note-craft is making it much easier, no less possible to watch the bigger picture as it unfolds, and most importantly, to make decisions to intentionally go places I wouldn't have been aware of previously.
    I'm looking up a lot more now. Paradoxically, it increases my awareness of what I've played previously and I can use that to build a solo that holds together more as a whole.
    Practice the small pieces. When they can be taken for granted, make something larger. When that holds together, think bigger. Things are looking up.

  46. #645

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    D
    Practice the small pieces. When they can be taken for granted, make something larger. When that holds together, think bigger. Things are looking up.
    Nice! I like that, JBN!

    I was just talking to a talented friend of mine. I'm going to try and focus more on keeping the steady eighth note triplets going tomorrow. I admit I haven't kept the flow as constant as when we were dealing with eighth notes. I have to imagine that's a big part of Howard's "Super Chops."

  47. #646

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    Week 10. Day 6 of "Blues for Alice" in C. I initially bumped up the bpm by a degree of 5 to 112 bmp. Then I tried to play steady 8th note triplets and crashed fast and hard! So... I backed down to around 80 bpm and found the flow. Since we transitioned to 8th note triplets I haven't tried to keep them going for the entire 10 minutes. I've done that a number of times today. Gradually bumping up the bpm a little bit. I will continue tonight. I also played steady 8th note triplets, but to an Elvin Jones and Victor Lewis Drum Genius backing track without any harmony. That was even more challenging.

    I'm still a little confused about the strict adherence to steady 8th note triplets. Or even steady 8th notes as we did earlier in the course. That's clearly what Howard outlines in his program to achieve "Super Chops." Am I missing the full benefit of the course if I don't keep those 8th note triplets going?

  48. #647
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan

    I'm still a little confused about the strict adherence to steady 8th note triplets. Or even steady 8th notes as we did earlier in the course. That's clearly what Howard outlines in his program to achieve "Super Chops." Am I missing the full benefit of the course if I don't keep those 8th note triplets going?
    We're taking a pretty deep scoop into the Super Chops book here in these 20 weeks. I wanted to really delve into the many sides of soloing because over the years I've learned so much that's different from what I thought made up a good solo. The book itself takes a much more focused, and by definition narrow, course of study as it's taken.
    So one thing HR believes is that rhythm is an aspect of study that can be introduced after you've got a REALLY solid control of the tunes of line creation. That makes sense to me because it's easier to have a large, varied and fearless command over note production, then make the rhythmic, spacial and note length decisions that "frame" the essential lines. Also, this way, you don't get to hide any hesitation with saying "I meant to put that three bar rest in there."
    The triplets are sometimes thought of as the core of swing phrasing. Swing has a triplet feel with the first two notes tied into one note. If you can develop a feeling for weight inside a triplet, where the more important notes lie, how to use notes in groupings, how to choose contour...then use the notes in service of that arc, then you are the master of the notes. That's the goal of this very challenging program: to force you to master, not just the notes in speed, but the integration of your ear, hands, fretboard knowledge and storytelling abilities. If you can do that under the pressure of steady note playing, then once you begin other types of techniques and space, you can make the choice of HOW you use your notes, and not WHERE ARE THEY?

    And of course, at the core of it is the fact that in doing this, you are committing to an hour a day of thoughtful guided progressive practice; something the vast majority of "jazz guitar players" don't really do.
    There are non linear curves and plateaus in the course of these weeks but you yourself determine how to use your own cycles of creative receptivity.
    Hang in there and unexpected things will come. I've run this program three times in my years of playing and each time, it's taken me to places I always wanted to go but didn't have any idea of how.

  49. #648
    Week 11 Project 5-B Key of G Based on Blues for Alice
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-14-8-19-29-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-14-8-19-42-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-14-8-19-55-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-07-8-16-21-am-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-02-14-8-20-08-am-png

  50. #649

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    I just finished week 8. I still don't play as well as Howard Roberts yet - 12 more weeks to go, I suppose.

    -Travis

  51. #650

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    Quote Originally Posted by Socraticaster
    I just finished week 8. I still don't play as well as Howard Roberts yet - 12 more weeks to go, I suppose.

    -Travis
    I'm two weeks ahead of you and I don't sound like Howard Roberts yet either!

    Joking aside, I do feel this program is improving my playing. I've been iced in over the weekend with little to do but practice. I've really tried to focus on playing steady 8th note triplets for the entire 10 minutes per Howard's instruction. It's definitely challenging for me. Especially to not just noodle. I feel like a certain degree of "noodling" is inherent since you never drop a beat. But at least I am outlining the changes.

    Michael