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  1. #101

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    Hey, Jehu. I'm taking it very literally, personally.

    I want every nuanced inflection under conscious control, so I'm content practising super-slowly. I'm enjoying awareness of fingering and picking, but today I notice how I exhilarating playing with Benson picking can feel. Procedural knowledge before declarative - back to practising.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu




    Hey, question for David and/or the rest of the group: I know HR says to pick your tempo for the day based on how quickly you can play through perfectly. How literally are you taking that?


    .

    This 50 minute part of my day is sacred. I play for different things outside of that 50 minutes, but in the 50 minute bubble, my patience and safe criticism is my teacher.
    The moment I'm pushed beyond the speed of good execution is the moment I'll cover up with a safer approach, safer choices and at worst, an acceptance of sloppy execution. These things could become ingrained and at some point in the future I ask "Why don't I hear changes better? Why didn't I get better at getting off book when things were at a gentle pace?" and we all know who's to blame.
    Going through these projects is making me mindful of playing by ear vs. playing by knowledge of the changes. I can find peace with these two approaches and learn sides of interactive playing once and for all.
    Not all I'm getting from this program are things I could have seen when I started. It's good facing the potholes in the road. I can get out and patch them, and still get to where I'm going without an accident.

    After the 50 minutes are up, I have the luxury of working on stuff like voice leading and playing with others. When I do, I've noticed I'm a stronger player.

    Oh, I don't know if this week's changes are actually Tune changes, but the exercise is challenging and I'm finding that looking at 2 systems at a time (2 lines of the chart) and getting to know them that way is a good way to know the piece as a whole.
    To each their own.
    Have fun
    David

  4. #103

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    I am not certain but I think the suggested list of actual songs might have weeks 3 and 4 swapped with the two weeks after. Week 3 seems to be Bauble, Bangles, and Beads, not Angel Eyes.

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I am not certain but I think the suggested list of actual songs might have weeks 3 and 4 swapped with the two weeks after. Week 3 seems to be Bauble, Bangles, and Beads, not Angel Eyes.
    Hey, right you are!
    David

  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I am not certain but I think the suggested list of actual songs might have weeks 3 and 4 swapped with the two weeks after. Week 3 seems to be Bauble, Bangles, and Beads, not Angel Eyes.
    Good call! I'm not very familiar with the tune. It seems to be a series of ii-V-Is, with the tonal center rising in thirds, like the second half Giant Steps.

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Last week we looked at the Bb changes. From that week, here's one suggestion of things that could've been incorporated into a 10 minute session. Just to give you ideas of the devices, range, note choices available to you.
    David

    Attachment 41916Attachment 41917
    Sight Reading Factory(R) is paying off. I could almost read that (slowly - aka Bobby Shew's "Tempo-de-Learno")!

  8. #107

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    Bar 8, anyone know what's up with that Ami7 chord? I'm seeing A G C# D. Shouldn't the C# be natural?

  9. #108

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    Week 4!
    Same structure but again a shift in keys allowing a familiar set of changes on a new set of strings. Our end of week target tempo is up to 96. Be patient.
    Some observations: Let's keep contributing our results and questions, this is the point when the novelty starts to wear and it's a test of resolve. Stay with it and keep note of ways you grow and share it with the others here.
    I've noticed myself that with steadily increasing speed, but starting really slowly back in week 1, I've changed the way I use my right hand. I strive to get a more even and vocal like line, especially in the transitions between phrases. The slow speed allowed me to hear more clearly and work on right hand timing and phrasing. As the speed increases, a cleaner articulation gets gradually incorporated.
    More challenges than I could have imagined. So that's my ongoing challenge.
    David

    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-2b-lesson-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-2b-music-jpg

  10. #109

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    STRICTLY for amusement, example or inspiration
    Last week's project and Howard Robert's examples. Please excuse the annoying landscape orientation

    David

    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-img_8841-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-img_8843-jpg

  11. #110

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    I'll be unable to participate this week but look forward to next week.

  12. #111

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    At the end of Week 3, I feel things becoming slightly more fluid and less clammy. I took the group's advice and backed things up tempo-wise, so I'm currently hanging out in the high 40s (nowhere near this week's target of 96!). I'm finding the key change in Week 4 helpful; the changes make more sense to me in Bb.

    One complication is that the relentless, slow 8th notes are driving my wife nuts, so I need to steal moments when A) I am home, and B) She is not!

  13. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    At the end of Week 3, I feel things becoming slightly more fluid and less clammy. I took the group's advice and backed things up tempo-wise, so I'm currently hanging out in the high 40s (nowhere near this week's target of 96!). I'm finding the key change in Week 4 helpful; the changes make more sense to me in Bb.

    One complication is that the relentless, slow 8th notes are driving my wife nuts, so I need to steal moments when A) I am home, and B) She is not!
    I was thinking about tempo after the other post. I was thinking some people are driven to progress when pushed, some benefit from finding what space offers. Above all else, this 20 weeks is about finding out what's strong in you as a player, and using that to build a stronger voice, and finding out your weaknesses, and confronting them.
    If you want to play faster out of weak time, impatience or because of a paucity of ideas, then now is the time in your life to become a better player. It's a practice routine. It's going to be ugly. It's not going to be fun at times.
    If you want to play faster because it pushes you to get it to the next level by the end of that session, then that's surely taking the initiative through knowing your own approach.

    I do think it's the hardest thing for me to concentrate on good practicing when I know people are listening, or especially when other people are not enjoying it... or really disliking it.
    Do protect the sanctity of your practice time, most of all from your own self criticism. The things you get down here will make it a lot more enjoyable to others. For sure.
    Have you visited the introductory part of the book lately? You might make a list of things that you want to keep in mind as you go into each 10 minute section. Dynamics can bring life to the line of a solo. Trying to visualize directions in phrases, and creating contour, LEARNING TO PLAY BY EAR- by this I mean let your ear guide you rather than your fingers-and hear the line (this is surprisingly difficult but it's a great goal)... that kind of stuff.

    Anybody else struggling with worrying about not making breakthroughs? Observations and words of encouragement from anyone? Former lurkers? Silent strugglers?
    For all the times I was not feeling progress, avoiding that frustration really held me back. For me, it was finding another player that made the importance of my own time clear. Ironic but true.

    Keep at it. The breakthrough is waiting
    David

  14. #113

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    I've been keeping with it. So far for me, the benefits have been getting more fluid moving around the fingerboard. That alone is worth 20 weeks practice, I think, at this point in my development.

    A stead stream of 8th notes really helps me appreciate how important rhythms are to good phrasing and lines--it's hard to sound hip like this!

    I'm basically ok at these tempos (in the 80s and 90s), but that's partially because I don't worry too much about the occasional clam. For me now, the benefit of pushing myself a bit outweighs playing each note perfectly. I'll be surprised if I can keep up the tempos for the whole course, though. I can barely play scales at 200 right now, much less lines. But we'll see--17 weeks more development should help!

  15. #114

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    I'm still doing this program. Last week was a bit broken, I only got to practise on 3 days. This week should be better, so hopefully I'm soon back on track. Speed wise I started this week at 60 bpm and that is plenty for me. I'm still using other songs, so this week I have On the sunny side of the street. I do feel that my ability to find chordtones has increased during these weeks. One thing I noticed also, Im using iReal Pro backing tracks for practising. If I pick swing style in the track, then playing even 8'th notes becomes impossible for me. Which is kind of obvious I guess.

  16. #115

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    I love this week's project. As far as changes go, I find this piece easier than last week's. It's Angel Eyes.
    A nice workout with minor tonalities and turnarounds therein, and a bridge that contrasts nicely in major.
    See what you think. Ask questions. Have fun!
    David

    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-12-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-11-jpg

  17. #116

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    Well, today I learned I have a lot less vocabulary for minor ii-V-i than for major.

  18. #117

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    Just a couple of questions on progress on this week's project. I'm wondering how people are doing with this week's changes. In particular, in the B part, are people finding it easier to get around on changes, anticipating the shift in tonal areas and letting their lines reflect that?
    As the tempos are increasing, are people keeping up? Finding it easier? Changing the way they hear or the things you wind up playing through doing this every day?
    I'm definitely enjoying the process of being able to think of new ideas each time around; not falling back on the same things.

    David

    Here's an inspired version of Jim's approach. Of course he's not limited to 8ths but you can hear him thinking about how it all goes together. I've always loved this one, maybe it'll help in hearing the changes in a clear way.
    Have fun

  19. #118

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    I still have a bit of trouble hearing the "logic" of changes at such slow tempos. When I listen to recordings of Angel Eyes, it all makes sense. But at 44 bpm struggle a bit to hear the resolutions, especially on what I think are probably simple passing chords. That said, I am struggling less than I was at the beginning. I did miss all of week three, but I am back in the saddle and looking forward to more.

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I still have a bit of trouble hearing the "logic" of changes at such slow tempos. When I listen to recordings of Angel Eyes, it all makes sense. But at 44 bpm struggle a bit to hear the resolutions, especially on what I think are probably simple passing chords. That said, I am struggling less than I was at the beginning. I did miss all of week three, but I am back in the saddle and looking forward to more.
    Hey, welcome back!
    Yeah. That's why I asked how everyone's doing. One thing I realized was at slow speeds, you kinda have to hear where you are, where you're going in the big picture, to really make a thoughtful solo line, what you call logic.
    I think that at a faster speed, you can hear and take cues from what's happening around you, and even let the first beat of a change cue you in to where you should be. But in a strong solo, you anticipate and play "into" a new chord that you know, feel and hear is there. It's meeting something because you know the piece well enough.
    That's why I thought I'd ask this question at this point, and thanks wzpgsr, that's a great observation. Learning pieces at speed can sometimes let you focus on your strong points, and avoid that very vulnerability of anticipating the chords changing. That's one reason I encourage students to get off book; it tests whether you really hear what's going on on in the piece an when the changes occur.

    I'm starting to see the Roberts method in a broader way, not just for the chops, but the ear too. Clever and spot on course of study.

    Curious to hear how others are relating to the changes and their ear, finger and perceptual growth.

    David

  21. #120

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    Here's where I'm at. Angel Eyes, 46 bpm. This is my third run from tonight's practice, starts a bit slowly, but I think I went to some new places tonight. Feeling good. Lots of clunkers, but I am starting to feel the changes a bit more, not relying on the book as much. You can probably hear when I am not confident in a particular change—there's a sort of hesitation or tentativeness going for the nearest note I can find, which results in my time already poor time faltering even more. I have the A section pretty much committed to memory so for the next several days I am going to really work hard to memorize the B section and figure out how to better handle the changes.


  22. #121

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    Hey dudes, sorry I haven't been the world's greatest contributor to the thread. But I'm hanging in there, mid-way through Week 5 at a blistering tempo of 58bpm. I think that it was a good idea to embrace the slow, ensuring that I can nail the changes before ratcheting it up.

    Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with wgpszr (who I will henceforth refer to as "Larry" in the absence of vowels) -- it's really hard to hear the tune at this tempo rather than a series of at-times-loosely related chords. Especially given HR's sometimes unexpected passing chords and turnarounds.

    I'm finding this one to be a great exercise for working on minor resolutions after all of the major ii-Vs of previous weeks. There is a lot of hanging out on Dm, so it's been fun to emphasize the difference between the major and minor 7 and avoid having it sound like My Funny Valentine. But when a bog-standard ii-V rolls around, oh man, all that hard work in the previous weeks comes blasting through! At 58bpm!

    I'm still finding the shifting tonal centres of the B section tricky after the relative staticness (?... staticity?) of the A section, but like Larry, I'm hoping to have it under control by the end of the week!

    I'd post a clip, but I pretty well sound exactly like Larry at the moment. So... sounding great, Larry!
    Last edited by Jehu; 05-19-2017 at 08:33 AM.

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with wgpszr (who I will henceforth refer to as "Larry" in the absence of vowels)
    Hey man, you spelled it wrong! I will you spare you the backstory on my handle. For the record, it's pronounced "what's up, gasser?", but you can call me gasser for for short.

  24. #123

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    Whew. Glad you're gasser now, those letters are all ones my fingers hate on the keyboard! I've been listening a lot to the clip and there're a lot of thoughts (good thoughts) that go with what I hear.
    I know 50 minutes is at once a lot of time and not nearly enough time. At this tempo, you're right Jay, it's hard to see and hear the whole landscape. It's a little like the feeling I had when I was driving through the Southwest a few years ago. Just a lot of flat, then some hilly rocky areas, then some flat, then some mountains off to the left... But when I flew back, far above (and quite a bit faster) I had this "So THAT's what I was driving through!" revelation.
    I posted that Jim Hall because that's the landscape I hear, even at a really slow tempo. When I play the Cherokee project a few weeks ago, I hear Charlie Parker's KoKo even at a really slow tempo.
    Maybe it's not a bad idea to listen to a real time version of a "fleshed out" recording. Not to copy, but just so you can see where the mountains appear, and how far you are to the end and where those changes occur.

    If you have the time, I find it useful to just take a small passage, maybe 4 or 8 bars of the B section and loop them. Then really get to know them, like you would a small town you pass through in on route 66. Get to know it so every time you come to it you can say "Hey I hear this, it's familiar, I don't need to be timid in finding out where I am."
    If you look at a piece being made up of these smaller sections, if your trip is made up of familiar sections connected by a passing chord, your playing takes on a new dimension. You can do more.

    That's the way it worked with me anyway.

    Back to the wheel...
    David

  25. #124

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    If you're looking for some inspiration, Wes Montgomery recorded Angel Eyes in Dm on Groove Brothers and So Much Guitar. Although some of the changes sound a bit different, this is helping me to hear the harmony a bit better.

  26. #125

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    I've been thinking about how many different jazz books/resources encourage you to work on the constant 8th notes thing. Each has a slightly different take

    * "The Joe Pass Guitar Style" sets out lots of continuous 8th note solos. He says "By eliminating rhythmic variety, you force the ear into building better melodies. 8th-note studies also tend to avoid the practice of playing memorized licks." (p. 35)
    * Joe Elliot's "Introduction to Jazz Guitar soloing" has the "connecting game," where you play continuous 8th note arpeggios. (There was a study group on this board for that book.) There's a connection to superchops here, since Joe Elliot is an MI guy and the book is published by MI, which I believe grew out of Howard Roberts's GIT.
    * Mark Levine talks about the "continuous scale exercise" or the like

    And the one I found most intriguing:
    * In "Forward Motion," Hal Galper first talks about hearing a continuous 8th-note line that targets chord tones. Then, he says you apply hipper rhythms. For example, he says, "This is achieved by substituting rhythmically syncopated hearing by letting the rhythms select which notes you want to play." (p. 62) But he says you can only do this once you "have acquired the ability to hear and execute a continuous 8th note line."
    Last edited by dingusmingus; 05-21-2017 at 08:56 PM. Reason: typo

  27. #126

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    Similar chord changes to last week's project but different location on the fingerboard. If you were able to get off book on last week's project, this will have a nice sense of familiarity to it.

    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-13-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-14-jpg

    And for curiosity and reference, this is Howard Roberts' suggestion of some things that might have worked for this past week. See if you can identify what he's doing and isolate individual ideas, try them out, change them and put them into other places in the changes. Look at things like range, where a phrase begins...ends, contour, things like that and see if you can think of any one of those ideas while you play.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-15-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-16-jpg
    Have fun!
    David

  28. #127

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    I'm a day behind schedule this week. First night with Angel Eyes in A. Kicking my butt. Probably need to slow it down a bit. I played various versions of Angel Eyes on loop for awhile today. I'm hearing the changes pretty good now, at least in the recorded versions, but still having trouble when I play it.

  29. #128

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    I'm familiar with this tune having long been a big fan of the Jim Hall version, but those changes in the B section still manage to baffle me. I think I need to take David's suggestion and loop some smaller sections.

    Also, like gasser, I'm finding the key change much more difficult this time around. With the previous tunes it was a welcome change that did not take long to acclimate to, and sometimes actually felt easier than the original key. But not this time!

    Despite the challenges, I can already see some results in a few short weeks when I freely improvise over other material. My fretboard awareness has improved substantially, and my options really feel like they've opened up.

  30. #129

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    Just a few random thoughts that have been floating around my head the past couple of days.

    - Playing at tempo with a recorded version of the tune helps me hear changes better.

    - But that doesn't translate into playing the changes decently (go figure, i know)

    - Passing chords seem to take on what feels to be a false importance at slow tempos. For instance, the F#-7 leading into the B section. Best I can do with this is try to find the nearest chord tone and try to accurately spell out the chord.

    - Chord tones of minor chords can be tricky to approach with enclosures and other embellishments if you're not cognizant of what key center you're actually playing in and what the diatonic notes are.

    - The Bm-7 that Howard approaches the E7alt frequently sounds off to me.

    - Given the amount of time over every chord, there's a temptation for me at slow tempo to try to squeeze in as many different notes or spell out every chord as thoroughly as I can. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It makes me appreciate the simplicity of well written melodies, and how they use space and taste. For example, over an E7-9 in the turnarounds, for example, you might just play something like a single G, or G-Ab-A, but I feel like I have to hit the b9, the b7, other altered tones, etc.

    - I dialed back the tempo a bit. The fingering model that I've been practicing for a while is leaving my high and dry in some situations, so I need more time to "think".

    - In trying to simplify, I've messed around a bit with keeping it really simple: either tonic or dominant. I don't think it's working very well.
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 05-25-2017 at 05:30 PM.

  31. #130

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    Howard is the epitomy of a "guitarist" .. any key any position any time

    Before I tackle any tune..if it has a vocal version..I learn the lyric and just the basic chords to it..then sing it and comp for myself..then just sing the tune no guitar..then just play the chords no singing..do that several time until I have it down..then study the lesson

  32. #131

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Just a few random thoughts that have been floating around my head the past couple of days.

    - Playing at tempo with a recorded version of the tune helps me hear changes better.
    Yeah, this is when you can hear the whole tune, sense what it's supposed to feel like as a whole. That's the forest and not the trees. In your mind it's more like visiting it as a tourist, you can walk around and know where the good spots are, even get there without having to be responsible for knowing where to turn... but the slow project exercise immerses you so you speak like a native; be aware of the different kinds of trees that can grow and why.

    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    - But that doesn't translate into playing the changes decently (go figure, i know)

    I remember struggling with this. Would it be helpful to anyone to have some kind of brief "map" or an analysis of the piece so you can isolate and anticipate the "corners" you need to watch out for? Ex: Be aware that at Bar 11 you'll be adjusting your positions and your ear for a new tonal centre, you'll stay here for 2 bars...

    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    J
    - Passing chords seem to take on what feels to be a false importance at slow tempos. For instance, the F#-7 leading into the B section. Best I can do with this is try to find the nearest chord tone and try to accurately spell out the chord.
    Yup. In terms of the forest and the trees, they're not the dominant species, but they are functions in themselves that you will need time and time again. Recognizing and making them into melodic ideas is worth the effort, especially at a slow tempo. Think of these as going to the target chord that follows; make the ideas flow into the next chord. In the "looping exercise" you might take the passing chord and connect it with the target area, then hear the next changes even while you're in the passing chord. This is called anticipation and the further back from the fourth beat and bar line you can hear, the more your idea will have some impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    - Chord tones of minor chords can be tricky to approach with enclosures and other embellishments if you're not cognizant of what key center you're actually playing in and what the diatonic notes are.

    Good observation. Many students that try to work at actual song tempo can't actually "hear" at that speed. So they unconsciously keep their ideas non-committal until the change (or the rhythm section) tells them where they are. That's a big difference in the strength of a phrase, how and where you begin it. Hearing it before you play is a difficult but essential skill and goal. But let that come in time; patience with awareness of the goal is what you need now.

    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr


    - Given the amount of time over every chord, there's a temptation for me at slow tempo to try to squeeze in as many different notes or spell out every chord as thoroughly as I can. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It makes me appreciate the simplicity of well written melodies, and how they use space and taste. For example, over an E7-9 in the turnarounds, for example, you might just play something like a single G, or G-Ab-A, but I feel like I have to hit the b9, the b7, other altered tones, etc.
    Well it's your time, and different approaches can be useful in different ways. Good for you for seeing that!
    Y'know, on this topic, I feel it's useful to see the Howard Roberts program here on different levels:
    - Just playing notes in time. At some point, just developing the ability to play in good time regardless of note choice is a really good thing. It's also where you can learn to respect time and feel for every note through confidence with both hands coordinating. You're practicing right and left hand coordination.
    - Next level is knowing good note choice. Scale and chord knowledge. Feel the flow but draw in interesting line with notes that are appropriate. You're practicing ear and knowledge coordination.
    - Next level might be controlling the contour. Being aware of your options and being bold enough to exercise them. This is a linear matter; creating interesting and purposeful lines (... eventually phrases) with the options you're given (scale, chord tone, motif, alluding to the original melody of a piece...). You're practicing hand and ear coordination.
    This is my order of organization at least. First time I toyed with the Roberts course was a long time ago. It was on the notes level back then. Each time I revisit it, I learn more and make breakthroughs in different ways.
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr

    - I dialed back the tempo a bit. The fingering model that I've been practicing for a while is leaving my high and dry in some situations, so I need more time to "think".
    Do you ever take a single string approach? In part or all of a section play your ideas on one string? This will break down a lot of traps, and open up new areas. Try it.

    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    - In trying to simplify, I've messed around a bit with keeping it really simple: either tonic or dominant. I don't think it's working very well.
    Are you off book at this point? Can you play the form by ear? Sometimes breaking the forest down into tall and short trees can limit you from seeing how the light and the contour of changes shape the purpose of the line. Good to get frustrated, though. It'll give you a purpose for each 10 minute segment.

    Hope this gives you some ideas. Great sticking with it!! These questions come up because you're actually making progress. Make a journal of problems and those become goals. Share them with us!
    And everyone else, let's contribute our thoughts to solutions. Thoughtful introspection leads to breakthrough.

    Good luck and have fun-
    David

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    I remember struggling with this. Would it be helpful to anyone to have some kind of brief "map" or an analysis of the piece so you can isolate and anticipate the "corners" you need to watch out for? Ex: Be aware that at Bar 11 you'll be adjusting your positions and your ear for a new tonal centre, you'll stay here for 2 bars...
    I would certainly find another analysis helpful. I think I need to reread Roberts' intro to the book as well. I grew up playing a lot of what is now called "jam band" rock and roll, with strong funk and blues influences, and less strongly, jazz influences. So while the idea of a single key center is pretty much how I used to operate, the idea of quickly moving key centers is not. Even since I started embracing jazz a few years ago, it's been mainly from a chord tone and embellishment perspective. They way I've been trying to handle some of the more complicated changes is to determine if they are diatonic subs (like iii or vi for a major I sound) dominant sounds (playing ii or V7 stuff over the ii-V7, or playing the actual V7 sound over whatever dominant sub is being used). What seems to throw me for a loop is the altered dominants. Learning lots, not enough hours in my day to allow me to drill all the new discoveries as much as I would need to, I'm afraid.

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Do you ever take a single string approach? In part or all of a section play your ideas on one string? This will break down a lot of traps, and open up new areas. Try it.
    I have done this in the past. Really useful. Early on I worked a bit with the two-chord modal one-string practice from Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist book, but I'm definitely going to try this tonight on one of my Angel Eyes runs.


    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Are you off book at this point? Can you play the form by ear? Sometimes breaking the forest down into tall and short trees can limit you from seeing how the light and the contour of changes shape the purpose of the line. Good to get frustrated, though. It'll give you a purpose for each 10 minute segment.
    My initial reaction is to say that I am maybe 90% out of book on the A section for improv, but I probably look up more than I need to out of a sense of insecurity. B section I could probably hum to you without the book, but not there yet when the timer is running.

    Thanks for your thoughts. This is a great practice routine, very grateful you started this study group.

  34. #133

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    Week 7! No new changes this week, but new ideas from what we've done up 'til now.
    This is an important week: Learning from what we've done so far.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-18-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-17-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-19-jpg

    Have fun!
    David

  35. #134

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    Revisiting the first tune is great. So much easier to hear now.

    I think there must be a typo with the C+11 chord in the A section. Going by the key signature, the B should be flat, but Roberts writes the chord as C+11, which I take to mean a major #11. Roberts' suggested chord voicing look like it'd be impossible to play as written, so my gut is telling me to play this as a C7+11.

    What is everyone else playing for that chord?

  36. #135

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    I suspect he's going for a lydian dominant type of sound there? I'm not actually using his voicings, so for that part I'm just hitting C7+extensions.

  37. #136

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    Well, I can't say these tunes are that much easier now, but I feel like I'm clawing away at some progress. I'm currently hovering at 66ish bpm, roughly half of the target tempo!

    This would be far easier if I were to just take a key centre approach, but I am really trying to make sure to address every chord and not float over anything. I think that is what is keeping the tempo back for me, but I think keeping the discipline to do this will be worth it.

    Another thing (that David has mentioned a few times) is that I am definitely not off the page on any of these tunes yet, and that is probably an issue. I have large sections down, but I can't make it through these tunes without looking at the chart. I'm going to make more of an effort on the upcoming tunes.

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    This would be far easier if I were to just take a key centre approach, but I am really trying to make sure to address every chord and not float over anything. I think that is what is keeping the tempo back for me, but I think keeping the discipline to do this will be worth it.
    Great! Keep making headway. But also remember that one of the things we're doing here is establishing good habits. In post #139, the fifth response I wrote, I talked about some ways to focus. in #138, Wolfen had some great ideas about how to relate to the changes musically. Ear training is not only an essential skill to have if you're going to improvise, but it's a dangerous ability to neglect. Way too many players get through the foundations without ear training and they pay for it dearly when they're trying to focus on notes at a higher tempo. Now's the time to make the musical as well as the kinesthetic (in the hands) connection.

    Jay, if it's not your ears that guide you through the harmonic landscape of a tune, then what is it? Everything else: rote finger movement, lick vocabulary, theoretical knowledge, scale notes, chord tones... will slow your creative process down if they don't come from the ear.
    So let me suggest something really taboo here. Take one iteration of the 10 minute loop, maybe even outside of the 50 minute program, and find your speed, and then play only bass line for the changes. Get a feel for what's going on and what the piece sounds like and play a bass line. You can record this, then solo over it.
    Making a bass line is a great exercise.
    A good friend and teacher was playing with a horn player and the horn player played well inside of his note choice but Mick (my friend) told him "why don't you play a bass line while I'm soloing?" Well, it proved to be a real challenge and a game changer. His playing got stronger in the soloing from the awareness.
    Try that. Even as a warm up exercise, to play lines like a bass player on quarter notes. We'll call it supplemental ear training.

    When you establish this balance of "hearing", "knowing" and "playing", you'll find you can play notes as ideas, ideas as thoughts, thoughts as ways to respect the contours of the piece.

    Try breaking the piece into tonal areas, know the boundries (I have yet to lay out some "maps" I'd said I could... 'gotta get to that) and create a little universe in there. Get the notes down but not as just scale exercises, think things like:
    What note am I reaching for?
    Where am I starting, besides always the root?
    How can I get different arpeggio pieces to work by combining them with scale notes?
    Can I consciously change direction when I want?
    That idea I just had... can I use it as the basis for the next idea?
    Most of all, What does it SOUND like?
    Now all these things are NOT beyond you right now. They become possible, easier and even fun once they are guided by your ear.

    Give this a try and see if this helps this week.
    This is a great time to take inventory of the big picture and fall back and regroup before new changes next week.
    Good luck!

    David

  39. #138

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    Just some more random thoughts:

    - My lack of fretboard knowledge is really revealing itself. At the same time, I feel like I am learning tons about the fretboard. Go figure.

    - I re-read what David just wrote about using the ear. I realized that when I have "floated" over the changes using the key center approach, my ear starts to work harder than it does with my typically more vertical chord tone approach. Although I have by no means come close to mastering this, I'm finding that half-step resolutions, that lend some interesting altered color over the ii-Vs, sort of find their way *by ear* into my playing when I use the current key center's major (or minor) scale as my "home base". I can see how liberating this would be, as it might allow me to stop thinking so damn much about the chord tones of the moment, their appropriate neighboring tones based on the chord's mode in the current key, etc. Intellectually, at least, it now strikes me as a much more natural way of improvising melodies and more readily and naturally lends itself to melodies that stretch over several bars.

    - Outside the program, I need to spend a lot of time boning up on arpeggios as a component of scales and a function of the key center as opposed to treating them like disconnected fingerings. They way I generally practiced arpeggios in the past--isolated from their key center and therefore from the very idea of musicality--seems extremely detrimental. As an aside, Richie Zellon's bebop blues course has started me down the road to correcting this, but it's a slow process as he introduces new fingerings when he introduces new substitutions to a basic I7-IV7-V7 progression.

    - Outside of the 50 minute regimen, I did something I've never really done before: allowed the chord shapes to structure my improvisation. This also was rather liberating, if new and rather clunky for the time being. Roberts' voicings tend to cover the whole neck over the length of a piece. So by strumming one of his voicings and just noodling around a bit out of time in that position, trying to express the sound of each chord, I started to free myself from what tends to be single position, safe-zone playing.

    - In another thread about practicing slowly, docbop, who I believe studied with Roberts, talked about how important it is to Roberts approach that you not make any mistakes and that you play slowly enough to do this. It's easy to gloss over this guideline. I have been feeling some pressure to speed things up, but I need to fully grasp this idea that if I play crappy a higher tempo, I'm not doing myself any favors. For the rest of this initial 20 week program, I'm going to stick to my actual tempo. Outside of the regimen, I will explore real-world tempos, but in the 50 minutes I am going to stay by-the-book.

  40. #139

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    David,

    The bass line thing is an excellent suggestion. I gave it a go this morning and I can definitely see that it will be a beneficial (and fun!) thing to add to the mix. I get your point about letting the ear be the primary guide, and how over-reliance on the lead sheet will inevitably be a hindrance to that goal.

    Your earlier post (#139) was solid gold, and though I didn't respond to it I did spend time pondering the points you made. Regarding your 3 levels, I think at this point I am firmly somewhere in number 2: I'm mostly hitting "good" (safe?) notes and am working on carving out interesting contours, trying to unite my ear with what I see on the fretboard. I'm certainly not to the point of laying down purposeful lines or phrases with intention, but I am trying to focus on developing the ear-hand coordination that is necessary to do so.

    To give you a sense of where I am, here is (mercifully) one lap through the Week 4 changes. This is fairly representative of what the other 28 minutes sounds like, questionable note choices and all:


    And for the hell of it, here is an idea of what my comping practice is sounding like. As I mentioned I am not using HR's voicings, but rather spending the first 10 minutes comping through the changes using small, improvised voicings:


    This programme has been a humbling experience, and I appreciate your guidance. You are one generous dude!

  41. #140

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    Here's a tiny aside I thought I'd throw in on a lighter note. For those who've been following this program, I'd say you're a tiny minority of those who consider themselves jazz guitar students. At least in terms of finding regular commitment to the cause.
    I've had the great fortune to have kept the company of some of the most inspirational and accomplished players in the jazz world today, and one thing I found out: They're, for the most part, ordinary people who came to love playing and did it with love. They found that point where each note became rewarding and it soon became the most rewarding thing in their lives. But it wasn't magical or even fun to listen to at the start, it was because they loved it and never stopped, never gave up.
    I'm convinced this is the single most important thing to owning and mastering improvisational guitar.
    Just doing it. For those with the program here, you've got it. You're doing what most others don't. That's pretty amazing.
    David
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2017-06-03-2-20-44-pm-jpg

  42. #141

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    This week we begin afresh with a new challenge: The triplet. This establishes a sense of swing into the rhythmic feel plus it can really impart a sense of direction and identity to each beat.
    Be patient as you assimilate this new element; we'll be with it for a few weeks.
    The tune is a great exercise in itself, but it's also a tricky form because it changes key several times. It's based on the changes of All The Things You Are, so you can get a feeling for the rhythmic landscape by listening to examples. I've always loved the way Lee Konitz played this tune. Yes, get it in your ear and try to find the sound to guide your fingers.
    I will draw out a "roadmap" of the tune in a separate post if that's helpful.

    David
    So here's the next Project:
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-20-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-21-jpgHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-fullsizerender-22-jpg

  43. #142

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    I'd be lying if I said I'm not glad tomorrow is a day off. I'm not NOT glad, but I'm not glad, too...

    I've been spending a lot of time outside of the 50 minutes listening to recorded versions of the tunes, trying different things over smaller sections, etc., but at this point most of it goes out the window when it comes time to dig in. In the search for breaking the occasional monotony, I've started pulling licks out that I never gave proper consideration to after transcribing them. One is the Cry Me a River lick and the other is the major ii-V-I bit from the head of Hot House. Outside of the 50 minute regimen I've been deconstructing licks and trying them in different situations. A couple of times this evening I managed to insert them at appropriate times, vanilla, or changing them up a bit, playing the cry me a river lick a half step above altered dominants, etc. At times it sounded pretty cool.

    I've been reading Hal Galper's thoughts in his book Forward Motion, and if I can scrape together the time I'd like to write out some guide tone melodies around which to base at least some of my improvisation in this program. Before I hit record tonight, I did try playing eighth notes for the thirds of each chord in Angel Eyes. Definitely some benefit there for me, but not at my current tempo. Eight eighth notes on the same note at 46 BPM is enough to make my eyes glaze over.

    Enjoy the day off tomorrow. I suspect my metronome will be going backwards for a bit as we enter triplet territory. Only thirteen weeks to go!

  44. #143

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    The first night of triplets....challenging in ways I did not fully expect. Had to drop the tempo down to 37 in order to do what I wanted to do, which was play the thirds of each chord as triplets. Subdividing at such a slow tempo was killing me, as was the real-time hunt for the right notes. I've been coming to a full realization of just how incomplete my fretboard knowledge is.

    Outside the official practice time, I'm working out the arpeggios for the required chords relative to whatever major scale position I'm using. I was going to try to stick to just root position on the fifth and sixth strings but I don't like jumping around so much. Funny how I'm discovering that what HR recommends at the beginning really does seem to be a great way of approaching this.

  45. #144

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    Yes, I've backed down to 48, but even at that tempo 10 minutes of solid triplets are quite a workout! Still, the change to triplets is a welcome change of pace aurally.

    I've started really making an effort to nail down the changes and get off the page, both by just comping through at a more normal tempo and by taking David's suggestion of a quarter-note bass line. It helps that I'm already somewhat familiar with ATTYA, but all of the tritone subs that HR adds in throw a bit of a wrench in that!

  46. #145

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    Here's a little suggestion when looking at the piece as a whole. Your first section is made up of a little journey of about starts you off in Ab and right at the end of the 6th bar it takes you into C for two bars.

    Then if you move the whole thing up a fifth (or down a fourth) you can do the whole thing again. Sort of like when we were doing a piece in one key one week, then we'd move it up a 4th into a new key and do it again. Only you have a two line little story that moves up and the story gets told again.

    Then we get to section B. That's in G for a nice space, a line; just play and enjoy that.
    And then it moves to E for the last line of the B section.

    C section is a return to Ab and a whole lot of ways to move around within that landscape.

    That's the big map. See if thinking in sections helps you to hear.

    As far as triplets, if you practice three note words, like do re me, or chord tones, or going from one note to another with a passing note... you know, having something in mind, then you can hit a triplet and treat it like one thing.

    We can discuss this further as the week goes on.

    For anyone else trying to hear the triplets, they are the foundation for a swing feel. If you tie the first two notes, the third note is a small breath that leads you to another "heavier" note. That's swing phrasing.

    Nice going!

    David

  47. #146

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    There are quite a few versions of Lee Konitz playing this tune... what is the one you speak of TruthHertz?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  48. #147

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    Hi everyone. I just wanted to check in. I started a few weeks behind everyone else; I just finished Day 1 of Week 3 this morning. So far so good. I'm finding it very challenging not to jump around the neck to a few favorite and comfortable fingering positions for each key center, but I'm getting better each day (hopefully).

    So far I haven't really noticed any improvements transfer over to my soloing when playing over changes in a live setting, but I'm putting my trust in the program and approaching each session with attentiveness and focus. I know at the very least that I won't be getting any worse, lol. We'll see how things are in another 17 weeks. I suspect that this approach isn't necessarily designed to make one solo well - it's designed to put you in a position to begin to learn how to solo well. Sort of like learning the rules of grammar, and expanding your vocabulary, doesn't make you a good writer - but it puts you in the position to become a good writer. Or, rather, it's difficult to be a good writer if you have a limited vocabulary and can't string together a well structured sentence.

    -Travis

  49. #148

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    Have any of you improvised a set of simpler changes over the chords?

    That is, when your harmony is, say, a iii-vi, do you think of these chords as the I and use chord tones of the I?

    During a two measure ii-V7alt do you treat each measure as just V7alt (or just ii) or do you isolate each chord separately and focus on the chord tones of each chord?

    Over tritone subs (say D7alt subbing for Ab7) do you use chord tones and approaches from the actual V7 or from the sub?

  50. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Have any of you improvised a set of simpler changes over the chords?

    That is, when your harmony is, say, a iii-vi, do you think of these chords as the I and use chord tones of the I?

    During a two measure ii-V7alt do you treat each measure as just V7alt (or just ii) or do you isolate each chord separately and focus on the chord tones of each chord?

    Over tritone subs (say D7alt subbing for Ab7) do you use chord tones and approaches from the actual V7 or from the sub?
    I have definitely been using simplified changes and other types of substitutions. For better or worse (probably worse) I tend to ignore the idiosyncrasies of Robert's changes (such as passing chords and tritone subs), and I just use a more vanilla mental road map.

  51. #150

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    When you say you're ignoring the passing chords and subs, do you mean you're recording the chords in a more vanilla fashion? I've been using HR's changes as written for chords, but find that improvising over them as if they were the vanilla chords often sounds pretty good.