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  1. #1

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    This is a submission for an assignment set on my Music Education postgrad, thought I'd share

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    Needs Analysis - Jazz Rhythmic Phrases

    I’m interested in addressing a very specific issue with learning jazz improvisers. Most jazz students have a good grasp of music theory, scales, modes and so on, but lack the ability to construct musical lines that sound actually sound like jazz. Solos tend to be faltering, meandering and lacking in a sense of pulse - what jazz musicians term ‘noodling.’

    A fundamental part of moving beyond this is to be able to create convincing jazz rhythms which the student can then use to create melodic lines. To quote Dizzy Gillespie’s description of his process of improvisation, he said that he would ‘find a rhythm and throw some notes on it’, an idea shared by many great jazz musicians and educators, and certainly something that relates to my own experience as an improviser.

    However, I haven’t found many commercial learning resources focussed on helping students find these rhythms; certainly not compared to pitch-based resources. Obviously, one should always give the simple and vital advice to listen to lots and lots jazz (immersion), but I feel other resources would be helpful, and possibly enjoyable for the student. One way to avoid the ‘blank page problem’ would be to provide the student with rhythmic phrases to base their lines on.

    Most commercial materials that contain rhythmic material focus on reading, whereas I feel I require something more specific and applicable to improvisation, perhaps allowing the student some creative input.

    The use of the term language is common in jazz circles, and the theory set out in Edwin Gordon’s Learning Sequences in Music share the concept that music should be learned like a language. Gordon mirrors, explores in depth and ties into his theory some other exercises and ideas that are also found in the jazz tradition.

    Fundamentally Gordon's theory is a method of teaching geared first around oral/aural activities and only later introducing notation (Gordon, Learning Sequences in Music, Chapter 2) and is mirrored by many traditional jazz practice activities such as the type of imitation/ear learning practice described in Lucy Green's Hear Listen Play.

    Furthermore, it seems from experience that while it is possible (if not desirable) for students to read pitches on the guitar mechanically, it is in fact very difficult to read complex syncopated jazz and pop rhythms without what Gordon calls Type 2 audiation. In fact, as I plan on giving the student existing rhythms either as notation or heard phrases (Type 1 or 2 audiation) the resource would have applications in that area too, which is important, because guitarists are notoriously poor readers.

    I also want to root what I am doing in actual, classic, jazz language, so it is all directly relevant to the style of music I most commonly teach to advanced students.

    In Gordon’s terms (Gordon, Learning Sequences in Music - Chapter 8), what I require is a way of teaching rhythmic patterns sourced from actual jazz, such as the transcriptions found in the Charlie Parker Omnibook, perhaps by chaining a number of what Gordon calls macrobeats, which might also allow students the opportunity to combine macrobeats in different combinations to create different rhythmic patterns.

    Parker seems like an obvious place to start as he is the originator of bebop, remains source for most of the rhythmic phrases we use in jazz today, and was certainly one the music’s most rhythmically imaginative improvisers.

    Gordon does point out ‘…[rhythm patterns] are important to style and form in music. For example the same notation of syncopation is performed differently in the music Mozart than in Jazz.’ Because of this the material will focus squarely on raw musical materials, and the correct stylistic performance of rhythm (another neglected area) will have to handled with a different learning resource.

    I look forward to exploring Gordon’s ideas and seeing how I can use his understanding in combination with use in my teaching practice to try to create a helpful resource.

    Bibliography

    Aebersold, Jamie and Ken Stone. Charlie Parker Omnibook, Atlantic Music Corp, 1978.
    Bellson, Louis and Gil Brienes. Modern Reading Text in 4/4, Alfred Music, 1985
    Gordon, Edwin. Learning Sequences in Music: A Contemporary Music Learning Theory. GIA Publications, 2007.
    Green, Lucy. Hear, Listen, Play!: How to Free Your Students' Aural, Improvisation, and Performance Skills, Oxford University Press, 2014.

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    I will post the learning resource I came up with when I submit the rest of the assignment on Thursday, but interested to hear your thoughts in response to this post. Do you agree? Is there something you use in your own teaching or practice?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    I am not an educator, but as a new student of jazz and old guy with a degree from a classically oriented conservatory program, I do realize when my lines don't swing it's largely due to issues with rhythm and the effect of rhythm on melody: phrasing.

    Looking forward to the follow up posts!

  4. #3

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    Yes, also listening to good jazz so that the rhythms are absorbed into the psyche... like actually going to a country and hearing them speak.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Yes, also listening to good jazz so that the rhythms are absorbed into the psyche... like actually going to a country and hearing them speak.
    Exactement

  6. #5

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    Although I don’t think they’d mark me very highly if I submitted a stack of jazz vinyl as my learning resource.

    Would be quite awesome to do that though .

  7. #6

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    So: copying rhythmic patterns (eg from Charlie Parker solos) and fitting your own selection of notes to them would be a good way to learn?
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    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Although I don’t think they’d mark me very highly if I submitted a stack of jazz vinyl as my learning resource.
    :-)

  9. #8

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    From my own teaching practice, I had a sub lesson with 12 year old guitar student who was preparing to take jazz nysma test (ny state exam). We only had 30 min lesson. His dad said he's struggling with improvisation over backin track, which was mid tempo jazz blues.

    I asked the kid to demonstrate, and immediately it was obvious the regular teacher fed him bunch of scales and the kid was sounding very noodly indeed. But no sign of phrasing or swing. I showed him simple thing: take 2 or 3 notes and play them with focusing on rhythm variations. Forget about scales, use your imagination for rhythm. Hell, even one note can do! I played him examples. Immediately he sounded better.

    I met his dad later and he thanked me his son passed the exam with a great score! Then the other day i was thinking, if I can take my own advice and apply to my own playing, that would be great too haha! I always catch myself on the gigs playing too notey solos, and listening back it sure could be less.

  10. #9

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    Yeah, I honestly think it comes from not listening to jazz.

    I feel like there's a good deal of young players playing "jazz" who don't actually like it. Damn school.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #10

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    Your opening statements pretty much describe my playing. I've slowly realized I need to work on rhythmic phrasing as seriously as I have tried to learn the pitch-based stuff. Carry on, I'll watch and follow with hopeful interest.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    From my own teaching practice, I had a sub lesson with 12 year old guitar student who was preparing to take jazz nysma test (ny state exam). We only had 30 min lesson. His dad said he's struggling with improvisation over backin track, which was mid tempo jazz blues.

    I asked the kid to demonstrate, and immediately it was obvious the regular teacher fed him bunch of scales and the kid was sounding very noodly indeed. But no sign of phrasing or swing. I showed him simple thing: take 2 or 3 notes and play them with focusing on rhythm variations. Forget about scales, use your imagination for rhythm. Hell, even one note can do! I played him examples. Immediately he sounded better.

    I met his dad later and he thanked me his son passed the exam with a great score! Then the other day i was thinking, if I can take my own advice and apply to my own playing, that would be great too haha! I always catch myself on the gigs playing too notey solos, and listening back it sure could be less.
    I think Jens Larsen just did a video on this.

    It’s a great exercise if your student can think of rhythms to use.... not all can

  13. #12

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    FYI, that Online Bebop Jazz Course from Richie Zellon had "Rhythm Labs" in it with the intention of teaching a student rhythms to use in improvisation. It is one of the few (maybe the only) instructional course that apportioned a good amount of time to rhythm.
    Last edited by AlsoRan; 04-22-2019 at 12:44 PM.

  14. #13

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    I really think that learning to sing Lester Young and Charlie Christian solos was fundamental for me in developing this. I later learned to sing a bunch of Bird solos, but honestly I think Bird is the wrong place to start here; Lester is easier to hear and digest. Chet Baker is another person that is super easy to sing and hear, and is a great source of basic jazz phrasing for beginners.

    My earliest transcribing efforts were learning Clifford Brown solos (before all this singing), and I don't think it helped me that much because his level was too far above my head, it's not like I could start using some of his ideas in my own improvisations, his lines on "pent up house" and "what am I here for?" are incredibly long and detailed. I've read interviews with other musicians that say it took them a while to understand Bird, that initially it was over their head, so it's not just me.

    The only thing I'm aware of that does a detailed analysis of this is Hal Galper's "forward motion" articles, which I think are really right on in terms of creating rhythmic momentum.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Yeah, I honestly think it comes from not listening to jazz.

    I feel like there's a good deal of young players playing "jazz" who don't actually like it. Damn school.
    I don’t think that’s actually always true.

    I have students that love the music and are highly musical in many ways but can’t yet improvise phrases. In part I think this is due to scale obsessed teaching.

    It’s more complicated than that. In part I think it’s cultivating active listening and knowing what to listen for .

  16. #15

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    I think people tend to sing a better solo, rhythmically, over a set of changes than they might play too. There's a disconnect there...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  17. #16

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    That's true. Singing comes straight from the brain, heart, or whatever, whereas playing a solo involves having to translate it to the instrument. There are lots of instructors that say 'Be able to play instantly what you hear in your head' but that's easier said than done.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I really think that learning to sing Lester Young and Charlie Christian solos was fundamental for me in developing this. I later learned to sing a bunch of Bird solos, but honestly I think Bird is the wrong place to start here; Lester is easier to hear and digest. Chet Baker is another person that is super easy to sing and hear, and is a great source of basic jazz phrasing for beginners.
    Actually I just typed something like that into my notes in terms of my experience with using the resource and you just mentioned it here. (An important part of the assignment is self critique and reflection.)

    It depends on the student though.

    That said what I’ve come up with seems pretty good at spitting out funky little jazz phrases and might be flexible enough to be used to create simpler rhythms. It’s not Parker exactly.

    Anyway .... more anon. Probably sounds more mysterious than it is haha.

    My earliest transcribing efforts were learning Clifford Brown solos (before all this singing), and I don't think it helped me that much because his level was too far above my head, it's not like I could start using some of his ideas in my own improvisations, his lines on "pent up house" and "what am I here for?" are incredibly long and detailed. I've read interviews with other musicians that say it took them a while to understand Bird, that initially it was over their head, so it's not just me.

    The only thing I'm aware of that does a detailed analysis of this is Hal Galper's "forward motion" articles, which I think are really right on in terms of creating rhythmic momentum.
    Hal Galper is one of my - lodestones? Guiding stars? - on this.

  19. #18

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    It seems to me that the time feel is the thing that defines this music. Plenty of other music relies on improvisation, the elements that comprise 'jazz harmony' exist outside of Jazz, although they may not be used in the same way - the same goes for the instruments used, the tunes, I can turn a great Charlie Parker solo into non jazz just by playing it.

    Mike Longo's ideas are worth a look, (10 years as Dizzy's MD), everyone should read Victor Wooten's 'The Music Lesson'.

    The above to be taken with a pinch of salt cos I can't play...

    It don't mean a thing etc.

    +1 for more listening.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I think people tend to sing a better solo, rhythmically, over a set of changes than they might play too. There's a disconnect there...
    Possibly... I would say this was true of me, for sure.

    However, some people just have trouble thinking of rhythmic phrases at all.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I really think that learning to sing Lester Young and Charlie Christian solos was fundamental for me in developing this. I later learned to sing a bunch of Bird solos, but honestly I think Bird is the wrong place to start here; Lester is easier to hear and digest.
    A lot of Lester Young appears when you listen to Parker at half speed...

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO View Post
    So: copying rhythmic patterns (eg from Charlie Parker solos) and fitting your own selection of notes to them would be a good way to learn?
    Yes, I think that would be a valuable exercise.

    I think the key thing here (and this is actually inspired by Hal Galper's ideas) is to seperate out the rhythm from the pitches. So one of his exercises is, take a bop head you know well. Now sing it without any pitch.

    This is best done by ear I think, rather than the Omnibook.

    Anyway, my learning resource is not that exactly, but related.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    A lot of Lester Young appears when you listen to Parker at half speed...
    True, but I think Parker's rhythmic language is profoundly different in some ways. More syncopated for instance.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    That's true. Singing comes straight from the brain, heart, or whatever, whereas playing a solo involves having to translate it to the instrument. There are lots of instructors that say 'Be able to play instantly what you hear in your head' but that's easier said than done.
    Indeed. There are I think two steps here, which relate to my replies to Jeff.

    1) The auditory imagination itself, which is most closely related to the voice, but not always perfectly (some students are not able to sing accurate pitches, that's another area.)
    2) The ability to translate to the instrument.

    I think a lot of people get hung up on 2), and it's not trivial. Guitarists in particular have a tendency to play without hearing, operating the instrument automatically, before they know what they are aiming to do musically.

    However, from my experience most of the work needs to done in area 1). Once area 1) is addressed properly, 2) tends to sort itself out much quicker. I believe this is why Tristano, for instance, was such a stickler for students getting the singing right first. If you think about it what we are interested in is mindful, connected playing, and focussing on hearing the music we want to play before we try to play it does encourage that automatically. Hal Galper is an influence on me in this way of thinking.

    That said, I am proceeding from the basis of not writing any students off. It would be easy to say students who can't accurately sing pitches or come up with rhythms lack musicality. I do not believe this is a legitimate stance for a teacher and says more about us - our own experiences, talents, weaknesses, and limits to our understanding, than it does about the student. there is much to be learned from probing these areas a bit deeper.

    If you check out (the late) Edwin Gordon's ideas, they maybe of interest. The book I cited is rather dense, but there's a fair amount of him on YouTube, and I find he communicates his ideas well verbally:



    Gordon's concepts of audiation (he invented the term) are pretty hardcore in what they are designed to build in the student, and start from birth, perhaps earlier.

    They relate strongly to ideas from Tristano (via Marsh/Klopotowski), and also brought up by Hal Galper in Forward Motion but Gordon is both a more rigorous theoretician in this area, and also not really a jazz musician per se, though has knowledge of it. His learning theory is really conceived to address all music.

    While his ideas would naturally find sympathy with jazz musicians, he had a rough ride in classical pedagogy.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    True, but I think Parker's rhythmic language is profoundly different in some ways. More syncopated for instance.
    yeah, agreed. There's double-time stuff that he consistently does at slower tempos that is very hard to hear and process, or, it was for me, anyways. Then there's the style that I think Miles in his autobiography calls "pecking", like the head to "Moose the mooche", where I can never imagine hearing Lester playing anything like "Moose The Mooche" rhythmically. And, Bird occasionally plays some truly strange clusters where he makes something fit through sheer force of will, there's some stuff on Massey Hall which is very odd to transcribe.

    I've heard people say they hear Sonny Stitt as kind of a "cleaned up" Bird, it's similar language but he doesn't have the kind of strange cramming notes into a phrase that Bird sometimes does.

    If I were teaching jazz to anyone, Lester Young would be "required reading" before moving to Parker.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    yeah, agreed. There's double-time stuff that he consistently does at slower tempos that is very hard to hear and process, or, it was for me, anyways. Then there's the style that I think Miles in his autobiography calls "pecking", like the head to "Moose the mooche", where I can never imagine hearing Lester playing anything like "Moose The Mooche" rhythmically. And, Bird occasionally plays some truly strange clusters where he makes something fit through sheer force of will, there's some stuff on Massey Hall which is very odd to transcribe.

    I've heard people say they hear Sonny Stitt as kind of a "cleaned up" Bird, it's similar language but he doesn't have the kind of strange cramming notes into a phrase that Bird sometimes does.

    If I were teaching jazz to anyone, Lester Young would be "required reading" before moving to Parker.
    I used to agree more firmly with this. I'm quite open now. The most important thing is that the student engages with the music they love.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    I think the key thing here (and this is actually inspired by Hal Galper's ideas) is to seperate out the rhythm from the pitches. So one of his exercises is, take a bop head you know well. Now sing it without any pitch.
    My teacher studied with Lennie Tristano, and his thing with singing solos was that you sing them with the record, without the record, then on the instrument. During the first bit, my teacher (and apparently Lennie as well) were not too worried about the pitches. Get the general arc of the phrase right, get the timing right, pitches were "best effort". My teacher prioritized learning the language of the solo over getting the pitches right when singing with the record.

    When we then went back to sing without the record, well, the pitches mostly took care of themselves .

    I think doing this singing taught me more than any other single activity about playing jazz. I went from basically sounding like someone trying to play jazz, to actually playing jazz.

  28. #27

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    Rock, Blues = Learn Scales

    Jazz = Learn Arpeggios

    Is this an overly simplistic approach?

    It seems to be working for me.

    If I play a G major scale, I don't hear any Jazz

    But then if I play a Gmaj7 arpeggio, I definitely hear Jazz.

  29. #28

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    I had a couple of thoughts in reading this thread.

    One is that great players sound great playing a string of eighth notes. I mention this to make the point that "time feel" is a foundational issue. Without it, nothing will sound great. Once a player has great feel, adding rhythmic variation will make the player even better.

    Another is that, speaking only for myself, the rhythmic content of my solos improves dramatically when I sing as I play. My voice doesn't always determine my note choice (too much muscle memory interferes with that) but it does change the rhythmic content.

    The important thing, though, is not to lose focus on time feel when you're thinking about all that other stuff.

    For more info on what time feel is supposed to be, check out any of Reg's videos on youtube. Listen especially to his comping.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I used to agree more firmly with this. I'm quite open now. The most important thing is that the student engages with the music they love.
    yeah, I mean, I don't teach, so I'm not like browbeating this into tons of impressionable youths. I'm all for people finding what they love and going deep. Just saying that my early experience, even though I came to the study of jazz loving Clifford Brown, that love would have been best served in the beginning by going back a bit more. But, who knows? I'm sure someone better than me could have dived right into Clifford and take a lot from it. So I agree it's gotta vary by individual and what is going to get them excited about study.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    My teacher studied with Lennie Tristano, and his thing with singing solos was that you sing them with the record, without the record, then on the instrument. During the first bit, my teacher (and apparently Lennie as well) were not too worried about the pitches. Get the general arc of the phrase right, get the timing right, pitches were "best effort". My teacher prioritized learning the language of the solo over getting the pitches right when singing with the record.

    When we then went back to sing without the record, well, the pitches mostly took care of themselves .

    I think doing this singing taught me more than any other single activity about playing jazz. I went from basically sounding like someone trying to play jazz, to actually playing jazz.
    Yeah!

    I mention Tristano in my reply to ragman above, and your experience of this type of exercise seems to chime with my own. I didn't learn this from a teacher but I found when I focussed on rhythm first, as you say the pitches aren't much of an issue.

  32. #31

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    A possible area of study...

    Feeling rhythm instead of counting rhythm

    I came across this concept when I was studying with Bruce Arnold. The premise is that you first learn how a measure of space sounds in, say, 4/4 at 120bpm. You don't mark anything except the downbeat of the measure. You memorize the space... this is extremely hard to do if you've been trained to count (even on 2 and 4). No counting, at all--just space.

    Then, you start adding rhythms to this space. First, what does half note sound like against this temporal space. Then what about the 2nd quarter note? What about the last quarter note. All without counting.

    The concept is similar to how Charlie Banacos described contextual ear training as a note (or notes) reacting to a harmonic backdrop. With rhythm, you are thinking about how a rhythmic punctuation reacts to a temporal space. The first quarter note of a measure of 4 reacts differently than the last quarter note. The first quarter note of a measure of 3/4 reacts differently to the temporal space of that waltz time than it does to the temporal space of 4/4. There's a different "gravitational pull" of each rhythmic punctuation to each temporal space in the same way that Hal Galper describes notes in that seminal Forward Motion book.

    How about this concept:

    You know how we teach target notes? like targeting chord tones and such?

    What about targeting different parts of the measure or the phrase?

    What about targets with rhythmic inclination?

    When you introduce syncopation, it adds another layer.

    The principal is always sound--as in--how do you manipulate sound within space.

    It all sounds very philosophical, but I think it deserves a closer look.

    Let me know when the book comes out, Chris'77
    Last edited by Irez87; 04-22-2019 at 02:16 PM.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post
    Rock, Blues = Learn Scales

    Jazz = Learn Arpeggios

    Is this an overly simplistic approach?
    Definitely
    White belt
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  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post
    Rock, Blues = Learn Scales

    Jazz = Learn Arpeggios

    Is this an overly simplistic approach?

    It seems to be working for me.

    If I play a G major scale, I don't hear any Jazz

    But then if I play a Gmaj7 arpeggio, I definitely hear Jazz.
    That's a big MAYBE for me...

    I think to a lot of folks starting out, yeah, a 7th chords sounds different...play a 13th? It must be jazz...

    But it goes a lot deeper than that.

    A big thing that maybe gets missed is rhythm takes a back seat when a player is flying by the seat of their pants, just trying to hang on the changes. I think a lot of folks play songs before they really know them...I don't think players can really think interestingly rhythmically taking a jazz solo until they are comfortable melodically. Because, lets face it--who notices a rhythmically boring solo first? Other musicians. But who can hear a real clam? ANYBODY. I think this is why melodic content gets stressed so much...even if it's not the correct approach.

    And knowing a tune is a luxury we sometimes don't get, too.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I had a couple of thoughts in reading this thread.

    One is that great players sound great playing a string of eighth notes. I mention this to make the point that "time feel" is a foundational issue. Without it, nothing will sound great. Once a player has great feel, adding rhythmic variation will make the player even better.

    Another is that, speaking only for myself, the rhythmic content of my solos improves dramatically when I sing as I play. My voice doesn't always determine my note choice (too much muscle memory interferes with that) but it does change the rhythmic content.
    That's an interesting side point. I know what you mean... but... I think you might be using the voice as a crutch here and there might be some value in trying some different practice activities. Have you read Hal Galper's Forward Motion?

    Gordon would say that that does not constitute true improvisation (!) as if I understand correctly, you should be able to audiate whole improvisations without playing them and then execute them on your instrument. As I say, pretty uncompromising, and I think this represents an ideal more than day to day life and I suspect even super talented audiating improvisors would experience a more complex reality on the bandstand.

    The important thing, though, is not to lose focus on time feel when you're thinking about all that other stuff.

    For more info on what time feel is supposed to be, check out any of Reg's videos on youtube. Listen especially to his comping.
    If you refer to my OP I say I don't want to address time/feel in this case. However, it's perhaps foolhardy to separate rhythmic vocabulary out from time/feel as they are completely interlinked.

    Reg suggests Bellson as a good way of developing rhythm generally, which has influenced my thinking above.

    Rhythmic vocab is something we can quantify a lot better than time/feel and it also something that can lead to better feel generally as players start to perceive a clearer relationship between their lines and the beat. Also, I have found that teaching students to correctly audiate the phrasing of the rhythms is in fact a natural part of the lesson.

  36. #35

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    Interesting thread and these observations align well with my teaching experience. Many of my students let their fingers do the walking and what comes out are riffs they have played forever or endless scale-wise movements that sound like mindless noodling after 20 or so seconds. There are precious few melodic statements and little or no motivic development. I may sound harsh in these comments but I often find myself wondering who in their right mind would ever pay to hear this? I wouldn't.

    I think there are a few reasons behind this:

    1. Guitarists don't have to breath in between phrases so they can play forever without the pauses that punctuate a singer's lines. So guitarists can end up sounding like that guy that just talks endlessly leaving no room for dialogue with the listener. It can be exhausting to listen to although seemingly not exhausting to play.

    2. Less experienced guitarists (and musicians) seem to have anxiety about leaving space in their solos. On the bandstand (or when observed by their teachers) they may feel under the spotlight and if they are not actively playing during their solos then they get a bit freaked and start noodling. Another related dynamic is one where they play a line that is not that good or has a big clam in it so they immediately play something else to "fix" it or erase it from memory.

    3. They don't listen to jazz that much or that actively. So I have students coming from a rock background and they say they want to play "jazz" and in their mind that means Allen Holdsworth because that is who represents "jazz" in their iTunes collection.

    In order to deal with these issues I set up playing challenges for my students and these challenges always involve limitation. So we will take a song like All of Me and I ask they only play it is triads. It is often painful to watch how they suffer not being able to play their usual riffs. They have to hear the changes also. Secondly, I might ask them to establish a motif (short) before their solo and I ask them to only play lines based on the motif (allowing for slight variations). Then we combine the two approaches. In many instances the anxiety and frustration is palpable but after a few lessons things are starting to sound more musical. Then we might work with two motifs that are harmonically or rhythmically related. Eventually, they start to relax and let space form part of their solo statements.

    Finally, the listening side. I ask them to go back and listen to Louis Armstrong, Django, Chet and a few others that play in a melodic/lyrical vein. I don't ask them to like the music but to listen to it actively while paying attention to space, motifs, inner dialogue and dynamics. Most end up liking the music and even those that don't learn something. Personally, I think Parker would be a hard place to start because he can be a bit stream of consciousness player. Of course, he could be intensely lyrical but a safer start may be with the early players that had a more vocal approach and/or greater technical limitations.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    A possible area of study...

    Feeling rhythm instead of counting rhythm

    I came across this concept when I was studying with Bruce Arnold. The premise is that you first learn how a measure of space sounds in, say, 4/4 at 120bpm. You don't mark anything except the downbeat of the measure. You memorize the space... this is extremely hard to do if you've been trained to count (even on 2 and 4). No counting, at all--just space.

    Then, you start adding rhythms to this space. First, what does half note sound like against this temporal space. Then what about the 2nd quarter note? What about the last quarter note. All without counting.

    The concept is similar to how Charlie Banacos described contextual ear training as a note (or notes) reacting to a harmonic backdrop. With rhythm, you are thinking about how a rhythmic punctuation reacts to a temporal space. The first quarter note of a measure of 4 reacts differently than the last quarter note. The first quarter note of a measure of 3/4 reacts differently to the temporal space of that waltz time than it does to the temporal space of 4/4. There's a different "gravitational pull" of each rhythmic punctuation to each temporal space in the same way that Hal Galper describes notes in that seminal Forward Motion book.

    When you introduce syncopation, it adds another layer.

    The principal is always sound--as in--how do you manipulate sound within space.

    It all sounds very philosophical, but I think it deserves a closer look.

    Let me know when the book comes out, Chris'77
    No book lol, just an essay. Maybe when the course is done.

    I suggest read Gordon if you haven't. I think you'd find a lot of interest there.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post
    Rock, Blues = Learn Scales

    Jazz = Learn Arpeggios

    Is this an overly simplistic approach?


    It seems to be working for me.
    Yes, but all teaching - including self-teaching - is. You have to decide what to work on at any one point. This approach taught me to play changes. It was a great help. It didn't address the whole music. It didn't address time or rhythm.

    If I play a G major scale, I don't hear any Jazz
    When Parker plays a scale, I hear jazz. So what's going on?

    But then if I play a Gmaj7 arpeggio, I definitely hear Jazz.
    But what about a triad arp?

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberoo View Post
    Interesting thread and these observations align well with my teaching experience. Many of my students let their fingers do the walking and what comes out are riffs they have played forever or endless scale-wise movements that sound like mindless noodling after 20 or so seconds. There are precious few melodic statements and little or no motivic development. I may sound harsh in these comments but I often find myself wondering who in their right mind would ever pay to hear this? I wouldn't.

    I think there are a few reasons behind this:

    1. Guitarists don't have to breath in between phrases so they can play forever without the pauses that punctuate a singer's lines. So guitarists can end up sounding like that guy that just talks endlessly leaving no room for dialogue with the listener. It can be exhausting to listen to although seemingly not exhausting to play.

    2. Less experienced guitarists (and musicians) seem to have anxiety about leaving space in their solos. On the bandstand (or when observed by their teachers) they may feel under the spotlight and if they are not actively playing during their solos then they get a bit freaked and start noodling. Another related dynamic is one where they play a line that is not that good or has a big clam in it so they immediately play something else to "fix" it or erase it from memory.

    3. They don't listen to jazz that much or that actively. So I have students coming from a rock background and they say they want to play "jazz" and in their mind that means Allen Holdsworth because that is who represents "jazz" in their iTunes collection.

    In order to deal with these issues I set up playing challenges for my students and these challenges always involve limitation. So we will take a song like All of Me and I ask they only play it is triads. It is often painful to watch how they suffer not being able to play their usual riffs. They have to hear the changes also. Secondly, I might ask them to establish a motif (short) before their solo and I ask them to only play lines based on the motif (allowing for slight variations). Then we combine the two approaches. In many instances the anxiety and frustration is palpable but after a few lessons things are starting to sound more musical. Then we might work with two motifs that are harmonically or rhythmically related. Eventually, they start to relax and let space form part of their solo statements.

    Finally, the listening side. I ask them to go back and listen to Louis Armstrong, Django, Chet and a few others that play in a melodic/lyrical vein. I don't ask them to like the music but to listen to it actively while paying attention to space, motifs, inner dialogue and dynamics. Most end up liking the music and even those that don't learn something. Personally, I think Parker would be a hard place to start because he can be a bit stream of consciousness player. Of course, he could be intensely lyrical but a safer start may be with the early players that had a more vocal approach and/or greater technical limitations.
    Great comments. All very close to my heart.

    Anyway I’ll post my resource and relevant bits of my essay when it’s done.

    The Parker thing is a perhaps a little less important than people seem to think. I’m making a needs analysis for a learning resource, not talking about transcribing him. In practical terms I needed a source of rhythm cells and the Omnibook was close to hand :-) it might make a little more sense when I show everyone what the learning resource actually is.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post


    When Parker plays a scale, I hear jazz. So what's going on?

    Context!

    (and a hell of a lot of swing, I imagine)
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  41. #40

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    Audiation means hearing something, in advance of playing it, in your mind? Or is there another, or more detailed, definition?

    I don't understand the idea of audiating an entire solo. Does that mean I've heard, in my mind, three choruses of Stella before I start soloing? What about 4 bars?

    What happens to interaction between the musicians?

    I must be missing something.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    rhythmic vocabulary out from time/feel as they are completely interlinked.
    .
    My guess is that if you have great time feel, you'll be too busy gigging to worry about rhythmic vocabulary.
    And, you probably won't need to anyway.

  43. #42

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    Chris77,

    I think you know that I'm all about Audiation!

    So what books by, like, um, Edwin E. Gordon would you recommend?

    There's, like, many books, that like, look totally awesome.


  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    However, from my experience most of the work needs to done in area 1).
    I was taking that for granted. You may well be right.

  45. #44

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    how about the triplet-itis that a lot of learning jazz players tend to use as a default? It manifests in a janky exaggerated triplet swing feel that I have consciously fought out of my own playing (it still creeps in if I'm not careful). That rhythmic disposition seems to be very much a plight of many an amateur guitar player at jam sessions I've frequented in my own circles. As in, guitarists often play a bunch of triplets instead of eighth note lines or double time lines. I wonder why it is so prevalent? Once again, I fall victim to that janky feel and rhythm in my own playing as well.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    how about the triplet-itis that a lot of learning jazz players tend to use as a default? It manifests in a janky exaggerated triplet swing feel that I have consciously fought out of my own playing (it still creeps in if I'm not careful). That rhythmic disposition seems to be very much a plight of many an amateur guitar player at jam sessions I've frequented in my own circles. As in, guitarists often play a bunch of triplets instead of eighth note lines or double time lines. I wonder why it is so prevalent? Once again, I fall victim to that janky feel and rhythm in my own playing as well.
    I have a tendency to fall into it if I hear a fast line in my mind, but I don't have the chops to play eighths or sixteenths. Playing triplets, maybe three notes per string is a poor substitute, but I know what you mean.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Audiation means hearing something, in advance of playing it, in your mind? Or is there another, or more detailed, definition?

    I don't understand the idea of audiating an entire solo. Does that mean I've heard, in my mind, three choruses of Stella before I start soloing? What about 4 bars?

    What happens to interaction between the musicians?

    I must be missing something.
    "Audiation is the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. One may audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music (see types of audiation).

    Audiation is not the same as aural perception, which occurs simultaneously with the reception of sound through the ears. It is a cognitive process by which the brain gives meaning to musical sounds. Audiation is the musical equivalent of thinking in language. When we listen to someone speak we must retain in memory their vocal sounds long enough to recognize and give meaning to the words the sounds represent. Likewise, when listening to music we are at any given moment organizing in audiation sounds that were recently heard. We also predict, based on our familiarity with the tonal and rhythmic conventions of the music being heard, what will come next. Audiation, then, is a multistage process (see stages of audiation).

    Although musicians audiate all aspects of musical sound, including timbre, volume, and style, Music Learning Theory is concerned specifically with the tonal and rhythm dimensions of music. Teaching methods are designed to help students develop their ability to audiate tonal content–including tonality, resting tone, and tonal function–and rhythm content–including meter, macro beats, micro beats, and melodic rhythm.

    Through development of audiation students learn to understand music. Understanding is the foundation of music appreciation, the ultimate goal of music teaching."
    --
    ©2019 The Gordon Institute for Music Learning

  48. #47

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    I think it also comes from the idea of 'approximation' (as Bill Evans called it and demonstrated in interview)...
    students hear something and try to approximate it generally.
    And when they do so rythm usually just completely escapes their attention, because in approximation they try to reproduce the overall sound and rythm seems secondary.


  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Chris77,

    I think you know that I'm all about Audiation!

    So what books by, like, um, Edwin E. Gordon would you recommend?

    There's, like, many books, that like, look totally awesome.

    Learning Sequences in Music I think is his best known work

    Gordon actually coined the term audiation.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Audiation means hearing something, in advance of playing it, in your mind? Or is there another, or more detailed, definition?

    I don't understand the idea of audiating an entire solo. Does that mean I've heard, in my mind, three choruses of Stella before I start soloing? What about 4 bars?

    What happens to interaction between the musicians?

    I must be missing something.
    Audiation is aural imagination, like visualisation but auditory.

    I think the idea is you work on audiation in isolation. Remember Gordon is primarily a classical musician. He’s thinking more compositionally.

    I don’t think it’s so cut and dried on the bandstand. However audiation is important to the process of improvisation. That’s why we transcribe.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    My guess is that if you have great time feel, you'll be too busy gigging to worry about rhythmic vocabulary.
    And, you probably won't need to anyway.
    I think that’s entirely true, but I’m not sure what relevance this has.