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  1. #1
    The idea is simple: Use a piece and immerse yourself in a form to develop and strengthen your compositional and creative skills. The contention being the strongest improvising skills come from having an informed ear, a complete internalized map of the fingerboard, the kinesthetic (finger memory and hand sense) facility to execute small figures and the practiced imagination that comes from experimentation.
    Every 3 weeks we'll take a piece that has interesting changes, unique in some harmonic way, and focus on certain aspects of honing and integrating our skills.
    Everyone on any level can do this, but if you have a good intervallic ear sense (can you tell the difference between the first note of the scale and the sixth note: the interval of a 6th?), it'll be really helpful, if not, it'll serve you well to develop these skills as soon as you can.
    It'll help if you can hear and recognize chord root movement. Can you hear when a piece starts on the I chord and moves to the VI chord? (Blue Moon) or if a piece begins on the II chord? (Body and Soul). I'll refer to harmonic chords in Roman Numeral names because this is an EAR based system; it's not dependent on any particular key.
    If you can play a scale, and hear what you're doing, if you can hear your way through an arpeggio, we can use the harmony of any piece to make your playing more personal and musical.
    If you've known the joy of playing ANY piece off book and you'd like to be able to have that facility with any jazz standard, there is a way to get there, if you have the time and desire.
    I'd like to take a progressive journey every three week "chapter" and work from basic navigational skills to proficiency skills, phrasing skills, speed skills, note groupings, motif development, and more, all the time moving towards phrases and lines that reflect your own strengths.

    Let me know if there's any interest in this commitment to an immersive tune based study group. If we have an interested group, this journey will be more supportive, more insightful, pose more questions and find more answers than if you were to do this on one's own. I thought I'd start with a piece like My Romance, taken in a wide spectrum of tempos and as a platform for study rather than the piece itself.

    Would anybody out there be up for a collective practice group here?

    This is the master map that I'll refer to throughout. And LOTS of QUESTIONS from everyone are welcome and essential.

    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-07-02-3-07-17-pm-png
    The goal of this study group is to make every song a familiar landscape that invites you to play with complete ease.
    Anybody intrigued?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hot damn! I’m in. Do you have a start date in mind?

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Hot damn! I’m in. Do you have a start date in mind?
    Great! I'll start an introduction and prep for the first tune Sunday. Welcome to the program!

  5. #4

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    Sounds great, JBN. I'd like to make the commitment. Although I'm taking my first vacation in two years in the middle of the month. I'll be out a week. Thanks for doing this!

  6. #5
    My Romance
    First Step. The ear.
    The first project we'll do is My Romance.
    For the first day or two it's a listening exercise.
    Listen to the recording by Bill Evans. It's in C. Listen until you can hear what's coming up. Listen until you can hear the structure.
    The lead sheet we'll use is in Bb as is this clip.

    Listen to the head and listen until you can hum along.

    This is a map of the harmonic areas blocked out. I'm not even going to give you the lead sheet yet.
    Hear the piece until it comes alive.
    Then see if you can get what you imagine to match up with something in this coloured map.

    This is as far as we'll go. Notice, no guitar yet.
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-07-03-9-57-07-am-png

    Later this weekend we'll begin with root movement and harmonic navigation on the guitar.
    Remember, the goal is ALWAYS to work from the ear.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 07-05-2021 at 05:56 PM.

  7. #6

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    I could get in to this. I'm in.

  8. #7

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    I'm in.

  9. #8

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    I'd like to give this a go

    Sent from my Redmi Note 7 using Tapatalk

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    The idea is simple: Use a piece and immerse yourself in a form to develop and strengthen your compositional and creative skills. The contention being the strongest improvising skills come from having an informed ear, a complete internalized map of the fingerboard, the kinesthetic (finger memory and hand sense) facility to execute small figures and the practiced imagination that comes from experimentation.
    Every 3 weeks we'll take a piece that has interesting changes, unique in some harmonic way, and focus on certain aspects of honing and integrating our skills.
    Everyone on any level can do this, but if you have a good intervallic ear sense (can you tell the difference between the first note of the scale and the sixth note: the interval of a 6th?), it'll be really helpful, if not, it'll serve you well to develop these skills as soon as you can.
    It'll help if you can hear and recognize chord root movement. Can you hear when a piece starts on the I chord and moves to the VI chord? (Blue Moon) or if a piece begins on the II chord? (Body and Soul). I'll refer to harmonic chords in Roman Numeral names because this is an EAR based system; it's not dependent on any particular key.
    If you can play a scale, and hear what you're doing, if you can hear your way through an arpeggio, we can use the harmony of any piece to make your playing more personal and musical.
    If you've known the joy of playing ANY piece off book and you'd like to be able to have that facility with any jazz standard, there is a way to get there, if you have the time and desire.
    I'd like to take a progressive journey every three week "chapter" and work from basic navigational skills to proficiency skills, phrasing skills, speed skills, note groupings, motif development, and more, all the time moving towards phrases and lines that reflect your own strengths.

    Let me know if there's any interest in this commitment to an immersive tune based study group. If we have an interested group, this journey will be more supportive, more insightful, pose more questions and find more answers than if you were to do this on one's own. I thought I'd start with a piece like My Romance, taken in a wide spectrum of tempos and as a platform for study rather than the piece itself.

    Would anybody out there be up for a collective practice group here?

    This is the master map that I'll refer to throughout. And LOTS of QUESTIONS from everyone are welcome and essential.

    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-07-02-3-07-17-pm-png
    The goal of this study group is to make every song a familiar landscape that invites you to play with complete ease.
    Anybody intrigued?
    I'm intrigued will try and follow along.

  11. #10

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    Yea... sounds fun, My Romance in "C".

  12. #11

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    Intrigued!

  13. #12

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    Bunch of repeated listens the past 24 hours. I can pretty clearly hear something along the lines of: theme in major, then a move to a similar theme in what sounds like either the relative minor or perhaps the iii-. Then I hear a change, but not sure where to—possibly the IV. After that, though, I hear lots of back-cycling or similar motion that I can’t really pin down without an instrument to help. So I haven’t cheated...yet. That’s an honest assessment of where I’m at after 1 day.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Bunch of repeated listens the past 24 hours. I can pretty clearly hear something along the lines of: theme in major, then a move to a similar theme in what sounds like either the relative minor or perhaps the iii-. Then I hear a change, but not sure where to—possibly the IV. After that, though, I hear lots of back-cycling or similar motion that I can’t really pin down without an instrument to help. So I haven’t cheated...yet. That’s an honest assessment of where I’m at after 1 day.
    Yeah, I'm in a similar boat, maybe even behind you. I hear the I and then some transitions but that's about it.

    I tempted to grab the guitar and do some transcribing. Is that cheating?

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    I tempted to grab the guitar and do some transcribing. Is that cheating?
    At this point I think so! I’m just gonna keep listening till JBN follows up.

  16. #15
    A quick overview and summary of how and why so you can decide if this fits with how you'd like to spend your time.
    First, the goal is not to necessarily learn the tune, but to use the tune to learn how to hear, play and imagine better. If we're going to improvise in real time with imagination, internalized listening and hearing skills coupled with an informed fingerboard visualization are a must.
    We'll do a series of three week cycles, each time covering a number of harmonic devices within that piece along with other topics that will hone our improvisational skills.
    Three weeks? Why three weeks?
    Week One: Hearing and understanding harmonic movement
    Related topics we might explore, in no particular order:
    Root movement [By ear, by position, by roman numeral (meaning by function)]
    Connecting Roots
    Walking Bass
    Constructing Chords
    Using a metronome on 2 and 4
    Vocalizing rhythms
    Triads closed and spread
    Common Progressions
    Diatonic chord movement
    Dominant movement [secondary dominants, modal interchange, non functional harmony]
    Sequences

    Week 2
    Melody
    Melody by interval ascending
    Melody by interval descending
    Using Scales
    Motif
    Rhythmic Motif
    Shifting melody and embellishments using Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs
    Connecting phrases with embellishments [approach notes, chromaticism and pick-up notes]
    Pick up notes
    Question and Response

    Week 3 Combining harmony and melody: soloing techniques
    Combined root and melody
    embellishment
    speed exercises
    dyads
    triads
    chords and spread voicings from top to bottom and from bottom to top
    Counterpoint melodies
    Continuity
    Contrast
    Line and Melodic Flow

    We'll be doing a lot of experimenting
    Variation and imaginative composing in real time are acquired skills. This is what we'll practice.

    Use a metronome and Don't use a metronome. Some things like playing form in real time should be practiced with a metronome. Some things like listening for the effects of intervals or working out phrases and combining techniques are better done in free time. Be aware and balance your practice time.

    Ask lots of questions.

  17. #16
    First week My Romance

    The first project is My Romance in Bb, this is the key of the Bill Evans recording.
    Begin each week's run at a ballad tempo or slower. Gradually increase during the week to somewhere near your fastest controlled tempo, where you can still come up with ideas and execute them.

    Record the chords for 5 minutes each day. Each day will have its own tempo.

    When you're working on the improvisation (playing) part over the recording, try REALLY hard to do this without the page. Unless specified, the goal will ALWAYS be to play by ear.
    Why play by ear? Improvisation is a compositional exercise. You are making creative constructive decisions based on musical structures that are AURAL SOUND decisions. The underlying harmony is a sound you hear, a shape you're aware of. You can't be reading while you're composing. So we'll learn these things to acquire the skills to play OFF BOOK.

    That being said, you'll need the lead sheet to put down your 5 minute rhythm recording.

    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-07-03-7-25-23-am-png
    The Three Week Immersion: Study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-07-02-3-07-17-pm-png

    Day 1 project.

    Try playing just the root movement, in time and swinging. Single note root, over the rhythm recording.
    Know where the I chord is and identify each chord by its function.
    As you play this root note, try to sing the melody on top of it. Follow the form. Observe the relationship between the melody and the root.

    And of course, you are always free to treat this as a regular play over the solo exercise, but these little suggestions will help guide you to a more confident and informed practice session.

    Ask questions and have fun!

  18. #17
    First week Day 1
    Tempo 70 (metronome on 2 and 4 at 35).
    Standard warmups
    Record the changes Bb My Romance with Real Book changes for 5 minutes.
    Brief Rest
    Solo over the changes as I normally would, no special considerations. 5 minutes
    Brief Rest and notes on my playing
    Focused Root Movement (off book) over the chordal recording trying to find as many locations to play the roots across the fingerboard. 5 minutes
    Brief Rest and observations: Finding new locations especially roots on the top strings feels and sounds unfamiliar. It gets easier the more I can hear the root movement melodically. (Just whole notes and half notes on this exercise). I'm also noticing that even at this tempo, it's not easy not to be surprised at the first beat of the next measure, because I don't have tricks and fills to cover up the momentary indecision. I decide to try to hear more and guide by ear.
    Focused Root Movement again. Getting easier. Finding that moving to adjacent positions is becoming stronger, and hearing the form of the piece is getting more solid. 5 minutes.
    Brief Rest.
    Final Root Movement run. The form and other ideas are becoming clearer. Even though I'm only playing roots, I'm imagining the melody, variations on the melody, soloing ideas and I can sing parts of the melody as I'm playing roots. Time is getting steadier but changing positions is still shaky.
    Rest
    Final run is going back to playing anything I want (go for it soloing) for 5 minutes. I feel really familiar with the harmony and form now and I'm actually playing some nice ideas that fit together.

    That was my daily workout today.

  19. #18

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    Looks very organized and... I like it. Thanks. Should really help with most players.... Probably not for me. Thanks

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Yea... sounds fun, My Romance in "C".
    Absolutely correct. The Evans is in C.
    Mea Culpa!!

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Looks very organized and... I like it. Thanks. Should really help with most players.... Probably not for me. Thanks
    Well Reg, this whole project is just a whole bunch of things that I've found over the years that makes a solo more interesting. None of the topics I'll present are anything more than a suggestion of something that might expand the ear or be a possible shovel and hammer to break through any obstacles that come from assumptions that may have held you back.
    For instance, the root movement exercise is an ear training approach to offer an aural solution to the "I always play things the same way with the same bunch of chords", or "I read the changes and my hands go to same places". By relating the tune to a multitude of aural options, a road to expression might be found by putting the roots in different places, or opening up different parts of the neck.

    Underlying all of this is just a daily routine based on playing in time by ear. Like SuperChops, it's chords and the way you create with them. These are just options, discussions and fun experiments wherein the spirit of experimentation and a deeper relationship with the tune can help you find more interesting aspects of soloing you may have missed.

    Share your thoughts, and reservations. They'd be invaluable for me. Thanks. I always value your contributions!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    First week Day 1
    Tempo 70 (metronome on 2 and 4 at 35).
    Standard warmups
    Record the changes Bb My Romance with Real Book changes for 5 minutes.
    Brief Rest
    Solo over the changes as I normally would, no special considerations. 5 minutes
    Brief Rest and notes on my playing
    Focused Root Movement (off book) over the chordal recording trying to find as many locations to play the roots across the fingerboard. 5 minutes
    Brief Rest and observations: Finding new locations especially roots on the top strings feels and sounds unfamiliar. It gets easier the more I can hear the root movement melodically. (Just whole notes and half notes on this exercise). I'm also noticing that even at this tempo, it's not easy not to be surprised at the first beat of the next measure, because I don't have tricks and fills to cover up the momentary indecision. I decide to try to hear more and guide by ear.
    Focused Root Movement again. Getting easier. Finding that moving to adjacent positions is becoming stronger, and hearing the form of the piece is getting more solid. 5 minutes.
    Brief Rest.
    Final Root Movement run. The form and other ideas are becoming clearer. Even though I'm only playing roots, I'm imagining the melody, variations on the melody, soloing ideas and I can sing parts of the melody as I'm playing roots. Time is getting steadier but changing positions is still shaky.
    Rest
    Final run is going back to playing anything I want (go for it soloing) for 5 minutes. I feel really familiar with the harmony and form now and I'm actually playing some nice ideas that fit together.

    That was my daily workout today.
    Sorry if this is a dumb question but when you talk about root movement, do you mean the root of each chord in the lead sheet?

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by charlieparker
    Sorry if this is a dumb question but when you talk about root movement, do you mean the root of each chord in the lead sheet?
    Yes. This minimal outlining of the chords leaves the space for you to hear, but it also shows you the tone from which all the melodic elements spring from. Without the prejudice of chord "grabs", it's a way to directly access the characteristic movement in the piece.
    I think there was a story about Billie Holiday where Lester Young told her to listen for the bass player and she'll always be able to know where she was.
    When creating solo lines, it comes from the root.
    Later we'll build this into walking bass lines. By putting this essence in our ear right from the start (as opposed to taking the notes from transcription when we have the luxury of not working in real time) we can relate to the piece, learn the piece, feel the landscape of the piece as a living thing that demands our real time participation.

  24. #23

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    I spent some time earlier in the day internalizing the Real Book progression (Bb) with shell voicings—most of the way way there, but probably need a bit more of this to have it down totally solid. Later, following JBN's lead, I recorded several choruses of using just shell voicings—just half- and whole-notes, straight from the chart, at 58 bpm. I picked the least sloppy chorus and looped it twice, for a total of ~4:30 per take.

    Then I recorded whole and half note root movements over my simple backing track. I did 3 takes of two choruses each. First time through I played the roots only on the high E string. Second time through I tried to open up a bit and found myself vaguely following the positions of the fifth and sixth string root position shell voicings I used in the backing track. This is something I have been working on in my lessons—correlating my fingerings to the chord shapes. At any rate, by the third take, I was finding some ease with the form, and able to move around with a bit of freedom. A couple of clunkers here and there, but feeling good about Day 1 overall.

    I won't do this every night, but I'll try to post an occasional video in case anyone is interested in seeing / hearing my progress. This was probably my cleanest chorus of the night. Sorry about the slight electronic buzz (damn single coil pickups and their finicky positioning needs) and the fret (recent acquisition needs a setup).


  25. #24

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    I jumped in this evening. I didn't record myself comping, but I did comp the changes for 5-10 minutes while comparing some slight differences between the Real Book chart and iReal Pro's version. I then did the root movement along with iReal Pro. I'll try to create my own comping backing track, but I was pressed for time tonight and I didn't want to let another day go by without starting the program. Anyway, I really enjoyed the root movement. It's funny. I feel like I try to avoid the root so much, it was liberating to actually play it. It certainly helps to really outline the chords. After doing the root movement work for 10 minutes or so I ended the evening by mixing some root movement along with playing over the changes to iReal Pro. I can feel myself internalizing the song already. This is a standard I've played, but one I don't really know. Oh, I was playing very slowly at 75 bpm. Anyway, I'm glad I jumped in! Thanks, JBN!

  26. #25

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    Curious how people record video while recording audio with something other than a phone?