Just wanted to give a quick heads up to the regular visitors to freejazzlessons.com who get notified of new lesson posted using Google Reader.
(If you don’t use Google Reader then you don’t have to worry about this post. )
Starting July 1, 2013 Google Reader will no longer be in operation. Google is discontinuing Google Reader and pulling the plug on this product. Bummer!
From what I can see from the data on the site it looks like this will affect about 1 % of the regular readers.
If you’re a regular RSS user like I am on my favorite sites I would immediately switch to another service. You don’t want to lose all you data.
Google reader happened to be my feedreader of choice like a lot of people to check out my favorite sites. So, I have to find something new just like everybody else.
Never fret though my friends. Here are some other options of other ways you to continue to access free jazz lessons and the new articles on this site.
4 Other Options For Getting Your Free Jazz Lessons Fix
1. Your first and best bet is to sign up for the email list. You’ll get a new personalized email every time a new lesson is posted. I also send all kinds of private emails, additional tips, and other fun stuff to the email list.
You can subscribe on the top left of the site or right below this article. The email list for this site is sort of like a private club.
2. Feedly. This is another RSS reader. I haven’t personally used it yet but it seems popular.
3. Pulse News. Another modern RSS option. I can’t personally vouch for this but 2 members of my family have used it and seem to like it. Apparently, LinkedIn just acquired them too.
4. Flipboard. This is another RSS option that seems to be very mobile and tablet friendly. I haven’t downloaded it yet on my tablet but I plan to in the next week.
Anyway, sorry to be the bearer of bad RSS news Like I said this will only affect a very small percentage of the regular readers of this site but I don’t want anybody to miss out!
Keep practicing everybody try to become a better musician today than you were the day before!
Steve Nixon is the proud owner of freejazzlessons.com He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator.
Why don’t you take 4 minutes and watch the video where I show you how to play this lick.
I will of course include the notation below but always remember that listening is an integral part of learning jazz improvisation.
You can’t learn jazz entirely by reading the notation. It’s very similar as if I was trying to learn to speak a new language.
I might be able to pick up a lot of words from reading a book but my accent would be very thick and my pronunciation would most likely be horrible!
To truly get the essence of the jazz language you must listen and model other fluent ‘jazz speakers’. This is especially true when it comes to things like rhythm, beat placement, note duration, and articulation.
So, in other words please listen to the video too.
Miles Davis Lick Notation
Here’s the notation. Make sure you also scroll down for extra tips to help you learn.
(Click the lick to view it larger in a new window. You can print them from your browser if you’d like.
Feel free to share this notation or page with friends. The only thing I ask is that you credit freejazzlessons.com back with a link. Thanks! )
11 Jazz Improvisation Tips To Help You Learn This Lick
Check out how Miles places all the chord tones on the strong beats (beats 1, 2, 3 ,4).
As we discussed in our dominant bebop scale lesson, placing chord tones on downbeats creates a really nice inside sound and propels the lick forward.
(For more information on the bebop scale you can check this lesson on the major bebop scale).
In the first 2 beats of the V chord measure Miles and the rest of the band use more of an inside mixolydian sound.
On beats 3 and 4 though he starts using altered extensions of the chord (#9 and b9).
This creates tension and the need for resolution. It’s really an effective way of leading into the I chord.
If you’re new to the concept of altering scales and chords you can check out this lesson on the altered scale.
Miles implies the lydian scale just for a second on beat 1 of the I chord (Ebmaj7). By playing a note that needs to be resolved on beat 1 it creates this sense of forward motion and keeps the line moving forward.
If you want some more information on the lydian mode you can check out this lesson on major chords scales.
One of the things that Miles was simply amazing at was his musical use of space.
Similar to how a zen master is able to communicate through short powerful ideas, Miles was able to communicate so deeply while often times playing very minimalistic ideas.
Check out how Miles just ends his phrase on beat 1 of the one chord and then just lets it breath after that. I love his use of space!
I find that the more I mature as an improviser the more I tend to play my musical phrases like I speak.
Since I tend to use a lot of space when I speak I really resonate with the way Miles Davis made music.
If you want to learn more about using space in your phrasing you can check out this lesson on the Miles Davis So What solo.
What about you. Did you enjoy this lesson? Is your own phrasing similar to how you speak? What musician’s phrasing do you love to listen to?
Please leave a comment below and lets get a discussion going!
If you’re new here I recommend you subscribe to the freejazzlessons.com email list.
You’ll receive tons of free lessons right in your inbox that will greatly improve your playing right away!
You also be joining over 4,500 fellow musicians in one of the fastest growing jazz communities on the internet today.
You can subscribe on the top left of the site or in the box right below this article. See you on the other side!
Steve Nixon is the proud owner of freejazzlessons.com He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator.
The goal for this site has been to always provide a 21st century jazz education experience.
So, in today’s lesson I thought it would be fun to create a personalized video response to some of the questions I’ve received through comments and emails on the site. (video below)
Normally, I like to have a combination of some sort of video, audio, and written component to every lesson. So, I actually hired someone to transcribe my words from the video below.
I usually like to do all the writing myself but the last few days have been super busy for me. I’ve been preparing music for an upcoming tour I’m doing in Switzerland.
My time was at a premium this week as a result. I can’t let you guys down though as your jazz teacher online. So, I still wanted to create a thorough lesson for you guys. So, transcription is also included below.
Please let me know in the comments below if you like these type of lessons going forward?
The first jazz questions lesson I made got some great response but of course the goal is always to create jazz education content that you guys love!
Here’s the transcription:
Please note: The transcriber did a good job but it’s not a completely perfect transcription. For those of you who prefer to read the lessons this transcription will definitely do the trick.
Steve N: Hello everybody Steve Nixon here with FreeJazzLessons.com thank you so much for joining me here today. Alright in today’s video I’m doing something that I’ve actually never done before.
I get a lot of email questions on this site a lot of comments from the lessons I put up. And just certain questions people have about music in general coming in. Up to this point I’ve always done sort of just a text response to it by writing back.
So today I’m going to do something a little different, I’m going to do a video response to a couple of questions I get in. I think it’s a great for a lot of people to learn all one time. And just a little bit more personal as well.
Alright, so let’s get to our first question, the first question comes from Francis B. from France.
Q Dear Steve, thanks for your lesson on Summertime. He writes, The first chord you wrote is D minor 7. To me this means and implies D Dorian considering this chord is the same as the second step of the scale of D. Here it is the tonic of the song.
How would you like this chord to be changed into D minor 6th or even D minor 6th 9. So that it complies with the melodic minor scales in D?
Steve N: Francis, that’s a great question. You can really change that first chord I wrote D minor 7th. You can play D minor 6th 9, D minor 7, D minor add 9, really whatever you want. As long as the chord does not clash with the melody,
Okay; or that you’re not clashing with other instruments you’re playing with as well. So you want to make sure you are listening, okay.
So in a jazz lead sheet, essentially you can substitute things here and there. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it is functioning within the song and providing forward motion of harmonically and there’s no clash, okay.
So if we have our like – (playing notes on the piano) so that’s the D minor 7 and that’s cool. (more notes played) that’s the D minor 6th, that’s also very cool. (playing higher in the register) that’s D minor 6th 9 that’s pretty nice sounding as well. Or here’s the minor, Major 7th. (still higher). Sort of like a James Bond sound.
So ya man, whatever you want to do there. Just make sure it’s, it sounds good; okay. So, jazz substitutions is really a big part in getting our own personal sound in jazz. Thanks again for the question Francis.
Here’s an additional lesson I taught so you can learn more about how to use minor jazz chords.
Okay, our next question comes from Brillar and Brillar’s does not say the city he’s from but writes:
Q: Hi Steve, can you tell me what bebop scale you were inter-changing with the G Blues Scale in your Autumn Leaves Lesson? And can this apply to other tunes as well?
Steve N. Thanks for the question, to answer your question. I wasn’t thinking as much of scale there. I wasn’t necessarily thinking bebop scales.
I was thinking a little bit more vertically there, okay. I was thinking about placing chord tones or arpeggiation type of ideas. With a little bit of passing scale tones and some chromaticism leading into chord tones on the down beat.
That’s sort of how I was approaching it right there. You could for example, use like the G Bebop Scale there.
Like G Bebop Scale, but like I said with a really it wasn’t like one particular scale there. Alright, thanks for the question Brillar.
Alright our last question comes from Mike, from San Antonio. Mike writes:
Q: Hi Steve, If you could only say one thing and you think it would make the biggest impact in my playing, what would you say it would be?
-Mike, San Antonio
Steve N: Okay, I get variations of this question a lot. People will ask me, what is the most important thing to practice? Now Mike, I’ve never heard your playing before. So I can’t particularly say.
“Hey, if there’s one thing that’s going to make be to the secret that’s going to bring out your whole musicianship. But if I was speaking very generally, this is sort of what I hear from all the people I taught over the years; okay?
They need a lot of work getting their rhythm from being very good to a world class level. Okay, so with jazz and music that’s sort of in a contemporary style. The rhythmic placement, man, is super important.
Sort of like what brings something from just sounding good to something like amazing and touches us emotionally.And not enough time is spent on rhythm, alright?
So, how do we work on a rhythm? What are some things we can do? Well, from a basic level, make sure you’re playing along with a metronome. That’s a “No brainer” right there, a lot of people know that.
A couple of other things are recommending you. Play with musicians who are better than you, okay?
Play with guys who are, who have a great swing feel, okay. Make sure you get an opportunity to play with them and their rhythmic feel with come into your playing,
Where they’re placing the beat, you have to adjust to them; alright. And eventually they will absorb your playing; okay.
Other things you can do, You can transcribe okay. Like for example, I was a young musician. I thought I could swing pretty good. Okay, which was not true, I thought I could. So I started playing with this Miles Davis record.
So I started playing along with “Kind of Blue” and “So What” and what else is on there? “Freddie The Freeloader”, you know, “Blue and Green.” So I started to play all of Miles’s solos. And I knew all the notes and had heard it a million times. I started noticing, Whoa, he’s way further back on the beat.
So I started playing it, but I wasn’t 100% locking-in. So I started listening a little deeper, right. Once I started to get exactly where Miles was placing his beat. I noticed that he really articulating and pulling back. Placing his rhythm way further back on the beat than I was, okay.
I’ve learned a lot from that, okay. I sort of absorbed Miles rhythmic feel of it. As well as from that it really helped my swing feel and my rhythm over all as a whole; okay.
(By the way if you want a great solo to start with check out this lesson on this Miles Davis solo.)
So the two suggestions I have, okay, I would say. Work on your rhythm and by doing that. Play along with better musicians than you, alright.
And also, make sure you are transcribing and listening very closely to Master Musicians. To people like Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery has got an incredible rhythmic feel. Who else has got great rhythmic feel Barry Harris has got great rhythm and feel, certain Bud Powell records, he’s killin’ it. His rhythmic feel is on an incredible level, okay.
Once last bonus thing okay? Make sure you record yourself as well. Listen back to your strengths as well as weaknesses as well. And then spend time working on your weaknesses as well.
I tend to hear a lot of musicians who are working on their strengths. So, okay, great. They got some really great blues licks in their playing. So they will keep learning more and more blues licks.
You know if your goal is to sound more like a bebop player or more of a contemporary player. Well, hey man, if it’s bebop, spend time working on that bebop vocabulary.
But if it’s more of a contemporary player, figure out what Brad Mehldau is doing? Figure out what McCoy Tyner is doing? Figure out what Chick Corea is doing, okay. Spend time on things you know you can’t do and aren’t sounding that great on.
6. I’m playing a II-V-I chord progression in the example above. The II-V-I chord progression is the single most popular and important chord progression in all of jazz music.
7. If you want to learn some more ways of playing this chord progression check out this lesson on solo piano II-V-I chords.
Where You Can Use These Chords
8. In the video above I use the chords in a comping situation. So, you can could definitely use them while playing behind another soloist.
9. Even though they sound great in a comping situation you could also just as easily use them as part of a solo piano arrangement.
When I’m playing solo piano I’ll mix all kinds of different voicings into the arrangement and of These voicings could be used in solo piano too!
The only requirement is to make sure that the top note of your chords fit the melody of the tune. You can see how I mix together a lot of different types of voicings in this solo jazz piano performance.
The main idea is to be creative with using these chords.
Do you have ideas where else you can use these chords? Please leave a comment below and share.
10. You’ll notice that I’m playing a few additional passing chords in the video above. I’m using a technique called ‘planing’.
The simple summary of this concept is to play the same chord voicing either up or down a half step and then resolving into your target chord.
So, if I’m trying to get to Cmaj7 I may quickly play a Bmaj7 before hand (which is down a half step) and then resolve up in the Cmaj7.
If you guys are interested in this type of concept I’ll do a lesson on this in the future. Please let me know in the comments below.
11. I’m a big fan of learning everything in all 12 keys. I know this takes time but I promise you it’s worth it!
You don’t have to learn every key right away though if you feel like it’s too much.
Try throwing them into some tunes you already know. It’s definitely the quickest way to get comfortable with these chords and start making music right away.
Once you do that you can go back and try to slowly learn some more keys.
I hope you enjoyed this lesson! Remember to seize the day and keep working on trying to improve your musical skills a little bit everyday. These chords are a great place to start!
If you enjoyed this lesson or have some cool suggestions for using these chords please leave a comment below. Let’s get a discussion going!
If you’re new here remember to subscribe to the freejazzlessons email list.
You’ll receive tons of free lessons right in your inbox.
You’ll also be joining a community of over 4000 musicians who are learning jazz right along with you!
You can subscribe very easily on the top left of the site or in the red box right below this article.
Steve Nixon is the proud owner of freejazzlessons.com He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator.
These masters have such control over their harmony and they know just how to paint with these beautiful color tones and the results are magic I tell ya!
So, how can we get control of these beautiful chords? Well, one of the first keys starts with unlocking your musical ear.
My Ear Training Story
Just a brief backstory about me. I started classical piano lessons at the age of 8 years old.
I had a great teacher, but he never introduced me to understanding harmony or even more importantly, how to hear to what I was playing.
Like most young piano students, I was taught just to read notes off a page.
I developed tone, coordination, rhythm and other musical attributes but by the age of 12 I got bored and left the piano to play drums.
After I started to write songs in my late teens I quickly realized that I needed and wanted to know more about music and composition.
I was honest enough with myself to admit that I needed to get back to the piano and really develop my musicianship.
Despite my early piano lessons I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about music theory, harmony or even ear training.
I knew if I wanted to be keep improving my songwriting I had to learn more about harmony.
So, at 22 years old I enrolled into Berklee as a songwriting major (where I met Steve Nixon, owner of freejazzlessons.com).
To say that I was initially overwhelmed at Berklee would be an understatement!
I never grew up listening to jazz, other than maybe playing “Kind Of Blue” in the background because I liked the sound of it and I thought it was cool to listen to Miles.
I always thought Jazz was this far out complicated music that I would never understand.
I grew up listening mainly to pop radio and my parents never cared for jazz themselves. I was never exposed to it.
When I got to Berklee I remember being asked how to play a Db7#11 chord and feeling very ashamed because I couldn’t. More importantly, I didn’t know what a #11 even sounded like!
There I was at an age where I should have already graduated from college surrounded by kids who were already world-class jazz players and I am there struggling on hearing chords. UGH!
Yes, I could read, I could write songs, I had strong rhythm, and I could get around the keyboard well on a technical level. But at that time I COULD NOT HEAR anything!
I knew right then and there nothing was more important than developing my ears. I wanted to hear so deeply that I would never have to listen to something more than twice to have a fighting chance to play it back.
Forget the sheet music, this was personal! I was determined! I had a lot of work to do! Thus began my journey.
Inspiration From Jamey Aebersold
I heard Jamey Abersold once talk about being able to really hear music and how having great ears is not reserved for a small elite class of musical geniuses.
Rather, it can be attained by most people with the proper amount of practice.
Like if an old friend called you after many years of not speaking, you would instantly recall the tone of his or her voice. You never forget their “sound” so to speak.
The same concept can be applied to music. If you can recognize a friend’s voice you can recognize the sounds of chords too!
We all posses the same ability when it comes to sounds and musical tones… It just starts with actively attaching our mind’s ear to everything we hear.
Hearing Jamey Aebersold say this gave me confidence that if I practiced the right exercises I could learn to train my ear too!
Since that time I’ve made huge progress in my ear training and aural skills. With inspiration and some great ear training exercises it has made all the difference!
What Ear Training Exercises Did You Do?
Here are some of the techniques that I have been using for years and still use to this day to deepen my hearing of chords with tensions. They’ve made a huge difference in my music.
While the same amount of time could easily be spent on melodic ear training, I will focus on harmonic ear training in this article.
Also, remember the more you alter your dominant chords the more the chord wants to function as a 5 chord.
This altered 5 chord will want to resolve to the 1 chord. (The Dom7#11 is the exception to this rule.)
I found that having this theoretical understanding can help a lot when I am stuck on what a pianist is playing and I can’t seem to hear it out.
Use theory to your advantage, it’s an added edge in training your ear!
(If you want to learn more about altered harmony check out Steve’s lesson on the altered scale.)
3.) Think Melodically And Sing
No, you don’t have to sound like Frank Sinatra to utilize this technique! If you are like me and do not sing too well, it’s ok!
I am just really talking about matching pitch of the tension to further burn the sound of it in your musical being.
I didn’t implement this technique till much later, but honestly I wish I did sooner.
In taking exercise #1 above a bit further, try to match the tension with your voice out loud when playing it. This can really help to further cement your hearing of the tone.
Play just the third and seventh of your dominant chord in your left hand (this is a tritone by the way).
Sing the tension over your tritone. Try to sing or match the pitch while hearing how the tension wants to function. Like a #9 followed by a b9 followed the root over a C7 chord for example.
Sing the Eb to Db to C root. Tensions have tendencies, whether they want to resolve up or down. Where do they want to move to? Hear and sing these tendencies.
This helps to think of harmony in a melodic way. Also, many times on a lead sheet when you see a tension on a chord it’s often the melody!
This can really help you understand how to hear these color tones when you sing them out loud. Learn the melody!
4.) Hearing Through Patterns
Try to hear the patterns in music. Chord progressions are usually built on sequences, many of which we have heard time and time again.
1 6 2 5 1, 2 5 1 6 , 1 4 5, etc are such common progressions, but when we start out it can still sound like dozens of chords in a row.
Go back to that macro thinking we discussed earlier in the article.
Try hearing 2 5’s as a harmonic sequence not just individual chords.
After identifying which sequence is being used then you can go back and dissect each chord and listen to what the player is doing over the 2chord, then 5 chord etc.
Is he/she playing a 2minor7b5? A 2minor11, a Dom7th b9 #11?
Listen for the bigger chunks, and not just chord by chord. This makes hearing less daunting. Never forget your theory when in a jam!
5.) Active Listening
Once you get bit but the “listening bug” there is no turning back. I suggest that you always actively listen no matter where you are.
Try to hear the harmonic movement of a TV commercial when you are lounging around on the couch. You do not have to be in front of the piano.
Try to transcribe the chords of the pop song that you hear being played over the speakers as you are buying your groceries.
Come up with fun ways that challenge you to hear anything and everything at all times. Take your favorite songs and do not use the sheet music but rather find out what they are playing simply by ear.
This technique also helps to ensure that you won’t forget what you played. Reading music does not intrinsically help you remember anything.
When you break a piece down to its elements by ear you end up owning it and it becomes engraved in your musical being.
Final Ear Training Thoughts For The Day
There is so much that can be written on this subject of ear training . Like I said before it’s truly a lifetime study. It does take time, but I know the results are guaranteed when you put forth this type of effort.
I am still using these techniques daily and as soon as I get cocky I put on something that makes me feel like a beginner again.
It’s ok, start where you are and deepen your ears each day and you will be amazed what you can start to hear! Best of luck, and happy listening!
This was a guest post written by Brett Epstein. Brett is a Los Angeles based pianist, songwriter and music producer. Brett studied in Boston at the Berklee College of Music where he majored in Contemporary Writing and Production. His songs and productions have been featured on many TV shows and feature films, as well as performed by national recording artists. Brett gigs with many jazz bands around the Southern California area and maintains a small private piano teaching practice.
For more on Brett you can check out his wikipedia page:
You’ve got jazz questions you say? I have jazz answers! Today’s post I’m going to try something I’ve never done before. This will be an experiment of sorts.
I’m going to publish and answer several of the email questions I’ve received recently.
As I mentioned in my jazz holiday post this site keeps getting bigger and bigger. As the site continues to grow the # of emails questions I get on a daily basis has of course grown as well.
Recently I have been getting between 20-50 emails from the site. It’s sort of surreal.
The goal of this site was always to help as many people as possible at one time. I know if one person has a question many more of you will have the same question. That way everybody can learn jazz on a larger level.
So, here’s a sampling of some of the email questions I’ve received recently and my answers. Let’s get started!
(By the way if you enjoy this type of post going forward please let me know in the comment section below.)
Hi Steve, I like freejazzlessons a lot. About the blues scale, I have a question. You did not allude to the dual blues scale (I saw this topic mentioned somewhere), associated with each key.
For instance, the blues scale in the key of F would be dual to Dm. Any comment on this ? Do you endorse this, and how do you recommend using both ?
This scale can be played over a major or a minor key but it does tend to sound a little more ‘inside’ in a minor key.
There are many people who also say there is a second blues scale called “the major blues scale”. This scale is built with scale degrees 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6, and 8.
These notes are also the same notes in a relative major and minor situation. I think this is what you may have been referring to when you mention the “dual blues scale”.
For example: the D blues scale is D F G, Ab, A C, D
The F Major Blues Scale is F, G, Ab, A, C, D
As you’ll notice these are the same pitches.
Personally, I tend to only think of there being 1 blues scale. I think of the scale above, the “major blues scale”, as just a major pentatonic scale with a b3 added in there.
Ultimately though these are just ways of thinking about music and different ways of looking at music theory.
Even though I don’t think of a second blues scale or “dual blues scale” it doesn’t mean it’s a wrong way of looking at things.
We all have different ways of looking at and analyzing music.
Regardless of what we call it I think we call can agree that our focus should always be on great rhythm and creating beautiful melodies
By the way, one of my favorite examples of this mix of blues and major pentatonic together (or the major blue scale) is Chuck Leavell’s solo on the Allman Brother’s classic “Jessica”
The solo starts about 2 minutes 25 seconds in.
Hi, I’m just a beginner and really am interested in learning jazz piano. I do have a keyboard at home. I’ m using it to practice simple notes right now.
I love jazz and was wondering would it be worth my time to step into this kind of practice.
As a beginner piano player, would it be possible for me to learn your style. The sound is fantastic. Just don’t want to start something unless I can truly catch onto this style.
Steve: Hi Brenda, Granted I’ve never heard you play before but since you’re a beginner should keep working on the basic while you absorb the jazz material on freejazzlessons.com
I would also recommend taking some lessons with a good piano instructor in your area too.
Think of jazz like learning a language and every chord voicing or lick or theory concept as 1 “word”. Every “word” you pick up just adds to your vocabulary and gives you an opportunity to speak more fluently.
So, just dive in and start learning anywhere. You could learn from any of the lessons.
Just love your Jazz video lessons. Is there any chance ofyou doing The Beatles song Yesterday in a Jazz Style? If you cant showthat maybe you would do the song As Time Goes By. Look forward tohearing from you soon.
All The Best, Paul
Steve: Hi Paul,
That’s a great idea on doing a Beatles song for the future. I’ll add that to the list of future lessons.
Since there are so many regular visitors to the site I like to think I have 18,000 private students. Just a different way of looking at things i suppose
Lovin’ the lessons. I found you on Youtube a few months back and have become a fan. Just curious what do you do with your time all day? How do you have time to do all this stuff and keep a life?
Steve: Hey Seth. You asked an excellent question that…wait…hold on… Actually, I feel like since you called me dude I should probably call you dude too. So, let me start over.
Hey Dude…thanks for the email and support
This is a sort of a complicated answer so I’ll keep it short. I don’t know if I have what most people would call “a life”.
Every day is very different depending on my gig schedule. I tend to spend the vast majority of my time practicing, gigging and creating content for this site, hanging with my family, and eating (which I do a lot of).
Lately since I’ve started touring with Earl Thomas I find myself on airplanes and airports quite a bit too. This has allowed me some time to start reading books again since there’s no piano or wifi on the planes
I also try to hang as much as possible with the Freejazzlessons.com mascot Apple The Cat too.
I’m a 60 yr old self-taught intermediate player and hope you can help. Much is available on instructional dvd and books on melodic improvisation over set chord changes.
I have found no with instruction on chordal improvisation – improvisational creation of harmonic movements and chord progressions without the melodic improvisation. Is this an area of study that you have come across? I wish some would tackle this area of improvisation.
Steve: Hi David,
Nice to hear from you. There are over 100 lessons on the site and I’m sure you’ll find many useful (many of them have video demonstration).
You’re referring to the concept of a melodic outer voice or creating a counter melody with the top notes of your chord.
I am new to the site and just starting to learn jazz. I noticed that in the open voicing lesson, each voicing plays the same five notes for each chord number.
Also, notice that in the stride lesson, the same five notes appear. For example, 2 chord is 1-3-5-7-9 and the 5 chord is 1-3-7-9-13, etc. Is this accidental or are these the most prevalent combinations?
Steve: Hi Wake, Welcome to the community. The voicings i use in the open voicings lesson and the stride lesson are very common.
There are tons of different chord combinations and voicing concepts though. Register on the piano always plays a huge role for chords.
Some voicings are technically correct but if they’re too low or too high on the keyboard they wouldn’t be used much. Hope this helps!
Steve… Love your lessons. In regard tothe Wynton Kelly lick, Kelly is substituting an Ab 7 for the D min7 in that chord progression which accounts for the Ab, Eb and Gb in the line. Also notice the use of the Bop scale in the line.
Keep swingin’ Tom ,
Good to hear from you. Thanks and glad you dig the lesson. Yeah, you’re correct in regards to the scales. It’s definitely another way to look at it.
I love looking at jazz from many different angles.
I was thinking about it as a combination of locrian with some chromatic approach patterns. It could also be looked at more vertically….as all minor 7(b5) chord tones 1-3-5-7-b9.
Then the G, and Gb function as an approach to the b3 (F) in the line.
It could very easily be analyzed as bop scale though like you mentioned. I love the idea that there are several different ways to look at the same notes. I like the way you look at it alot too!
How’s the scene down in Austin? I’ve always wanted to check it out.
My question today has to do with coming up with jazzy chords to accompany the first part of the melody to “Joy of Mans Desire”. It’ll be in G. So far I only have the 1st chord as being a GM79…..seeming to go to a CM7, though it doesnt sound cool as I’d like it to. Any suggestions to change my thinking of how the chords should change to make it more jazzy?
Steve: Hi Patrick. There are lots of ways you can go here. Sky’s really the limit based off of your personal taste.
I always think of a melody note as being either the 3,5,7, 9,11,13, b9,#9,#11, or b13 of any chord. With that in mind really almost any chord can work with any melody note!
Also, the most common jazz chord progressions is of course II-V-I. So, you can take almost any diatonic progression and turn it into a II-V-I chord progression.
Im a 26 year old pianist who started at the age of 9years old. but ive stoppped playing the piano for quite some time,is it too late for me to start again espeacially into jazz,funk,rnb. And where do i start and go on from there?
I have a band that we just formed last month and I really need to improve myself, and really looking to be a professional jazz performer.
It’s possible for to catch up all the missing years? after I’ve stopped quite some time? We are funk and rnb genre kinda band. thnx Steve
It’s never to late to start! You can start on this journey any time as long as you are willing to learn and enjoy the process.
There’s a ton of lessons on my site and you could really just check out any of them and start learning there. Jazz is a vocabulary and the more “words” you learn the better off you’ll be.
So, each lesson essentially contains a few more ‘words’ to add to your vocab.
I was just wondering if you have a set structure to practice, within which you change up what you practice. For example, with John Novello it was:
He would assign time to each, like 10 min or 10% or your total time, then would insist you sit with a timer or clock and stop when that section time is up. Worked great because otherwise one gets hyper-focused, then you look up and 90 min have gone by and you’ve only done one section! The timer works.
Note that he also divided the session up into major parts of playing (there are a few others, depending) and they kind of go right brain/ear, then left brain, then switch back and forth.
Anything like this on your end? Structure, not ‘what’, more the how? Struggling with it a bit….
It must have been great to study with John. I imagine you learned a lot. He’s a phenomenal musician!
So, to answer your question from my perspective. Every day can be a bit different but I try to be as organized as possible no matter what skill I’m working on.
If I am practicing for a specific gig I’ll spend the vast majority of my practice time practicing the repertoire for that performance or tour.
(One of these days I’ll do a whole in depth lesson on how i prepare for a gig or a tour)
Now, if I don’t have any big gigs coming up that I need to prepare for and I’m just practicing for my own improvement I tend to focus on 6 main areas in my practice.
Those areas are:
Lick and Vocabulary Study
In the past years I spent a large amount of time working on chords, harmony, and ear training. So, they tend to be strengths of mine.
I should mention that there are always new things I can learn in regards to chords and ear training. It’s endless.
So, as a result I spend a bit less time with the ear training and chords right now.
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Steve Nixon is the proud owner of freejazzlessons.com He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator.