In today’s jazz piano lesson we’re going to take a close look at how to quickly add some minor scales (modes) into your jazz playing.
Whether you’re playing in a jazz rock band, a bebop band, a latin jazz band, or another direction, these minor scales will be useful.
I think you’ll enjoy this particular jazz lesson So, let’s get started (video, lesson, jazz jam track, and notation below).
Start by watching the video below.
Bonus material: Here is the jam track I used to solo over inside the video. You can practice with this free jazz play along as much as you like. Remember to bookmark this site to come back and practice with it regularly.
The track is well over 4 minutes long and has real upright bass and drums. It also features a bossa groove. Enjoy my friends!
The Scales Written Out
Here is the first scale you can play over minor chords. I’ve just written it out in one key (the key of C) but you can easily transpose the scales using the scale degree guide I list above each scale.
If you want additional information on how to jam over major chords then make sure you check out the major chord scale jazz lesson. Also, if you’re switching from classical music to jazz here’s a great article to get you started classical to jazz lesson.
1. Aeolian Mode
Music Theory Scale Degrees ( 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7)
Click to expand scale.
The aeolian mode is sometimes called the natural minor scale. Although it’s not used as often as the dorian mode it still a very cool sound. If you play with it carefully, the half step tension between the 5 and the b6 can create some really interesting colors with your music.
I remember first learning about this scale as a kid playing in my first rock band. We used to jam for hours on the Bob Dylan classic “All Along The Watchtower”.
(Of course both Jimi Hendrix and Dave Matthews both did famous versions of this song) All the chords to this song are in the aeolian mode.
2. Dorian Mode
Music Theory Scale Degrees ( 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7)
Click to expand scale.
The dorian mode is often the first scale choice when jazz musicians improvise over a minor chord. If I’m thinking modally I tend to use it quite a bit as well.
The head of Miles Davis famous song “So What” features the dorian mode. In addition, alot of the improvisation features dorian. It’s very beautiful!
If you want some more information on how to learn from Miles on this tune then please also check out this Miles Davis lesson.
Tips For Practicing These Minor Scales
1. It’s important that you take these scales in as many keys as possible. You don’t want to be a monster player in the key of C but a hack in the key of B. Learn all your keys.
2. A good way to sound musical right away with these scales is to start working out some short musical sequences and licks built from notes of the scales. Put on the jam track above and use it as a springboard to help you come up with ideas.
3. Still not sure what licks to play? Grab some of the ones I use on the video. They’re all yours.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this free jazz piano lesson. How do you plan on applying these minor scales to your own music? Please leave a comment below letting us know.
You are welcome to visit this page regularly to practice using the jam track above in this lesson.
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