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Critique my summer practice plan, please!

(52 posts)
  1. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hi everybody! Classes are over, sun is shining, and we can go to the beach and do nothing until september!

    Welll, not for me (and certainly not for most musicians) lol. I'm currently designing my practice goals for the summer, extending until december. I need an outside eye (no jokes about that please) in case I'm missing anything important or if you see an unbalanced practice here.

    I can already read nicely, know my major, natural minor and pentatonics scales, and keep practicing maj7 m7 and 7 arpeggios. Now with the practice goals (think I'll have an exam on all of this, so you can measure).

    GOALS
    - m7b5 arpeggio
    - harmonic and melodic minor scales, diminished scale
    - drop 2 voicings on top 4 strings and middle 4 strings of these chords: maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, maj7b5, maj7#5, m7#5, m6, 6, 7#5, 7b5,
    7sus4, dim7, dim(maj7), m(maj7)
    - improvising over "what is this thing called love", "i got rhythm", "yardbird suite" and similar.

    So criticize without fear, this benefits everybody!

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  2. filters
    Member

    Hum,
    maybe add some transcription and ear training?

    And also "m7b5" is not really a goal for me... You have to find something that pushes you, not something you have to pull yourself to do... a goal might be "I want to have a good chord vocabulary that's gonna help me comp or have a more lines/chords improvisational style (a la Kurt or Kreisberg)... something that inspires you. Then you can say "ok I gotta shed those m7b5 arpeggio AND find a context to apply those" what about compose a tune with many m7b5 arp? or a tune like woody'n'you, in 12 keys (sounds scarry I know)

    hope this helps.

  3. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey filters! thanks for answering.

    Well, the thing is that I have to balance what I want to learn and what I must learn for the conservatory, so definitely the m7b5 arpeggio has to stay. Plus, I can use it for dominant ninth chords.

    I DEFINITELY have to do some ear training, as I've been turning off gigs because I'm too slow transcribing tunes (mostly 70's tunes), so I need to work on that.

    The 12 keys thing is something I'll eventually do, but not before december!

  4. Matt
    Member

    i like the way this looks. i must say, getting together the the modes of melodic minor will do a lot of good. harmonic minor could be nil.

    however, for me, while looking at this, it is important to achieve these in ways that are not simply running a scale, play arpeggios, etc.
    for me, the best way to practice scales are to switch between two that are found in a common progression IE ii- dorian to V7 altered scale. always find a way to make scales more than scales.

    another thing i recommend for learning melodic minor is to run diatonic triads and 7th chords over every string group. for me, this is more useful as i see the notes based around the chord, and it helps get me thinking out about how all the modes connect.

    the above exercise (and more with just that), as well as a way to get together crazy good inversions, is to try and find Ben Monder's woodshed practice things. i base a lot of my practice off of it, and it is a very helpful thing to have.

    http://www.kurtrosenwinkel.com/forum/topic/abstract-from-another-forum

    there it is. i'd say seriously consider doing most if not all of this.

  5. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Hi jorge! Thats a good program, I think even a bad program would be better than no program. In my opinion you just missed two very important things: ear training and transcribing. I would definitely add two or three solos to transcribe in your plan and make a daily plan for ear training, which is something most people avoid because it only pays off in the long term... I did some pretty intense ear training studies some months ago and only now I am seeing the results but its really worth it.

    Kreisberg and Monder are two guys that focus a lot on ear training, your fingers will always be faster than your ears (unless you r Keith Jarrett) but I am always trying to make that gap shorter.

    Hope this helps!

  6. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hi Matt!

    Of course, the list above is just a concept list. The idea in melodic minor for example is to be able to use the scale in music, and, together with the chords mentioned, work on the MM tonality. The list should've been called "items" or "concepts" instead of goals, I'm going to edit that.

    That Monder routine reminds me of the van Eps ones. That's the kind of methodical exercises I always come up with, nice to have them sorted by another one! lol. Thanks for the link ;)

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  7. Poparad
    Member

    I think m7b5 is a good goal. I had to work specifically on that an dim7 a while back as I always fumbled over those chord types in tunes. There's something about that b5 on both that threw me for a loop.

  8. Poparad
    Member

    Another thing you can do is combine your chord and arpeggio work with your scale work. Take each voicing or arpeggio pattern and move it up and down the fretboard through each scale in each key. Take C melodic minor and start on Cm-maj7, then go to Dm7, then Ebmaj7#5, and so on, moving up the fretboard along with moving up the scale.

  9. guitarmo
    Member

    For me listening has been equally or more important than playing guitar. I always try to check out specific albums/musicians/eras. Have fun!

  10. jazznan
    Member

    if you look at m7b5 chords in a ii-V-i, ie. Dm7b5 G7 Cm, as part of the key of Eb, then all the notes are in the key of Eb major scale and you can use that to solo over the whole thing and then add the B natural and any other notes you want that are not in the major scale.

  11. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey all! wow, a lot of responses, lets see:

    @jorge: you replied as I was writing, sorry for not answering hehe. I'm curious about what program did you study about ear training.

    @Poparad: definitely, harmonizing a scale with chords is a great exercise after memorizing the basic patterns.Plus, you can do that too when you memorize 9ths 11ths and 13ths.

    @guitarmo: me too, currently listening John Pizzarelli. But one needs to play a lot in order to improve!

    @jazznan: I know they belong to the same key, and can already play over most changes in a key center fashion. The next step is to outline the changes, and arpeggios are key here. Playing over the key center makes you rely basically on your ear, and mine is not that good!

  12. jorgemg1984
    Member

    For basic stuff (intervals, triads, 7h chords, inversions) I used Ear Master but I think you can get the same thing online for free. For more advanced stuff I use tons of exercises that I have learned with lotsof people during the years, its tough to explain here... But the greatest book about the subject is "Training the ear" by Armen Donelian. Its expensive (100€ both volumes), you can get it on sheetmusicplus, and its sort of the opposite thing you were talking about - he says you must hear related to the chord and not the key (hear G7 alt and not Ab melodic minor). Its sort of the Banacos way (I also got a lot of stuff from Banacos online, that guy was the real deal on ear training), associating numbers to scale / chord degrees and hear it thar way.

    But you dont need the books just get some two or three ear training exercises to make everyday :)

  13. jazznan
    Member

    I think this might help you, go to this site and click on the article, "Chord tone soloing" (metheny talks about it a lot as well): http://www.edsaindon.com/Articles.aspx

  14. sandman
    Member

    You may already intend to do so, but, I suggest learning your melodic minor, harmonic minor, and diminished scales within a theoretical context e.g. their utility. It may even help to start learning these scales through the arpeggios contained within them/comprise them.

    For example, in relation to your diminished scale, i find it has been extremely helpful in learning how the scale itself lays out on the fret board as well as being very awesome sounding to think in terms of the four major triads that are present in the diminished scale.

    I am also of the opinion that learning to think and improvise intervallically is a must, so why not start now.

    One such nugget of awesomeness for me was thinking of the diminished scale as 4 sets of major triads.

    You may already be aware of this, if so stop reading now, but if not this may be of interest.

    For example: lets take the Eb diminished scale. the notes contained in this scale are as follows

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1' Scale degree
    Eb F Gb Ab A B C D Eb note name
    w 1/2 w 1/2 w 1/2 w 1/2 interval between successive notes

    obviously one can view this as alternating whole steps and half steps to generate the scale in a linear fashion. However, you can also construct the same scale by thinking of it as 4 seperate major triads.

    the major triads contained here are D, F, Ab, and B.

    D F#(Gb) A <------(D major Triad)
    Ab C Eb <------(Ab maj Triad)
    B D#(Eb) F#(Gb) <------(B maj Triad)
    F A C <------(F maj triad)
    These major triads are typically referred to as "cousins" and can be used interchangeably for any of the 4 Dominant seven chords D, F, Ab, B (or a ii V pattern containing any of these dominant seven chords).

    Further, by thinking about only two of these triads at any given moment as your "pool of notes" you have essentially 6 notes to choose from (plus chromatic tones connecting these two triads), and by picking a different triad pairs you can elude to different sonorities and thus change how "outside" your sounding.

    For example, using the same maj triad cousins over a D7 chord

    outside but not too outside sounding:
    D and F will highlight a D7b9 sonority
    D and Ab will highlight b9 D7b5/#11
    D and B D6/b9

    more outside sounding

    F and Ab
    Ab and B

    in addition you may find that certain sections of tunes can be simplified (as far as improvising lines is concerned)

    For example the opening two bars of Lazy Bird

    A-7 D7 l C-7 F7 l

    pretty quick modulation (which again modulates), but as as it happens you can use same four maj triads just outlined be used throughout the two bars, greatly simplifying your matters for improvising a line (for me anyway). (note: of course playing through the changes is also a well advised method, but this is just one thing to add to your bag of tricks I know it has helped me)

    I hope some of this rambling can be of use.

  15. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    @jazznan: nice resource! definitely important things to keep in mind when soloing.

    @sandman: wow, huge post there! The only thing I didn't understand is the last part, when you say that one can play the lazy bird fragment with those four major triads. P.S: have you noticed the four major triads roots, thirds, and fifths form diminished chords themselves?

  16. jazznan
    Member

    I think it's easier to just look at the chord and think what major triads will work, ie. on a Dom 7th chord, take D7 a major triad on the root will work

    root triad D maj
    2nd degree Emaj (6/9#11)
    3rd degree Fmaj
    4th degree Gmaj (sus sound)
    b5 degree Ab (b9, #11)
    b6 Bb (#5, #9)
    6 B (b9, 13)
    7th (sus9)

    so basically only two major triads don't work but you could always just raise or lower them a half step if you land on one, haha

  17. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey jazznan! I find what you're saying is interesting, but I can't work with those kind of substitutions right now. I have big holes in my development, so I need to learn to play strictly the changes without other strategies, just being able to play them verbatim. Same with arpeggios, I have to study them because I've never done it before.

    So far, this is the modified 6 MONTHS practice plan.

    ITEMS

    - m7b5 arpeggio
    - harmonic minor, melodic minor and diminished scale
    - drop 2 vocings 1234 and 2345 strings of: maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, maj7b5, maj7#5, m7#5, m6, 6, 7#5, 7b5, 7sus4, dim7, dim(maj7), m(maj7)
    - improvising using chord tones only over "what is this thing called love", "i got rhythm", "yardbird suite" and similar.
    - ear training: all intervals up to an octave; chords up to seventh, all inversions.

    Suggestions? Additions?

  18. add4
    Member

    It's funny i'm more or less at the same place in my guitar studies, except that i have already put a lot of time on studying the drop2 and 3 voicings.
    have fun

  19. Matt
    Member

    I tentatively say maybe consider not going by such a strict time frame (simply cause i'll work on things for 2-3 weeks and have them down; some things always take longer than others and vice versa) which maybe it's just a map so i guess i'm simply putting it out there.

    also, for the chord tone thing, i'd say don't do it cause you'll get bored (at least i do); at least (since you're learning melodic minor and diminished) try altering Dom7 with Diminished subs and the altered scale. also, if you transcribe, try taking those concepts and applying them. one thing i recently have gotten into is the use of whole tones through thelonious monk.

    really i think you're gonna learn a lot! there's no greater joy than the pay off a lot of practice.
    as nir felder said - 'we all have such a long way to go and always will!'

  20. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    @add4 then join me in my personal hell! lol

    @Matt the time frame is because of exams, and I would like to play this material (at least most of it). I don't pretend to master all this stuff in 6 months, but at least to become comfortable with most of it. I always keep reviewing older material until I don't need to anymore, so it's not carved in stone so to speak.

    The chord tone exercises are by my teacher's request, so I must learn to do it that way too. But I already know theoretically the dim substitution for V7.

    I hope I learn a lot! (if my head doesn't exploe first! lol).

  21. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Add at a lest one transcription Jorge, dont spend that much time without transcribing - learn a simple solo from Jim Hall for example :)

  22. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Allright, let's add a transcription to the mix!

    ITEMS

    - m7b5 arpeggio
    - harmonic minor, melodic minor and diminished scale
    - drop 2 vocings 1234 and 2345 strings of: maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, maj7b5, maj7#5, m7#5, m6, 6, 7#5, 7b5, 7sus4, dim7, dim(maj7), m(maj7)
    - improvising using chord tones only over "what is this thing called love", "i got rhythm", "yardbird suite" and similar.
    - ear training: all intervals up to an octave; chords up to seventh, all inversions.
    - Transcription of Jim Hall solo over Beautiful Love

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Video

  23. Matt
    Member

    oh yeah! Jim Hall's the man. maybe do a horn, too; although Jim is an exception, many guitarists have terrible feel.

  24. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I have transcribed that one - but the comping not the solo actually. His comp behind Petrucciani is outrageous but transcribing comping is tough for the ear... I wil transcribe Petrucciani solo, not decided about Jim yet - but that was a great choice Jorge :)

    Matt - I am with you, hate most traditional players sound, feel, time, phrasing.. but Jim is THE MAN!

  25. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    I'm a lot into John Pizarelli lately, might transcribe something from him too. Seems very tonal and straightforward...

  26. gleepglop
    Member

    I agree with the above posters to add in some ear training and transcribing, and would include singing in both of those categories.

    And while learning drop2 voicings is essential, I'd suggest also working out the 'bill evans' type rootless voicings on the 1234 and 2345 string sets for standard progressions. While the actual piano voicings are all close, only some of these can be played on guitar, so you have to make them into open voicings, which means they will be identical to drop 2 voicings but for a different chord.
    For example, your typical Ebmaj7 voicing Eb - Bb - D - G would be a rootless voicing for Cm9.
    You can voice-lead from there to F13#9: Eb - A - D - G#
    And to Bbmaj13: D A C G

    etc.

    If you're not familiar with the "Evans" system, it's basically this:
    Using 1357, you can sub 9 for 1, and 13 for 5 on any chord where the result makes sense.
    On Maj7 chords or tonic minor chords, you can sub 6 for 7
    (mostly) voice the 3rd or 7th as the lowest note (i.e., 3571 and 7135 are the most common before substitutions)
    On circle of 5ths motion, 3rds and 7ths alternate for good voice leading.

    chords with the 1357 or 5731 (or subs) structure often make good transition chords when the motion is not by circle of 5ths, or if you want to voice lead up instead of down (for melodic reasons), or sometimes if you want to transition between close and open voicings.

    Getting this together will make a huge difference in your comping.

  27. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Thanks for that post gleepglop! Seems too advanced for the stuff I'm practicing right now, but definitely worth checking out, if only for voice leading up the neck.

    How is Evans' system from diatonic substitution?

  28. ... this is all laid out thoroughly and clearly in brett wilmott's bool " complete book of harmony,theory and voicing" which i've been working through and i feel finally organizes the material ( already seen in the triad over bass section of the advancing guitarist and perhaps is a more succinct delivery of those particular concepts found in parts of van eps's series too).
    when i say it's all laid out, i mean:
    the 15 7th type chords.
    the 2345 ( ... just graph out the other sets too ).
    the drop 2s
    the various sub for 1s and 5s
    ...seriously.

  29. gleepglop
    Member

    Hey Jorge, I'm not sure what your asking about "diatonic substitution".

  30. not sure either. diatonic implies that it's coming from somewhere within the same scale though so perhaps something like using Bmin7b5 for G7... which is a way to play a rootless voicing of a 9th chord.maybe ? evans does really cool things . i learned minority from his " everybody digs bill evans " cd with sam and philly joe jones. i dont think i had ever heard the song before or anything by gigi gryce ( well probably only the larger monk ensembles from those videos where phil woods is there too). the intro and fire and energy is so alive and strong- it was super intriguing . to the point where i would just keep restarting the damn song over and over again , really really really trying to imagine that the moment hadnt existed yet and there were three dudes in a room ( probably with skinny ties and cigarettes and charts and all that cool recording room stuff) about to make that thing! it for some reason really floored me and i had to try to learn it. after seeing the chart in the real book it dawned on me how heavy bill evans was because of his harmonic sense and choices. right off the bat, the chord is a min7 chord and the melody note is the 9; he plays a maj7#5 chord off of the min3rd of that original min7 chord- in other words, he he gets his melody note in and turns the chord into a min/maj9 which makes it a harm or mel minor tonality. after words there is all kinds of really cool inner line stuff and some things they worked out ( an arrangement ) and the solo - he is totally controlburn.


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