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Practice Ideas for Jazz Musicians

(25 posts)
  1. oddthink
    Member

    Secret
  2. silverwater
    Member

    I have this taped to my wall for at least 5 years:

    Daily:

    1. Sight Read

    2. Ear Train

    3. Arpeggios

    4. Chords

    5. Duet style playing

    6. Key workouts (this means doing something, mostly likely improvising or playing a continuous line activity, in all twelve keys. Maybe it's major or one of its modes, or melodic minor, or harmonic minor, or harmonic major, or pentatonics)

    I don't have learning tunes or improvising on there, because that's just called playing jazz music, and you really shouldn't need to be reminded to do that.

    I usually write down what I'm going practice that day as well.

  3. oddthink
    Member

    That's a great list! Signs on the wall -- I've always worked that way too. So when I get spacey and start looking around the room, there's a very motivating list!

  4. oddthink
    Member

    ... and what do you mean by 'duet style' playing?

  5. ..improvised oblique motion self call and response 'counterpoint' vibes?

  6. oddthink
    Member

    That's a great phrase: "improvised oblique motion" - do you mean playing against a static pitch, any register (not just a pedal)-- or did I parse out your phrase too much...

    Thinking this way: I think every instrumentalist should aspire/prepare to play and improvise completely alone, solo, unaccompanied... from sax, piano, guitar, bass, even singers--any players... to provide all the rhythm, groove, harmony of the full band... The best players (like KR) can all do this... It's a 'heavy' thing. The ability to start a tune, or in a break down where others lay out, to just transmit all the energy, groove, pulse! (<<<---Trying not to rely on bass players and drummers so much!

  7. oddthink
    Member

    -- also the David Berkman book "Creative Practicing" has a great list of things to work on... And he says something like--- if you don't know what to work on, do a gig and you'll know! Great book....

  8. it's nothing super formalized ( for me ) , i just mean ( for example ) maybe a skipping 3rds type line : d,f ,e. ( in big rhythmic values like half notes and whole notes) on even one string with one finger while ornamenting figures that mirror, are extensions of, quicker versions of this stated phrase and building this further. when you hang on a note on certain strings with certain fingers; this leaves other fingers and strings free and this offers up different challenges and tonalities. changing up the registers makes things appear like dialogue.

  9. brwnhornet59
    Member

    Great advise!

  10. oddthink
    Member

    _> floatingbridge: yeah the register thing is huge... not enough musicians think about registers this way.

    I like to think of it like this: You play in a range, open up a register by reaching the highest note SO FAR in your solo.. then work down and around in the range and up again, until you pass that highest note and go higher... at some point you break out and use the whole range of your axe... It makes you consider range, register, direction of line, and a sense of drama in your improvisations-- and maybe begin to really CONSTRUCT your solos and think even more compositionally...!!!

  11. I think I know what you mean and I will try to post a link ( every time I have seen Gary Versace it feels like many of his solos are about this). A little cell and it germinating outwards little bronchioles of ornamentation that compliment, extend, mirror ( ultimately somehow deal with that original exposition . Bach shit.

  12. Not the best example I remember coming across but here:

    Check out this video on YouTube:

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

    ...sent from my beeper.

  13. oddthink
    Member

    very cool!

  14. oddthink
    Member

    Have any of you ever tried some of the PRACTICE materials (by a number of various players) on ArtistShare? Looks interesting....

  15. oddthink
    Member

    my new WOODSHED list is:

    *increased speed (vs. relaxation)
    *tunes
    *chromaticism (approach note-lines)
    *odd-time signatures
    *playing in all 12 keys

  16. Yes sir!

  17. cruxtable
    Member

    My current practice list- though I don't get to all of these things every day (or even every week), so I guess you could call it my idea practice list:

    1. Sightreading (different styles as well)
    2. Guitar Styles/Students (work on different styles - right now it's bluegrass, learning pop songs my students are working on, becoming more versatile)
    3. Technique (covers everything from exercises, scales, chord voicings, bebop heads, picking, etc... I also spend a lot of time improvising chord/melody as a way to practice applying chord voicings)
    4. Tunes (one at a time, really work it out so you can play it and improvise playing solo, or as if playing with a trio, vocalist - practicing in different keys if necessary - shedding changes with scales, arpeggios, etc...also practicing the melody in different positions/octaves. Also, I have been trying to focus knowing the different recordings of the tune, knowing the definitive version/s, who plays on them, how different people play them, etc)
    5. Transcribe (one full solo at a time, then some other stuff on the side like from whatever tune I'm working on, or just licks I hear listening to music)
    6. Writing (right now I'm working on a big band chart though I'd like to start focusing on writing tunes I could play in a trio, which I don't have man of)
    7. Piano (just want to become more functional in different keys so I can play over any tune, also want to work on playing organ style....mostly practice with playalongs)

  18. suetom80
    Member

    nice post about the jazz man,

    really enjoyed reading.
    it's funny how so many things can be to our service and we don't even imagine it :)

    thanks for sharing.

    sue
    ------------
    ‫‪‫improving eyesight
    ‫‪‫improve vision

  19. oddthink
    Member

    Paul:
    Great list. Yeah, I stopped transcribing entire tunes for now, and just do riffs or phrases I like... It's so time-consuming that composing my own tunes is a better use of some of that time. (For now...) Obviously transcribing can be very fun and rewarding -- and some of my greatest progress came from practicing lines from great player's solos... all best!

  20. david6strings
    Member

    do you usually transcribe comping the same way you do with solos? i think maybe it's time to do that for me, but everything seems to be so hard, i just can't hear the inner voices in chords. somebody can suggest me any tunes for starting? thanks

  21. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Kurt's comping on "East Coast Love Affair" or "I Wish I Knew". Jim Hall's comping with Bil Evans, Paul Desmond, Art Farmer or Ron Carter are good too, lots of shell voicings and drops. They both have very clear chord sounds which makes it easier to transcribe - if you pick the bottom and top note you can do some trial and error to get the others.

    To me it's much tougher to transcribe piano players. Or Peter Bernstein, his chord work is really tough to hear...

  22. @ David6strings,
    I feel that the method for transcribing chords instead of melody is the same process but the obstacle of deciphering a chord that just splashes out and can be gone just as quickly can be grueling and unforgiving. I find it to come down to renewing your attenuation to EVERYTHING you can possibly hear in that moment. ( for example , @ 1:19 or 1:22 ish of old folks from someday my prince will come - that is the sound of the piano bench squeaking and it's not subtle , or in some of those classic Parker recordings , I am quessing there are some vibraphones in the room that are resonating off his playing as opposed to simply reverb- regardless, attempt to be as present as possible with each listen). Set your volume slightly quieter than your source volume - until you have the solo or chord or phrase down to what you think is or in fact is accurate and switch this - at this point it should be in your ear enough so you are checking to see if you can actually reproduce it confidently ( as opposed to hiding behind the objective solo. Back to chords, start quieter; listen often and with no external interruption, hear it in your head first; go for the most obvious voice; when you are certain that a note is in the chord , you have to re-attenuate or refresh your listening to basically ignore the voice you are certain of and hear the next obvious voice or the other notes that may be clouding and hovering, repeat this until you think you have the whole chord- double check you haven't under some hallucination projected some overtone or edited something in that you think should be there! , you don't have to play loud at all - your wrong guesses may be less distracting of the objective if they are quiet ; you know they are wrong because you know ultimately what is right. If it's piano, some voices may be out of the range, some chords are " impossible "to finger and you'll have to average things to the most hifi guitar approximation you can.now there are all types of slowdown things that exist, I don't know what the jazz police has to say about it. Having been able to get some badass things from horns and piano aswell as guitar at a normal speed coupled with that I am working more than full time at a service day job and am also a dad I am ok with considering and even allowing my self to go the way of one of these newfangled luxuries.

  23. Benny
    Member

    There's some good ideas at http://www.jazzadvice.com - subscribe to the free emails.

  24. guitar1025
    Member

    Thanks for the heads up on this page Benny. A TON of useful info here!!

  25. oddthink
    Member

    Yeah jazzadvice is awesome!


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