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9

I think an excellent piece to start with is Duke Ellington's C-Jam Blues. It's about the simplest 12-bar blues you're ever going to find. Start by discussing the overall form of the piece: play through the head, play solos over the changes, repeat the head, stop. You could go over a few styles of soloing like strict-pentatonics, full blues scales, various ...


7

As I see it, only you and your bandmates can answer this, because it depends on what you want to do. First off, if you're not gigging... what exactly are you rehearsing for? Someone needs to step up and book gigs, or else I don't see why there's a band in the first place. Assuming you have gigs at some schedule, then I see rehearsal potentially doing three ...


7

For much of Jazz, the harmonic changes provide a key forward push. Melodic choices have to work within that framework. In Indian music, there are no harmonic changes to exploit for forward motion or melodic development. With some "smooth jazz" and some modal jazz, the tunes stay in a single key or mode, and there is more similarity to Indian music, but even ...


5

I believe that the oft-cited analogy with learning a language is quite to the point. You need to learn (i.e., copy) words, phrases, and simple sentences, and after a lot of practice you will be able to form your own sentences and express what you want to convey. You can speed up that process from copying to self-expression by total immersion, i.e. by ...


5

I'm coming at this from a completely different perspective, but I'll throw my idea out there because it sounds like you need several different activities. There is a tradition of improvisation and ornamentation in baroque music that might feel more accessible to classical musicians. There's lots of good information out there on this, but here's an example ...


5

This is not a question of whether the band is rehearsing the right way or the wrong way. Since the band has existed longer than you've been a member, and the other members are content with the situation, the band's current rehearsal seems to fit the goals of the other members. They might be more interested in playing comfortable material than pushing ...


4

I have the SAME EXACT problem: I play music by sight, not by ear. What I usually do when I'm told to play a melody or a song, I play the note in my head. I ask myself "is this a high note, or a low note, or somewhere in-between?" Then, I would make an educated guess of which note it could possibly be, and play it. From there, I would determine if it's the ...


4

What I think you should be able to do is: Play the melody fluently; if you can learn it by heart, even better, but if not don't worry. Play the melody slightly varied. If you listen to the same jazz song by many artists, you'll see that none of them play it the same. Everyone changes it a bit here and there. That's something you'll have to do yourself. ...


4

There's a lot of different methods to use when soloing over a given progression however the one I think is the simplest taking the given chord and working backwards to the mode and the scale you can use. A simple example in the key of C major is the progression C - A♭ - F - G. Three of the four chords are squarely in the C major scale, however the ...


4

One question that this spawns is Has the band played many gigs - in the 6 mths you've been with them? I suspect the answer is no. Too much time spent (wasted) in rehearsals to have a playlist of enough numbers. Sounds harsh. But I've been (for short times, I hasten to add!) in bands like this. I call them 'rehearsal bands' as this is all they do! Some do it ...


3

When composing or creating a melody line to go with your chord progression (harmony) your safest bet is to choose a chord tone for the first note played after or simultaneous with the chord change. A chord tone is any note contained in the underlying chord (one of the three in a triad or one of the four in a 4 note chord such as a 7th). But you can ...


3

This is a very broad question, and each individual subquestion is very broad by itself, but I'll try to point you in the right direction. You should grab a copy of either Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" or Robert Rawlins' "Jazzology". In my experience, those are the most recommended general jazz theory books. Check reviews in Amazon and similar sites ...


3

If you are playing solo, start by realizing that you are now the full band and you need to adapt your playing like so. Think of the drummer and the bass player as "navigators" on a ship, guiding the rest of the group. So the drummer keeps time and makes fills anticipating when a period is ending and another one is beginning and the bass player plays passing ...


3

I guess it depends on time and level of skill. For a beginner's introduction, I'd start with recording a rhythm track of 12-bar blues, teach the class the pentatonic scales and blues cliche's. For a masterclass, take a look at the question Does improvisation in the classical idiom differ significantly from jazz and folk improvisation?. See if you can get ...


3

At Turion's request, I'm writing out a few ideas for conducting improvisation classes. If using my suggestions, they should be approached and reinforced cyclically, as they all support one another. For the sake of brevity, I'll provide one example for each. Listening / "Talking" Call & Response Response & Variation Variation & Extension ...


2

Chapter 8 of Jerry Coker's Elements of the Jazz Language for the Developing Improvisor is dedicated to enclosure. In this definition an enclosure is upper leading tone - lower leading tone - object tone, i.e. one half step above the target, then a half step below the target until finally hitting the target or object tone. While ruling out the diatonic ...


2

Here are some suggestions, and they are (almost necessarily) subjective: First, I recommend being patient. If you don't like something, try to understand why, and see whether variations are more pleasing. Even if they're only a bit more pleasing, why? The answer doesn't need to be verbal; it's a matter of feeling and is personal to you. Improvising is ...


2

I tell my students to improve their improv skills by playing along with the radio on whatever station they like best. They tend to know the songs on rotation and thus where the notes are going. Most importantly, you listen to what you love so you FEEL the music which is the foundation of all improvisation.


2

Most folks can sing, after a fashion, but if you feel you can't, don't worry. Use your internal voice. You can listen to phrases, then try to copy them. Record your own - then you know what key they're in - and play them back to copy. As you do, you'll probably mentally map out what they will play like. This is more important. Chances are that with higher ...


2

Improvisation is at its core completion of a melody. If I was to give a class on it I would take various famous melody as extracts and then I would look critically at what happens in them. These extracts would form basis on the improvisation you do. Students would have to learn to listen attentively at the passage you play and then together you can think ...


2

The simplest explanation of the modes is that you play a scale from a different starting note. In the C major scale, if you start the scale from the second note, D, you'll get D E F G A B C D, which is the D Dorian mode. If you start the scale from the third note, E, you'll get E F G A B C D E, which is the E Phrygian mode. Notice that in both of these ...


2

I "run out of fretboard" very frequently on guitar, but not while improvising, and not at the high end. When writing, I often wish I could play lower on the guitar. I also play piano/keyboards and bass, and I like to be able to have a good low-end as a foundation in music that I write. On piano I can have it all, more or less, but even then I don't spend a ...


1

Learn different two-handed voicings for the chords. Different inversions, different ways to voice the same chord. Pick up a copy of the "Piano Transcriptions" / "Piano comping" for one of the Jamey Aebersold play alongs. (Go to www.jazzbooks.com and in the search bar type those two search terms.) These are the note-for-note transcriptions of the piano ...


1

Turn the question on its head. What are the chord progressions good for, if they aren't supporting a compelling melodic line? (That's not to say that there isn't a place for chords that exist in their own right, but a piece that is purely chordal throughout its length is a tour de force.) Chord progressions tend to be either melodic lines superposed on one ...


1

Following on from Shev's really good answer, other facets are to be able to play each song at different tempos, and in different keys. Often jazz players 'mess around' with standards, and use different tempos, and sometimes time sigs change, just for fun - or a challenge. Keys will change for songs as they become dependent on the vocalist. "I know xyz is in ...


1

First it's important to understand when it is appropriate to mix minor and major pentatonic scales. If you have a piece in minor you will want to stick to a minor (pentatonic) scale. If you have a piece in major which is not meant to sound bluesy, you want to stick to a major (pentatonic) scale. You only want to mix the two in a blues context, i.e. either in ...


1

First, let's establish what those notes are. C maj pent. contains C, D, E, G and A. C min pent. has C, Eb, F, G and Bb. So, the common notes are G and funnily enough, C. C, being the root of each, is pivotal, as is the perfect fifth, G. Playing over a C major accompaniment, Eb will hardly sound diatonic, which is why it often gets bent up at least a little, ...


1

Saying what you come up with sounds "really bad" is insufficiently specific for me to really diagnose what your problem is, or even really grasp how sophisticated your attempts are. So in absence of other information, I'm going to proceed on the assumption that you are a total beginner who cannot yet generate even the most basic musical phrase. Knowing ...


1

This is a bit old-fashioned but still useful. (You can modify the ideas to fit your needs.) https://ia802605.us.archive.org/16/items/exercisesinmelo00goetgoog/exercisesinmelo00goetgoog.pdf To some extent, the general pattern of melodies are just moving up and down scale lines and arpeggios. The book above does give some exercises you can try to see the ...



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