This week's artwork
From whiteboard notes and exercises I sent to students this week.
Super video demonstration but...
Let's consider the assumptions he is making about you the student/listener.
What is my job?
I prepare students to understand and execute what he is talking about. The first thing we will do is assess your situation and then we'll draw up a logical plan.
BTW: in 2017, I studied with Peter Martin in Rome Italy. He's a great guy and a very skilled musician. When I grow up, I want to play piano like him. FYI. I was in Rome studying jazz drumming with Greg Hutchinson. Greg played in Ray Brown’s last group.
Learning 10 pieces music in 20 hours
Tonight, in concert band we will sightreading 8 to 10 new pieces of music that arrived last night and this morning. I am following this protocol to be ready.
1. I immediately printed the music.
2. I created a new YouTube playlist of the pieces.
3. I studied the scores while listening to the musical recordings. I made note of the tricky bits. I did not necessarily listen all the way through, just enough to get a sense of the part.
4. I put aside all the music I can easily sightread. It will be read for the first time tonight.
5. I have made note of the tricky bits in the three remaining pieces: one measure in one piece, one section in another, and then put the third on the music rack for immediate attention later this morning.
6. I wrote in the stickings on the two easier pieces in the trickly passages.
7. I am preparing to practice the one tricky piece with my pencil, eraser, recording, drumkit, music ready at hand.
I will let you know how it turns out tonight.
Sight Singing Week 2
If you are curious about this, click here.
Creating a "Roadmap"
Creating a "roadmap" gives you a visual representation of the form or structure of a performance. You will discover the: who, what, when, and how much in the recording. This is valuable information. You will learn to count, recognize the instrumentation and more. You will begin to develop an awareness of how musicians organize their performances and recordings.
1. Pick a favorite piece
2. With a pop song listen for the following sections and their order; introduction, verse, chorus, bridge, ending (tag). With a jazz piece, notice how many times they play the "head" or main melody and then note the order of solos. How many times do they play the head after the solos?
1. Make a note on your "map" of dynamics.
2. In a jazz piece, count how many times each musician solos on the form.
3. Do they trade "fours" with the drummer? If you are unsure what this means, click here.
1. Make a note on your "map" of anything interesting you pick up or hear.
Here is a more detailed roadmap that includes a guide to my drum part.
Beginner Blues Solos in Ab major
What is the Blues?
Broken Chord Etude RCM 1 and 2
This etude will help you practice the correct finger patterns for Royal Conservatory Level 1 and 2 techniques. I would play them slooooooowly; hands separately. A metronome is recommended.
Things to notice:
1. The accents
2. The slurs
3. The dynamics
4. The fingering
In the video I demonstrate the hand motions required.
Sight singing is fun when we sing along with something great like the fifth symphony of Beethoven. We might call this tympani karaoke.
Trivia question: What does C jam blues and the Tympani part for Beethoven's 5th symphony have in common?
Arm Weight Etude
This etude will help you to create a beautiful singing line in pieces with slow moving melodies. None of the notes are played with the fingers going up and down in the usual way, it is played all with the arm.
Real Book Blues Party
Chorale Harmony: First Steps
Harmonizing chords using the strict rules of chorale writing (SATB) is a time-honored way to get started with harmony. I'd be happy to help you, just call me.
1. Spacing between SA and AT cannot exceed an octave
2. Range of SATB should be reviewed before starting.
3. Double the root, but never in consecutive voices.
4. No voice crossing within a measure.
5. All chords must have a 3rd.
6. Common tones repeat, most of the time.
Computer realization of the exercises.
How amateurs might up their game in rehearsals
Jazz jamming is fun. Sight reading tunes each week is ok, but it is often difficult for the ensemble to improve because there will not be enough week to week repetition. So, I’m putting forth these suggestions.
The idea is that with weekly repetition, improvements can be heard. Bonus: folks will know what to practice between “jams” while flipping over two pieces each week will keep it fresh.
Look what I found tucked away. You can hear examples in the Bill Evans YouTube video below.
Louis Armstrong key of Ab
Doreen Ketchens, Preservation Hall Dr. John, Rebirth, Al Hirt, Wynton, Tuba Skinny key of F
Fats Domino key of Eb
A fine tutorial for students.
First Edition 1798-99
None of the artists played with a completely steady beat, in other words, the tempo varied both from section to section and within sections.
Seven unique recordings of the same tune that are worthy of our time and study. This is a tune to learn by ear, without a fakebook, paying close attention to variations of the chord progression.
What to practice, how to practice, how much to practice, when to practice can be sources of anxiety to students preparing for a piano exam. To succeed one must spend time on each area of study.
Try dividing up your time on the piano bench as indicated in the drawing; give equal time to each area. Now if you are like me, your attention span is long as a puppy's. No worries, jump around. But keep track of your time in each area.
Bag's Groove Seminal Recordings
There is much to learn from listening to each of these recordings, especially the counter-lines played by John Lewis. I would encourage you to learn, by ear, the diverse ways musicians approach the simple blues melody.
When learning to play Brazilian jazz it is best to go to the primary sources, the original and other seminal recordings recorded in Brazil, both past and present. At the end of this sample of Brazilian recordings is a fine recording by Kenny Barron, who it must be said, has listened to the original recordings.
Spend an afternoon playing the melody with the recordings, mimicking as much as possible what you hear. Then add the chords.
The following is a series of exercises to help you "experience" intervals, taking them out of the theoretical and into the practical. I recommend that you transpose these passages as you learn new patterns.
Getting Started with Intervals
The Major 3rd, Minor 3rd, and Perfect 5th is just theory until we hear them, experience them, and then apply this understanding to our playing. The following exercise is one way to "experience" these intervals.
How To Practice C Jam Blues
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.