Tag Archives: jazz improvisation

Jazz Practice Routine How To Find The Perfect Balance

If you have to make a 30 minute Jazz Practice Routine, what should you include?

We are all different so there is not one solution that fits everybody, but you don’t want to waste time, or leave out important things to practice.

In this video I am going to go over what I think a 30 minute practice session should include. I am of course a guitarist so it will be aimed at jazz guitar practice, but I am sure the philosphy and topics will fit all instruments. Some of the topics that I think are important for a jazz practice routine would be:

Technique, Repertoire, Exercises, Vocabulary, Theory, Ear-Training,
Transcriptions

I am really curious about how your practice routine is, so if you have a routine then please leave a comment with a list of stuff you work on. This is useful for people looking for inspiration and certainly also for you to evaluate how you work. I will do the same 🙂

Content:

0:00 Intro – A 30 minute Practice Routine

1:24 Technique and Warm-up

1:32 Warm up and Synchronization – 10 minutes

2:05 Arpeggios – Right hand warm up

2:31 Working out with Spread Triads (Steve Morse)

3:00 Technique – Musical Practice

3:19 My Basic Fretboard Visualization

3:41 Practice in all 12 Keys! (are there only 12 keys?)

4:08 Diatonic Harmony 4:40 Stay Flexible and Practice open-ended

5:43 Playing Music – 10 min

6:13 Play Songs and Put it all Together

6:47 What You Focus on and Learn

7:41 Ear Training – 5 min.

7:52 Moving Melodies through the scale

8:26 Using Apps or Computer Programs

8:50 Advantages to a schedule working with Apps

9:04 Transcriptions

9:28 Figuring Songs out from Memory

9:49 Vocabulary – 5 minutes

10:00 Use Composition and Create YOUR vocabulary

10:28 Share your Practice Routine! Give us some ideas!

10:50 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

I Don’t Like Jazz Standards – Q&A with Brent from Learn Jazz Standards

Here’s a video Q&A with me and Brent Vaarstra from Learn Jazz Standards answering your questions! We cover quite a few questions and both Brent and I give our perspective on the questions which isn’t always the same.

Brent runs a great channel and PodCast with LJS he is certainly worth checking out. I have been invited as a guest teacher, but the list of interesting topics and teachers is very impressive. Learn Jazz Standards is a great resource for everybody trying to work on anything jazz.

Table of Content

0:00 Intro

0:49 I Don’t Like Jazz Standards

3:48 Sight Reading – Best Method

6:33 First Jam-session Advice

8:54 How To Remember Tunes

11:49 Short Daily Practice Routine

It was a lot of fun to do this Q&A and of course, Brent is a great guitar player and a very nice guy so check out his channel and the podcast!

The Q&A Video on Learn Jazz Standards

Learn Jazz Standards: https://www.youtube.com/user/Learnjazzstandards
LJS Website and Podcast: https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/

My Guest appearance on LJS Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLSTWhMheU8

Every Arpeggio in the Known Universe

This video is an overview of different types of arpeggios and how they sound. The Arpeggios are demonstrated in 7 different licks to give you an idea about how they could be used.

Are you an Arpeggio master? Do you know all the different types of arpeggios and how to use them in your playing? The Arpeggio is a very important tool when it comes to jazz and jazz guitar.

Demonstrating arpeggios in a musical context

This video is going over a lot of different types of arpeggios. Showing how you might using them in different licks. Applying the arpeggios in a musical context is a much stronger way to apply them in my opinion.

Table of Contents

0:00 Intro – Are you an arpeggio master?

0:22 Did I miss one? 0:43 Example 1 – Basic Arpeggios

1:14 Example 2 – Diatonic arpeggios and the “from the 3rd rule”

2:05 Example 3 – Harmonic minor?

3:24 Example 4 – Not always 4 notes and a little Melodic minor

4:16 The triads we forget to check out

4:34 Example 5 – Not always 3rd based

5:41 Example 6 – Larger intervals like the Police!

6:45 The Magic Arpeggio!

7:38 Example 7 – Three notes but not a triad

8:42 Another great sound from Melodic minor

9:22 What did I forget?

9:35 Like this video? Check out my Patreon Page.

 

How To Solo On bIII Diminished Chords – 3 Jazz Standards & 3 Licks

In this video I am going to show you 3 examples of how to solo over a bIII diminished chords. I am going to use 3 jazz standard, explain what scale to use and give you an example of a line. The lesson will talk about not only what to play but also how to craft a line on diminished chords because you need to know more than just what to play.

The bIII diminsihed chord is often causing panic in jazz solos. I have made some other videos on how to figure out the scales and arpeggios for this chord, and I thought that maybe it would be useful to just take some real examples from real songs. A big part of my philosophy is to learn things from songs and this is a great example.

This video will show you 3 songs where you encounter the bIII diminished chord, what scale you need to improvise over it and an example of a line that works over this song.

Learning Jazz Standards – Learning from real music

A huge part of how I learned to play jazz was by studying songs and really figuring out how to play and understand the chords. The fact that you really use the things you learn and can take your knowledge and experiences from one song to the next really helps with building your abilities as an improvisor.

Example 1 – Songs is you

The first example is from the Jerome Kern standard The Song is You.

Song is you is in the key of C major. The bIII dim chord is Eb dim, and the scale I am using to improvise over it is the harmonic minor scale from the 3rd of the key: E harmonic minor.

Key: C major
bIII dim: Ebdim
Scale: E harmonic minor

In this case the melody is really just using the dim arpeggio, and the construction of the line is a motif that develops over the Cmaj7, Ebdim and Dm7 chord.

The lick is using a Cdim triad and using the Eb to target the 9th(E) of Dm7. Targeting the extensions on the Dm7 is really useful because we can pretend to resolve the Ebdim licks as if they are a B7(b9) resolving to Em.

EXAMPLE 2 – Someday my Prince will come

A very common (and great song) is Someday my Prince Will come. Here the bIII dim chord comes along twice in the second 8 bars.


The song is in Bb major, so the bIII dim is Dbdim and the scale is D harmonic minor.

Key: Bb major
bIII dim: Dbdim
Scale: D harmonic minor

Again the idea for making the melody on the dim chord is to use the line on the Bb major as a motif and develop that to fit on the dim chord.

A great Diminished chord melodic trick

One way that works really well to create melodies when moving from a tonic chord like a I or a III chord to a a bIII dim chord is to use voice-leading. This is how I am developing a motief in the above example. The  tonic line is a Bb6 arpeggio and then I can voice-lead that to a Db dim by changing the D and the F to Db and E:

Bb6: Bb D F G

Db dim: Bb Db E G 

notice that I am using the inversion to make the voice-leading clear. 

EXAMPLE 3 – It Could Happen to You

One of my favorite songs! Technically you could argue that this is a #II (or secondary dominant) diminished, but the scale choice is the same and it is nice to have a bit of variation in the examples.

The song is in Eb major, it is a Gb dim chord and the harmonic minor scale from the 3rd is G harmonic minor.

Key: Eb major
bIII dim: Gbdim
Scale: G harmonic minor

The line on the Dim chord is using the b6 which does give it some D7(b9) like sound. The melody is coming out of a motif developement from the Fm7. It is using the same melodic movement in the beginning of the bar before moving to the arpeggio and resolving to the Eb/G chord.

Get you dim chord game further

This lesson shows some practical examples and hopefully you can get some ideas that you can use to make your own licks and get into your playing.

If you want to check out a solo where I also solo over a bIII diminished chord then check out this lesson. 

All The Things You Are – Getting Started Soloing

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

bIII Diminished – 3 Standards & 3 jazz licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Blues With Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert

This is a duo with Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert a French/American Jazz guitarist living in San Francisco.

I came across one of his videos and we decided to make thsi small collaboration.

I hope you like it! Check out:

Hope you like it!

3 Exercises you MUST know on songs – Better than the usual Scales and Arpeggios

Working on Exercises while improvising is a very efficient way to improve your jazz improvisation. Developing you abilities while improvising means that you are finalizing what you have checked out as exercises or written new material with. In this video I will cover 3 exercises that you can add to your jazz guitar practice routine and help different aspects of improvising and translating your technical skills to your improvised solos.

I have also added an extra exercise that will give you a new way of developing and understanding of the harmony and voice-leading plus elp you come up with new licks or lines.

 

List of contents:

1:32 Solo only using Basic Diatonic Arpeggios
2:11 Discussion of Arpeggio solo exercise
4:32 Solo in one position
5:08 What to take away from soloing in one place on the neck
6:59 Continuous Motion solo
7:36 What to focus on and learn from Continuous Neck movement on the neck
9:43 When and how to use these exercises
11:04 The Bonus exercise to develop new licks or lines
13:31 How to make guide tones and what you can work on with this exercise.

Jazz Guitar Q&A #27 – Up tempo solos – Practice goals – Jazz and other genres

This weeks Q&A on Transcribing Chord progressions, Practice goals, Up tempo soloing and how to work towards it, and if Jazz skills translate directly to other genres.

In the video I talk about what and how you learn from transcribing and how you work with transcriptions in different ways. I also talk about how to incorporate licks and melodic material into your jazz guitar solos.

If you have any questions on guitars, effects, improvisation, technique or improvisation then leave a comment on my video or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram.

 

0:14 Intro
1:15 Learning tunes by ear
10:00 Practice goals, what to work towards?
13:15 Uptempo solos and how to practice that
20:16 Applying Jazz Skills to other genres
26:25 Outro + Questions?

Writing Jazz Licks – The Best Way To Teach Yourself Jazz Guitar

Using the things that we licks, scales and arpeggios we practice is a big challenge! The best way to get new material in to you vocabulary is to write jazz licks with it! That way we connect the new material with all the things we already know.

In this video I am going to show you how I write jazz guitar licks on a simple II V I in Bb major.

I will try to demonstrate the process and the thinking and write a few variations of the licks. This should illustrate how I apply different things in my jazz improvisation. In the process I will write 5-6 II V I jazz licks in the key of Bb with arpeggios, chromatic enclosures and altered dominants.

The II V I progression

In this lesson the II V I that I am using is a II V I in Bb as shown below.

II Chord and the arpeggio

To keep it simple let’s start with the Cm7 arpeggio. Since the line is going to be in 8th notes we have now covered half of the bar. To fill the bar it is probably better to decide where we want to go. So that would be a target note ofn the F7.  

The clearest target note on the F7 is probably the 3rd(A), so let’s go with that one.

Cm7 licks – Target notes

Now we just have to come up with a few ideas that will take us to that A.

Here’s a simle chromatic enclosure:

You can also use a small fragment from a pentatonic scale, in this case the Gm pentatonic scale:

Another option is a Bb major scale run:

Or an enclosure that contains a few more chromatic notes but also introduces a stronger pull towards the A.

If we think of these examples as exercises in using the Cm7 arpeggio then what we are doing is that we are practicing making playable melodies that move logically to the F7 and are using the Cm7 arpeggio.

The V chord – Adding the Dom7th chord.

Now we can start using one of the lines on the Cm7 and focus on the F7 line.

In this first example I am using an Am7b5 arpeggio in inversion and then the F7 arpeggio to target the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

The second example is now using a motif idea on the F7. The first part of it is still the Am7(b5) inversion. That is then treated as a motif and the 2nd part of the line is a development of that melody. The development ends up being an Eb major triad and an F.

The Altered Dominant

We can also use an F7alt. In the line below I start with a small scale movement in 3rds in the F altered (or F# melodic minor) scale. From there I am using the B major triad before I resolve to the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

A different altered dominant line is what I have in example 1. The Altered idea in this line is first a skip up a minor third to Db then down the scale to Ab. From Ab I use a fragment from the Ab minor or B major pentatonic scale: Ab Gb, Eb, D. Over an F7 gives us #9, b9, b7, b13 and since it is a part of a pentatonic scale it sounds a little different. It also leads directly to D which it encircles with Eb and Db. 

In the next example I am using part of the line as a motif. This allows me to be repeating the idea in a developed version in the second hald of the bar. The motif that I use is a B7 arpeggio played descending. It is the developed by moving it up a diatonic 3rd to Db. From there it becomes a descending Ebm7b5 arepggio that then neatly resolves to D on the Bb.

You can of course also use a stack of 4ths. In this case I am using the stack of 4ths that is the top part of an F7#9 chord (see diagram in the video). The arpeggio is inserted right after the A, target note on the F7. From the last note the line continues with a descending scale run to resolve to the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

Conclusion

Hopefully  you can use the things that I went over here as an inspiration for your own writing process. As I mention in the beginning, I find that making your own lines is essential in the process of internalizing new material. I aim for this lesson to show you, not only what I use but also how I think about target notes and use different strategies to come up with melodies.

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter: 

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Writing Jazz Licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

3 Bebop Concepts and how to turn them into Jazz Licks

Bebop is a fundamental part of all modern jazz. In this video I am going to go over three concepts that are used a lot in bebop solos. I will turn them into some simple exercises and finally demonstrate how you can put them together to make some solid bebop jazz licks.

All the examples and exercises are in the key of G major, and the lines I will end up with are all going to be II V I licks in the key of G major.

The exercises are not necessarily meant as something you need to learn to play really fast. They are more aimed at things you can check out so that you get better at composing lines, explore the possibilities and develop your vocabulary.

Concept 1: Triplet arpeggios with chromatic leading notes

Using 7th chord arpeggios to emphasise a note is a very common device in Bebop lines. One of the ways that you will see this used the most is to take a 7th chord arpeggio, play it with a leading note before the first note and the rest of the arpeggio as a triplet. This makes it a natural way of highlighting the 7th in the arpeggio. 

To practice playing this we can do this for each of the arpeggios in a scale. In example 1 I have written this out in a G major scale. You probably want to take it through the different positions you use

Working through a position like this is a great work out for your technique and you need to figure out different ways to execute the triplets which may vary from position to position.

Another way you want to work on these arpeggios is to not work in a position but to work on a string set as shown in example 2 here below:

Concept 2: Adding Chromatic Passing notes to the scale

The 2nd idea is to be able to insert chromatic passing notes between any two notes in the scale.

In this example I will use the same position for the G major scale as above:

We can insert a chromatic between any of the notes in there as shown in example 4 below.

This is really simple in all examples except when we don’t have a chromatic note between the notes. This is the case between B and C. One way to solve this is to  use the diatonic note above, so in this case the D. This is also shown in example 4.

Of course you can expand on this and start to use several chromatic passing notes in a line. I won’t cover this in detail, but an example of adding passing notes between A and B and also between B and C is shown below:

Concept 3: Octave Displacement

The concept of octave displacement is a way to introduce larger intervals into your melodies by displacing part of a simple melody an octave. A few examples of this is shown in example 6 here below. The only thing to remember is that the octave displacement works the best if it is introduced on an off beat.

The first line is a simple II V I in G major using an Am7 arpeggio and a scale run on D7 to resolve to the 3rd on G major.

The 2nd line is displacing the phrase from the G in the Am7 arpeggio . This yields a beautiful descending 6th interval and it resolves to the B an octave lower.

In the 3rd line the octave displacement is on the D7, where the line is displaced an octave up on the E. 

The final example is using octave displacement on both the Am7 and the D7 to get two nice skips.

It is quite amazing how useful this idea is and how we can make several melodies that sound quite different from the same simple statement. 

Creating bebop lines with the concepts

In this section I am taking the three concepts and putting them to use in some II V I lines. This will show how easy they actually are to use. Hopefully it will also show you how strong the concepts are in making solid bebop lines.

Arpeggios, Scale runs and diminished sounds

In the first example here below, I start with an Am7 arpeggio with a leading note. From the targeted G on the 3rd beat the line continues up the scale adding an A# between the A and B. On the D7 it is first descending down the scale to F#. From the F# it goes on in an F# diminished arpeggio. The arpeggio is octave displaced which adds a very nice major 6th interval between the F# and the Eb. It then descends down to resolve to a B on the G major chord.

The arpeggio from the 3rd

In the next example I start by encircling the 3rd(C) of Am7. The line then continues with a triplet Cmaj7 arpeggio and then adds a “chromatic” D between B and C .

The D7 line is again utilising an F#dim arpeggio that is octave displaced. This time between the high Eb and the F#. It then continues first up to C and then down the arpeggio to resolve to the 5th(D) of Gmaj7.

Interval skips leading into an augmented triad

The third line is also using the Cmaj7 arpeggio on the Am7. This time in the lower octave. From the B on beat 3 it then descends down an Em pentatonic fragment which serves to encircle the 3rd(F#) of D7. On the D7 the line starts with an octave displacement moving the descending line up between F# and Eb. From the Eb it descends down the (G harmonic minor) scale to the b13(Bb). This becomes the first not of an augmented triad that is then resolved to the 9th(A) of Gmaj7.

How to use the material in this lesson!

To get the exercises into your fingers and ears you probably want to play the exercises in different positions and keys.  

Where I would suggest that you spend most of the time when working on this is in making lines with the material. Once you can play the exercises a bit you can start working on coming up with lines using the three concepts and in that way expand you vocabulary. You cna work on this both by writing down material but also just sitting around and coming up with melodies. If you do the latter you are better off making sure that you can play them in time so that you are sure that it makes sense rhythmically.

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter: 

Another way to work further on developing your Bebop phrasing is available in this lesson:

Jazz & Bebop Phrasing – C Blues

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

3 Bebop Concepts and how to turn them into Jazz Licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.