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Advanced Studies

Lesson 5 - Section 1

Preparation for Learning to Improvise

Welcome to Lesson Number 5.

This lesson is an important step before learning how to improvise a solo in Jazz.

That’s right! You are getting closer to becoming intimate with the art of Jazz.

Review, review, review

This lesson is all about . . . review.

For the next couple of weeks, at least 20 minutes per day, your assignment will be to analyze songs of your choice. It would be helpful if the bulk of these songs were performed by Jazz musicians. Use both recordings and written music for this assignment. YouTube has an abundance of Jazz performances that you can use. The tools you will be using to analyze your songs will be those you have learned throughout your lessons here at “Piano on the Net.”

The Tools You Will be Using 

A – Practice counting songs to train yourself to intuitively “feel” the passing of 8 bars phrases and 12 bar phrases (for a Blues chart).

B – Using song books and sheet music, scan songs to practice learning their form. Identify the Head and the Bridge. Work out the song's form in your music note book using what you have learned in past lessons . . . (A1) (A2) (B) (A2).

C – Listen to the chords being played.

Are they playing minor sounding chords?
Are they playing Major sounding chords?

As mentioned at the beginning of this lesson, and worth mentioning again . . . this lesson is an important step before learning how to improvise a solo in Jazz.

Feeling groups or 8 bars (and 12 bars) passing by . . .

Anticipating the direction of a song by understanding its form . . .

And hearing the chords of a song in your head, milliseconds before they are played, are all paramount in becoming a competent soloist in Jazz.

It's really hard to come up with a melody to play on the fly if you don't feel comfortable with the chords and framework the melody needs fit. Make sense?

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