Sunday, January 26, 2014

Practicing Jazz

Saw this on a Facebook Comment and am copying it here so I can always find it:

here's the Jim Campilongo practice method, which I find is an excellent approach to deliberate practice:

The amount of time given to each category depends on strengths and weaknesses. This can be done over 1 hour or 8 hours.

1.) "Breakfast"...Warm up with arpeggios and scales. Apply the arpeggios to a song ( "Up a Lazy River", "Prelude to a Kiss","Tennessee Waltz", " How High The Moon", " Sleepwalk", "Giant Steps", "Mary had a Little Lamb" etc.) The song progression will prohibit you from playing on auto-pilot. This will hopefully "test" you and "awaken' you. In this context, tempo and meter aren't crucial. Apply scales to the song ( Major, natural minor, melodic minor, and harmonic minor). Try playing the appropriate scale ascending and descending, then play scales in thirds. While connecting the scales, arpeggios and chords, always strive for small intervallic jumps. Inspiration will most likely follow, but isn't necessarily a prerequisite.

2.) "Lunch"...... Learn a song and memorize the chord progression and melody ( otherwise you don't know the song!). Transpose it.

3.)"Dinner".....Make a tape of the song progression on a boom box or a simple recording setup. Do not get caught up in production. Play the melody and solo over the changes. Sometimes, I try a different approach over every chorus. Octaves,chord melody, steel guitar, "James Burton plays Jazz" etc etc. When you memorize the song , put it on a list of songs you know. Run through that list every few days, so you don't forget them.

4.) Now for "Dessert"......Play and improvise. Try and write something. Experiment with your tone. Play Blues in E. Whatever. Sometimes I learn solo's instead of songs, but I try to keep my practice sessions song oriented. This is for a number of reasons, here are a couple of them. 1.) A musician should know a lot of songs! 2.) Songs give me a challenging musical frame work to apply scales, arpeggio's and chord voicings. 3.) It allows me to see the history, structure and formula of other artists - giving me new perspectives and choices.

5.) Optional - "Snack" - noodle mindlessly while watching Columbo re-runs!

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