Core Practice Material for Improvisers (Podcast Episode #29)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on May 11, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette, creator of jazz edge and I want to welcome you to Episode 29 of the confident improviser. So today we're gonna be talking about the core practice material that you need as an improviser. So this is the material that you need to practice if you want to become an incredible improviser. Now this podcast is designed to go along with the confident improviser program which is found at jazz edge, you can just go back to jazz edge comm for more information. Alright, so core practice material for improvisers, the everything that I'm going to mention, all of the courses that I'm going to mention in this podcast, are all available as part of my jazz edge core, which is found exclusively only at jazz edge Comm. And if you want full access to jazz edge core, that is for jazz edge members, limited access for my noble piano members. Alright, so the very first thing is technique, you need to have good technique in order to be able to express yourself at the instrument, if you don't have good technique, then the ideas that you have in your head, the ideas that you hear in your head, hearing your ears, you're not gonna be able to get them out at the instrument. So you can think about technique as being able to actually like speak the words that are in your brain, right? If you can't actually speak those words, and put those words together in a way that makes sense, then it's going to be very, very difficult for you to be able to communicate Same thing goes at the piano as well, you need to have good technique. And where we start is with piano essentials. That is the course that you want to take a look at. And one of the main things you want to really pay attention to is my grab technique, right and the grab technique is where you're grabbing in at the notes versus pushing at the notes. This is one of the things that's a little bit different than from my program to many other online piano programs is that I'm actually going to show you technique I'm going to show you the mechanics of how to play the piano properly, so that you're able to play faster, more fluid, and most importantly, not hurt yourself at the instrument. Number two major scales, major scales, you can think of that as the lifeblood of improvisation. And it's the foundation for improv, regardless of any style. If I'm going to improvise over you know, like a pop rock tune. 02:36 I can bring in my major scales there and start to use them for improvisation. So I could use my C major scale and my B flat major scale there. Now bear in mind, the major scale is not going to work 100% of the time, but it's where we start because so often, especially when playing songs that have multiple chords in them, or songs that are diatonic. And don't worry if you don't know what diatonic means it's all explained at jazz edge. But if you do you know that when progressions all stay diatonic, or they're all within a key, you can utilize that major scale. And I have lessons on the site in which I've talked about how we've been able to improvise over a jazz standard or a song about 75% of the song, the major scale works so it's super important that you learn those major scales. And the major scales are also a great way in which you're able to improve that technique. Again, that course is all part of piano essentials. The next thing that you have to learn is style, right? So if you don't know different styles like if I want to do like a 03:49 right when I want to rock kind of stuff. Or if I want maybe a jazz right or a Bossa Nova why one fun? Why want more of that nice flowing? Right? All of those styles that I just played are all found in chord essentials. And in chord essentially that's what you're working on different styles, different ways of forming the chord, and most importantly different rhythmic elements. This is a key component to improvisation is learning to improve your rhythm corta Central's the course that you want to take a look at is a bunch of different rhythmic styles in there in different progressions in different, you know styles that you can work off of utilise them both as intros as endings and also as fodder for your improvisation. So super, super important. The next thing is other scales and techniques. Okay, so now obviously, we're not going to just use our major scale we need to learn other scales like blues scales, altered scale, Lydian flat, seven locrian, natural nine diminished, whole tone, enclosures, you know, a technique like enclosures, neighbor tones, chromatic scale, all of those other scales, you need to also work on in develop those scales as well. Now, the challenge has been that learning all of those scales, you know, if you're going to learn them in all 12 keys, you take each one of those and you do the math very, very quickly, you could end up having to learn hundreds of scales. So this is where the confident improviser comes into play the confident improvisers a course that I put together that really steps you through improvisation and gives you all of the material that you need to be able to improvise over, okay, and you need for your raw material for improvisation in a step by step manner. So even if you're a complete beginner to improvisation, the confident improviser gives you those techniques and tools that you need. Now, the other thing that you're going to need is repertoire, you need songs to improvise over, if you don't know repertoire, you don't have any repertoire down, you don't have any songs underneath your fingertips, well, then you're really not gonna be able to improvise either because our improvisation, by and large, most of the time is done over songs or over progressions, right. So again, you find some of that in the confident improviser, we start with some of those simple progressions, but then we move on to full standards in standards by the dozen. And that's the courses you want to take a look at, if you want to start to learn how to improvise over standards. And then finally, you need feedback. And this, again, is something else that it's unfortunate that a lot of students don't realize that as a jazz edge member, you get to be online with me every single week, and every week, I am giving feedback to students, I've been doing this for years, I'm continuing to do this. So feedback is the way that you get better at your instrument, right. And I'm not talking about feedback, just using like a forum, you know, or community forum, something like that. Now we have that as well at jazz edge. But the reality is that, you know, typing in your questions and like, you know, like, you know, uploading a video that way and then me typing back response, really what you need from your teacher me is you need to be able to play something based on what you just played, right. And that's what you get every week in the coaching sessions at jazz edge. So the all of this is found as part of jazz edge core, right. And that's what I really wanted to take the time today in this episode to talk about his jazz edge core. In jazz edge core, you have six courses that have been carefully put together to help you find success at the piano. Even if you're not interested in improvising, maybe you just want to get better at the piano and be able to play some standards or you know, be able to fiddle around or play some rock pop tunes or accompany yourself watch singing. Or maybe you really want to be able to sit down and be you know, take a standard look take misty, 08:40 you want to be able to sit down you want to be able to fool around with that tune and you want to be able to create your own improvisation. Well, that is all found at jazz headquarters. In fact, Misty is one of the tunes that we do in standards by the dozen. There are six courses that are included in jazz edge core. The first one is my 30 day piano playbook. That's the that's the first course you should take a look at. So if you're kind of brand new to the piano, it goes through and steps you through a lot of important information just to make sure that you're starting off on the right foot. Then we move on to piano essentials. And I've as I've talked about in this podcast episode, piano essentials are extremely important. I created my piano essentials program years ago and I've been really just tweaking and making it the best possible program that it can be to make sure that you learn not just your scales, but you also learn chords and chord tension. So you learn your chords, you learn your chord tensions, you understand some of these basic progressions. Then we move on the core to Central's chord essentially is where you learn all of those different styles that I was playing in those different chords and rhythms that you need. Then we have piano accompaniment essentials, which is going to be a brand new course starting in 2021. And piano company, this essentials is going to be where I'm going to show you different a company And techniques and how the left hand and right hand work together super important. It's not just about learning chords in the left hand. And you've probably realized that as well, if you kind of take a look at YouTube and take a look at a bunch of other instructional videos, you'll see that it's more than just learning like, okay, like, I just learned that, to that, to that to that a little bit more involved in that, right? It's different styles. It's not just knowing what the chord is, it's knowing stylistically, how do you add style to that chord and rhythm to that chord to make it sound like it should? That's what you're going to be learning in piano accompaniment essentials. And then my two flagship course is the confident improviser, which you probably already know about if you've been listening to this podcast, and then standards by the dozen competent improviser, like I said, steps you through improvisation one step at a time. Even if you've never improvise a note in your life, I can guarantee you that in the confident improviser, you are going to learn how to improvise. How I do that is, first of all, 20 plus years teaching online and then 30 plus years teaching in general, I have created a program based on decades of experience teaching 1000s of students, right, what I've done is have codify that program into the confident improviser. And there are two tracks that you can follow. Number one is you just do the exercises. And that's fine, you can just go through the exercises that are laid out step by step, but then for those of you that want a little bit more, I have an inspiration lesson that is available as part of each one of the confident improviser lessons, right. And in the inspiration lesson, I give you some advanced techniques. So if you're a more advanced player, those inspiration lessons are going to prove invaluable to you. And you're playing because you're going to learn techniques that you're probably not going to learn anywhere else. And then finally, standards by the dozen all throughout the year of 2021 standards by the dozen is teaching you a brand new standard every month. Now we're not just talking about the standard. It's not like we're just analyzing the standard saying, hey, look, you can use you know this scale there. No, no, you end up learning how to play the standard from a lead sheet. You end up understanding chord shows, you end up understanding rootless chord voicings, you end up understanding how to play two handed comping, you also understand how to create a baseline so that you can play that baseline and start to improvise over the top of it. So let me give you a quick for instance here. So here I have the first part of the fourth standard in standards by the dozen, which is the Way You Look Tonight. And for those of you that can't see the music on on the screen right now, the chords are F major seven for one measure D minor seven for one measure G minor seven for measure, C seven for measure, then we go to a minor seven, flat five for a measure D seven, flat nine for measure, G minor seven for measure and C seven for measure, we're just going to do those first eight measures. Now take a listen, you I'm going to play these rootless chord voicings down here. All of this is all taught in standards by the dozen. So if you're a member of jazz Ed, you haven't checked out Sanders by the dozen, I would definitely suggest taking a look at it. And then right hand I'm going to show you how I can utilize that major scale to start my improvisation. So here we go. 13:34 Alright, so yeah, that's fine. You know, it's it's a basic improvisation. Now I'm going to do it again. And I'm going to start to bring in some of these other scales. 13:57 Right, so now you can hear what those other scales it starts to sound well pardon the pun, but it starts to sound more jazzy. Right? It sounds more like what a jazz trio or a jazz pianist would be playing. Some of those other scales are like what I was talking about the altered scale, the whole tone scale, the half whole diminished scale. Those are the types of scales that really make your playing shine. Those are the scales that make you sound like a real jazz player. All of that is found in jazz edge core. Now what you will find is that, I'm going to be talking more about jazz edge core. And I'm going to be talking more about how you can start to combine these elements together in this TCI podcast right to really try and give you some real world. You know, information and techniques and different practice tips that you can utilize to be able to improvise over the standards. Remember, if you're not interested in jazz, it's still great to improvise over the standards and improvise over these different progressions. Why? Well, number one, if you're going to go out and you're going to play, right, and you're just playing in like a wedding band or a pop rock band, well a lot of times, you will be put in a situation which you might have to play a cocktail hour, right at a wedding. It's like, Hey, can you play some jazz tunes? Or can you play me Fly Me To The Moon? Can you play you know, Misty, these are standards that people know and they love. So being able to have the skills to be able to improvise over those songs and be able to play those songs. Super, super important, right? But then the other thing is, we start with the jazz improvisation because if you can learn how to improvise over jazz and blues, well guess what you can really learn how to improvise over any style. reason is that other styles typically do not utilize as many different scales and techniques in their improvisation. So if I'm going to improvise over say, a rock tune, you're going to find that I might just use like a pentatonic scale, don't worry, we're going to talk about all of that in the confident improviser, right, but I might just be utilizing one scale, a pentatonic scale, a minor pentatonic scale, right. So if you can understand and know how to improvise over standards, utilizing the confident improviser and standards by the dozen, then you will also be able to improvise over other styles of music. In the confident improviser, we are going to start to move into other styles as well, right. So if you're more interested in funk, or rock, or really blues, then those styles are going to be covered also, right. So jazz edgecore, super, super important, and a super simple way of being able to sit down and knowing exactly what to practice. For those of you that could see the video here, you see that this is a screenshot right from the jazz edge dashboard. It's super simple for jazz edge students and noble piano students to be able to just click on a course, I choose the lesson right from the drop down goes right to the lesson, you download the sheet music, you can watch the videos. And then if you have questions, every other Thursday, I do my confident improviser q&a session, right. And that's a confident improviser in standards by the dozen q&a session. And every Tuesday, I do my online, weekly coaching. So every week, you can join in on code coaching, and an every other week, there's also another bonus q&a session. 17:25 So a lot of information here a lot to think about. So let's just go through this one last time just to make sure and just kind of wrap up and make sure that you know, I'm giving you some valuable information here. So if you want to be a better piano player, and a better improviser, you need to get down your technique first, right. So make sure that you're practicing those scales, make sure that you're understanding the grab technique, right, and go through and make sure that you're practicing all of those major scales. After that, then you need to work on styles, right? And you need to understand different styles. So that's where core essentials come set. From there, you learn other scales and other techniques, enclosures, neighbor tones, have whole scales, etc, right? That's all found in the confident improviser. And then you need your repertoire to improvise over right. So now this could be your own repertoire. But if you want repertoire that's all been laid out, step by step for you, all the sheet music all written out for you, fingering all of that good stuff, then that is all in standards by the dozen. And finally, you need feedback, right? So if you're not part of a program in which you are getting live feedback from a teacher, I'm not talking about a forum. All right? We have that too. But I'm talking about live feedback from a actual teacher. If you're not getting that live feedback, then I would consider and I would encourage you to really think about, you know, are you really hitting your piano goals? If you're hitting your piano goes great, then keep doing what you're doing. But if you find that like, Huh, you know what, I'm just not there yet. I'm just not like I've been playing for a while. I feel like I should be better ahead. I feel like I'm stuck. You know, I feel like there's still stuff that I want to be able to learn, but I'm just not learning it. If any of those you know, questions, you know you have, then that probably means that you need feedback on your playing. And like I said, that's all part of jazz edge core. And you can join me every week for coaching and every other week for the confident improviser in standard by the dozen q&a sessions. Alright, so that's it for me. Hope you enjoyed the podcast. Thanks for joining me we've got a lot of cool stuff coming up on the podcast, so be sure to hit that subscribe button. And you know what, if you don't mind doing me a favor, leave a review. It would be great, right? You got something nice to say I would love to see it in the podcast area. So go ahead and leave. Leave a review. Right That's it for me guys. Thanks a lot. I'll see a jazz edge

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