Jazz Piano Improvisation Part 1 of 4 - Accompaniment Patterns (Podcast Episode #30)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on May 18, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette creator of jazz says, I want to welcome you to the confident improviser. This is podcast episode number 30. So today we're going to kind of start over a little bit for TCI. I want to just kind of bring in anyone who's new to the confident improviser, or new to improvisation. And what I'm going to be doing is for the next four episodes, I'm going to be doing my confident improviser in four steps. So we're going to be breaking down the confident improviser into its main parts of accompaniment, scales, ingredients, rhythm, and then creating lines. So if you are new to the confident improviser, or new to improvisation, or you just want some some other ideas to try these next four videos, and next four episodes are going to be great for you. As a reminder, if you want to check out the video of this podcast episode, you can just simply go back to jazz edge comm as a member of the site, you can check out all of the video, this particular four step series, I'm also going to have on my YouTube channel as well just do a search for jazz edge and the jazz edge YouTube channel, we'll have the confident improviser in four steps. Alright, so without further ado, let's get into it. The Confident improviser in four steps. Alright, so in this series, I'm going to give you real actionable material that you can practice at your instrument so that you can get better at improvisation. Now, the confident improviser or TCI, for short, shows all levels how to become more confident improvising at their, at their instrument, regardless of past experience. Okay, so the emphasis is on piano. I'm a piano player. So I'm going to show you at the piano, but all instruments can utilize this material. It's also great for beginners. Now, before I go on, let me just let you know, I know sometimes I talk a little bit fast, because what I'm trying to do is I try to gauge and balance out between those students, though, don't want to hear me talk a bunch, and then those students that want all of the material. So if you find that I'm going too fast for you, you could slow down the video, if you find that I'm going too slow for you. You could speed up the video, it's your choice. Alright, so before we get started, let's bust a couple of myths. Number one, improvisation can't be taught complete BS. Of course, it can be taught. I've been teaching improvisation. For years, I see my students learning improvisation going from not knowing how to improvise at all, to really being very good at improvisation. So I know that it can be taught. I'm too old to start improvising and complete bs as well. You can start improvising at any age. Now obviously, if you're a 95, and you decide, hey, I'm going to start to learn how to improvise now. Well, you know, we all have limited time here. So I don't know how much time you're gonna have. But it does not mean that you cannot start at 95 or 100, or 120. If you want, all right, you can start at any age. The last one is improvisation is too difficult, again, complete BS. Now Historically, the way a lot of teachers have taught improvisation in the past is they start with some very complicated methods and concepts right away. And what I've learned teaching over the years, and especially teaching a lot of young kids through my jazz kids program, is I figured out a way of breaking down improvisation to its most basic, easy to digest parts. So what I'm going to show you in the confident improvisers, I'm going to show you how to improvise from the most basic bare bones simple way, and we're going to move up through complexity and difficulty. But it's going to be in a gradual fashion, so it's not going to seem like too much to you. Alright, so here are the four steps that we're going to be covering in this series number one is a component component, super important, you got to be able to play something in the left hand, while you're improvising. You always have to play in the left hand. No, we can get into that at another time. But at the basic level, when we're first learning how to improvise, we're probably going to want to start improvising at home by ourselves before we do go out and jump into a band setting. So that's why we start with our basic accompaniment. Even when playing with a band, we're going to want to probably play chords in that left hand number to the ingredients. This is your scales, chord tones. This is all the raw material that you need for improvisation. I'm going to show you that as well in this series number three, rhythm rhythm, super important. Okay, that is the engine of music without good rhythm, then you might as well forget about having improvisation. It sounds good. And finally, how do you take all this stuff, put it together to create lines. So we're going to cover all four of these things in this series. Today's focus, though, how 04:59 is going to be on our accompagnement. Now whatever remind you, if you happen to be watching this video someplace, make sure that you're you know, subscribe to the channel and you like the video so that you can get back to this series. Also check out the description where you can go ahead and get the link to the sheet music and be able to download all of the sheet music that I'm talking about in today's lesson. If you're a member of jazz edge, you can just go ahead and log in and you can get the sheet music right in the members area. Alright, so we're going to start with this very simple accompaniment pattern First, let me play it for you. 05:48 Alright, so pretty simple, right? Not not too difficult. And what I'm going to do is I'm also going to utilize the ireo Pro software, okay, and I have backing tracks all through ireo Pro, that members can go ahead and download, right, so here we go. 06:13 So try playing it along with me. Alright, so Pinkie and see middle finger on E flat, second finger on F comma G, right, I'm going to move the tempo I'm going to bring the template down to 80. All right, and let's just try playing it together. One, two, ready, 06:27 go. Pretty simple. Great job. Okay, so that's your very basic, simple accompaniment. Now, don't worry, I'm going to show you some stuff that you could play in the right hand. So just hang with me, we're going to do an easy an intermediate and an advanced a compliment pattern. Alright, so 07:05 now let's move on to the next one. This one is pretty easy. So let's focus some time here. On this, this is directly pulled from TCI exercise number eight. And by the way, this is pulled right from TCI. Exercise number one. So here the intermediate. Now we're getting into utilizing port shells. So in TCI, we do bass lines, we do shells, we do rootless chords, you're going to get a little smattering of all of that right here in this little series. So now shells. So the shells are the root and a third of the chord or the root and the seventh of the chord. Sometimes you add the fifth I explained shells in detail in the TCI program. For right now you just need to know I'm playing the root third for the C major which is C and E root seven for a minor which is A and G root three for D minor, which is the D and F and then the root seven for G seven which is G and F. Okay, now, fingering wise, I'm doing one and three on the see one in five, one and two, one and five. Okay, so now let's go ahead and play this along with the backing track. Okay, so all we want to do is just play this nice and easy. You don't have to change the rhythm, you can just play it as half notes. Perfectly fine, guys. So let's go ahead and do that. And since this one is intermediate, put this out 100 beats per minute. There we go. 08:27 C, G, C, G. If it's moving too fast, don't worry. We're gonna go slower in just a second. 08:45 Right now, let me bring it down to 80 beats a minute. Okay, let's do it again. Go through a two times here we go. See? The G, C, D, G. Alright, so now if you need to go through it some more, you can go ahead and rewind the video and practice that some more. Okay, so that is the intermediate This is where we're utilizing shells in our improvisation shells are great because they literally give you the shell of the chord that gives you the basic chord sound without adding in too many notes that might conflict with your improvisation. They're also quick to get to, they're very, very useful in jazz piano. So I definitely suggest that you take a look at shells and learning your shells. Alright, now we're going to move into our rootless chords. Again, all of this is explained in TCI. Let's just play it. Here's E minor seven, I have the third the seventh and the ninth of a minor. Then I go to my a seven chord. This is my seventh, my third and 13th have a seven and then D minor, 379, G, seven, seven. 313 two C Major 379. Also notice in the C major it is a new chord symbol see the triangle there before for the major seventh, it was ma J. And now you get the triangle. Hey Willie, why are you using two different symbols because guess what, that's what you'll see on lead sheets, right? Some players will write it as ma j, some will write as capital M, some will write it with a triangle. So I want to make sure that you see these different symbols and you know what it is that they mean. Alright, so E minor, seven, G, D, and F sharp, a seven, G, C sharp, and F sharp, D, minor, seven, F, C, and E, G, seven, f, b, and E, and then C major seven, E, B, and D. Right? Now, a lot of learning improvisation as well is just kind of getting into it and doing it. So if you don't fully understand it, what are these chords? And how are they being formed, you can take a look at the confident improviser lesson, back in jazz edge. Right now, all I want you to do is just practice these chords along with me. Now you're going to see that this really starts to sound like jazz piano now, 11:12 right? So let's play this 80 beats a minute, here we go. Now when you start to feel more comfortable, you could add some comping rhythms to this. 11:41 Want to make sure that you're grabbing at those chords? Right? Take a look at the grab technique in my piano essentials lesson as part of jazz edge core. 12:14 Alright, so now you'll also notice that this is a two, five progression, we get into it a little bit more in TCI, right? But you could see like this is a two five progression and that's a two, five progression. Sometimes a two five progression will occur in one or two measure configurations. All right, so you see that this is a two measure configuration that is a one measure configuration. Alright, so now we have our three accompaniments, right, let's just review them just real quick. We have our baseline simple baseline. Then we have our chord shells. And finally, we have our rootless voicings, these are three note rootless voicings. We can also do for note rootless voicings, which we get into in the full TCI program. Okay, so now, let's talk practice routines. So, the first practice routine is over this easy baseline. And all I want you to do is just practice this five finger minor scale. Now you might say, Hey, wait a second Willie, I could do more than this. This is too easy for me, it's too hard for me. Okay, don't worry, we're going to remember this is only one video in a series so we have more videos that are going to come. So that's why I want you to practice just focusing on this five finger minor scale for right now, just to build up that fluency in your fingers. Okay, because as we go on and add on, I'm going to be pulling off of this scale and off of this material, okay, so think of this as preparing you for the next video. Very simple, all you can do just go right on up and down the scale. So C, D, E flat, F, G, and we come right on back down. This is our what we call our five finger minor scale, okay, and then we're just going to play that along with the left hand. Now, if you're not good with rhythm, try vocalizing the rhythm D buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy, great big hole note or 1234. This is really a whole note that last. That last note there, you don't have to hold it out for four beats if you don't want to. This is the key though. See where they start and where they line up. So when I start that C down here, I'm going to start with my C in the right hand. And then when I get to the G, I'm going to play the E flat in the left hand and I'm going to come back down. And when I hit the C again, I'm going to be playing the F in the left hand and then the G is by itself and make sure you don't rush that rush back into the sea Like I said before, right? So Do you want to do Oh, don't do this. See I rushed right back into that and I did not hold that g out for two beats, make sure that you're holding it out for two beats. All right, so 15:34 Okay, now what we could do is we could put our drum track on here as well and practice along with that. And let's do that, again at 80 beats per minute. Here we go. Great job. All right. Now, if you don't have the backing tracks, don't worry, I'm also going to give you a link to where you can grab those backing tracks, as well. So be sure to check out the links for those descriptions. Alright, so let's move on now to the intermediate. This again, the accompaniment is the root three, the root seven, the root three, the root seven, right, the 1625 progression in the right hand, we're just gonna be playing our major scale up and down. This is our C major scale, the fingering is 123, cross underneath 12345, C, D, E, cross underneath the thumb, F, G, A, B, C, and then come on down. cross over middle finger on the E. We have. So now let's try playing that together. Okay, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to put the bass in the band on again, and we'll do it nice and slow at 80 beats per minute. Oh, one thing I wanted to mention, if you have difficulty playing it hands together, try just doing the right hand while I'm playing it hands together, or try doing just the left it then bring it in hands together. Here we go. 18:26 Okay, so now let me pause for a second and talk to those of you who have already done some of this stuff in the past. Maybe you've gone through some of the TCI. Maybe you've taken a listen to my podcast, seen my other lessons or worked with other teachers, and done some improvisation, you might be wondering, why should I bother to do an exercise like this? Well, the first reason you want to do this exercise is just to see if you could do it, right. So if you start playing and you're right, and you're making mistakes all over the place, well, then that tells you that okay, well you got to get this together, right? Because if you can't do this exercise, then you're certainly not going to be able to improvise. All right, I, you know, freely in the right hand. The other reason that you want to do this exercise is that it just is a great way of making sure that you really have down that major scale. Okay, so here, this is a C major scale. Let me pause for a second and let's talk to my more advanced students, right? You might look at this and be like, yeah, Willie, I got this. This is totally easy. All right, well then move it into another key, maybe the key of F you right? So can you move it into all 12 keys without making a mistake at all right, and you don't have to go that fast, you can go slower, but can you move it into all 12 keys or maybe six other keys. So if you're finding that any of this stuff is too easy for you Just know that you can just move it into other keys, you got 12 keys of music. And then you can do lots of other stuff which we're going to talk about, you know, in some of these subsequent videos. But if you're finding it too easy for you don't just you know poopoo it and say I forget it, this is too easy for me. Find a way musically to make it a little bit more challenging for you. Maybe you speed up the tempo, maybe you slow down the tempo, sometimes going slower, is harder, you moving into other keys, change around the rhythm, change your articulation, play around with dynamics, try the first time. 20:47 See, I started soft, and I went loud, and I changed the articulation to more staccato, you know, so you can play around with these different ideas. Never just look at that exercise just right there and be like, Oh, that's all I can do with it. Because if that's what you see, then you are truly not an intermediate or advanced level player, intermediate and advanced level students or students that are always looking at this stuff and saying, hey, look, let me get this down as it is. But I know that I could change this stuff around, right? I know I can play around with this. Right? That is the heart of improvisation is that idea that you could play around with stuff, making your own, change it and and being brave enough and confident enough to do that, right? So super important. advanced stuff now is now in this one. What we're doing 21:37 here. So now one of the things that we talk about in TCI is we talk about approaches target notes, we go through a bunch of different scales, altra, scales, half whole diminished, whole tone, you know, all these different scales. We're going to cover Bebop scales, major scales, minor scales, pentatonic scales. So you're going to learn about all of these different ingredients. But one of the things that's important is that you need to learn well, how do you put these together, and the secret sauce of that is your target notes and your approaches, right or enclosures. And we talk about that, just real briefly, let me explain to you where where like what we're doing here. So you see like we are starting on target note of our roots coming down core tones. And then this is I'm trying to get to the A so on my half step below, double chromatic from above. Then resolving to the A, you hear this chromaticism, right in here is what really is the secret sauce of jazz improvisation. Right so you hear that nice chromaticism going on. And then on the D, starting on the root to the root of g. And then going double chromatic down to the C, D, C sharp and resolving down to C i could have also written that as D flat, right so that that nice resolution, double chromatic down to the see those target notes. That's the secret, right? That's the stuff that makes your improvisation sound much more structured. We get into that in a lot of detail in TCI. We talk about that a lot. Those target notes, the enclosures Anyway, let's practice this progression and exercise right here. So let me just do it slow. It starts on the upbeat so it's body. Two, three, for the body. to three, four, so the Sharpie B flat, a, and then B, C, A, B flat C. Add some calming in the left hand. really starts to sound pretty slick. Alright, so now let's play this. Again do it at 80 beats per minute. Here we go. 24:55 Alright, so then like I said, there will be backing tracks where you can just go ahead and play along With those with those backing tracks, we'll be sure to take a look at those backing tracks. Alright, so now let's talk about what it is that we have done up until this point and what is going to be coming up. Right. So today we were focusing on accompaniment. Like I said, if you want to make sure that you get all of the other videos in this series, if you're on YouTube, make sure that you subscribe to The Jazz channel, make sure you like the video, that way you'll be able to get these other videos and be sure to turn on notifications. So you know when I come out with a with a new video, right, if you're already a member of jazz edge, you can just go to where the podcast is. And you can see all of the sheet music and the video for this lesson. Alright, so coming up, we're going to be talking about so today we did accompaniment, the next video in the series, we're going to be talking about those scales in the ingredients. What do we use? What's the raw material that we use for our improvisation? Right, and that is always the big question. And we're going to be answering that in that next video, which will come out in about a week's time, okay. After that, we're going to talk about rhythm, right. And rhythm, like I said, is really the secret sauce. If you're if your rhythm is flat, then your improvisation is going to sound flat. And then finally, we're going to tie it all together in the last video. So you get to see how does this all work together. Now what I want you to do for right now, while you're waiting for the next video to come out is really go through these accompaniments and practices accompaniments. All of these subsequent videos are all going to build upon what it is that we did here today, then it's really important that you understand that's the way the confident improviser program works. It builds upon the information that you just learned in the previous exercise. So if you skip and you don't do the previous exercise, you might find that you have some holes in your play. So you want to make sure that you go in order and you practice each of the exercises. Now one of the questions that I get asked a lot is how do I know when it's time to move on. And what I typically say is, once you feel as though you're you've gotten about 80% of the way, then it's okay, then you can go ahead and move on. So if you can play that baseline, that simple baseline, right? And most of the time you get it but every now and again, you might want to you know you hit a wrong note or something. Okay, but for the most part, you got it, then fine, right? But now if you're playing it and you're like, Ah, what note comes next? No, no, no. Obviously you don't have it right. So once you can play it and you can play it at a slow tempo, you know, like maybe about 80 beats per minute, then you got it most of the time, then that means that you can go ahead and move on. Okay, so you got three different accompaniments in today's video. You don't have to play all three if you want to just stick with the easy one or the easiest intermediate completely up to you the more advanced one from exercise 21 obviously if you're brand new to improvisation, you might find that that exercise is a little bit too challenging. If so, then just start with the easy and the intermediate. Alright, so anyway, that's it for me. Thanks guys for joining me. I'm Willie Myette from jazz edge and check out those next lessons in the confident improviser. I will see you soon.

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