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Jazz Improvisation, Jamey Aebersold


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How many would find this thread valuable to them?
I would!! Please keep posting...
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I'm sure sombody else would...
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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Posts: 1154

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Jazz Improvisation, Jamey Aebersold Reply with quote

I have taught Jazz Improv for about 30 years now. I notice many players
wish to be able to improvise but simply don't know how to get started.

Many get Jamey Aebersold's Volume 1 book/CD set to start with but then
find it quite daunting. There is so much information in it, that people often
feel that it will be too difficult and they quickly give up. I can make Jamey
Aebersold's method books/CDs much easier to understand, and therefore
a much more enjoyable and successful experience!

I'll present very small bits for beginners to fully digest and it will be done
quite slowly, one lesson at a time. If all goes well, it'll lead to many posts
that can take a person from beginner to advanced. There are many small
steps to be taken, but learned one at a time each will be very simple and
easy to understand.

................................*** LESSON NUMBER 1 ***..................................

When one begins trying to play by ear along with some music for the first
time, they quickly find that some notes sound good in certain places, while
others sound 'wrong' or 'bad'. Eventually, we see that almost any note can
sound right if used in the correct way, but in the beginning the student will
need to think of the various notes as either 'right notes' or 'wrong notes'.

If you try to improvise along with some music in the key of C major, it'll
quickly become obvious that the notes of the C major scale will generally
sound "right", and the other notes will sound "wrong" (especially if they're
held for more than just a beat or two). If the song is in the key of F major,
the notes of the F major scale will generally sound good, and in the key of
G major, the notes of the G major scale will sound good, etc, etc...

Sometimes in the middle of a song you may notice that a different scale
may be needed for certain sections. For the beginner, this is what improv
is all about, knowing which scales yield good sounding notes. Sometimes
one scale will work well for a whole song, but usually more than one scale
is needed. Later, the improv student begins to learn 'licks' based on these
scales (which help make his improvisations sound much more advanced)
but it all starts with the basic scales.

It is necessary to learn to play all 12 major scales very well right away. I
suggest starting this project now if you want to begin jazz improv with me.
Just start with the simple ones first like C, F, Bb, Eb, G, D and A. That is 7
scales (through 3 flats and 3 sharps). The last five scales can be learned
more gradually, perhaps one each week, and you will be doing just fine.

You must eventually know these 12 scales "like the back of your hand",
and then everything will go very smoothly. Without them you will soon
crash and burn. So get yourself a schedule in mind and start now. I will
keep posting, but you should just take it all slowly, at your own pace.

Specific questions will be answered right here on this thread, so posting
questions is welcomed, especially the kind that might benefit everyone!!
Be sure to get Jamey Aebersold's book/CD Volume 1. If you want to get
stocked up for a year's worth of study get Volumes 2, 3 and 5 too. Later
I'll ask you to buy just a few books that will last you a very long time!!

I'll be going to great lengths to make this thread a logical way to learn
everything you need to know in a very efficient and enjoyable manner
using the first few Aebersold albums as a foundation. It is organized as
a kind of method system that can take you step-by-step from beginner
to advanced. This course of study presents information in a logical way
along with appropriate play-along tracks for each new bit of material. I
feel that almost anyone can follow along and reach their goals... if they
simply stick with it.

www.aebersold.com
www.penders.com

.......................................................................................................

SEPTEMBER 2009... It's now nearly 5 years since I began this thread.
THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 150 LESSONS WRITTEN SO FAR AND OVER
80,000 VISITS BY INTERESTED PEOPLE!

I'm honored to have been appreciated by so many!! I hope people will
benefit from this project for many years to come. Below are just a few
of the comments I've received about this thread.

CRJAZZMAN wrote:
Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! 40+ years old and been playing lead all my trumpet life. Always wanted to get into improv. This stuff is pure GOLD! Now I can start a more deliberate path to organized creativity! It removes the confusion by getting it stripped down and keeping it simple so we can "get it". Thanks again!

Pat Harbison wrote:
Tom, This is great stuff! It's like you are putting together really clear lesson plans for self-teaching. Bravo! (then later on he says) If you edit these posts into chapters or just take these posts to a good editor or co-writer you'll have one of the best improv books on the market. This stuff rocks! PH

JasonHarrelson wrote:
For anyone wishing to take the leap to improv... follow Tom's advice. I've had the pleasure of hearing him play and believe me, his words are as solid as his own playing.

plp wrote:
Tom, where were you 25 years ago when I needed this???? People, and particularly you youngsters, this is pure gold! To be able to couple this instruction with the Jamey Aebersold play along CDs is one of the best ideas I've seen on this site since the BE forum! Thank you for this excellent tool...

Robert Rowe wrote:
You have paved the way for many of us to progress with our studies and further our understanding of many confusing improvising concepts. Thanks for your contributions. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for you. You are "giving back" something to the world.

LondonHusker wrote:
Tom has obviously put a great deal of his heart and soul into constructing the lessons contained on this thread. These efforts display both his passion for music in general and for sharing with others his love for jazz improvisation in particular. This thread has become a valuable resource for many new to jazz improvisation as well as many of us who work daily with young jazz musicians. I encourage Tom to continue sharing his insights with the rest of us. His efforts are most appreciated.

Gene wrote:
Tom, thank you ever so much for doing this. I have just today seen the thread. As a comeback guy with a forty year lay off this is great. I have being intriged with Jazz and improvising, but how does a 55 year old man learn to do it... You have very graciously answered that and in a way that is fun to follow. Let me go find the books. Wonder how long it will take me to catch up to lesson 129!!!

Carlos Cuenca wrote:
Dear Tom, I would like you to know you have a new student. Man, your lessons are simply great! It's systematic, and most importantly, really progressive! I'm just beginning with your classes, but I'll definitely look forward to following your program. Great work, great way of sharring your experience!!

Bronz-O-Lyte wrote:
I stumbled onto TH and was really impressed with the knowledge shared by all on this forum, but frankly you blew me away with this thread. I'm amazed that somebody would dedicate this much time and energy to sharing this kind of information. You've given me even more incentive to practice and to get my chops back into shape. Thankyou.

MFMeow wrote:
Hi Tom, Big thank you! I've decided it's high time I learn to improvise. I've always loved jazz, but improvising was a big mystery to me and I was extremely envious of those who had crossed that bridge. I decided that I'm an intelligent person and I should be able to figure this stuff out. It's all about baby steps. I just recently started with Aebersold Book 1, and I wanted to thank you for all the time you've put into this and for making improvisation more accessible. Kirsten

..............................................................................................................................................................................

This thread will allow players to learn at their own pace in a step-by-
step fashion. Each of these 150 lessons can be studied and mastered
at your own pace as you apply everything learned to the "play-along"
tracks. I've been teaching improv using these book/cd sets for many
years now, and I can assure you success if you will stick to a gradual
plan of daily study. All the information is given in a very logical order
to make it easy to understand.

I hope you will try this out and join in the fun. There is nothing more
satisfying than simply closing your eyes and being able to play what
you feel!! I love jazz so much, I just can't imagine a world without it.

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
_________________
7 Monettes, 9 Taylors, 8 Courtois, 8 Stomvis
7 Lawlers, 4 Leblancs, 3 Bessons, 3 Kanstuls
2 Blackburns, 9 Schilkes, 8 Bachs, 5 Selmers
8 Yamahas, 5 Committees, 2 Edwards Gen X
4 Marcinkeiwicz, 9 Harrelsons, and 4 Eclipses


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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...............................*** LESSON NUMBER 2 ***...............................

OK! You now know the 12 major scales MUST be mastered, and that these
scales will be the key to your success... EVERYTHING that you will learn in
the future about jazz and improvisation will be built on this platform. When
you get to the harder scales, you will want to practice physically fingerring
them and visualizing them even when you're away from the horn... during
TV commercials, at stop lights, or in even in bed at night before you go to
sleep! Become obsessed with the 12 major scales now! The other thing I'll
stress is listenning to jazz. You should get in the habit of listenning to good
jazz if you don't already. Chet baker is a great place to start, or any other
great jazz trumpeters or sax players like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. I
will leave the choice to you, but I'd strongly advise small combos so you'll
hear the most solos possible. This is a MUST. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN!!!

Now, on to Jamey Aebersold's improv book/CD "How to Play..." Volume 1!
This book is in two parts. The first 67 pages are instructional material. You
will study basic music theory in these pages, and ideas about improvising.

It isn't necessary to read and fully understand all this material before you
get started with the second part of the book. Starting on page 68 you find
pages that basically give the suggested scales to use when playing along
with the recorded background tracks on the enclosed cd.

The 1st section of the second part is for use by Concert Key Instruments
such as pianos, etc. Skip to the second section, which begins on page 73,
and you'll find the material for trumpet players, "Bb Instruments". These
are the tracks that you will play along with, and the first one is two tuning
notes, "Concert Bb and Concert A". For trumpet players these are the two
notes that we call C and B. Below that you'll see "Track 2". That is where
you will actually begin improvizing along with a real jazz combo... but not
just yet!

Before we start to play we need a bit more knowledge so let's get started
with a little reading. It won't be long before you'll be playing along with a
real rythm section! These guys are always ready to play when you are...
They never complain, they never get tired, and they are always happy to
go back and play a track as many times as you need.

Please read pages 2, 3 and 4. Don't worry about not understanding every
single sentence. Just take it in, re-read it a time or two and just relax. This
will be a long journey, so let yourself enjoy the learning process itself. Be
very patient and secure in the knowledge that if you keep taking one step
at a time, you WILL reach your goals! Tomorrow listen to some jazz, then
go back and read those three pages again a couple more times, then you
should start checking off some of those major scales. Just be very patient,
and let all of this stuff start sinking in very slowly and very deeply. If you
like, you might try listenning, and skat singing (vocal improvization) along
with "Track 2".

In my next post I will get you actually playing along with that track a little
bit for the first time. This is usually a very magical experience! People can
hardly believe it when they jump in and actually start to play along. You'll
likely make some very nice musical sounds that'll please and amaze you,
RIGHT FROM THE VERY FIRST TRY!!!

Read and study ahead if you like, sing, listen, and begin practicing those
scales, but don't play along with the CD quite yet. Listen and sing along
with several tracks if you like, and reread these two posts, but don't play
along with the CD until I give you some tips in my next post. Thanks...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
_________________
7 Monettes, 9 Taylors, 8 Courtois, 8 Stomvis
7 Lawlers, 4 Leblancs, 3 Bessons, 3 Kanstuls
2 Blackburns, 9 Schilkes, 8 Bachs, 5 Selmers
8 Yamahas, 5 Committees, 2 Edwards Gen X
4 Marcinkeiwicz, 9 Harrelsons, and 4 Eclipses


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Jazzman885
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Joined: 31 Dec 2001
Posts: 72
Location: Hampshire, England

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow ! Some project. Thanks for taking it on.
I'm sending off for JA Book 1 right now, so will be following your posts with interest. (I have a couple of other JA books already, but not Book 1).
In the meantime, I'll crank up my scale practice.
Good luck.
Alan
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

................................*** LESSON NUMBER 3 ***.................................

Alright, now you are working on the 12 major scales, reading a little in
the book, and listenning to jazz soloists. It is also very helpful to try skat
singing along with the recorded tracks or any regular jazz recordings!

What's next? We begin to play... RIGHT NOW!!

TRACK 1: Open the book to page 73, "Bb Instruments". That's the section
for us trumpet players. Put the CD into your player and press PLAY. You'll
first hear tuning notes, "Concert Bb and Concert A". Trumpet players call
these notes C (third space C) and B (third line B). Proceed to tune up with
the CD using these notes just like you were about to play with a live band
(which you actually are, kind of...)!

TRACK 2: This is your very first playing experience with a real recorded
background. It will be quite easy, and you'll probably be amazed. Before
actually playing along with Track 2, it would be best to simply listen to it
a time or two.

As you can see in the book, the band will first play a G minor chord for 8
measures, then F minor chord for 8 measures, and then an E minor chord
for eight measures (then these three "8 bar phrases" repeat several more
times).

First just listen and count the measures. After eight measures you'll hear
the chord change. Eight more measures later you should hear the chord
change again. Every eight bars this will happen. Listen and anticipate the
"changes", you may even want to hum a little "skat" along with the music.
Even when you just sing along you will notice that there are "right notes",
and "wrong notes"... But, now lets play!

The first chord is a G minor chord for eight bars. Some "right notes" that
fit well with this chord are written out just below the "G-" symbol, meaning
"G minor". They are the notes G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F, and G. These are the
notes that you should use to play the first 8 bars of G minor. Then you'll
hear the chord change to F minor and begin using the notes written below
that chord symbol for the next 8 bars. Then you'll hear the chord change
to E minor and begin using the notes written below that symbol. Finally it
all repeats and you are back at the beginning.

Remember the "good sounding notes" change each eight measures, and
you must keep up with these changes. Listen carefully to make sure you
are keeping up with that band and playing the proper notes with each of
the various chords... If this is too tricky at first, go back to just listenning
and humming. When you do play (for now) just simply play slowly up and
down the scales a bit, then try playing very short musical ideas using the
scale tones. You can benefit the most by playing a few notes, then pause
and think about what you just played, then play a few more of those scale
tones. Keep doing this. Try to hear short musical ideas in your head when
you pause each time, and then attempt to play the ideas you "hear". Keep
it very, very simple for at least a couple of weeks and don't go on to those
other tracks quite yet!

If it doesn't all go perfectly at first, don't be surprised. Each time you sit
down to practice it will get a little better and better. Be patient! You may
want to get a tape recorder and tape yourself sometimes. Later you will
find some parts sound pretty darn good. Continue with the re-reading of
pages 2, 3 and 4. Also work on the major scales, and LISTEN TO JAZZ!!

Don't overdo the playing. Be sure to take breaks and pace yourself. You
are already taking the first baby steps! Go very slowly. We will stick with
this one track for a couple of weeks (and perhaps Track 3, the same thing
but just 4 bars for each chord). I will give further explanation for how and
why these notes sound "right" with these chords later, as well as more tips
for how to practice. Remember to go very slowly...

We are laying the foundation for all that is to follow. We want these first
steps to sink in very deeply, especially learning the 12 major scales, and
the process of beginning to hear short musical ideas in our mind as we
begin to play. Have fun, re-read the three pages again, and LISTEN. One
last suggestion. Make sure you don't let the quality of your trumpet playing
slide as you practice improv. You should always use the best technique you
can just as if you were playing classical music with a wind ensemble. Don't
let your technique suffer! Later...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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Simply Swingin'
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No way you own all of those horns in your signature.
_________________
"Behold, I make all things new."- Jesus Christ, God Almighty
------------------------
Zeus Guarnerius ZTR 900
5C
------------------------
Keep swingin'...
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Simply Swingin',

I retail professional model trumpets, flugelhorns and flumpets full-time.
I taught in the public schools and played in various bands for years, then
I discoverred a niche in the "mostly exotic" trumpet business. I am very
fortunate to be able to live out all my trumpet fantasies, while earning a
living at the same time! I actually have about 300 instruments in stock
at the moment.

................................*** LESSON NUMBER 4 ***..................................

Now let's talk music theory. The music theory that one typically learns in
college is very useful when starting jazz, but it is a little different than the
modern music theory used by jazz players. So, if you've already learned
some music theory before, you'll notice a few differences in terminology
here and there. Don't worry about that... If you've not studied any music
theory at all before, don't worry about that either... no problem!

First of all, you may want to open your book to page 60. There you'll find
the twelve major scales, along with a few other types of scales as well...
particularly the 12 Dominant (or Mixolydian) scales, and also the 12 minor
(or Dorian) scales. The minor (Dorian) scales will be the topic of Lesson 4.

If you play a major scale from the first step up to the eighth step, you'll
hear the classic sound that we learned in elementary school. It goes like
this: Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. That gives us the sound of the major
scale, eight notes in all. The C major scale has no sharps or flats, hence:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. The notes of the C major scale "soung good" when
we play them against a C major chord, and... they generally sound good
against almost all of the chords in simple songs in the key of C major as
well. This is not too surprising.

You've probably noticed when playing along with Track 2, that we aren't
using the Major scales. But if you go back now and examine them closely
you will notice that we were using a variation of the major scale, one that
sounded good with the minor chords (G-, F-, and E-). On the G- chord we
played the F Major scale starting on it's second step, G. On the F- chord,
we played the Eb Major scale starting on it's second step, F, and on the E-
chord we play the D Major scale starting on it's second step, E. By doing
this, we get nice "minor" type scales that sound good with the minor type
chords. Jazz musicians refer to this scale as "the minor scale", or even a
"dorian scale", or "dorian mode". All these names are correct... but since
Jamey primarily uses the terms "minor scale" or "dorian scale", so will I.

It is important to note that the G- chord uses the G minor scale, (which is
really an F Major scale starting on G). The F- chord uses the F minor scale
(which is really an Eb Major scale starting on F), and the E- chord uses the
E minor scale, (which is really a D Major scale starting on E). Study each
of these scales as they appear on page 60, and also on page 73.

Keep studying these special scales until you're sure you fully understand
their constuction. A comparison of both the C Major scale and the D minor
scale on page 60 should be very helpful. C Major starts on C, while the D
minor scale uses the same notes but starts on D. All the minor scales use
the notes of the Major scale located one whole step below. Make sure you
understand this completely before you go to the next lesson. Re-read this
post as many times as you need.

Continue the practice and study assignments I've given then make sure
you understand the special minor scales as I've described here, then go
ahead and read pages 5 and 6 in the book several times. Review all this
material often until you have it firmly in your grasp. There's no rush at all
and you need to let it all sink in very deeply. Just chew on all this for some
time, and I'll give more info on playing along with the recorded Tracks in
the next post! Take it all at your own pace, preferably slowly, and have
fun! Until next time, I am...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR


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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom, this is great stuff! It's like you are putting together really clear lesson plans for self-teaching. Bravo!
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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Joined: 21 Aug 2004
Posts: 1154

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Pat! (PH)...

Thanks for the compliment. I'll continue with this project as long as there
are people who value this information. I love jazz so much, I just couldn't
imagine a world without it! Hope I'm helping some folks out there...


.................................*** LESSON NUMBER 5 ***.............................

Back to Playing along with Track 2! Start out each play-along session by
just listenning to the music and counting the measures in your head. You
should quickly get to the point where you are able to "feel the music" in
4 bar phrases (notice each chord lasts for two 4 bar phrases). You should
gradually become able to sense the proper time for those chords/scales
to change without even thinking about it.

Another thing you should do is to memorize the three minor scales for G-,
F- and E- well enough that you don't need to think about them either. That
way you can simply concentrate on just playing your short simple melodic
ideas without any distractions at all. You won't have to consciously count
the measures or think about which notes to use while you play. You'll also
want to practice singing some short melodic ideas along with the music as
well. This will help you to access the ideas that are already in your head!

Now the playing will go so much easier! The next step is to play along with
Track 2 as you did before. It is a good idea to simply jump right in and do
this without fear. Don't worry about anything at all. You'll play some ideas
that sound great right away, and some ideas won't sound so good at all...
All of it will teach you though. Even the mistakes will gradually teach you
what DOESN'T work... so don't worry about them. Just play and have fun!

At first you should play slowly up and down each scale a bit with the music
playing on your stereo. Go very slowly at first, and pause every few notes
to reflect, and also to try to hear another short musical idea in your head.
If you don't seem to have any ideas of what to play at first, that's OK too!
Just play a few notes to hear how they sound, and then play them again...
perhaps improvizing a slightly different rythm. It WILL start working!

It takes some time, but soon you will begin to hear short bits of melodies
in your head, and then be able to play them on your instrument. Start out
with a few random notes, and gradually they will become more and more
organized. You will actually be composing little bits and pieces of melodies
spontaneously! If it takes a week or two to really feel improvement, is this
a long time in the scheme of things? A couple of weeks is really not a very
long time at all, and if you keep at this project you'll be amazing yourself
with what you can do in no time at all... And the process of watching your
abilities grow is so satisfying!! When you get to the point where ideas flow
easily straight from your brain right out the end of your horn, you will feel
some wonderful satisfaction then too! It's great to simply close your eyes
and be able to play the musical ideas you have in your head!

It would be alright to start playing Track 3 now too. It's identical to Track 2
except that each chord/scale last for 4 measures each, instead of 8. Some
people will actually find this easier... since there is less time to "get lost" in
trying to keep track of when the chords change.

I wouldn't try reading ahead in the book yet. Just keep working on all the
skills we've discussed so far. This is really about all you should cover for
at least two weeks! Keep on re-reading these posts here, and pages 2 - 6
in the book many times. Get a really good, secure start and everything in
the future will fall into place much easier. Learn the 12 Major scales over
the entire range of your instrument, concentrating the most on the harder
ones as you progress until you know them all, almost equally well. Listen
to jazz combos with lots of soloing all the time, and even try singing along
with the music. Really dive in with these activities for a while, and you will
thank yourself later. And always remember... DO NOT let your technique
suffer as you learn jazz. On the contrary, use all the new material to help
your trumpet playing the same way you would do with any other material.

Go very slowly, use a good tone, vary the articulations, etc, etc., and be
sure to be patient and enjoy the process of learning as you go along! You
may want to get a trumpet playing buddy over to share the fun. You can
take turns playing along with the tracks... kind of like real jazz musicians
do when performing. This would be a great idea!

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR

PS... Do feel free to post any questions now as I will probably hold off on
writing up the next lesson for a while. This would actually help me, as I'll
be able to answer each question this way with a post that helps everyone
at the same time. I'll keep checking in on this thread a few times each
day... Thanks! And I do appreciate all the PMs, etc... Tom


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Robert Rowe
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nicely presented. I appreciate what you are doing here. My improv skills have deteriorated, due to time spent playing other instruments. Trumpet / Cornet is my first love, though. In my "perfect world", everything would be in Concert pitch "C". Try chording-along with left hand on a keyboard (in "C"), and blowing Bb lines with a Trumpet in the right hand.... That's why I play my "C" horns most often. Guess I'll keep trying to do these lessons in Bb.
In any case, Thanx, Tom ....

Robert Rowe
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Robert,

You're very welcome, and thanks to you too for the nice note. Speaking
of C trumpets, I have one that you'd probably love to see. It's one really
rare horn, maybe the only one of it's kind! I got it right off Ebay. Check
this out...

It is a Schilke trumpet in C, mint condition, gold plated, and it has a Dizzy
Gillespie style up-turned bell. Isn't that just the craziest thing you've ever
heard of? I actually use it occasionally when I play "St. Thomas" in a jazz
combo I play in. I can use my hottest licks in C Major that way, and burn
it up! I never tell 'em it's in C, but they always wonder why that's the only
song I use it on... Don't tell anyone, OK? I don't think anyone's listenning,
so this'll be our little secret... (I sometimes cheat!)

Tom in Texas, J-P-C
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Simply Swingin'
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, that's awesome.

By the way, my name's Nic... no k!
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joetriscari
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:42 am    Post subject: New Thread Reply with quote

What a great idea...
I think this will help so many trumpet players, young and old...
Sincerely,
Joe Triscari
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

................................*** LESSON NUMBER 6 ***..................................

It's time now for a little more music theory. First a few broad definitions:
Music Theory is all about chords and scales, and how they fit together to
make music. Nothing too mysterious here. Basically, "chords" are groups
of notes that are played together at the same time. They'll usually create
a pleasant sound we call harmony. Scales are notes played in sequence,
usually going up or down by half steps and whole steps. ("Half steps" are
the intervals between adjacent notes in the chromatic scale, while "Whole
steps" refer to notes that are located two half steps apart.) Make sure you
understand the terms, "music theory", "chords", "scales", "half steps" and
"whole steps". Do re-read this a few times if needed before you go on, as
this is the foundation of all that is to come! Do forgive me if all this seems
a bit tedious, but some don't have any knowledge of these things at all.

There is only a little more music theory to learn for the next few weeks...
I could begin telling you all about chords and how they are formed, but all
you really need to know for now is that there are 5 main types of chords:
major, minor, dominant, diminished, and augmented.

You've already learned that major scales generally sound good when you
play them along with major chords, and that minor scales generally sound
good when played with minor chords. Please open your book now back to
page 60. There you will again see (in the left collumn) the first three types
of scales. You are already familiar with the major and minor scales... Now
I'll discuss the other group, called "dominant" scales.

Just as the minor scales have another name (dorian), the dominant scales
also have another name as well (mixolydian). Remember how those minor
scales turned out to be just like major scales starting on the second tone?
Well, the dominant scales turn out to be just like major scales too, but this
time starting on the fifth tone. To see this for yourself, simply compare the
C major scale to the G dominant scale (on page 60, put one finger on each
scale to help). You'll see that the G dominant scale uses the same notes as
the C major... but the G dominant scale just starts on the fifth tone (G).

Take your time here and make sure you get that last part, then compare
these two scales to the D minor scale. Please notice how all three scales
use the same notes, but they all begin on different steps. Again, do take
your time and re-read this, and make all the comparisons. It will become
easy to understand (if it's not already). There is no hurry, and it is better
to review all this information many times so it sinks in deeply. Most folks
will need some time to get ahold of these various pieces of music theory.
Just keep reviewing, and it'll all start to seem pretty simple... I promise!
Until next time, I am...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR


Last edited by JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR on Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

.................................*** LESSON NUMBER 7 ***................................

Well, we meet again! A quick review: Take in all this material at your own
pace. I'm actually presenting it much faster on-line than I would in person
so don't feel that you should keep up with my posts in real-time... In fact,
trying to do that would be a mistake for most beginners! Keep on doing all
the things I suggested in the earlier posts, and continue reading them and
the first few pages of the book. Continue learning the 12 major scales and
playing (and singing) along with Tracks 2 & 3, and above all else... LISTEN
TO SOME GOOD JAZZ SOLOISTS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE!

It would be alright to try playing along with Tracks 4 and 5 now. The book
has the suggested scales for use with these two Tracks right there on the
same page with the others, page 73... Notice that Tracks 4 and 5 also use
minor chords with minor scales, but this time there are seven. The seven
chords/scales we will use are as follows: D-, E-, F-, G-, A-, B- and C-.

You'll also notice that the scales are similar to the ones you used before...
Each is a "minor scale" using the same notes as a "major scale" located a
whole step below. Track 4 uses each scale for 8 bars each, while Track 5
uses each scale for just 4 measures... just like we did before!

Do continue using all the suggestions I've given in previous posts as you
progress to each new Track! Do some counting, some singing, anticipate
the changes from each chord to the next, and do memorize each scale as
this will make improvizing much easier. You should still be experimenting,
just playing up and down each scale a bit, along with a few short melodic
ideas, and pausing repeatedly between each phrase you play. This begins
the process of training your mind and body to do some amazing things! I
won't try to tell you that you will be able to solo with any jazz band on any
song overnight, but if you are patient, the weeks and months will pass just
like they always do, and you will be absolutely amazed at the things you'll
learn how to do! Just continue going very slowly and let everything you're
learning sink in deeply. The process itself is very satisfying and rewarding.

Playing along with these tracks get easier each day. You may want to try
recording yourself from time to time so you'll hear the constant progress.
This project will definitely be more enjoyable if you can rope a friend into
joining you too. Sitting down together and taking turns playing along with
the recorded tracks is almost like a real jam session. Do encourage each
other aloud. This is an old time-honored tradition for jazz players you've
probably already noticed!

This is all meant to fun. Don't put pressure on yourself to play like Miles by
next week. Just have fun with it on a regular basis, and in time you'll reach
levels you never thought possible! IT WILL HAPPEN!!! Again, I am...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is such great stuff! Thanks so much.
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BobD
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is great. Please keep it coming. There is SO MUCH to learn and assimilate to be able to improvise.
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Yamahaguy and Bob D... I sure do appreciate your comments!

You're right Bob... There is alot to learn to eventually become a master
improvizer. One great thing about learning how to improvize, though, is
the fact that the whole journey is so much fun. It's not like work at all...
Nothing like the typical practice we usually "have to do". It's all fun!!


.................................*** LESSON NUMBER 8 ***................................

You are now playing along with Tracks 1 thru 5 on the CD for Volume 1.
There is no need for a beginner to go any further than this for at least a
few weeks. We will do much more with these few Tracks before moving
on, and this will be the subject of the next few discussions.

It is now time to read pages 7, 8 and 9 in the book. Here are the most
important concepts to get from this section:

1) Be sure you know the chromatic scale very thoroughly over the entire
range of your instrument.

2) The seven tips presented for learning the scales and chords, are also
summarized nicely on page 62 in musical notation, but you should simply
continue just mastering the 12 major scales for now, and go very slowly.

3) The examples given on page 62 would also make ideal patterns to try
using when improvising along with the CD Tracks. You might try applying
Paterns 2 and 3 with the seven minor scales you've been using so far. I'll
talk more about this later...

4) Practice your scales very slowly at first, gradually working them up to
a speed that enables you to play eighth notes along with the tracks. The
eighth note is used in jazz soloing more than any other note value.

5) Later you'll begin to learn licks (patterns for improvization). These are
short melodic ideas based on the scales you are currently experimenting
with. These "licks" will enable you to play in a much more melodic fashion
and move on to the next level. All jazz improvizers use licks and they are
also often referred to as "riffs" or "motiffs".

6) "Common tones" refers to the notes that different scales share. For an
example, the G minor and F minor scales share the notes G, Bb, C, D and
F. These notes sound good over both the G- and the F- chords. Awareness
of common tones can be very helpful. We'll talk more about this later too...

7) The use of repetition and sequence are quite valuable in developing an
effective solo, and help to establish communication with the listeners. The
audience members begin to anticipate what is coming next, and thus enjoy
the music much more, feeling as though they are an active participant in
the communication process.

(There is one term I noticed that might need a short explanation as well...
The word "root" refers to the first note of a scale.)

You should now re-read pages 7, 8 and 9 at least two or three more times
and study those scale practice patterns presented on page 62. If you have
a fairly firm grasp of the points listed in this post, you can feel pretty sure
that you got the all important stuff.

Now you know what to do. Review the new material and the old material,
and keep practicing with and without the recorded Tracks. Especially work
on those 12 major scales, and listen to jazz soloists as much as you can!

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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dow30
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,

Thanks so much for this thread. Really appreciate your time, effort and great teaching capabilities. You have been so much help. THANKS!
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

..................................*** LESSON NUMBER 9 ***................................

This discussion will concern the topics presented in the, "How to Begin..."
section (pages 9 through 19). There are 20 patterns presented initially for
use with Track 2. All these examples are presented in concert pitch, though
you should notice that they have all been transposed for you to use with a
Bb trumpet, starting on page 78.

However... the tips for how to use them are all in the concert pitch section,
so you should go ahead and read pages 9 through 13 right now. Go ahead,
I'll just be waiting patiently right here, rolling my eyes...

Oh, your back! So soon? Well even if you didn't read those tips yet I guess
it would be OK to read my tips first, but later today, you really do need to
study pages 9-13. We'll leave the rest of this section for another lesson.

You will notice that the title of this section is, "How to Begin Playing with the
Recording". Yes, I know, we already began. It was a good idea to just jump
right in and start playing, singing, and improvizing without any "rules" at all.

You see, that's how I get you hooked! I didn't want to bog you down with
too much theory and exercises too soon. Now you already know this stuff
CAN be done, and you know it's fun too! If people take too long preparing
to start improvizing, they often get the feeling that this whole project will
be much more difficult than it really is. Trust me, it will be easy if you just
take it one piece at a time, making sure you absorb each step well before
going on...

For sure, do read at least pages 9 to 13 right now... You will already know
what is being said on page 9, basically that you should listen to the Tracks
before playing them to get used to the flow of the music... and there are
also instructions on how to find the Bb section of the "play-along" pages.


Now for the exercises starting on page 10.

Example 1: Play up each scale with whole notes.
Example 2: Play up and down each scale with half notes.
Example 3: Play up and down each scale with quarter notes twice.

Example 4: Play up and down the first five tones with half notes.
Example 5: Play up and down the first five tones with quarter notes.

Example 6: Play up each scale with skips using half notes.
Example 7: Play up and down each scale with skips using quarter notes.


This will take you half way through page 13... stop there. Now
let's review the important points to make sure you understand:

These patterns are not really jazz "licks"... They are merely examples of
good ways to practice each scale in preperation to improvize freely. They
can be practiced in all keys later to gain skill, but for now they should just
be practiced in the keys presented for Bb instruments starting on page 78.

You should only experiment with the first seven examples, then try playing
them along with Track 2 when you've gotten enough skill. Remember these
exercises are all transposed for you starting on page 78, so you could just
read them right off the page, along with Track 2. Do practice them without
the CD first, then go back to improvizing freely!

Re-read pages 9 through 13 several times. Everything is pretty much self-
explanatory, and you've already played along with several Tracks as well,
so it shouldn't give you any problems. But, as always, you need to go quite
slowly, absorbing everything fully and at your own pace. Although I put out
this much info in only a few days, it really all needs to be fully digested and
practiced for quite a while. Build a big strong foundation right now! Be very
patient, and keep going back to review your basic knowledge and skills.

Above all else, don't worry about anything at all. This will all become very
clear soon, and it will start to seem very simple... SO GO AHEAD AND LET
YOURSELF HAVE FUN! NO PRESSURE! Until next time, I am...

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR


Last edited by JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR on Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...............................*** LESSON NUMBER 10 ***.............................

This will be a review lesson to summarize what we've covered so far.

1. You should now be studying pages 2 through 13 in Jamey Aebersold's
Volume 1 book. There you have been introduced to the basics of improv
and how to begin playing along with the recorded CD background tracks.
Keep reviewing these pages. It doesn't matter if it takes one day, or four
weeks to absorb this material, just keep going back over it until you do...
and continue reviewing the information in these posts along with the book.
It's very important to learn the 12 major scales as thoroughly as possible,
and it's also very important to listen to jazz soloists as often as you can.

2. Besides studying, listenning, and learning the twelve major scales, you
should also be working with the play-along tracks. You should be listening
to them, counting the measures and singing along a bit, and also starting
to play along by using the suggested scales below each chord symbol. It's
a good idea to experiment with the scale patterns as well (examples 1-7).

That pretty much covers it. Now that doesn't sound so bad, does it? If this
is all you work on for a full month or more you are doing just fine. In fact,
the longer you stick with this material, the better your foundation will be!

You should expect to reach hurdles along the way that take a little time to
get through. How could it be any other way? All you have to do is go back
and review the material that led up to that point a bit more, then try again.
Each day it will get a little easier and easier, and it's ALL alot of fun!

When playing along with the tracks, it is especially important to use short,
simple ideas, pausing constantly to reflect on what you've just played, and
also to try and "mentally hear" simple ideas that "ought to come next". Way
too often beginners simply play random notes without any kind of reflection
or forethought. They try to play as many notes as they possibly can, and
they learn very little in the process. Go slowly and keep it simple!

It's always better to go very slowly in order to fully absorb all the material.
There's an old saying I once heard (and then later originated) that applies
here: "The slower you go, the faster you'll progress". This is definitely true
about jazz improvization. TAKE YOUR TIME!! Go back often to review all the
earlier material, and just keep working towards your goals very patiently.

Just 10-15 minutes a day will have you improvizing with simple songs and
blues within just a month or two. You will probably be amazed at just how
easy it will be, and how quickly the time will pass. Stick with me... I'll take
you as far as you want to go!

I'm going to put the posts on hold for a while now... I'm sure some of you
have questions, so please go ahead and ask them right here on this thread.
The answers will help everyone at the same time. I'll just be waiting here
patiently again, rolling my eyes... SO, GO AHEAD AND ASK!!

Your Friend, Tom in Texas
JAZZ-PLAYER-COLLECTOR
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