Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 32

Thread: more practical ways to practice scales/technique?

  1. #1
    Piano Player james3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    273

    more practical ways to practice scales/technique?

    Hi there,
    How do you all suggest practicing your technique and/or scales? I have been doing my major scales and various modes on and off for years. Yes, my fingers have gotten faster but overall but there has to be a better way to practice your technique. I mean I'm rarely just ripping a major scale in my solos. Isn't there more musical or practical ways of developing technique and chops?
    Any ideas or suggestions of other ways to help me build my chops?
    BTW I'm a piano player. I also do Hanon and Liszt exercises from time to time.

    Thanks,
    James

  2. #2
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México
    Posts
    7,678
    Quote Originally Posted by james3 View Post
    Hi there,
    How do you all suggest practicing your technique and/or scales? I have been doing my major scales and various modes on and off for years. Yes, my fingers have gotten faster but overall but there has to be a better way to practice your technique. I mean I'm rarely just ripping a major scale in my solos. Isn't there more musical or practical ways of developing technique and chops?
    Any ideas or suggestions of other ways to help me build my chops?
    BTW I'm a piano player. I also do Hanon and Liszt exercises from time to time.

    Thanks,
    James
    Since this is a jazz forum and I'm a jazz musician, I have no interest in running scales, but in improvising melody. I think of a scale not as a sequence of notes running from left to right and back but as a pitch collection of notes I can use, in whatever order I choose, to create a melody.

    I can't advise you about technique, as mine is not great. I practice by playing tunes and trying to find new ways to improvise on those tunes. If I try to play a particular sequence of notes and find that my fingers won't obey I practice that sequence.

    There are undoubtedly universal methods of practicing for playing jazz, and others here who can advise you. For me, practice is a practical matter of preparing for my next gig or adding to my repertoire, so I'm guided by the requirements of the tunes I'm playing.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
    Engelbach Music
    Weaver of Dreams
    Artwork

  3. #3
    Compose /Arranger / Jazz Prod. Phil Kelly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Bellingham WA
    Posts
    5,065
    For starters, you might wanna check out
    Mark Levines " Jazz Piano "


    ...and while youre waiting for it to shop up, start practicing the octatonic scales:

    whole / half step and half /whole step -starting on
    C, C# , and D
    Swing ..or I'll kill you ( Bill Potts )
    RIP

  4. #4
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México
    Posts
    7,678
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kelly View Post
    ...and while youre waiting for it to shop up, start practicing the octatonic scales:

    whole / half step and half /whole step -starting on
    C, C# , and D
    Why those, Phil?

    They are fairly easy to play (on piano) and give one a "jazzy" feeling from the git go.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
    Engelbach Music
    Weaver of Dreams
    Artwork

  5. #5
    Guitarist JohnHorne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    860
    For the diatonic stuff I recommend playing to the 9th. If you're playing in eighth notes, it keeps your chord tones on the strong beats. Which helps internalize the ability to imply a harmonic structure with your lines. While you're at it, play the chord before and/or after the scale.

    I also like to practice the bebop scales for this.

    I've also been placing enclosures around the root or other chord tones in my scale practicing recently.

  6. #6
    www.jakehanlon.com Jakeweiser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    4,998
    Here's how I've been working on them...

    I enclose my roots. So I turn the metro on and start all my phrases on the and of 3 if I am thinking in terms of 8th notes(this is more indicative of actual jazz phrasing) and play...

    7 2 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 1 2 etc etc

    Descending I recommend these variations

    Down the scale in 3rds
    Down the scale in 4 note patterns 7 6 5 4 6 5 4 3 5 4 3 2 4 3 2 1 etc
    Down the scale by it's diatonic triad or 7th chord arpeggios

    I will also set a metronome to a temp like 72 and play through scales or arpeggios with all the subdivisions of that 72 click play the scale in subdivisions of a quarter note, dotted quarter, quarter trips, 8th notes 8th note trips, 16ths, 16th note trips. Up in quarters down in 8th note trips etc. Really helps with time.
    Guitarist/Composer/Educator
    Check out my website
    Buy my CD Follow from iTunes

  7. #7
    Jazz Artist, Author EdByrne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    6,939
    Quote Originally Posted by james3 View Post
    Hi there,
    How do you all suggest practicing your technique and/or scales? I have been doing my major scales and various modes on and off for years. Yes, my fingers have gotten faster but overall but there has to be a better way to practice your technique. I mean I'm rarely just ripping a major scale in my solos. Isn't there more musical or practical ways of developing technique and chops?
    Any ideas or suggestions of other ways to help me build my chops?
    BTW I'm a piano player. I also do Hanon and Liszt exercises from time to time.

    Thanks,
    James
    The obvious next step from running the gamut up and down in at least two octaves (your entire range is better, starting on the lowest note in that scale that is on your instrument, whatever degree of the scale it is, up to the highest note in the scale) is to practice the same scale in sequences, such as:

    going up:
    123, 234, 345, etc.; or 4 notes: 1234, 2345, etc.

    back down: 543, 432, 321, etc.; or 6543, 5432, 4321, etc.

    and:
    1 3, 2 4, 3 5, etc.
    down: 5 3, 4 2, 3 1, etc.

    and:
    1234, 5432, 3456, 7654, etc.

    Everything you do forwards can and should be done backwards.

    When you are done with any one exercize, put on a metronome and improvise on it. Imagine a specific rhythmic style while doing this.

    This one, cited above: 1 3, 2 4, 3 5, etc.; down: 5 3, 4 2, 3 1, etc., can be targeted chromatically like this (very hip):

    Linear Jazz Improvisation, Chromatic Targeting, Type 1a:

    ti do ri mi, di re mi fa, etc, going up; and going down: ti do si la, si ti fi sol, etc. (you could spend a lot of time on this one). Improvise on that--very cool sounding and useful as hell.

  8. #8
    Guitarist JohnHorne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    860
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakeweiser View Post
    Here's how I've been working on them...

    I enclose my roots. So I turn the metro on and start all my phrases on the and of 3 if I am thinking in terms of 8th notes(this is more indicative of actual jazz phrasing) and play...

    7 2 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 1 2 etc etc
    I started working on enclosing because of one of your earlier comments. Thanks Jake!

  9. #9
    Guitarist JohnHorne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    860
    Quote Originally Posted by EdByrne View Post

    This one, cited above: 1 3, 2 4, 3 5, etc.; down: 5 3, 4 2, 3 1, etc., can be targeted chromatically like this (very hip):

    Linear Jazz Improvisation, Chromatic Targeting, Type 1a:

    ti do ri mi, di re mi fa, etc, going up; and going down: ti do si la, si ti fi sol, etc. (you could spend a lot of time on this one). Improvise on that--very cool sounding and useful as hell.
    That is very cool, Ed!

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    128
    Quote Originally Posted by EdByrne View Post
    Linear Jazz Improvisation, Chromatic Targeting, Type 1a:
    On your site.. you have some interesting books. I sure wish i could do lessons from you.. I am looking for a great jazz teacher for guitar. I just cant find one i like in Indiana.

  11. #11
    Guitar edrowland's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,073
    Playing scales in order is an evil thing.

    My favorite exercise: improvise melodies in the scale, within a harmonic context. I actually have sheets (somewhere) for all scales, in all positions. Each sheet has sample progressions in which the scale can be used -- sometimes fragments of tunes, sometimes just structural bits. The joy of playing a harmonic instrument like guitar (or piano): you can play the chords to set the harmonic context, and then improvise linearly in the appropriate point in the progression. Repeat, covering off each part of the scale, and each degree as appropriate, until you feel you've really covered the scale properly. <makes note to self to go find those sheets, since I'm deserately in need of a thorough audit of all my scales and modes to make sure they're still all working>

    Honestly, I don't practice on sequences. Although I'm curious as to whether there really is benefit to doing this. Opinions on this? I've done limited work with sequences; and I'm of two minds about them. On the one hand, concentrating on specific sequences allows you to work out the technical details of fingering and position in a way that you can't do otherwise. Once I've worked it out, I find that I can rip the sequence at alarming speed. But, on the other hand, I just don't find that those long extended sequences get used in my improv, nor do I find that the technical details end up getting transferred into my playing. When I do use sequences in improvisation, I tend to just scramble for easiest fingering, falling out of position, as required. It's really not that hard to push a sequence around the fretboard if you allow yourself to come out of position.

    So, question for those who do work extensively on sequences (guitarits especially): do you *really* find that they affect they way you improvise? If so, I'll investigate further.

  12. #12
    Guitarist/Musicologist Guitar_Theory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Astoria
    Posts
    182
    I find that when I practice sequences a lot I start having them show up in my soloing, which is interesting when I notice it. I think after all these years though my ears are trained to hear sequences, and I just see them as a melodic line now.
    Amplified Musicology: I write about music for fun (and for a living!)

  13. #13
    Jazz Artist, Author EdByrne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    6,939
    Quote Originally Posted by AcousticBruce View Post
    On your site.. you have some interesting books. I sure wish i could do lessons from you.. I am looking for a great jazz teacher for guitar. I just cant find one i like in Indiana.
    Bruce,

    Most of my students are guitarists. I don't deal with fingerings--but the music and all the specific jazz guitar roles in it.

    I am publishing my new 250 page guitar book as soon as my web guy makes the cover and the magazine advertizements: Functional Jazz guitar with 186 pp. of sound files to practice with. It is based entirely on the basic cadences and the blues: comping, lines, etc.

    If you don't feel you must have a guitarist teacher, I have an opening.

    Best,
    Ed

  14. #14
    Jazz Artist, Author EdByrne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    6,939

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar_Theory View Post
    I find that when I practice sequences a lot I start having them show up in my soloing, which is interesting when I notice it. I think after all these years though my ears are trained to hear sequences, and I just see them as a melodic line now.
    Sequences are the very next step towards melodicism beyond merely running a scale up and down.

    But they aren't likely to enter your improvisation unless you first consciously improvise on them in the practice room in order for them to make the transition of fitting into the rest of your rap. I call this pseudo-improvisation, and find it to be essential to the process.

  15. #15
    www.jakehanlon.com Jakeweiser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    4,998
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHorne View Post
    I started working on enclosing because of one of your earlier comments. Thanks Jake!
    you are quite welcome John. Handy isn't it! I've been getting my freshmen students to do it that way and positionally since September. I think it helps incorporate a more practical application of what normally is a rather boring technical exercise

    I've been flirting with doing on line lessons as well but need to invest in the appropriate quality web cam. it seems like a relatively untapped way to make some honest money. Seems to work for Ed and Jimmy Bruno .
    Guitarist/Composer/Educator
    Check out my website
    Buy my CD Follow from iTunes

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  




Support the All About Jazz website and forum. Make a donation today!



Download the Jazz Near You iOS app

Download the Jazz Near You iOS app - Free!

Never miss another jazz concert again! Jazz Near You is a simple yet powerful way for fans to discover who is playing where and when. Access local jazz events by date, by distance, by venue, by musician or by festival; map to venues, set reminders, and get detailed information about musicians. Jazz Near You is your complete guide to jazz music near you! Download it now.



Visit All About Jazz at Twitter   Twitter Visit All About Jazz at Facebook   Facebook Use the All About Jazz content widgets on your website or blog   Widgets Subscribe to the All About Jazz RSS feeds   Feeds


All About Jazz | Jazz Near You | Jazz Musician Directory | Jazz News | Jazz Photo Gallery