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Jan. 3, 2023

Jazz Improvisation Exercises, C Sounds

This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores Jazz Improvisation Exercises for C Sounds. Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for developing proper fingering and articulation.


Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, play Jazz Improvisation Exercises for 'C' Sounds. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:

Discover
Jazz Improvisation Exercises

Learn
Developmental Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for 'C' Sounds

Play
Five Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for the primary 'C' Sounds of music (Major, Dominant, Minor, Half Diminished,, Diminished)

Use the Jazz Piano Podcast Packets for this Jazz Piano Lesson for maximum musical growth. All three Podcast Packets are designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluable educational tools to have at your fingertips while doing the Jazz Improvisation Exercises for 'C' Sounds.

Open Podcast Packets
Illustrations
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)
Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)

Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

Educational Support
Community Forum
SpeakPipe

Episode Outline
Introduction
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join JazzPianoSkills
Lesson Rationale
Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Conclusion
Closing Comments

Visit JazzPianoSkills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.

If you wish to donate to JazzPianoSkills, you can do so easily through the JazzPianoSkills Paypal Account.

Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music
JazzPianoSkills

AMDG

Transcript

Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:32  
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play. Jazz Piano. Well, Happy New Year. I've heard it said. I've heard it said that the older you get, the faster the years go by. Well, I must be getting pretty old because these years seem to be fine by to me. I cannot believe we are now starting the year 2023. Heck, it feels like it was just yesterday when we were all worried about y2k. Remember that? We were worried about all the computer systems around the world coming to a screeching halt with the start of the year 2000. And that was 23 years ago. I am getting no but I feel young, super young, and super excited about the new journey we are about to embark upon last year was about voicings scales modes chord scale relationships. This year, we turn our attention to improvisation development and melodic technique. So get ready to play a lot of arpeggio and scale patterns designed to challenge our fingerings and articulation. Through all five primary sounds of music major dominant, minor, half diminished, and diminished, plus altered sounds as well. It's going to be a challenging and rewarding year. So today we begin, we begin and you are going to discover jazz improvisation exercises. You're going to learn developmental arpeggio and scale patterns for the C sounds. And you're going to play five arpeggio and scale patterns for the primary see sounds of music, major dominant, minor, half diminished, and diminished. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner an intermediate player, an advanced player, even what the heck even if you are an experienced professional, you're going to find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C sounds to be very beneficial. But before we dig in, I want to as I always do at the beginning of every jazz panel skills podcast episode, I want to welcome all new listeners. And if you are indeed new to jazz piano skills, if you are indeed a first-time listener, welcome and I want to invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. And all you have to do to become a member is just simply visit jazz piano skills.com And once you arrive at the homepage, you can begin to explore the abundance of jazz educational resources, materials, and services that are available for you waiting for you to help you significantly improve your jazz piano skills. For example, as a jazz panel skills member, you have access to all of the educational weekly podcast packets. These are the illustrations, the lead sheets and the player logs. These are educational tools that I develop, I produce, and publish every week to go along with every weekly podcast episode. There are invaluable tools that you want to have in your hands as you listen to the podcast episode. And you certainly want to have sitting on your piano when practicing as well. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the online sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is loaded with comprehensive courses. All of the courses using a self-paced format there are educational talks for you to listen to interactive media to help you assess and and quiz yourself and test your conceptual understanding of the jazz piano skills being taught. There are video demonstrations of the piano skills and all 12 keys, play along, and much much more. You also as a jazz piano skills member have a reserved seat as I like to say in the online weekly master classes, which I host each and every week and are in essence a one-hour online lesson with me. You also as a jazz panel skills member of X is the online interactive Fakebook, which grants you access to jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, you'll be able to enjoy chord changes, lead sheets, harmonic function, lead sheets, play along files, historical insights, inspirational recordings, and much much more. It's an ever-growing collection of tunes that you should absolutely discover, learn and play. As a jazz piano skills member, you are also part of a larger community and have access to the online jazz piano skills forums. Now, this is a community that hosts a variety of engaging forums, there are podcasts, specific forums, core specific forums. And of course, there are just general general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy as well. You'll have access to all of the forums and you will be able to contribute to them, which I encourage you to do. I want you to get out there I want you to share, I want you to engage and I want you to grow. And last but certainly not least, as a jazz panel skills member you have access to unlimited, private, personal, and professional educational support provided by me whenever and as often as you need it. So visit jazz piano skills.com To learn more about the educational opportunities that are awaiting you, and how to easily activate your membership. Now, there are several membership plans to choose from, and I'm quite certain there is one that is perfect for you. But nevertheless, if you're there and you have some questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I'm always happy to spend some time with you answer any questions that you may have and help you in any way that I can. Okay, let's discover, learn and play jazz piano. And let's get after these jazz improvisation exercises. If someone challenged me to create a top 10 list of the most important jazz piano skills, I wouldn't have no problem listing number one and number two, right away numbers three through 10 I would have to give it some serious thought. But number number one and number two are no brainers. The number one most important Jas skill to develop is time, hands down, number one, and right behind it. And the number two slot would be articulation, and other words, being able to play musical phrases melodies, in such a way that they sound like jazz. And I have come to discover over the past 30 plus years of teaching that the reason jazz piano students have difficulty articulating correctly are because of fingerings technique. If the student comes from a classical background, they soon discover that traditional classical piano fingerings don't always lend themselves to proper jazz articulation. In other words, one size does not fit all. And in fact, the ways in which we instinctually approach playing scales, arpeggios, learn from our classical training oftentimes, well, to be honest, the majority of the time need to be modified changed in order for us to play our scales and arpeggios with a proper and authentic jazz articulation. Now, ironically, I believe all professional jazz pianos jazz educators understand this reality. However, we rarely talk about or address the importance of fingerings in order to articulate correctly I think we kind of have the mentality of hey, you know what, I figured it out and you will too. Good luck. I get it right. I totally get it. Plus, we like to. We also use the reasoning that fingering depends upon the size of one's hands. So it's difficult to talk about fingerings when it's when it is more than likely different for everyone because of our hands. incises I get that too, right. But here at jazz piano skills, we are going to approach this elephant in the room head-on this year by utilizing arpeggio and scale developmental improvisational patterns to address fingerings, which in turn will refine our articulation skills and the number one jazz challenge as well, which is time.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  10:34  
How cool is this going to be? So this year, we're going to explore all five primary sounds of music for all 12 notes of music, using arpeggios and scale developmental improvisational exercises that will force us to deal with fingerings. Our fingerings will help us begin moving our right hand over the keyboard properly, which in turn will help us develop an authentic jazz articulation. Now, we will also utilize the same approach to explore the altered sounds of music as well. flat nine sharp nine sharp 11, flat five sharp five flat 13. Each month, we are going to focus on one of the 12 notes. One week of the month, we will be devoted to the primary sounds. And one week of the month, we will be devoted to the altar sounds. We will then follow it up with more than likely a bebop tone, which will help us apply our new fingerings and articulation to a musical setting. Wow. So if you thought last year was fun, which it was, and if you thought last year was challenging, which it was. And if you thought last year was rewarding, which of course it was, then get ready because as the old saying goes you ain't seen nothing yet. Are you ready? I am. So let's get to the educational agenda. The educational agenda for today is as follows number one, we will begin our jazz improvisation exercises for C sounds. Number two, we will play essential arpeggio patterns that you need to discover, learn and play or play these patterns from the root to the 13th of the sound using a root, third, fifth and seventh entry number three, we will play essential scale patterns that you need to discover learn and play. And again, we will do so from the root to 13th of the sound. And again using a root third, fifth and seventh entry. Number four I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises today using the major sound. And number five, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises using a traditional swing groove of 110. If you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take a few minutes right now to access and download and print your podcast packets, the illustrations delay sheets play alongs. Again, your membership grants you access to all of the educational podcast packets for every weekly podcast episode. As I mentioned earlier, you should have these packets in your hands when listening to this episode to get the most out of it. And of course you should be utilizing them when practicing as well. Now if you are listening to this podcast episode on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple or Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, the list goes on and on. Then be sure to go directly to jazz piano skills podcast.com to access and download your podcast package you will find the download links in the show notes. And one final but significant note that I bring up every week. If you think right now, if you're listening and you are thinking in the back of your mind that the jazz improvisation exercises for see sounds and the various skills that we are about to discover learn, and play our over your head that I would say to you please it The New Year relax, sit back, enjoy. No worries, continue to listen, and continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually by just simply listening to this podcast episode, every skill, right? Every skill is technically over our heads when first introduced. But this is how we get better, right? We place ourselves smack dab in the middle of conversations, where we're hearing things that we have no idea what we're hearing, we're hearing things that we've never heard before. And we are forced to actually grow intellectually. I say it all the time. All musical growth begins upstairs, mentally, conceptually, before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So sit back, listen to this podcast. Listen now to discover and learn. The play as it always does, will come in time, I guarantee it. Okay, now that you have your lead sheets, in your hands in front of you, I want to point out a few things. You will see that lead sheets one through five deal with arpeggio motion, and the lead sheet six through 10. Deal with scale motion. Now you also notice that the jazz improvisation exercises are the same for all five primary sounds major dominant minor, half diminished, and diminished. The exercises, of course, are modified to reflect the proper sound, which will also affect your fingerings. You will also notice that my suggested fingerings are included for every note of every exercise for every sound. Now of course, you can modify the fingerings slightly, but be very, very careful. Remember, fingerings are what allow you to play with proper jazz articulation. So you may be inclined to change fingerings because you think it just feels more comfortable another way or is easier. However, your easier may actually make it harder for you to play with proper jazz articulation. So I'm just throwing caution to the wind here. Be very, very careful about changing fingerings. Okay, let's look at lead sheet one skill one. Okay, these are arpeggio developmental patterns. For C major. There are five patterns labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Very first thing I want to make mention of I am using the Lydian mode today. So my C major scale is going to have an F sharp in it. So anytime these patterns have an F, the F will be played as F sharp. Okay, so I want to bring the ensemble in and let's start with letter A. Now this is just a simple little arpeggio pattern from the root to the seventh of the sound from the third to the ninth, from the fifth to the 11th. And from the seventh to the 13th. Your tendency is just going to want to play them fingers 123 And five, just write up the hand but you'll see the faint fingerings that I have notated there. Each one of these arpeggios have built into the four notes, a hand shift, for instance, measure one, the C major pattern C E, G, B is played using fingers one, and three, and one and three. So your hand has to shift has to move between your E and your G to get to from your E to your G. Okay, so here's a perfect example of you're gonna want to change the fingering to make it easier, but in the long run, it will not so follow these fingerings so I'm going to bring the ensemble in. Let's check out letter A, our very first arpeggio pattern, straight simple arpeggios from again from the Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry, and then the seventh entry. So let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  21:26  
Next, right? Again, I'm playing all these exercises at a tempo of 110. Today. Now, the challenge here, the fingerings, and the articulation, what you just heard me play. As I was playing that I was very conscious about the articulation of each arpeggio regardless of the entry point, whether it be the root, the third, the fifth, or seventh, is my articulation consistent, is it the same? Does the fingering allow me to play with a consistent articulation regardless of the entry point of the sound? Alright, these are the considerations that you have to be aware of. And be thinking about as you're playing these exercises. I will also say that if you need to be playing these at slower tempos, fine, I strongly encourage you to do that. But I also encourage you as you get comfortable with these patterns as we go through these today, as you get a chance to practice them. I also encourage you to explore them at quicker temples faster temples. Okay, so now let's look at pattern number two, letter B. So again, we're using arpeggio motion, but you'll see that it's not just straight ascending motion, we have some ascending descending ascending movement, and each one of our arpeggios, and again, the fingerings are forcing some hand movement as well. All right, so in once again, I'm going to be playing the exact same pattern with a Root Entry, a third entry fifth, and seventh entry. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble in, and let's take a listen to letter B, pattern number two here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  24:43  
Very nice, okay, so now, pattern three letter C. And just glancing at it you can see that is has a much more angular pattern, right again arpeggio motion by We are dealing with some bigger intervals here right away, you can just visually see that right? So we're moving these fifths and our arpeggios, right. And then we have to do the same thing from the third entry. And check out the fifth entry, where we start on our G, I have a scoring one, four, and then using one four again, so the hand has to shift here, right. The reason for that is I want to be able to play that F sharp with my fourth finger so that I can articulate the phrase correctly. Again, I'm striving for consistency and my articulation on each one of these melodic motifs. And each one of these phrases, regardless of the entry point being the root, the third, the fifth, or the seventh. So let's bring the ensemble in, and let's check out pattern three letter C here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  27:31  
Not easy at all right. Not easy at all when these intervals expand, right instead of playing a third of jumping a fifth, things get more challenging. Speaking of challenges, check out pattern four letter D. Here we go. We we dealt with eighth-note triplets quite a bit last year with our harmonic and melodic journey. Here we have our eighth note triplets again. And check out the fingerings Be very careful we want these triplets to be articulated correctly, and we want them to be articulated correctly and sound the same regardless of our entry point. So these triplets move move along rather quickly right, and then the same thing from the third from the fifth and then from the Sabbath. Wow. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's check out these these ascending arpeggiated triplets eighth note triplets and see what we think here we go

Dr. Bob Lawrence  30:11  
Again, right very challenging. You know, the other thing you may have picked up on back and letter A are we started with arpeggios, you know, simple arpeggios that lasted for half the measure, right? Then we then we letter B, notice how the musical motif the phrase extended into the third beat, same thing and letter C are triplets now that we just did a letter D pattern for fill the entire measure. Here we are measure five, right? I mean, I'm sorry, pattern five letter E. And you can see now we're playing a phrase that goes across the bar line, right? So we get something that sounds like this is nice. And we're going to play that same motif with our third entry, our fifth entry and our seventh entry. So let's bring the ensemble in, and let's take a listen to letter E pattern five again, Lydian mode here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  32:45  
Okay, so now, we have just completed the all five exercises for our major sound, arpeggio motion, right, do the same thing for the dominant you have the dominant lead sheet there you have the minor lead sheet half diminished lead sheet, and the diminished lead sheet right skills 234 And five, and the fingerings are laid out for you for each of those sounds. And again, those fingerings even though the pattern stay the same, the fingerings change because the scale the notes in the scale change to reflect the sound. Okay, I do not have time to play through all of those today because I want to get to the scale patterns, which are which begin with skill six lead sheet six. So now we have five patterns again, and I'm going to play them using the major sound Lydian mode. When I play these scale each one of these scale patterns just for the major. But you'll see you can see in your lead sheet packet skill, 789 and 10 deal with the the dominant minor half diminished and diminished sound and all the fingerings are notated for them as well. So now let's take a look at lead sheet six scale six, we now turn our attention to scale movement. And our very first, our very first exercise our pattern one letter A is literally playing our scale with a Root Entry, third entry fifth entry and seventh entry right so we're playing from the root to the seventh. And then from the third to the ninth, from the fifth to the sharper lovin and then from the seventh to the 13th. Love it. So let's bring the ensemble in. Pay attention to the fingerings the articulation I want every melodic phrase to be articulated the same way regardless of the entry point. So let's bring the ensemble in Let's check it out here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  36:32  
Nice, do not underestimate the importance of pattern one here letter A being able to play scale motion from each entry point with a nice, relaxed jazz articulation. Okay, so now let's look at letter B or pattern number two again Lydian mode. Now instead of straight scale motion we it's mixed up a little bit, we have a little leap that we start with here, a little interval leap of a fifth, but then the rest of the pattern itself is indeed scale movement. So we get a nice little line, same idea starting on the third up to the ninth, and then the fifth up to the sharp 11 from the seventh up to the 13th. All right, so let's bring the ensemble Len let's listen to this, this idea from the root from the third, the fifth and the seventh pay attention to the fingerings we want the articulation to remain consistent regardless of the entry point so here we go. Let's check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  39:16  
Love it really nice. Well, if we played eighth note triplets with arpeggios, you know we're gonna have to play eighth note triplets using scale movement. So check it out pattern, pattern three or letter C. We do indeed have our eighth note triplets again, we're using the same format with a Root Entry. third entry fifth entry, and seventh entry. fingerings can get a little tricky in here. So pay very close attention to the fingerings. All right. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble and let's check out Letter C using scale movement. And eighth note triplets. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  41:25  
Nice. Again, I want to make mention, these musical phrases here are getting longer, right back in letter A one measure letter B, one measure in length, we just did our eighth note triplets that took us into count one of the second measure. And now we did the same thing with letter D pattern number four, again, Lydian mode, we have this nice scale line that extends in through count one of the second measure sounds like this from the root to the seventh, then we're going to do the same thing with our third entry up to the ninth, right, always read the 7/39 fifth to the 11th seventh through 13th. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble Lin. Let's listen to this extended scale motion using the Lydian mode. So again, F sharps any F is going to have be played as an F sharp Alright, so here we go let's check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  44:07  
All right, we are down to our last pattern of the day for our major scale movement. So if you take a look at letter E pattern five, again Lydian mode now our pattern extends our line extends all the way to count to have the second measure. So our scale movement or motif sounds like this. Again from the route to the seventh, and then again with a third entry, we're gonna go from the third to the ninth, the fifth entry from the fifth to the sharp 11, And then from the seventh from the seventh to the 13th. Okay, staying consistent with the formula with the format all the way through from our arpeggio exercises to now our scale exercises. So let's bring the ensemble and let's listen to letter E, pattern number five, check Get out?

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:31  
Well, we've done it again. We started the new year with a bang. And as always, we have unpacked an amazing amount of information one very short one very fast our even though I played the jazz improvisation exercises, exercises today using the major sound only. Right Be sure to practice the exercises for the dominant minor half diminished and diminished sounds too. They are all they're all laid out for you in your lead sheets podcast packet with fingerings included. Now remember, you can make some modifications to the fingerings to best suit your hand. But just be sure that whatever fingerings you choose, those fingerings allow you to play the exercises with an authentic jazz articulation through the entire sound route to 739, the fifth to the 11th seventh to 13th. And also remember this, the articulation of each musical phrase regardless of the entry point should sound the same. Wow. You have a ton to tackle this week. So use your practice time wisely. Now next week, we jump into a jazz improvisation, jazz improvisation exercises for the C altered sounds. That's going to be a lot of fun. And once again, I want to encourage all of you jazz panel skills members to use the podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets in the play alongs to guide you as you study in practice, right? These are educational tools that will help you gain a mastery of the jazz piano skills conceptually physically, and of course musically. And always, always, always, always be patient. Developing mature professional jazz piano skills takes time. Begin structuring your your development your improvisation development after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you today in this podcast episode and I guarantee it you will begin to see you will begin to feel and hear your progress. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast less than the very first one of the new year 2023 Exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C sounds to be insightful and of course to be very beneficial. Now don't forget if you're a jazz panel skills ensemble member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass at 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for C sounds in greater detail, and of course to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Again, use those educational podcast packets check out the jazz panel skills courses to maximize your musical growth. And awesome please take the time to participate be active in the jazz panel skills online community Get out there, get involved, contribute to the various forums, and of course, make some new jazz piano friends always a fantastic thing to do. You can reach me by phone as always 972-380-8050 my extension here at the Dallas School of Music is 211 you can contact me by email, that's Dr. Lawrence drlawrence@jazzpianoskills.com. Or you can use the Speak pipe widget, which is found throughout the jazz panel Skills website to reach out to me that way. Well, the hair is my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the jazz improvisation exercises for Sisa. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz Piano!