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Feb. 7, 2023

Jazz Improvisation Exercises, F Sounds

This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores Jazz Improvisation Exercises for F 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 'F' Sounds. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:

Jazz Improvisation Exercises

Developmental Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for 'F' Sounds

Five Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for the primary 'F' 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 'F' Sounds.

Open Podcast Packets
(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

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



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, here we are, right, start starting a new month, the month of February. Which means a couple of things. Number one time is flying by and it's nuts. I mean, geez, every time I look up, we're in another month. But I guess you know, I guess, I guess the old saying is true that time flies when you're having fun.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  1:06  
Second thing a new month means we start exploring a new set of primary sounds and this month, it's all about the primary sounds of f. Now, as I mentioned at the start of the new year, last year was about voicings, scales, modes, chord/scale relationships. This year. This year, we turn our attention to improvisation development and melodic technique, which means we're gonna spend quite a bit of time playing arpeggio and scale patterns, designed to challenge our fingerings and articulation. Through all five sounds all five primary sounds major dominant, minor, half diminished, and diminished plus, of course, the altered sounds as well which we'll tackle those next week. So today, today, we are going to discover essential jazz improvisation exercises. We are going to learn developmental arpeggio and scale patterns of F sounds. And we're going to play five arpeggio and scale patterns focusing on fingerings and articulation. For the primary F sounds of music, again, 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 and intermediate player, an advanced player, even if you're an experienced and seasoned professional, you're going to find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring jazz improvisation exercises for F sounds to be very beneficial. But before we jump in, I like to at the beginning of every podcast episode, I'd like to take just a few minutes to welcome all new listeners. And if you are indeed new to jazz panel skills, if you are indeed listening to your very first jazz panel skills podcast episode, I want to personally invite you to become a jazz panel skills member. All you have to do visit jazz panel And once you arrive at the site, you can begin to explore the abundance of jazz educational resources, materials, and services that are available for you waiting for you wanting to help you significantly improve your jazz piano skills. For example, as a jazz piano skills member, you have access to all of the educational podcast packets these are the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs these are educational resources and tools that I developed for every weekly podcast episode. And of course, you want these materials in your hands as you listen to the podcast lesson. And you certainly want this material 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 in the curriculum use a self-paced format. They all contain educational talks, there's interactive media to help you accurately assess your conceptual understanding of the jazz panel skill being taught. There are video demonstrations in all 12 keys, play along, and much much more. As a jazz panel skills member you also have like I like I like to say a reserved seat in the online weekly master classes, which are in essence a one-hour lesson with me each and every week. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the online interactive Fakebook which is

Dr. Bob Lawrence  5:00  
grants you access to jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, you'll be able to enjoy chord changes lead sheets, there are harmonic function lead sheets, play along files, historical insights, inspirational recordings, and a ton more. It's an ever-growing collection of tunes that you most definitely should discover, learn and play. You also as a jazz panel skills member have access to the private online jazz panel skills community which this community hosts a variety of engaging forums, podcast-specific forums, course-specific forums. And of course, there are just general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy. Now, you'll have access to all of the forums, and you will be able to read all the various posts, but more importantly, you'll be able to contribute to them, which I strongly encourage you to do. I want everyone to be sharing and gauging and growing through the online community. 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 take a few minutes, go visit jazz panel Learn more about the excellent educational opportunities that await 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 get 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.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  6:52  
Okay, let's discover, learn and play jazz piano. Let's take a look at these jazz improvisation exercises for the primary sounds of F. I have mentioned this before. And it's certainly worth mentioning again, if someone challenged me to create a top 10 list of the most important jazz piano skills, I would have no problem listing number one, and number two. Now number three through 10 I would have to give it some serious thought. But numbers one and two easy, no brainers. The number one most important jazz skill to develop is time. Hands down, number one, and right behind it. And the number two slot would be articulation.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  7:58  
In other words being able to play musical phrases melodies, in such a way that they sound like jazz. And I've come to discover over the past. Well, 30-plus years of teaching, that the reasons jazz piano players, students have difficulty articulating correctly, really comes down to fingerings technique. It's not because of a lack of talent. It's not because of a lack of conceptual understanding. Heck, it's not even a lack of their level of playing at the current time. It always comes down to fingerings. If the student comes from a classical background, they soon discover that traditional classical fingerings don't always lend themselves to proper jazz articulation. Right. In other words, one size does not fit all. In fact, the ways in which we instinctually approach approach playing scales and arpeggios learn from our classical training. Oftentimes, to be perfectly honest, oftentimes, they need to be modified in order for us to play scales and arpeggios with a proper and authentic jazz articulation. Now, ironically, I believe all professional jazz pianist educators understand this reality however we however, we rarely, if ever, talk about or address the importance of fingerings in order to articulate correctly.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  9:41  
Right, I mentioned this last month that I actually think it's I think we all have this kind of mentality of, hey, I figured it out. You need to figure it out to good luck. Because fingerings it's tedious, right? It's tedious. It'sBut I like to call grunt work, right? There's a lot of attention that needs to be given to it. So it's easy. It's I think it's just easier to say, hey, figure it out. So, we often hide behind the, we often hide behind the excuse that, hey, you know what? Look, everyone's hand sizes are different. So fingerings are going to be different. And I get it. But here at jazz piano skills, we're going to approach this elephant in the room head-on. And how are we going to do this? Well, we are going to look at arpeggio and scale improvisational patterns to help us address fingering issues. That in turn will help us develop proper articulation, which will help us develop time. Wow. Wrapping it all up in a neat package. Every month, we're looking at a different set of primary sounds last month, it was the primary sounds and C. This month, the primary sounds and F. Right. So throughout this entire year, we're devoting our entire effort through the entire year of exploring the primary sounds for music and for all 12 notes. Wow. A lot to do right. Our fingerings will help us begin moving our right hand over the keyboard properly, which in turn will help us develop the authentic jazz articulation. We will also as I mentioned earlier, we will also use the same approach to explore the altered sounds, right, a flat nine sharp nine sharp 11, flat five sharp five flat 13. We'll be doing that next week. So each month we focus focus on one of the 12 notes. One week will be devoted to the primary sounds, another week will be devoted to the altered sounds. So we have a ton to do. The educational agenda for today is as follows number one, we begin our jazz improvisation exercises for F sounds. Number two, we will play essential arpeggio patterns that you need to discover learn and play from the route to the 13th of the sound using a Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry, and seventh entry. Number three, we will play essential scale patterns that you need to discover learn and play from the root to the 13th of the sound using a Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry, and seventh entry. Number four, I'm going to be playing all jazz improvisation exercises today using the DOM no minor sound, I use the major sound last month, I'm going to use the minor sound with f. And number five, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises today, using a traditional swing groove of 110. Now I will say this that 110

Dr. Bob Lawrence  13:21  
It's not slow, especially when you're playing these patterns and trying to work out fingerings and playing it at 110. Really, I prefer to play it much slower model it much slower. But for the sake of time 110 kind of fits the bill here. So I would encourage you to play these temples much slower as you're working through the fingerings. So with all that being said, if you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take just a few minutes right now hit the pause button. And I want you to access download and print the podcast packets, your illustrations, your lead sheets, and the play alongs. Alright, again, your membership grants you access to all of the educational packets for every weekly podcast episode. Again, you want this material in your hands as you listen. And you want this this material on your piano when practicing. Right. You should always have these pocket podcast packets handy when listening to this episode and of course when practicing so if you're listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple, Google Amazon, there's a gazillion of them right Spotify iHeartRadio, Pandora and the list goes on. Then be sure to go directly to jazz piano skills to access and download your podcast packets and you'll find the act of download links within the show notes. One Final but very important, very significant note, I mentioned it every week, that if you are indeed listening to this podcast episode right now, as we're about to tackle jazz improvisation exercises for AV sounds. And you are thinking that these skills that we are about to discover, learn and play are like over your head that I would say to you, sit back, relax, no worries. Continue to listen continue to grow your jazz panel skills intellectually, by just simply listening to this podcast episode. Every new skill, every new skill is technically overheads when first introduced. But this is how we get better. This is how we grow, we place ourselves smack dab in the middle of conversations, where we are hearing things that we've never heard before. We're hearing words that we've never heard before. And we are forced to grow intellectually. I say it all the time, our musical growth begins upstairs mentally, conceptually, before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So sit back, relax. Listen to this podcast lesson 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,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  16:31  
I want to point out a few things, you will see that lead sheets one through five deal with arpeggio motion, while lead sheets six through 10. Deal with scale motion. And you'll also notice that the jazz improvisation exercises are the same for all primary sounds for major dominant minor half diminished and diminished. The exercises are of course modified to reflect the proper sound. And of course, with this modification comes different fingerings. So be careful. You'll also notice that my suggested fingerings are included for every note of every exercise for every sound. So no need to guess it's all laid out for you. Now, I mentioned this last month as well, you can modify the fingerings slightly. But be careful. Remember, fingerings are what allow you to play with proper jazz articulation. So you may be inclined to change fingering because you think it feels more comfortable or is easier, at least initially. However, your easier approach may actually make it harder for you to play with the proper jazz articulation. So I'm just throwing that out there, right, I'm just throwing a little caution to the wind here, right, just be careful.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  18:13  
Okay, so I do not have the time in this in this podcast episode to play through all the exercises for each of the primary sounds. So as I mentioned earlier, I am going to be focusing on the minor sound today, F minor seven. And of course, these patterns are going to be the same for the major and the dominant, half diminished and diminished. However, the fingerings of course, will change to play those sounds appropriately. So I'm just going to model for you with F F minor today. And of course, your job is then to take these patterns and play them for all the primary sounds. Okay, so let's grab lead sheet, three, scale three, you're gonna see we have a letter A, B, C, D, and E. And I'm going to play through each of them model each of them for you here. Letter eight. Let's start there, pattern one. Now you'll notice that, and this is a good example. You'll notice right away in the very first arpeggio, right, just from the root to the seven. If you'll notice, it's I'm fingering it. 1313 right, the tendency would be to play that arpeggio 1235 But I'm playing it 1313 Because I'm intentionally putting a hand shift in my melodic line, because fingerings proper jazz fingering is about the hands constantly shifting up and down the piano. We do not want a dead end on either side of our hand right? We always in other words will always want enough fingerings up

Dr. Bob Lawrence  20:00  
We always want enough fingers, so that we're not trapped. So this is a good example of your thinking like, you may be thinking, Wow, 1313, I'm just gonna play it 1235 heck of a lot easier. Well, on the surface, it appears that way. But that's actually working against you and working against our efforts to get your hand shifting and moving across the keyboard. So in the letter A, I have a root entry that I'm going to play four times from the root to the seventh, then you'll see the arpeggio shifts to the third entry, from the third to the ninth. I'll play that four times, then from the fifth to the 11th. I'll play that four times, and then the seventh entry from the seventh to the 13th to the sound, and I'll repeat that arpeggio four times as well. Okay, so I want to bring the ensemble in. Let's play these arpeggios with intentional hand shifting, taking place within the four notes. Okay, so here we go, let's check it out. Next, right, so I played each of those arpeggios with my hand shifting, and it certainly didn't sound like that, right? You, You're not listening to that guy, like, wow, there's a big break in between those four notes. So anyway, keep that in mind. All of these exercises have intentional hand shifts built into them. Right, this is our objective to get the hand moving freely ascending and descending across the keys. Now, the other thing I want to draw your attention to, if you'll notice the phrases, letter a letter B, C, D, and E, each of the melodic phrases or lines will get longer, right. So we're stretching our plane, and we're stretching our shifting. Alright, keep that in mind as we move through these examples. So now let's take a look at letter B. And now our phrase is going to go through count three of the measure. And our arpeggio has little angle, little ascending descending motion to it. But again, I'm going to use the same format where I play the the first pattern from the root to the seventh. The second pattern is moving from the third to the ninth. Third pattern is moving from the third line or phrase is moving from the fifth to the 11th. And then the fourth phrase is moving from the seventh to the 13th. So the not only are we working on our shifting of our hand, we're we're working through the entire sound, not just from the root to the seventh to the root to the fifth through the entire sound, great ear training as well. So let's bring the ensemble in. And let's listen to pattern letter B over F minor Here we go.

Unknown Speaker  25:57  
Nice write. Again, I mentioned this earlier as well, I'm playing everything at 110. Today. Really just for the sake of time, I would encourage you to play these patterns because they get a little bit more involved a little bit more intricate, I would encourage you to absolutely play these at slower and more comfortable tempos at 75. Right 60. So all right, let's look at pattern three. Again, following the exact same format, we have four phrases, exploring the entire sound of F minor. But now we're not just jumping around in thirds, we have you know, these intervals, these intervals are getting larger, right. So right, right away, you look at the very first phrase, we're starting with an interval of a fifth, right that F to C and then was followed up with a flat to E flat, another fifth, right, so our hands getting spread out a little bit. And we have to shift as well. So a little more challenging, no doubt about it. So let's bring the ensemble in let's let's take a listen to letter C, and pay attention to those fingerings and where I'm shifting all right, here we go. Let's check it out. Wow, more challenging indeed. You may also notice on your lead sheet on the fingerings, you'll might notice a second set of fingerings beneath the original fingering and I've placed those in brackets. Those are just alternate fingerings. So you can try both. What I'm saying there is offering both as a suggestion that you can experiment with both and go with the one that feels most comfortable to you. Okay. All right, so now on to letter D and holy moly, right, you look at it here. Here we go with eighth note triplets. So this kind of gets again, it ratchets it up right it's a little bit more intense pattern. You'll notice that I've placed the fingerings some fingering is placed below the triplet, some fingerings are placed above the triplet what I'm trying to avoid the confusion that was brought to my attention last month. That little three that indicates the triple triplet sometimes was misinterpreted as a fingering. So the reason Then you'll see this particular pattern and exercise you'll see the fingerings sometimes on below that beneath the notes sometimes above the notes, it's to avoid, avoid conflict with the three that represents the triplet, triplet articulation. So again, pay attention to these fingerings we've got a lot of shifting taking place in this exercise in this pattern, and again, we're going to explore the entire sound of F minor from the root to 13th with our various entry points. So let's bring the ensemble in let's check out letter D, here we go. fluid right eighth note triplets. They sound great, not easy to play. But once you get the feel proper fingerings proper articulation. They're awesome. You know the other thing that I want to mention, if you notice in that letter D, your melodic line the phrase lasted, lasted for the entire measure. So now take a look at E we stretch it even further and we stretch over the bar up the measure line right into the next measure. So again, each one of these exercises the intention is not only to get our hands shifting, not only to play through the entire sound from the root to 13. But to just slyly and in a very sneaky way continue to stretch our phrases so they get longer and longer write a more linear line. So letter E, again, same format, explore the sound from the root to the 13th Root Entry, third entry, fifth entry and seventh entry. Pay attention those fingerings quite a bit hand shifting, moving, moving through these patterns through this exercise as well. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble in. Let's have a little fun with our last exercise for arpeggio motion through the F minor sound. All right, here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  35:02  
All right, so we've just completed exploring five patterns, arpeggio patterns for F minor. And again, the same patterns will be used for major dominant, half diminished and diminished. fingerings, of course will change, but the patterns will not. Okay. So you have some work to do, which that's to be expected, right. That's why we're here to grow to get better to discover, to learn to play. So all right, so now we're on to F minor scale motion. Now we're going to look at five patterns, five exercises, using scale motion, primarily scale motion, moving through the F minor sound, again, right? Same format, though, we're going to explore the sound from the root to the 13th, we're going to have our four entry points, the root, the third, the fifth, and the seventh. So like I always want to do, I want to try to keep as many variables as the same as we're studying, as we're learning as we're practicing keep as many variables the same, you have basically a control group and an experimental group, right? So we're keeping is much the same as we possibly can. And then we change one little thing, and the one little thing that we're changing, we're moving from arpeggio motion to scale motion, but everything else remains the same. Okay, so let's bring our ensemble, and let's look at letter A. For our jazz scales, this is skill eight in your packet skill eight letter A scale motion F minor sound from the root through the 13th Okay, here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  38:26  
Nice now, you noticed right that just straight scale motion, that exercise just straight scale motion from the root from the third from the fifth from the seventh. And just like we did with the arpeggios, we're going to do the same thing with the scales, right, we're going to continue to work on extending our, our phrases. And the scales will get a little bit more involved a little more angular, some intervals in here that we have to deal with. Okay, so look at letter B right away, you'll see, you'll see that we have a leap of a fifth, and then it's all scale motion after that, right, right on count one interval of a fifth from the from the root to the fifth and then and then we jump from the third to the seventh and a second, second exercise, and then from the fifth to the ninth and the third, and then from the seventh to the 13th in the fourth phrase. So Wow. We got a little leaping, leaping to do here. Some hand shifting, check out those fingerings very carefully. And here we go. So let's bring the ensemble in, and let's check out letter B scale motion. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  41:02  
Love it. And you know what, just like, just like we did with the arpeggios, look at letter C, eighth note triplets. So you knew that you knew that was coming right. So here we go with the eighth note triplets, and letter C. Again, pay very careful attention to the fingerings on this. And once again, you'll notice that some of the fingering is notated beneath the notes. Some of the fingering is notated above the notes. Again, this is just to avoid conflict with the number three, use to indicate a triplet. Okay, and once again, we explore the sound from the root to 13th for different entry points, root, third, fifth and seventh. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in let's check out letter C. So you probably noticed with that exercise, our musical phrase our line stretched over the bar line over the measure line into count one of the second measure, but look at letter D, we're gonna stretch it all the way through count one of the second measure, and with a pair of eighth notes. So again, a lot of scale motion, of course, some interval leaps inside that scale motion to create a little change of direction. We have hand shifting taking place. So again, as always pay attention to the fingerings and same entry points, root, third, fifth, and seventh. So let's take a listen to letter D. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  45:37  
All right, we're down to our last exercise for today using scale motion letter E, we've extended the phrase to count to the second measure. So these are nice linear ideas, linear lines. Again, we have our hands shifting throughout this throughout each one of these exercises. So be careful again, as always pay attention to the fingerings. And one one final note too, I just want to mention again, 110 is the tempo I'm playing everything please. I cannot stress enough especially with the scale movement, slower tempos, so that you can work out these fingerings and get comfortable with the hand shifting that is going on. All right, so all right letter E our final exercise for today. Let's bring the ensemble in and have a little fun here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  48:00  
Well we've done it again. As always unpacked an enormous amount of information in one very short and very fast. Our man I always feel like I'm running a sprint to try to get through everything. Even though I played these exercises today, using the minor sound only. Be sure to practice these exercises for the dominant minor half diminished and diminished as well. Okay, they are all laid out for you here in your lead sheets podcast packet with the fingerings included. Now remember, you can make some modifications to the fingerings to best suit your hand. But just be careful. Whatever fingerings you choose, right? Make sure they those fingerings allow you to play the exercises with an authentic jazz articulation through the entire sound right through the roots at 13. The whole point with these entry points is that each phrase should sound exactly the same regardless of where you enter from the fruit to third to the fifth to seventh, regardless of what fingerings you're using. Right from the root to the seventh has a certain fingering third to the ninth has a certain type of fingering fifth to the 11th seventh to the 13th right to the listener. All those phrases for all those exercises sound the same. Tall Order, no doubt, but you can do it. All right now. You have a ton to tackle this week. So use your practice time wisely because next week we jump into jazz improvisation exercises for F altered sounds. So not only use your time wisely, but yeah I want to encourage you to use those podcast packets, your illustrations, your lead sheets in the play alongs to guide you as you study and as you practice, right these are educational tools that will help you gain a mastery of the jazz piano skills conceptually physically and musically, and most importantly, most importantly, be patient. Developing mature professional jazz piano skills takes time. So begin structuring your improvisation development after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you in this podcast episode. And I guarantee it that you will begin to see feel and hear your progress.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  50:38  
Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for F sounds to be insightful and beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz panel skills Ensemble Member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass. That's 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson, exploring jazz improvisation exercises for F 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 podcast packets. Also, check out the jazz piano skills courses to maximize your musical growth. And make sure that you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills online community. Get out there, get involved, contribute to the various forums most importantly, make some new jazz piano friends. You can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 My extension here at the Dallas School of Music is 211. You can reach me by email Dr. Lawrence, Or you can use the nifty little SpeakPipe widget that is nestled throughout the website, the jazz panel Skills website, to contact me as well. Well, there is my key. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the jazz improvisation exercises for F sounds. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano!