This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores a Key of E Major Melodic Workout (E Major Modes, Inverted Melodic Arpeggios, and Rhythmic Melodic Lines).
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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, playa Key of E Major Melodic Workout. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:
A Key of E Major Melodic Workout
How to "think" within the Key of E Major, Melodically
The Modes of the Key of E Major plus Inverted Melodic Arpeggios from various entry points (Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th).
You will play Melodic lines using various 8th Note Rhythmic Configurations played over the II-V-I Progression.
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 a Key of E Major Melodic Workout.
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Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Last week,
we tackled the key of E major, focusing on harmonic development this week. We continue our exploration of the key of E major, but we do so melodically. So today, you're going to discover a key of E Major melodic workout, you're going to learn how to think within the key of E Major melodically. And you're going to play the modes of the key of E Major using ascending and descending scale and arpeggio motion, launching from various entry points, the route the third, the fifth, and the seventh. And on top of all that, you're going to play melodic lines over the 251 progression in the key of E major, using various rhythms common to jazz, focusing primarily on 16th notes. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner, intermediate player, an advanced player, even if you consider yourself a seasoned and experienced professional, you're going to find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring a key of E Major melodic workout to be very beneficial. But before we get started, as I always like to do, I want to welcome new listeners to the jazz panel skills podcast. And if you're are indeed new jazz piano skills, I want to welcome you and personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. All you have to do to become a member, visit jazz piano skills.com And once you arrive at the homepage, you can begin to explore the abundance and I mean abundance of jazz educational resources, materials, and services that are available for you to use. To help you significantly improve your jazz piano skills. For example, all jazz panel skills members have access to the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets and the play alongs. Now, these are invaluable educational tools that that I develop and produce and publish for every weekly podcast lesson. You want these podcast packets in your hands as you listen to this lesson. And you certainly want the podcast packets sitting on your piano when practicing. 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 them. All of them use a self-paced format there are educational talks to enjoy interactive media to test your conceptual understanding there are video demonstrations to watch and all 12 keys are the skill being taught there are play-alongs and much more. You also as a jazz panel skills member have a reserved seat as I like to say in the weekly online 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. Within his fake book, you have access to jazz standards from the Great American Songbook. You'll enjoy chord changes lead sheets that are harmonic function, lead sheets, play-along files, historical insights, inspirational recordings, and much more. It's an ever-growing collection of tunes that you should absolutely discover, learn and play. And you also as a jazz piano skills member have access to the online private jazz piano skills community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums there are podcasts specific forums course specific forums. And of course, there are just general jazz piano forums for you to enjoy. Of course, you'll have access to all of the forums and you will be able to contribute that year that contribute to them as well, which I certainly encourage you to do. I want you to share, engage and grow. And last but certainly not least, you have access as a jazz panel skills a member Do you have access to unlimited, private, personal, and prefer national educational support provided by me whenever and as often as you need it. So once again, just take a few minutes visit jazz piano skills.com To learn more about the wonderful educational opportunities that await you, and how to activate your membership. Now there are several membership plans to choose from. So I'm quite certain there was one that is perfect for you. But nevertheless, once you get there and you poke around, if you have some questions, please do not hesitate or think twice of reaching out to me. I'm happy to spend some time with you. Answer any questions that you have and help you in any way that I can. Okay,
let's discover, learn and play jazz piano let's discover, learn and play this key of E Major melodic workout. With the start of the new year, we set out on an ambitious, exciting, and rewarding journey to travel through each of the 12 keys of music by year's end. Wow. The game plan one key a month for 12 months. The agenda for each month to thoroughly explore a key harmonically, melodically, and rhythmically. So, back in January, we started with the key of C major, February the key of F major March the key of B flat major, April, E flat major, May 8, flat major June D flat major, July, G flat major August B major. And now in the month of September, the key of E major. So we have been traveling around the circle of fifths counterclockwise, of course, always counterclockwise. And with each key, we have been doing a very methodical exploration. harmonically, we have been tackling for four very specific approaches to voicing the chords within the key. We've been studying block shapes and inversions, traditional three-note shells, contemporary quarter voicings for the left hand, and five-note two hand shapes melodically. We've studied each chord scale's modes, and arpeggios using various entry and destination points with ascending and descending motion. All right, so with each harmonic and melodic workout, we also applied essential rhythmic patterns, starting with basic whole half and quarter notes back at the beginning of the year, and then progressing each month to more complex patterns, using various eighth triplet and 16th notes. Again, a very structured, organized, sequential, methodical, and repetitive program. All of them all of that right. structured, organized, sequential, methodical, repetitive, all characteristics of an excellent study and practice approach that allows you allows me allows us to discover, learn and play jazz successfully. Now, with all that being said, some of you may be thinking, all 12 keys, really, is that necessary? And I would respond, Yes, moving through and experiencing all 12 Keys is absolutely essential. I tell students all the time, if you want to become more comfortable with the key of C, then practice in the key of F. And if you want to get more comfortable with the key of F practice in the key of B flat. And if you want to get more comfortable with the key of B flat practice in the key of E flat and so on. My point is that we get better in all 12 keys when we strategically and continually move through the keys as we have been doing since the beginning of the year. Now, I have mentioned in previous podcast episodes, there is some misguided thinking out there with regard to playing in all 12 keys. And the thought is simply this. I don't need to practice in all 12 keys because I don't see many tunes written in the key of G flat or the key or the key of E major. So why do I need to spend time practicing those keys when in reality I will more than likely never play in those keys. So my response How can I say this gently?
Wrong, dead wrong with a casual glance, and I haven't really mean a casual glance at practically any jazz standard, you'll notice that tunes weave in and out of various key centers, multiple key centers. This, this is a musical fact that you cannot escape. Here's another fun fact, you'll spend and waste more time looking for shortcuts than if you just buckled down and study each of the 12 keys as we have been doing throughout the year. Now, I have stressed this point in previous episodes as well do not make the mistake of thinking that one key must be mastered before moving on to the next key. This is also a common misconception which produces a very slow practice approach that produces minimal results. And quite honestly, it impedes your musical growth. So my goal my goal with these strategic harmonic melodic and rhythmic workouts, is to help you develop professional jazz piano skills anchored in a internal sense of time, a solid rock solid internal sense of time. Last week, with our key of E Major harmonic workout, I introduced rhythms, focusing primarily on the 16th note fact for note groupings. Today, we were going to follow the same gameplan the application of rhythmic ideas melodically focusing primarily on four note 16th note groupings. But as always, as always, I want to stress the importance of doing the entire key of E Major melodic workout not just just jumping to lash lead sheet in your podcast packet skill 25. Right, I know the tendency, The urge is just jumped the 25 attack those melodic rhythms, because when I get it, they're fun.
But why resist that temptation because honestly, you have to have a functional command of your scales and arpeggios in the key of E Major before you can begin applying rhythm to them. As I like to say you have to bake a cake before you decorate the cake. So remain disciplined has been time with skills one through 24 In your podcast packet, your illustration packet, and lead sheets packet before tackling skill 25. So you will find in your lead sheet podcast packet as you did with our last all of our melodic workouts since the beginning of the year, you will find all 24 skills laid out for you. So let's just do a quick review skills one through four modes ascending root position, plus first, second and third inversion scales five through eight modes descending root position, plus first second third inversion, scales nine through 12 arpeggios ascending root position plus inversions scales 13 through 16 arpeggios descending and again root position plus inversions. Skill 17 251 progression in the key of E Major ascending using scale motion, root, third, fifth seventh entry on the two core right very, very in our entry points, scale 18 251 progression again, this time descending using scale motion with entry points of the root, third, fifth and seven on the two chord scale 19 to five one ascending arpeggio motion, scale 20 251 descending arpeggio motion, and both using root, third, fifth and seventh entry. Now on scale 21 You'll see that it's 36251 progression ascending using scale motion scale 22 362512 descending scale motion and again, using different entry points the root, third, fifth and seventh, launching from the three chord and then skill 23 36251 ascending arpeggio motion scale 24 36251 progression using descending arpeggio motion. So very thorough scales one through 24. very methodical, very sequential, very systematic. So after you have thoroughly completed your workout scales, one through 24, then you can turn your attention to play in skill 25, which challenges you with 12 melodic lines using various 16th Note configurations. Wow. So the educational agenda for today is as follows. Number one, we're going to explore the key of E Major melodically. Number two, we will play 12 melodic ideas using ascending and descending scales and arpeggio motion. Number three, all melodic ideas will be applied to the 251 progression in the key of E major. In other words, all melodic ideas are going to be played over your F sharp minor seven, go into your B dominant seven resolving to your E major seven. Number four, all melodic lines will be played using a very, very relaxed swing groove of 85. Number five, all melodies will be played using a single note right-hand melodic treatment. And number six, each melodic line will be repeated four times. Okay. But before we go any further, if you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take a few minutes right now to download and print your podcast packets, your illustrations, and your lead sheets. Again, you have access to all the podcast packets, and I continue to stress this you should be using them when listening to this podcast episode. And of course when practicing. Now if you're listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple or Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and so on, and so on. Then to get your podcast packets be sure to go directly to jazz piano skills podcast.com To download your packets, and you will find the download links the active download links in the show notes.
And one final, but very important message that I include in every podcast episode. If you are thinking that the key of E Major melodic workout and the various skills that we are about to discover, learn and play. If you're thinking in your mind that wow, these are way over my head. Then I would just say to you sit back relax, take it easy. Keep your feet up, continue to listen and continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually by listening to this podcast episode. All scales, all skills are overheads when first introduced and that is precisely why the very first step that we always need to take to improve our musicianship is to just simply listen. So do not shy away from conversations discussing foreign topics or using big words unfamiliar terms. Again, stepping outside of our musical comfort zone is what spawns significant growth. Now, as you all have heard me say a million times, all musical growth begins upstairs mentally, conceptually, before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So I want you to just sit back and listen to this podcast. Listen now to discover and to learn. The play will come in time. It always does. Okay, here we go. So hopefully you have your lead sheets in front of you have skill 25 In your hands as we go through each of these 12 melodic lines. Now, before we even get started, I want to draw your attention to letter a letter B, letter C and letter D. The first four melodic lines. I want you to notice that each line focuses on placing our 16th notes on As very specific B, line a the 16th notes fall on beat one, line letter B, the 16th notes, beat to letter C, the 16th notes are placed on beat three. And finally, letter D, the 16th notes are played on count four. Okay, so it's intentional here that the 16th note patterns are being placed on each of the four beats within the measure. Okay, this is to help us develop our sense of time and be able to track time as we play through each measure. Now the other thing I want to draw your attention to with letter A, B, C, and D, you'll notice that these lines letter A is ascending followed by descending followed by ascending motion, arpeggio motion as we go through the 251 progression. Letter B is the opposite descending, ascending descending motion. And then letter C. I'm back to ascending descending ascending motion, and letter D. Again, flipping it back to descending ascending or descending motion, all using arpeggios and all using various entry points. What are the skills that we practiced in that skills one through 24? What are some of those skills? Oh, starting our scales and arpeggios from various entry points. Okay. So with all that being said, let's start with letter A. And let's take a listen to line one or letter A. Again, it's going to be played at a tempo of 85 very relaxed, I'm going to play through the 251 progression first, the first four measures with just plain comping using my two handed voicings, then I will play the melodic idea, four times I'll repeat the line four times. And then I'll end with my 251. Again, at the very end. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check out Letter A here we go.
Nice right, very nice. I told you very relaxed tempo of 85. And the 16th notes. Not so easy, right, especially when we're intentionally placing them on very specific beats or counts within each measure. Not so easy. So I would encourage you to when playing these patterns, articulate them verbally. And I mentioned last week, I like to articulate my 16th notes. I'm old school. So I like to articulate them using numbers like One E and two E and three E and forehand. So I would encourage you to articulate your 16th notes as you're getting the rhythm and the feel and the timing internalized. Okay, so let's go on to letter B. Now as I mentioned earlier, we're going to shift our 16th note pattern to placing our 16th notes on count two. Now in letter A, our entry point was on the root of the F sharp minor. Now you'll notice that my entry point is on the third of F sharp minor descending on the third. And again my entry point on the minor like a domino effect determines how I play my five chord and my one quart ascending and descending. I'm always going for minimal motion on the ascending or descending side when I practice like this. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's listen to letter B. Start With my F sharp minor entry point of the third and the 16th notes placed on count two of each measure here we go.
Nice, right, very nice. So letter C is just going to continue with this same approach right or F sharp minor now we're now my entry point is going to be the fifth of F sharp minor. And I want you to also notice where I'm placing these lines, right, I'm intentionally placing these lines down to where the left hand and the right hand have to coexist, they have to play nicely together. So don't fall into the temptation of trying to move these lines up in octave so you don't conflict with your voicings in your left hand. Right, they have to the hands have to learn how to play nicely with one another. So I'm starting these lines, like letter C, down in left-hand voicing territory, so you might have to shift to a to note voicing, it might have to modify your inversion in such a way, you might have to let the left-hand lay out why the right-hand plays the melody and then come in or vice versa. So let's bring the ensemble in and listen to letter C here we go check it out.
Love it absolutely love it. So letter D right, we're gonna follow again the same format. Now we shift our 16th notes over to count for our entry point now is the seventh of our F sharp minor, which again is going to determine how we ascend on the B seven and how we descend on the E major seven. So let's bring the ensemble in and less listen to letter D entry point being the seventh of our F sharp minor using descending ascending descending motion through our 251 progression. 16th notes here we go.
All right, now we have strategically played our four note groupings of 16th notes placed on counts one, count to count three and count four of each measure. And honestly, a through B, crucial. If you spend all your time practicing a through d, you're doing yourself a huge, huge favor, okay? But with that being said, let's move on to letter E. Now we start mixing it up. Okay, and we start pulling in rhythms that we have dealt with in previous podcast episodes, and in previous keys. So right away in letter E, C, we start with an eighth note triplet, we have 16th notes falling on count one and measure two followed by another eighth note triplet at the end of measure two, and some more 16th notes in measure three, now, I'm intentionally putting these eighth note triplets and the 16th notes groupings together in this line, because quite honestly, a lot of times, it's very easy to play our 16th notes or grouping of 4/16 notes to play them as a triplet, followed by a quarter note or an eighth note. Okay? So we don't want to play a triplet followed by a quarter note or another or an eighth note and think that we're playing a grouping of four note triplet, I mean, four notes, 16th notes. Okay, so pay attention to the difference between the eighth note triplet and 4/16 notes. All right, so let's bring the ensemble in let's check out letter E here we go.
Right, right, very close the triplet, eighth note triplet for 16th notes, very close, but very different. So, just be careful, not a bad idea to practice flowing in and out of eighth note triplets to 16th notes back the eighth note triplets back to 16th notes, and so on. Create your own little exercise there. All right, so letter F, wow. Now all of a sudden, we have in measure one, we have two groupings of 4/16 notes in the same measure on counts one, and three. Then we got look what happens in measure two on the on the B seven on our five chord, we have eighth notes that are that are all falling on the upbeat or on the backside of the beat backside of count to backside of count three backside of count four, followed by some eighth notes and measure three over our, our one quarter our E major seven. And then we have a little pair of eighth notes kind of out there on their own on count three of measure four, so be careful with that. All right, so let's bring the ensemble in and let's check out letter F here we go.
All right, we've done six out of our 12 melodic lines. So let's, let's look at the last six. We'll start with letter G. Again, eighth note triplet there and measure one on count three, we have on count three and measure 2/16 notes descending 16th notes. So this is intentional again, descending eighth note triplet, count three and measure one descending 16th notes, count three and measure two again, so you can hear the difference compare and contrast these two rhythms. Then we have a nice arpeggio, ascending line using eighth notes on our one chord and measure three and then we have another grouping of 4/16 notes to deal with in measure four. So this this is gonna be fun. Let's bring the ensemble in and check out letter G here we go.
Again, I want to stress to you the importance of not allowing your eighth note triplets to be substituted for 4/16 notes. Pay attention to that practice letter G pay attention to measure one and measure two specifically. Alright, on to letter H and check it out. Look at this. We have 16th notes for 16th notes on count one, four followed by 4/16 notes on count two and measure one and then we repeat that same idea and measure two over our five core 4/16 notes on count one, followed by 4/16 notes. On count two I didn't check it out man. Measure three descending eighth note triplet again so you can hear the difference. Wow. But these ascending this ascending line and measure one and two using 16th notes. This should be a lot of fun. Let's bring the ensemble in and let's listen to letter H here we go.
I'm loving right now these lines, right? If you notice, we got 16th notes going with eighth notes, all sudden these lines and some syncopation going with our, with our eighth notes on the backside of various counts within the measure. Now all of a sudden you're thinking like, Hey, these are starting to sound like jazz lines and I hear jazz musicians playing. And one other note that I want to make point that I want to make real quick all of these lines again 100% 100% diatonic motion. In other words, I'm only using notes in the key of E major, only, okay. And even with just using diatonic notes, completely 100% diatonic to the key. You can hear, you can hear that there are great melodic ideas and in fact, most transcriptions that you will study. If you go through and you count up the diatonic notes versus the non diatonic notes and non scale tones or chord tones. You're going to find that the diatonic notes win in a landslide every single time. Okay, so now let her i We have some, we have some moving thirds, ascending thirds and measure one followed by descending 16th notes. And guess what we repeat that kind of motif and measure to ascending thirds with descending 16th notes and guess what happens in measure three another repeating the same motif the same idea of ascending thirds with descending 16th notes. Again, in improvisation repetition, very important. If you state a good if you play a good melodic idea, play it again. Right if it's worth saying one time, it's worth repeating. So let's bring the ensemble in and check out letter I Here we go.
Love it absolutely love it. What a great line. But no cast your eyes upon letter J. You can see right away measure one looks a little troubling, right? We have descending 16th notes on count one count to count three, count four. Wow. Then we come right out of that with ascending eighth notes. And then in measure three on the one chord descending eighth notes but that measure one, right so easy with this descending line to get out in front of the line. In other words, like you know, running downhill when your bodyweight gets out in front of you. And you know, you're gonna faceplant. Well, that's what happens when we start playing descending 16th notes, we can get our body out in front of us our fingers and we end up face planning. In other words, we start rushing, and we get way out in front of the beat, so be careful. So let's bring the ensemble in. And let's check out letter J. Here we go.
right see, there's a reason why I'm playing everything here at a nice cozy tempo of 85 Because I want you to lay back on these 16th notes I want you to play them with a relaxed feel and not rushing, okay, where you get out in front or you get out in front of that beat and you start rushing. So letter K we we have some challenges here and letter K to deal with as well we have a quarter note triplet on count one, followed by ascending 16th notes on count three and four counts three and four. Then guess what, another quarter note triplet measure two followed by ascending 16th notes on counts three and four, then descending quarter note triplets back to back in measure three. This is a great, great line. So let's let's have some fun. Let's bring the ensemble in and check out letter K here we go.
Well it's hard to believe we are down to our very last line of the day, letter L. So check it out. We have old familiar rhythm that we've dealt with in previous keys we have our dotted quarter eighth combination and and measure one and then we have it again and measure two dotted quarter quarter eight falling on counts one and two. Then look at measure three here we go again the danger of descending 16th notes on counts 123 and four in a sense, the line shifts direction on count four there. But again all these 16th notes back to back to back to back. It's easy to get out in front right don't get running downhill and that that bodyweight getting out in front of you here because it can be it's going to be a disaster right? And then we end with some eighth notes on in measure four. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's wrap it up with letter L here we go.
Well it never fails, right. Never ever fails we we always unpack a ton of information every Single podcast episode and today was certainly no exception as we explored a key of E Major melodic workout and I cannot stress, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you spend time becoming familiar with the diatonic melodic shapes. The scales and arpeggios have a key, so vitally important. Having a command of ascending and descending scale motion within the framework of a key modes is a huge step towards developing mature improvisation skills and having a command of ascending and descending arpeggio motion, outlining the harmonic shapes of a key is equally important. And then, applying the ascending and descending scale and arpeggio shapes have a key to Common Core progressions within the key such as the 251 progression is a big time jazz piano skill that must be strategically studied and practiced. If you're serious about becoming an accomplished jazz pianist, which I know you are. Now, when you combine last week's key of E Major harmonic workout with this week's key of E Major melodic workout within you have an incredible combination, you have an incredible one two punch to help you master the key of E major. And not only that, it will continue solidifying a practice blueprint that can be replicated in other keys, which, right which is exactly what we've been doing since January and every single key. Wow. So I said it every week. And I want to stress it again this week. If you hang in there with me this year, and we're almost believe it or not, we're almost to the end of the year. Hang in there with me this year, you're going to experience a ton of jazz piano growth which I know you already have. And you will love where you are musically by the end of the year I guarantee it. Right. So as always, so always be patient this may be the toughest lesson of all be patient. Developing mature professional jazz piano skills takes time. So begin structuring your practicing after the plane demonstrations I modeled for you today in this podcast episode. And I promise you you will begin to see feel and hear your progress. Well I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring the key of E Major melodic workout to be insightful and of course I hope you have found it to be very beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills ensemble member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz piano skills masterclass 8pm, central time to discuss this podcast episode exploring our key of E Major melodic workout in greater detail and of course to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Likewise, be sure to use those educational podcast packets, your illustrations, your lead sheets and your play alongs for this podcast lesson, and of course, tap into the jazz piano skills online courses. To maximize your musical growth. Always make sure you are an active participant within 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 wonderful thing to do. Now 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, email@example.com. Or you can use the nifty little SpeakPipe widget that's found throughout the jazz piano skills website to send me a message. Well, there is my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy your key of E Major melodic workout and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!
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