This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores a Key of F Major Harmonic Workout (Block Chords, Traditional and Contemporary Shells, Two-Handed Voicings) + Rhythmic Comping Patterns
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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, play a Key of F Major Harmonic Workout. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:
A Key of F Major Harmonic Workout
How to "think" within the Key of F Major, Harmonically
Block Chords, Traditional and Contemporary Shells, Two-Handed Voicings using common harmonic motion AND various Rhythmic Comping Patterns
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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. Today, you're going to discover a key of F major harmonic workout. And you're going to learn how to think within the key of F major harmonically. And you're going to play block chords, traditional and contemporary shells, two-handed voicings using common harmonic motion. And, and this is a big hand with various fundamental rhythmic comping patterns. 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 if you've been around the block a few times and you consider yourself a seasoned and experienced professional, you will find this jazz piano skills podcast. This lesson explores a key of F major harmonic workout to be very beneficial. If you are new to jazz piano skills. If you are a new jazz piano skills podcast listener, I want to personally invite you as I do at the beginning of every podcast episode, I personally want to invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. Visit jazz piano skills.com To learn more about all of the jazz, educational resources, and materials in these and the services that are there waiting for you that you can use to help you on your journey to becoming an accomplished jazz pianist. For example, as a jazz piano skills member, you have access to all of the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the leech sheets, and the play alongs. These are educational tools that I develop and produce for every weekly podcast episode. These are invaluable educational resources that you want to have at your fingertips when listening to this podcast. But you also want to have sitting on your piano as you're actually practicing these jazz piano skills. Awesome. As a jazz panel skills member, you have access to the sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is loaded with comprehensive courses. All of them using a self-paced format are educational talks to enjoy interactive media video demonstrations and all 12 keys of the jazz piano skills being taught and play along files and much much more. So check out the sequential jazz piano curriculum. As a jazz panel skills member you also have a reserved seat in the weekly online masterclasses. These are in essence one hour lessons with me each and every week. In you also, as a jazz panel skills member have access to the private jazz piano skills community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums cut by podcast-specific forums and core-specific forums, and just general jazz piano forms as well. All of those, all of those forms are there for you to engage in and enjoy each and every day. And last but certainly not least as a jazz panel skills member. You have unlimited private, personal and professional educational support from me whenever and as often as you need it. So again, visit jazz piano skills.com. To learn more about all of the educational opportunities that await you, and how you can easily activate your membership. There are several membership plans to choose from. I'm confident there is one that's perfect for you.
Once you look them over. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Let me know. I'm always happy to spend some time with you and answer any questions that you may have, and help you in any way that I can. So okay, let's discover, learn and play jazz piano Let's get after this key of F major harmonic workout. Back on January 4. We kicked off the new year with a key of C major harmonic workout that explored each of the seven chords of the key of C using Various voicings, we played each chord within the key of C C major seven D minor seven, E minor seven, F major seven G dominant seven, a minor seven and B half the minute. We played each of those chords, using standard block shapes, root position. First, second and third inversions. We use traditional three-note shells, the 379 and 735 voicings. We also utilize the contemporary quarter or fourth voicings and we also tackled the two-handed five-note voicings to the left three in the right that I use all the time. And not only did we put our hands on each of these voicing types, ascending and descending through the chords of the key of C major. We then applied these essential voicings to two of the most common core progressions found in jazz, the 251 progression and the 36251 progression. Now, for those of you who have tackled the workout, you know that it's not an easy workout. It's not easy to play the shapes and sounds of a key within a musical context. Once you determine a tempo time and a grooves style, then it becomes immediately apparent as to as to what kind of command you have of the voicings, as I like to say all skills sound really, really easy, until of course, you have to actually play them. Right. And also on January 4, I announced that we will throughout the 2022 year, we will be exploring all 12 keys using the same harmonic workout. In other words, we established the 2022 goal of becoming intimately familiar with the keys of music harmonically using the four voicing types, blocks, traditional shells, contemporary shells, and the two-handed five-note structures. So today, we tackle a new key, the key of F major, but we do so with an added twist. Yes, as we move through the various keys throughout the year, we will be ratcheting up the intensity each and every time. Now I know some of you thought it was just gonna be the same thing. Every single
every harmonic workout was gonna be the same thing. In one way. Yes, it is. We're using the same voicings, but there's always going to be a new twist, there's always going to be something we're adding to the, to the formula here to the process to the workout, right. So as we move through the various keys throughout the year, like we will indeed be ratcheting it up the intensity each and every time. So you may be asking how so? Well, that's a great question. As we move through the various keys, we will be tweaking our explorations in a couple of different ways. Number one, we will always be challenging ourselves with various grooves, new grooves, which of course requires us to experience some different temples as well. And number two, we will from today four forward we will be adding a rhythmic dimension to our plying of the voicings. In other words, we we have to learn how to accompany ourselves and others when playing or as jazz was like to say we have to develop our comping skills. So the educational agenda for today is as follows. Number one, we are going to begin our key of F major harmonic workout for the month of February. Number two, we are going to play essential harmonic shapes that you need to discover learn and play. The block shapes the traditional shells, contemporary shells, and two-handed voicings. Number three, we're going to utilize a standard bossa nova groove with a temple of 110 And number four, we are going to explore 12 simple fundamental copying rhythms using whole notes, whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. Only. Right in total, I'm going to introduce you to 12 rhythmic comping patterns that you can and you should use to help you gain a harmonic mastery of the key of F major. And number five, we are going to apply our rhythmic comping patterns to the classic 251 progression. If you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take a few minutes right now hit the pause button. I want you to take a few minutes to download and print the podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, and the play alongs Are you have access to these educational tools? Because of your membership, right, your membership grants you access to all of the podcast packets. And as I mentioned every week, you should absolutely be using these podcast packets 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 or Google, Amazon, Spotify, I Heart Radio, Pandora, so on and so on and so on then, then be sure to go to jazz piano skills podcast.com go directly to the podcast site jazz piano skills podcast.com. To download the podcast packets, you will find the download links the active links within the show notes. And one final but extremely important note I mentioned every week that if you are thinking that the key of F major harmonic workout and the various skills that we are about to discover learn in play. If you think they are over your head, then I would say to you okay, no big deal. Right? Please continue to listen continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually by listening to this podcast episode. Every new skill is technically over our heads when first introduced. But this is how we get better by placing ourselves in the middle of conversations where we are forced to grow intellectually. I say all the time. In fact, so much so that many of you have told me that I need to get a t-shirt with this comment printed on it. But all musical growth begins upstairs mentally before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So listen to this podcast lesson now to discover and learn. The play will come in time. And who knows, you might even win a free T-shirt. Okay, key of F major. Alright,
The very first thing I want to address is the very last page of your lead sheets packet. It's labeled exercise 17. And the title of the page is copying rhythms. You will notice that there are 12 rhythmic patterns labeled letter A through letter L. You also notice that these rhythmic patterns use as I mentioned earlier, use only whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. Trust me the rhythmic patterns will become much more involved as the year progresses, I promise you. But for now, to get started, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes. Now with that being said, if you cannot play these rhythms, with just the whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes, you will find the patterns we tackle in the future with our future harmonic workouts you will find those patterns to be very, very difficult. So be sure to legitimately devote, study and practice time to these rhythmic patterns. You also notice that each of these rhythmic patterns has to be played with the 251 progression, which is exactly what we are going to do today. Now, that does not mean that you should bypass practicing each of the four voicing types as outlined in exercises one through 16 Because that should be actually that's your starting point. Right that's the very first thing you should do. Practice playing them all these voicing types and the chords the key of F major practice playing them without rhythms as I modeled for you last month in the key of C major harmonic workout. That podcast episode was on January 4. Now, be sure to use the play alongs that are included in your podcast packets, this will help a ton. Obviously, I do not have enough time to play through all 16 exercises and the 12 rhythmic patterns. So I'm going to trust that you do not get the cart ahead of the horse that you're going to practice exercises one through 16 to make sure you have a handle on each of the four voicing types, as applied to the chords found in the key of F major F major seven, G minor seven, a minor seven, B flat major seven C dominant seven D minor seven and E half diminished, then then turn your attention to developing your comping skills using the voicings as you play the 251 progression in the key of F major G minor seven to C dominant seven to F major seven. Okay, let's dig in rhythmic pattern A we have four measures. So each pattern A through L is going to have the two chords for one measure the five chord for one measure, and then the one chord for two measures. With pattern A you'll see there it starts off with the two chord whole note. With our five chord we have quarter notes on counts one and three, followed by a whole note with our one chord and measure three, and you can chill out for measure four, lick your wounds and start over again and play play the pattern again right. So here's how I'm going to model them for you today. We're going to go through this pattern A here. And I'm going to do this for each of the patterns. I'm going to play each voicing type one time through one time through. So
first time through, I'm going to play the 251 using that rhythmic that comping pattern using my blocks, then I'm going to use my traditional shells. Now there's two sets of traditional shells, right starting with 379 Go in the 735 to 379. And then and then I'll do it the other way, right we have two options as outlined in our packets and our workout packets, as well as I have two options with my contemporary shells and I have two options with my two-handed voicings. So I'm going to be playing through each of those options, just one time through the 251 progression. So as you follow, you can kind of listen and know I'm moving from my blocks to both of my traditional shell options to Mike both of my contemporary shell options, and then both of my two-handed voicing options. Alright, so let's bring the ensemble and I think after you hear it the first time for pattern 'A' exercise a here rhythmic line a I think you'll understand you'll get it, and then we're going to follow the same process for the remaining copying rhythms B through L. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. And then we'll go from there here we go.
Very nice now a couple of things with the blocks I'm using I'm going to be playing starting with a minor chord in root position, which would then take me to the dominant chord in second inversion resolving to the major or the one chord in root position. don't have time to go through all of those, but you should isolate not just your blocks and do practice each of the options as outlined in the packet. But you should isolate as well for all of these other voicing types, the traditional shells, the contemporary shells, and the two-handed voicings. Again, I'm just modeling through each voicing type really as quickly as possible, they just to give you the idea of how you should be practicing these. Now, pattern B, again to five one, we start with a whole note on our two-chord, our five chord, we have quarter notes on counts three and four, followed by a whole note again on count one with a measure of entire measure of rest and count four. So once again, I'm going to go through each of my voicing types one time through using the nice bossa nova groove at 110. So let's bring out the ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think here we go.
I love it. See what I mean? Soon as you start putting your voicings into a musical context and a musical setting, they're playing rhythm to him, you find out real quick, really quick how well you have a command of the voicing types. So don't be afraid to isolate these 251 progressions, these 251 rhythms, isolate a specific voicing type that you may be focusing on and repeat it over and over and over again. And doing so not only are you learning your voicings right and gaining the command of them, but you're actually learning how to track time how to keep track of time, count one count to count three count for you internal, you internalize that you start to feel that and you know where you are within each measure. So huge. So now let's look at copying rhythm pattern, letter C, half note on our two chord on counts one and two. And then followed by a quarter note on count four. And then we repeat that same pattern that same idea with our five chord half note on counts one and two, measure rest on count three, quarter note on count four followed by a whole note on Measure three with the one chord nice little comping pattern this will feel good so let's let's bring the ensemble and let's do this again all four voicing types one time through, check it out here we go.
Great practice and again do not underestimate the value of doing these exercises don't blow over these thinking that they're too simple because they are not. There's so many fundamental skills being developed when practicing this way that You're not going to do yourself a favor by skipping over them thinking that they're too easy for you. Because quite honestly, most of the time when students are feeling like it's too easy when I asked them to go play, let's play these rhythms, they, they fold they fail miserably. So, do not make that mistake spend time with these patterns. Alright, take a look at comping rhythm pattern letter D. Love it, two quarter notes counts one and two for our two core followed by two beats of rest or five chord. We have quarter notes on counts one and four, followed by a whole note on our one chord and measure three and again, a whole rest on measure four to give us a little breathing room before we start the process over again. So bring the ensemble and let's do this letter D here we go.
Nice you know here's here's something. This is this is so true when you play in bossa nova and it would mount most time pianist overplay when playing Bossa Nova style. So what's ironic about that, with these simple rhythmic patterns, they're actually pretty much how you should be comping when you're playing bossa nova to begin with. So with that being said, let's take a look at letter E. We're going to flip our coordinates now we got on counts, we have restaurant counts one in three of our first measure with our two chord and we have our coordinates on counts two and four, followed by a half note on our five chord with two counts of rest on three, four, followed by a whole note again, on our one chord for a resolution to one chord. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's listen to this nice little bossa nova comping pattern. So here we go check it out.
Love it it's fantastic. It's very bossa nova ish. So now on to pattern F, have a rest on count one quarter note on count to four to court. On our five chord, we have a rest on count one again followed by quarter notes on counts two and three, followed by quarter rest on count for resolving to our whole note on our one chord. This is a nice little rhythmic idea and rhythmic pattern as well. So let's bring our ensemble then. Let's check this out and see what it sounds like. Here we go.
Not that easy, right. As soon as our quarter notes start landing on beats other than count one, you have to have a pretty good internal sense of where you are within the measure to pull these rhythmic ideas off to make them sound nice and relaxed. And this is what I'm getting at these rhythmic these simple home note, half note, quarter note, comping rhythms will help you literally develop your sense of time your ability to track time as you play. So now let's take a look at copying rhythm G and here we go right you were not coming in until count for this measure with a quarter note with our two chord not till count four followed by a half note on our five chord and measure two with a quarter rest on Measure three quarter note on measure for resolving to our whole note again with our one chord. Again, you have to be able to get comfy and be able to track time to pull this pattern off naturally. So here we go let's check it out and see what we think.
Sam telling you the truth, right? Not easy, looks easy on the page right way to start playing them. Not so easy. So now let's draw our attention to comping rhythm. letter H. We have quarter notes on counts one and two, followed by a quarter rest followed by another quarter note on count four. Check out what's happening on that five chord rest on counts one, two, and three. We don't play anything till count four and we have a quarter note which is going to resolve into our whole note with our one chord. Right again, your ability to track time. So let's bring the ensemble back and let's check it out. Here we go with copying rhythm letter H. We'll see what you think. Here we go.
You'd love it. And again, just a reminder, right, I'm playing each of the voicing types one time through my blocks, my two traditional shell options, my two contemporary shell options and my two, two-handed voicing options. So now let's look at copying rhythm letter I, our two chord begins with a half note followed by a quarter rest, followed by a quarter note. Then we have two beats of silence on our five chord count what counts one and two, followed by a single quarter note on count three, followed by a quarter rest on count four, right, you gotta be able to track time and lay down that five chord on count three, then it resolves to our whole note on count one for resolution to the one quart. So here we go. Right copying rhythm pattern letter I, let's check it out.
Very nice, love it. Well, we only have three more to look at. So let's, let's keep rolling along here. Look at copying rhythmic pattern, letter J. Our two chord begins with a quarter rest. Quarter note on count two followed by rest on three and four. Our five chord begins with a quarter note on count one followed by rest on counts two and three. And then you come in again on count four with a quarter note resolving to a whole note on our one chord. Very nice, a nice simple bosses style copying pattern. So let's bring the ensemble back in let's check out copying rhythm letter j here we go.
Nice very nice. Now, check out comping rhythm letter K. I love this because letter K. I've intentionally placed all the action is taking place on counts two and four. So on our two chord, quarter rests on count one followed by quarter note on count two followed by quarter rest on count three followed by quarter note on count four. We do the exact same thing with our five chord and measure two. Then it resolves to our home note for measure three and our one quart. This is a fun little rhythm. Again, your ability to track time to know where you are and the tendency is. The tendency is you're going to want to land on count one and it just simply nothing happening on count one till measure three. So here we go. Let's check it out. Let's have a little fun with this copying rhythm. letter K. Here we go.
Very nice. Now our last rhythm for today copying rhythm letter L. I like this one too because kind of have the polar opposite happening here and measures one and two we start off with our two chord with a half note followed by a quarter rest followed by a quarter note on count four, we reverse that process with our five quart, quarter note on count one followed by a quarter rest on count two followed by a half note accounts three and four, resolving to our one chord with our whole note nice little boss of rhythm. So for our last rhythm today, let's bring our ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think here we go.
Nice Well, we have we've done it again, right we have unpacked an amazing amount of information in one very short and one very fast hour. Do not. Again, I want to say it Do not underestimate the importance of being able to play these simple rhythmic comping patterns that use only whole notes, half notes and quarter notes. The importance of playing these simple rhythmic comping patterns in time using correct jazz voicings are for voicing types. So you need to be honest with yourself. If you're unable to play fundamental comping patterns, using whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, various combinations of three, then you have no business trying to tackle more challenging rhythms that include eighth notes, dotted eighth notes, 16th notes, syncopation so on. And in fact, the rhythmic patterns we use today, while playing our four voicing types are blocks or traditional shells, contemporary shells and two headed voicings right. These rhythmic patterns allow you to develop your ability, as I mentioned earlier, your ability to track and to feel time. So often when students struggle with playing jazz, it's because of their inability to successfully track time. In other words, being able to always know where count one is to know where count two is, or count three is count four. And, and to do so, and not gas. can't guess because the reality is this. You have a greater chance of winning the lottery being struck by lightning or leaping tall buildings in a single bound than you do. At correct guessing time when trying to play jets. Let that sink in and embrace the importance of the simple. And I'm using air quotes. Air quotes here when I say simple right, the importance of the simple, whole half and quarter rhythmic copying patterns that we use today when doing our key of F major harmonic workout. Next week, we jump into a key of F major melodic workout and of course, I will introduce some new twist for that workout as well. So hang in there with me this year, you're going to experience a ton of jazz piano growth. You will love where you are musically a year from now. You'll feel the difference and most importantly, you'll hear the difference. Once again, I want to encourage all of the jazz panel skills members listening to us the podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets in the play alongs to guide you as you study in practice, these are again these are educational tools that will help you gain a mastery of the jazz piano skills conceptually physically and musically. Right so use the podcast packets and as always, I want you to be patient especially with today's lesson, developing mature professional jazz piano skills takes time. So begin structuring your practicing right after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you in this podcast episode and you will begin to see you will begin to feel and hear your progress I guarantee it. Well I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcasts lesson exploring and key of F major harmonic workout to be insightful and of course to be very beneficial. And don't forget if you're a jazz panel skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode this lesson exploring a key of F major harmonic workout in greater detail and of course to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Be sure to use the educational podcast packets again the illustrations the lead sheets to play alongs Also, be sure to tap into the jazz panel skills courses to maximize your musical growth. Also, make sure that you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills community. Get
out there, get involved, ask some questions, contribute to the various forums, and most importantly, make some new jazz piano friends. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 My office extension is 211 by email Dr. Lawrence. That's Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills.com or by SpeakPipe found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well, there it is. There's my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the key of F major harmonic workout. Enjoy those copying rhythmic patterns. Most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz Piano