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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 Five-Note Melodic Technique Exercises for the Major Lydian Sound. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:
Melodic Technique Exercises for the Major Lydian sound
Essential “DO and DON’TS” when practicing Melodic Technique Exercises for the Major Lydian sound
Five-Note Melodic Technique Exercises through an entire Major Lydian sound from the Root to the 13th
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Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play. jazz piano. Last week was tune Tuesday. Always fun, right? We took a look at Lester Young's Lester leaps in and applied the five melodic treatments we had studied over the past month to the melody. That was very cool. And it was a very enlightening lesson. Indeed. If you have not listened to last week's episode, you can do so easily at jazz piano skills.com or through any of the popular podcast directories, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, I Heart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, he in fact, I am happy to announce that jazz piano skills is now part of amazon music as well. How exciting is that? Right? I am always thrilled to welcome an entirely new listening audience to the jazz panel skills family. Bottom line, so many ways to listen to past and current jazz piano skills, podcast episodes. Okay, so as I was saying, last week was tuned Tuesday, which is an ongoing jazz piano skills series, right? All you regular listeners know that, which basically means that I do a tune Tuesday every four to five to six weeks. Well, today, I am excited because I am officially launching another series that I will be presenting on a regular basis as well. The new series is called technique Tuesday. Right? So now we have tune Tuesday. We have technique Tuesday. Right? Very cool. So yes, you heard it correctly, technique Tuesday. So like tune Tuesday, technique Tuesday will occur every four to five, six weeks as well. Each technique Tuesday will focus on one of three aspects of technique. melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic. We always tend to think of technique is being linear right melodic. And that is simply not true. And unfortunately, by focusing only on melodic technique, we become one dimensional. Our approach is one dimensional to musicianship development, which simply is not good. Especially if you're hoping to become an accomplished jazz pianist, which I am assuming is the case since you're listening to this podcast technique always involves harmony and rhythm, as well. So each technique Tuesday, I will focus on one of three technique dimensions, melodic technique, harmonic technique, or rhythmic technique. And today, we are going to kick things off with a look at developing melodic technique. But before we dig in, I want to take a moment to personally invite all new listeners to join jazz piano skills. To become an active member. All you have to do is go to jazz piano skills.com, click on the join link, pick a plan and join. It's that easy. Once your membership is established, you will have full access to all of the educational content and resources on the site. Right all the educational podcast guides, the interactive courses. The weekly masterclass the private community plus personal and professional support that I am happy to provide. I share I will share more information about all of this right throughout the podcast. But I want to personally invite you to join piano jazz piano skill. If you are serious about developing as a jazz pianist, becoming an accomplished jazz pianist, then you will want to become part of the jazz piano skills community and begin taking advantage of all of the educational materials. Okay, with all that being said, it's time to discover, learn and play some technique, some melodic technique. So today you're going to discover five note melodic technique exercises. You're going to learn essential do and don'ts when practicing melodic technique. And you're going to play five note melodic technique exercises, through an entire sound from the root all the way to the 13. So regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, whether you consider yourself a beginner, an intermediate player, an advanced player, or even if you are an experienced professional, you will find this jazz piano skills podcast lesson exploring five note melodic technique exercises to be very beneficial. Let's begin with a brief discussion about what technique is and what it is not. Technique over the years has been explained in a variety of ways by musicians. And the term itself has been used inappropriately when referencing various aspects of musicianship, and as a result has caused much confusion as to what exactly is what is technique. So here we go, I am going to define the term in the most simplistic way that I possibly can. technique is one's ability to produce the musical sound and ideas, melodically harmonically and rhythmically that they wish to produce technique is one's ability to control their instrument, the better the technique, the better that control, the better that control, the better. The music. Makes perfect sense, right? It all comes down to control. controlling our instrument allows us to produce to produce the music we desire. In fact, Who among us seriously, Who among us, cannot relate to the feeling of the instrument controlling us? Right? especially at the beginning of our musical journey when we are starting to learn how to play an instrument, Who among us hasn't felt the frustration of our hands, simply not being able to produce what we are hearing in our head. All of us have experienced these moments, all of us have felt these feelings. And all of us has had to deal with this frustration. It's all part of learning how to play an instrument at a high level. But here is a brutal fact. A realization that we all must come to terms with you ready? We never gain a complete mastery, a complete control of the instrument. It never happens. In fact, I know of not one musician who would be bold enough and quite honestly foolish enough to make such a claim. Wow, can you can you imagine someone actually saying I have mastered the instrument. Such as statement sounds odd to our ears. Especially the more we discovered learn and play. The more we know about music and playing the piano The more we realize how much more there is to accomplish and you know what? Thank goodness, it's this way. Thank goodness, there is not a finish line to cross when pursuing musical excellence. This is precisely what makes this journey, this endeavor. so incredibly intriguing. The thrill of taking and accomplishing the next step. What skill lies around the next corner? What challenges am I about to face? What challenges am I about to conquer? What setbacks will I have to overcome? It's amazing. The study of music has it all. The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. Wow. That's a nice slogan. I think I'm gonna, I think I'm gonna start using it. Seriously, the pursuit of musical excellence. It's a thrill. It's fun. It's maddening. It's frustrating. It's artistic. It's creative, it's rewarding. It's music. It has it all. Very cool. And all of that to say, the better our technique, the more successful our musical journey. So let's get busy. And look at the five note, five finger melodic technique exercises that we are going to explore today. Here's the objective, we want to develop strength and agility across our entire hand, right hand and left hand, we want to be able to comfortably utilize all five fingers on both hands, including the fourth and fifth fingers, which are the weakest for everyone. They're the weakest. It's nice to know that we all deal with this issue, all of us. So to help combat this reality, I like to do what I call five note, five finger melodic technique exercises. I'm going to model this exercise today using the C major scale Lydian C major Lydian. So I'm going to use the notes C, D, E, F sharp, G, A, and B. Okay. Our first step is to get comfortable with the entire sound from the root to the 13th. Using five note fragments, in other words, we are going to break apart the entire C major sound into five, five note fragments, we're going to play the sound from the root to the fifth from the third to the seventh, from the fifth to the ninth, from the seventh to the sharp 11th and from the ninth to the 13th. So we are dealing with a lot of fives here today, right? We have five note, five finger exercises, that we end up producing five fragments to explore the entire sound from the root to the 13th. So let me bring the ensemble in and demonstrate for you how to approach getting familiar with the five, five note fragments of C major using all five fingers. Now for the sake of time, I'm going to play each fragment once, one time in the right hand, one time in the left hand and then one time with both hands together. Now keep in mind I'm going to be using all five fingers in both hands. I am not going to manipulate my fingering to conveniently avoid my fourth and fifth fingers. That would defeat the entire point of the exercise right. also pay careful attention As I move through the sound, I want you to put your ears to work and listen for various entry and destination points, right, the route to the fifth, the third to the seventh, etc. As always, we want our ears engaged when practicing. And this is another reason why doing any scale work that we never, ever, never, ever play the scales from the root to the root, like 99% of all music students Stop, don't do that. We never want our entry and destination points to be the same. When doing so our ears literally check out, they turn off, because there's actually nothing for them to listen for the beginning and the end are the same. Right? The same? So we always make our entry and destination points to different different so that our ears can become actively engaged. Right? If we don't, the ears will become really bored. Okay, so here we go. Five, five finger melodic technique exercises, right? C major Lydian through the entire sound from the root to the 13th. Okay, let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out, then we'll talk about it. So here we go. Very cool. Right now, the reality is, I would stay within each one of those fragments for quite some time when working, truly working on my technique development. So again, just for the sake of time, I played each fragment just one time, hands separately, and then hands together. Did you hear the fragments move through the sound? Right? our ears were engaged from the root to the fifth. Then we hear from the third to the seventh from the fifth to the ninth and so on. It's very cool. It's a great way right? You got your training going on at the same time that you're developing your technique. Also, I was playing a temple of 130. Right, which again, I was doing that just for the sake of time, I would I would actually suggest that you begin playing this exercise and the ones that I'm about to play at much slower tempos when starting out. And the reason for this is because there are six very specific aspects of technique that I want you to focus on, you know what I should have, I should chop one of those off. So there were only five. So we have another five, right? But well, okay, whatever. So there are six. And the first aspect of technique that I want you to be focusing on when you're doing these exercises, is having relaxed hands. I want you to be consciously aware of relaxing your hands, be aware of your hand posture, right, the curvature of your hands, the key placement where your hands placed on the keys too far back too far front, up front, right? What about your wrist movement, or your handstand parallel right to the keyboard. In other words, what I'm trying to say is, you do not want your wrist moving, like you're opening a jar, right? Get that imagery in your mind, right, like turning a jar, the wrist never moves like that, what playing the piano. so relaxing your hands, making sure of your posture, everything being relaxed, huge part right technique begins there, right there. You know, if if the hands are not properly have the proper posture, if your body does not have the proper posture sitting on the bench correctly, right? Then your technique is is not even get out of the game, you're not going to even have any progress. Regardless of how long you sit there and practice, right? It begins with posture. And it begins with posture in the hands and keeping the hands relaxed. One other point I want to make very quickly is that when I'm playing those exercises, right, I'm playing all five fingers. So like when I was playing the seventh up to the sharp 11. It's kind of challenging, right, because I'm going up that sharp 11th I'm hitting that sharp 11th with my little finger that F sharp. So the tendency is to want to manipulate the fingering to avoid that. And again, that's not the point of the exercise, we're going to play all five fingers on each of those five notes. Just want to make that point again. So there's a lot going on here today. And there's a lot more that's about to go on when we go to these other exercises that I'm going to demonstrate today. So I just want to as a reminder to all you jazz panel skills members, if you need help, right, especially today's lesson in today's episode with fingerings, and so forth, especially as we move to other major chords. If you ever need help, I'm always as you know, I'm one click away, you can send me a quick voice message using the speakpipe widget that is nestled directly beneath each podcast player on the jazz panel skills website. Just send me a voice message with your questions and I will send you one back with my answers. Very cool technology, please take advantage of it. That's why it's there. That's why I provide that service. If you are listening on iheart, radio, Spotify, Apple Pandora, or Amazon, right or any of the popular podcast directories, you can use the link speakpipe.com forward slash jazz piano skills to send me a quick message and that link again is speakpipe.com. forward slash jazz piano skills. If you are a scaredy cat, and are afraid to send me a voice message, then you can post your question in the private jazz piano skills forum, or the private jazz piano skills facebook facebook group, and let the jazz piano skills community help you. Or you can attend the Thursday evening jazz piano skills master class at 8pm. And get all of your questions answered face to face by me. So I provide you with a ton of ways to get help. So definitely take advantage of the opportunities. And as you know, my entire goal is to provide you with the very best jazz piano lessons, the very best jazz piano educational materials and the very best jazz piano support that's available anywhere today. Okay, so here we go with demonstration number two. Now what we are going to do is we're going to take our first fragment, our C, up to G, our first five note fragment and we are now going to play that five note fragment ascending and descending. Using melodic thirds, or broken thirds, right? melodic thirds. So it's going to go C, E, D, F sharp, E, G, and then I'm going to resolve it down the sharp. Okay? So it's going to sound like this. So I'm using fingering wise, I'm using one, three. This is the right hand, by the way, 132435. And then I resolve it down to the F sharp. Okay, so it's this. So I guess technically, it's six notes, right. But I'm not counting the resolution note going, you know, but the resolution note is important, because using the fourth finger there, right. In the left hand, I'm going to go five, three, then 4231, and then resolve it to the F sharp. So now in this demonstration, you're going to hear me play the right hand several times, by itself, the left hand by itself, and then I'm going to put both hands together. Right, and I'm going to play this classic swing fill 130 again, and again, I would do this much slower starting out 130 and I'm going to utilize a jazz articulation a swing, right, so it's gonna sound like that. So I'm intentionally playing with that jazz swing fill. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble and let's listen to our fragment one five note fragment, played hands separately, ascending and descending hands separately, then hands together using melodic thirds on the sending side and on the descending side. Okay, did I demonstrate that? right and then coming down. I think I forgot that right. But that's how I'm going to demonstrate that right? Going up. And then I'm gonna come down. Same thing in the left hand and then down. Okay, I'm losing it. Alright, so here we go. Let's bring the ensemble back end. Let's check it out. Let's have some fun. And then we'll talk about it. Here we go. Nice. Right, challenging, right? It's not as easy as one thinks. And you know, it's interesting, I play I isolate that left hand by itself because I personally, I think it's much harder to play the left hand when the right hand is not playing. In other words, I think playing both hands together is much easier than just playing the left hand by itself because it It exposes that left hand and the weakness in that left hand. So that's why I like to do right hand practice that I like to do the left hand practice. And then I'll put the hands together, okay? So it's not easy, you're going to find doing these exercises and forcing yourself to utilize all five fingers across the hand, in both the right hand and the left hand, it's going to be challenging. And one of the reasons it's going to be challenging is the next aspect of technique that I want to talk about balance, right? When playing the hands together, especially be aware of the balance the sound between each hand and try playing there, I like to try to play the right hand slightly louder than the left hand. And then I'd like to try to do it vice versa, play the left hand slightly louder than the right hand, very challenging, also balanced between the notes, ascending and descending. I, you know what, I have to work on this all the time, because I can get kind of a lopsided sound where I'm accenting notes. Right? It's out of whack, right? okay to have a little emphasis, a little accent, but you don't. When I say out of whack when it's obvious, right? It's that we want to avoid. So balance is a huge part of what control, right, the better your control, the better your balance. It's all part of technique development. So so far, regarding melodic technique, we've talked about relaxed hands. And now we've brought balance into the mix. Okay, relaxed hands, and balance. So now let's move on to our next demo. Right, next demonstration demo number three. Now we're going to move our fragment, we just completed the route to the fifth. Now we're going to focus on practicing from the third to the seventh. And we're going to do the exact same process, right, we're going to utilize ascending and descending thirds in the right hand and in the left hand. So we start on our third our E with our thumb. So I'm going E, G, F sharp, A, G, B, and then resolve it to a. So I'm using all five fingers, one and three, two and 435. and resolve it to four. And the left hand I start with my little finger on E, the G, fourth finger on F sharp, ouch, right? index finger on A, G and then B. So 5342312 together. Wow, this is a workout. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's take a listen to it. Again. I'm going to play several examples in the right hand. Then I'll shift to several examples in the left hand that I'll bring the hands together. So here we go. Let's check it out. Then we'll talk about it Not easy, right? Not easy. So, you know, we've already talked about balance. And we've already talked about relaxation of the hands. And by the way, these aspects of technique that I am highlighting today, they're in no specific order. They're all important, right? It's not this is not a hierarchy list of one being the most important going. They're all important, right? So we've talked about the relaxed hands, we've talked about having a balance with our sound. And now let's talk about the sound itself, right? Sound be aware of the sound you are producing on each note, play with a full bodied sound, right? We want the full note we do not want a weak or limp, sound listless, right, so solid. Don't, I just I just don't like when a pianist produces like a weak sound like? Not good. So play with a full bodied sound. Be aware of the sound that you are actually producing when you're working on your technique development. So now we have three dimensions of technique melodic development that we're working on, right? three dimensions, we have relaxed hands that we want to be consciously aware of, we want to be consciously aware of the balance between our hands, we want to be consciously aware of the sound that we are producing on each note, is it a full bodied sound? Right? So much to it, right? It's a lot more to technique than just playing the right note versus the wrong note. so much more to play in the piano. Okay. So, one other point that I want to make regarding sound when I talk about a full body sound, I'm not talking about playing louder. It's not louder or softer. You know, I had the enormous blessing of working with a phenomenal classical pianist, Dr. Nina, Lil Chuck, when I was at the University of North Texas, and she would talk about feeling the bottom of the piano when you play, right feeling the bottom. In other words, you should you should almost feel as if you could you feel the hammer pressing against the string, you're pushing that hammer through the string inside the piano, right feeling the bottom. So don't confuse sound with loudness and softness. That's not what I'm talking about. Okay, so now let's move on to the next demonstration. Now we're going to move to our fragment, our next fragment five note fragment, which starts on the fifth of the sound. So I'm going to start on G. And I'm gonna go G, B, A, C, B, D, C, using all five fingers 132435, and then I resolve it with my fourth. So it's a little bonus work for the fourth finger, right? And then the left hand and then I'll put both hands together. Nice. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble in. Again, I'm playing classic swing, Phil 130. Again, play it slower, practice slower, and I'm going to ascend and descend right hand several times, ascend, descend, left hand several times, and then put both hands together. Okay. So let's bring the ensemble lead. Let's check it out. Then we'll talk about it. Here we go. Very nice, see now you're now you're getting the hang of this right you're starting to understand how we are working through a sound from the root to 13 using five note fragments, creating five finger exercises, utilizing those five note fragments, to strengthen our hands across the entire hand, right hand and left hand to improve our technique, so that we have better control of the instrument and therefore produce the musical sounds that we are wanting to produce. It's a process right? Definitely a process. If you are a jazz piano skills member, be sure to utilize the podcast, the educational podcast guides that are available for you. The illustrations, wow, check them out this week, they're very good. I literally physically illustrate on the keyboard, all of these shapes and these patterns for all 12 keys, right. And then also the lead sheet guide that you can download and print out and utilize at the piano. It's written out using traditional music notation, all the fingerings are in there for the right hand for the left hand for all 12 keys a must have. And then also the play along tracks utilize those as well. So very important. So jazz panel skills members, those educational resources are there for you to take advantage of, for you to utilize. They will maximize your musical growth, I guarantee it, use them. Okay, so with regards to technique, we've already talked about the relaxation of the hands. We've talked about balance, we've talked about sound. And now want to talk about articulation. Right? Be sure that when you're practicing doing these exercises that you are aware of articulation. In other words, be careful not to roll your hand when ascending or descending through the batter, kind of creating a blurring of sound right? Let me see if I can imitate like that. See. It's kind of kind of trying to cheat my way through the pattern. So some of the notes get lost, right? We want to hear each note. each note articulated clearly and cleanly articulated. So be consciously aware of that when you're playing do not allow yourself to cheat through the sound to roll through the sound. Right. So, so far, again, we've talked about with regards to technique, development, relaxation of the hands, your balance between the hands, the balance of sound, sound itself and now articulation. Man so much to think of right? Hard work, right? So you know what, becoming an accomplished pianist takes a lot of thought and a lot of energy, a lot of dedication, no doubt about it. Okay, on to our next demonstration on to our next five note fragments. So now, right we are going to play from the seventh our entry point is going to be our seventh our destination point is going to be our sharp 11. So we're going to start on the note With our thumb in the right hand, D, C, E, D, F sharp with our little finger. Oh, it's so tempting to change the fingering, right? But don't do it. We have to use all five fingers. And then coming down. Nice and the left hand, we start with our little finger up on that F sharp, right? kind of clunky, a little awkward. We want to change it. But don't we want to develop the finger the hand across the entire all the fingers across the entire hand, right? And then both hands together. Wow. This one's a challenge, right? I think out of all the fragments, this one may be the most challenging. So let's bring the ensemble in. And let's check this out. Let's listen to this fragment from the seventh to the sharp 11. I'm going to play the right hand several times again, ascending, descending, left hand several times, ascending, descending, and then the hands together. So here we go. Let's check it out. And then we'll talk about it. Wow, tough, right? Told you. This may be the toughest fragment of them all. Getting up to that sharp 11 and back down cleanly. So the next aspect of technique development feel, right. think it's so important that before you sit down to practice technique, you make a decision you determine a specific kind of groove or feel that you're going to play while developing and working on your technique. Alright, so today I'm using a classic Swain Phil, right pretty straightforward, but you could use a Bossa Nova feel. Right, you can use a several other types of latinfeels Hey, you know, Tango, chacha, all kinds of stuff, right. So always a great idea to have a very specific kind of groove or feel in mind as you're developing and working on technique, right. And then be sure to maintain that feel for the entire duration of the exercise. Jazz, it is a feel right. It's a feel. So you know the the aspects of techniques so far that we've talked about the relaxation of the hands, right, your balance, the balance of sound, the sound itself, and then of course articulation, being able to cleanly play and articulate each note. And now, feel the term in a groove before you dig in. And I say this because so many times, in working with students, they'll start with one field and end with another one. Very confusing. So feel is a very important part of your technique development. And to help you with this, I want to encourage, again, all jazz piano skills members, I want to encourage you to tap into the jazz piano skills, the interactive courses that are on the website, they are fantastic, and they will help you with this aspect of development. The courses make up literally, they make up a sequential curriculum that utilizes a self paced format to help you thoroughly study the essential jazz piano skills that you need to command that you need to control in order to become an accomplished jazz pianist. And each course, as I always remind you is packed with detailed instruction and illustrations. There are in depth educational talks and interactive learning media for you to utilize traditional guides and worksheets that you can download high definition video demonstrations in all 12 keys, yes, play along tracks and lead sheets. And of course, I provide professional and personal educational support within each of those courses as well. And finally, you have no excuse mobile access, right? These courses you can easily access from your desktop, your laptop computer, from your tablet, from your phone, from your TV, and yes, even your watch. So be sure to check out and utilize the jazz piano skills courses as well. Okay, on to our final fragment, right, our final fragment starts on the ninth of the sound. So we're going to start on our D. And we are going to move in thirds, all the way to the 13th and then resolve it to the fifth. And coming down the left hand we started on that D little finger right and then come down. Again, using all five fingers and then together and then coming down. Wow, really nice. What a great sound right from the ninth to the 13th plane above the changes as Charlie Parker would say up on top. So great sound. So let's bring her ensemble Lin. Let's check it out. Let's see what we think. Then we'll talk about it. Here we go. Pretty cool stuff. Right. Pretty cool. Alright, so the last facet of technique development that I want to mention the concept of time. knew it was coming right. Be sure to always practice in time. Use play along tracks play in time. And while you're playing in time, be aware of any tendencies to rush to get out in front of the beat, right? It's almost kind of like running downhill. Remember, like when you're kids, we'd run downhill, and then all our body weight would get out in front of us. And we would know very quickly, we're going to face planet right now, right? So we go into a faceplant, and we roll down the rest of the hill. Well, that's kind of what happens in time, we have a tendency to get out in front of time, and then everything's gonna collapse from there. So be careful not to rush in fact, play slightly behind the beat, very relaxed, right. So now look, the six, six aspects of technique development to be thinking about as you play these five finger five note melodic exercises using five fragments of the sound. Here are the six technique dimensions. To keep in mind and to be consciously aware of when practicing one relaxation of the hands to balance of your sound between the hands and between the notes. Three, sound itself right play with a full bodied sound, don't be wimpy. For articulation, each note must be heard. Do not roll your hand do not cheat, right? Make sure you are articulating and playing each note five feel determine a specific groove that you are going to play before you start practicing. Are you playing a swing groove? Are you going to use a Bossa Nova feel? What is the feel that you are going to utilize when practicing today your technique today, right? Then be aware of time. That's number six time. Practice in time. Always do not rush do not get out in front of the beat relax, right relax. So a lot to think about a lot to focus on when you devote time to technique development to melodic technique development. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcasts lesson technique Tuesday the very first technique Tuesday exploring melodic technique. I hope you have found it to be insightful and of course beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson, exploring melodic technique in greater detail and to answer any question that you may have about technique, and about the study of jazz in general. Also, as a jazz piano skills member, be sure to use the educational podcast guides for this podcast lesson. And the jazz panel skills courses the interactive courses to maximize your musical growth. Likewise, make sure you are an active participant of the jazz piano skills forums, and private Facebook group get involved. Make some new jazz piano friends. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 extension 211 by email, Dr. Lawrence, Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills.com or by speakpipe found on the jazz piano skills website in the educational podcast guides and the jazz piano skills courses. That's it. That's it for now. Until next week, enjoy the journey and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano