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July 7, 2020

Take the 'A' Train

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

Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you willdiscover,learn,playthe iconic jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn "Take the 'A' Train". In thisJazz Piano Lessonyou will:

The classic jazz standard  by Billy Strayhorn "Take the 'A' Train"

How to methodically practice "Take the 'A' Train

"Take the 'A' Train" using correct chord/scale relationships

Formaximum musical growth, be sure to use the Jazz PianoPodcast Packetsfor this Jazz Piano Lesson. All threePodcast Packetsare designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluableeducational toolsto have at your fingertips while studying and practicing Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

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

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

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

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



Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. For the past two weeks, we have explored using lower and upper neighboring tones to the sky scale and arpeggio motion. In doing so we established a systematic and methodical approach to constructing patterns that we can use to develop jazz improvisation vocabulary. Here's a huge question for you. How important is it for you to develop the skill of pattern production? Okay, here's an honest answer. I can emphatically tell you, there is nothing more important for your jazz development. Absolutely nothing more important than developing this skill of pattern production. If you cannot intellectually discover patterns that you can then use to physically learn shapes and sounds of jazz, then you will never play the piano. As you currently imagine doing so. It's that simple. That is precisely why sell several, not just not just one or two, but several of my podcast episodes have focused on various ways that you can successfully achieve developing the essential skill of pattern production. For example, the neighboring tones one and two, that we just completed June 23, and June 30, inside and outside plain one into April 15, and April 21. Minor chromaticism, April 1 major chromaticism, April seventh, stationary improvisation one and two, February 3 and February 11. inversion, inversions and improvisation. December 23. Last year 2019. That's just the name a few. Right, just a few. So if you have not checked out those episodes, I would strongly encourage you to do so. And of course, if you have any questions, send me a speakpipe message a voicemail, and I will respond with an answer right away. And for those of you who may not know I use a snazzy little widget called speakpipe that is nestled beneath each of my podcast episodes, allowing you to easily reach out to me with a voicemail message. I get these messages immediately. And I respond immediately. Well, definitely, definitely within a few hours. At most, it's a great way for us to engage with one another, and for you to get help when needed most. It's very cool technology that I hope you will take advantage of and use often. I'm always happy to help you discover, learn and play jazz piano. So eventually, eventually, all of your grunt work, which by the way, that's exactly what scale practices arpeggio practice pattern development, right? It's all hard work, requiring an unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence, which ultimately leads you to the jazz Promised Land. Right? So what is the jazz promised land? Well, simply put, it is the successful performance of tunes, songs, right? In fact, that's why you're listening to this podcast. You want to get better at playing the piano to play tunes songs. Right? So your ability to swing melodies using great changes, improvising and presenting a treatment of of a tune that you and your listeners will thoroughly enjoy. That's that's the music process. All right, that's that's it. And that is why I am totally and completely pumped to tell you about the new jazz piano skills podcast feature, which is officially being unveiled. today. I am calling this new feature of jazz piano skills. Tune Tuesday. It's catchy right tune Tuesday. So you ask what is tune Tuesday? Well, let me tell you on tune Tuesday, which I plan on doing at least once or twice a month, we will discover, learn and play a jazz standard together. Some of the standards we explore you may already be familiar with and some you may not have heard of at all. Either way, I promise you. The journey will be enlightening and musically beneficial. When it's all said and done, regardless of the standard, every tune Tuesday, you will discover some interesting and historical facts about the tune, composer year influential recordings influential musicians and so on. You will learn the tunes, you will learn the form harmonic function course got relationships, modes, and you will play the tune sections and in its entirety, using arpeggio motion, scale, motion, and of course, improvisation. Bottom line, not only will you discover, learn and play a jazz standard, you will establish for yourself a systematic and methodical way to properly build a jazz repertoire. How cool is this? Right? How cool is tune Tuesday. So to kick things off, for our very first tune Tuesday, we will discover learn and play one of the greatest and most classic jazz standards of all time. Duke Ellington's take the a train. Well, Billy stray horns, take the a train but take the a train. Great to this is going to be fun. Now I know some of you are probably wondering and asking, Hey, what about the educational guides that you develop and make available to download for each podcast episode? That's a great question. So as my regular listeners know, I developed three educational guides for every jazz piano skills podcast episode. These guides are developed specifically to maximize your musical growth. And the three guides can be downloaded individually or as a bundle, or as a subscription, which actually gives you access to all of the educational guides for all of the jazz piano skills podcast episodes, which is definitely the way I would go, especially if you're serious about becoming a jazz pianist. The three guides illustrations, lead sheets and play alongs for tune Tuesday, are structured accordingly. The illustration guide outlines all the chord scale arpeggio relationships for the tune in the standard or most common key. The guide helps you discover the jazz standard. Conceptually, the imagery and the graphics are amazing. And as the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words. Don't ever forget your physical growth as a jazz pianist depends a 100% on your mastery of the jazz piano skill, or in this case, the tune you are studying your mastery of it mentally. conceptual understanding paves the way for your musical success. And this guide will definitely help you solidify a mental imagery of the chord scale arpeggio relationships for take the a train. The lead sheet guide uses traditional music and jazz notation to help you successfully learn the jazz standard physically. And I actually should call this the lead sheet guides plural. Because here's what here's what you get. Check this out. You get an A section lead sheet for improvisation, and a section lead sheet with arpeggios and a section lead sheet with scales. You get a B section lead sheet for improvisation. A B section lead sheet for arpeggios, a B section lead sheet with scales, you also get an A B a complete form of a train lead sheet for improvisation, you get an A B, a complete form lead sheet with the arpeggios, you get another a b a lead sheet form with the scales. And then my favorite, you get an A B a form lead sheet with the harmonic function notation, which ultimately is the way in which you want to learn any to not just take the a train, but any tip. Okay, I'm telling you right now that this lineup of lead sheets is simply amazing. All of the material I develop for you is material that I wish I had when I was searching for a way to successfully discovered learn and play jazz, you will find these lead sheets to be invaluable. The play along guide which are play along tracks and they are laid out in a similar way. There were going to be three play long tracks for the A section various temples at 101 23 B section play along tracks again, at temples of at 101 20. And then three additional play long tracks for the entire take the a train form a BA form, again with temples of 80 101 20 fabulous play long tracks that you will definitely want to use. As you're studying and learning take the a train. The play along tracks and the various tempos are so important because they allow you to break the tune apart for thorough development of the following right time and feel your melody and articulation chords and voicing. The chord scale arpeggio relationships are the modes and of course, improvisation, a great way to practice improvisation, in order to properly develop these essential elements of playing jazz piano. And my regular listeners have heard me say this, you must experience them. And there's no better way to do this than to use quality play along tracks. I cannot stress enough how beneficial the educational podcast guides are for maximizing your musical growth. Be sure to check them out at jazz piano Go to the homepage, click on the podcast link in the menu bar that runs across the top of the page. And once you're on the podcast page, you'll see an expandable menu organized by year. Simply expand that menu and find the jazz piano skill or tune that you want to study and click the link and begin to discover, learn and play. It's that easy. If you download the educational guides and have questions, you can always send me a quick voice message using speak pipe widget that I mentioned earlier. Or you can post your question in the jazz piano skills forum. And let the jazz panel skills community help you or attend the Thursday evening jazz piano skills masterclass at 8pm and get your questions answered face to face. So many ways to get help. My entire goal with jazz piano skills is to provide you with the best jazz piano lessons. jazz piano, educational materials, and jazz piano support. that's available anywhere today. Okay, here we go. It's time to discover, learn and play. Take the a train. In this podcast episode, you're going to discover the classic jazz standard, take the a train, you're going to learn how to methodically practice, take the a train and you're going to play take the a train using the correct chord scale arpeggio relationships. So regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, whether you're a beginner and intermediate player, an advanced player or even an experienced professional, you're going to find this podcast this lesson exploring the classic jazz standard take the a train to be enormously beneficial. So to begin, it's always good to have a little historical perspective of a town Have the tune that you are wanting to learn. A classic jazz standard take the a train, which has basically become a synonym for Duke Ellington was actually composed by Billy Strayhorn, who was a pianist, composer, arranger, a lyricist, and who enjoyed a long time collaboration with with the Duke nearly three decades and take the a train was composed in 1939. And according to legend, Ellington offered straigh horn a job in his organization and gave him money to travel from Pittsburgh to New York City. And Ellington wrote directions for stray horn to get to his house by subway directions that began take the A Trey. And the rest, as they say, is history. There are so many wonderful recordings of this classic, that the best advice I can give you is to simply go to YouTube search, take the a train, begin clicking and enjoy. But make sure you have some free time because I promise you, you will get caught up in the music and lose track of all time I guarantee it. So instead of me trying to give you a list of renditions and performances to check out, right, check them, check them all out. Just go to YouTube, and just start going down the list. They're absolutely amazing. With that being said, it's important to know that spending time listening to a tune is the first step and perhaps the most important step of the learning process. It is through active listening that you will begin formulating your own treatment of the tune. In fact, I get I can't even imagine beginning to learn a tune, setting out to learn a tune without first spending time and a lot of time listening to various musicians from various genres By the way, not just jazz, from various genres play the tune. For example, check out Bob wills and the Texas playboys plane. Take the a train or how about this the group's Chicago or cellist foenum yo yo Ma. My point is simply do not limit yourself to listening only to jazz musicians. There's something to be learned from everyone. So take it all in. Once you have done a sufficient amount of listening, it's time to discover the architecture of the two. Okay, and the first step is to determine the form. All songs have a form. Now most jazz standards especially society standards, the tunes like the songs from the Great American Songbook, for example, the George Gershwin tunes Cole Porter tunes, Harold Arlen tunes, and many others, right. But these tunes typically use one of two formats. They're either what we call an A, B, A, or an A, B, A B format. four sections each, each section consisting of eight measures, for a total of 32 measures of music. That's it. Yes, yes, there are exceptions to this general rule. However, you have to learn the norms before you can begin identifying the exceptions. Take the a train uses an A B, a format. So we are going to be methodical in our approach to learning this tune by focusing first on the A section, then the B section. And then of course, we'll put them together for the entire form for the entire a be a form. Now that we have identified the form of take the a train, we need to determine the key that we're going to play the tune. Right what key are we are we going to play take the a train. I always recommend initially learning to tune in the standard or most common key in which the tune is performed. And in this case, take the a train is typically played in the key of C major. So that is the key we will use today when learning this classic jazz standard. Okay, now that we have the form a BA and we now have the key key of C major. The art Architecture the tune is two thirds complete. All we need now is the chord progression. And here it is. Are you ready? Here we go. For the A section eight measures of music measures one and two, C six, measures three and four, D seven, flat five, measures five, D minor, seven, measure six, g dominant seven, measures seven, C six, and measure eight, D minor seven to G seven. Okay, one more time, measures one and two, C six, measures three and four, D seven, flat five, measure five, D minor seven, measure six, g seven, or G Dallas seven, measure seven, C six, and measure eight, D minor seven, on counts one and two, g dominant seven on three and four. The chord changes for the B section, commonly referred to as the bridge, again, eight measures of music measures 123, and four of the bridge F major seven, measures five and six, D dominant seven, measure seven, D minor seven and measure eight, g dominant seven. So the bridge again, eight measures of music measures 123 and four, the first half of the bridge, F major seven measures five and six of the bridge are the B section D dominant seven measures, measure seven, D minor seven and measure eight of the bridge g dominant seven. Now we are good to go. We are ready to get down to business and we are ready to learn. Take the a train, we have the form of the tune a BA we have the key key of C major and we have a set of good solid correct chord changes. We are good to go. So let's do it. Let's learn take the a train. To get started. I want to give you my practice outline the outline I use when I set out to truly learn a tune to add a song to my jazz repertoire. So this is my suggested practice outline that we are going to go through today for both of the sections that I just outlined the A section and for the B section. Okay, here it is outline. First, part number one, play the chord changes in time. First thing you want to do learn the chord changes they are the foundation of the tune right? learn those chord changes in your left hand using left hand voicings right shells, no right hand, right, the right hand eventually is going to be playing the melody. So for now we're going to keep our voicings in our left hand. I would also encourage you to learn the changes using two handed voicings as well that that you would be using if you're playing behind say a soloist an instrumentalist or a vocalist. So both ways right, left handed shells and two handed voicings. If you need some help with your voicings, I did two podcast episodes on to two hand voicings back on March 3 and march 10. Check those out. And then I did a podcast episode on traditional shell voicings, December 7 2019 and contemporary voicings shell voicings December 16. Those are four different podcast episodes that you can listen to, to get help with your chord voicings. Number two on my outline, learn the melody and to learn the melody, use your ear or use both ears. Two years are better than one. So use your ears. No Fakebook. No lead sheet right Don't do it. You can pick out the melody. You can learn a train by ear You do not need a lead sheet. Right if you have not done this kind of Your work before I recommend you do to start, right maybe start easy. Pick out Happy birthday or twinkle twinkle, little star Mary had a little lamb, you know simple little nursery rhymes, but you can do it, you'll be amazed, right? And you can certainly pick out take the a train. If the melodies of some of the renditions that you hear on YouTube make it too difficult for you to transcribe the melody to learn the melody, then use the use the demos that I present in this podcast episode. To help you do that, because I'm going to play them very straight, I'm not going to get, I'm not going to get fancy with him. So use your ear to learn the melody. So once you have the chord changes under your hands, you have the melody in your fingers. Now, number three of my outline, play the chord changes in your left hand with the melody in your right hand. Keeping it simple. No dude lane, no messing around no improvisation play the tune. This is probably probably the most neglected area. By all students, when it comes to learning a piece of music. They simply do not spend enough time playing the tune, just playing the song. chord changes and melodies. So that's number three. Once you have that melody, the chord changes in the melody, you can begin adding arpeggios in your right hand. Right? And you we add arpeggios and we're gonna do this, we're gonna do all of this today, right? We're gonna add arpeggios, like we're improvising and we're not gonna play them like an exercise, but like, we're actually improvising, which in a sense we are, we're also gonna play the scales in the right hand. And again, we're gonna play the scales, musically not like an exercise, like we're improvising because in essence, in essence, we are. Which brings us to number four on my outline, improvise, write one section at a time, using arpeggio motion, just arpit notes of the arpeggio, and also scale motion. And we're going to do both of those. I'm going to demonstrate how I practice how I do this, so that you can begin doing it as well. And you will notice when I when I demonstrate this a little later, you will notice that when I begin improvising using arpeggio motion, I only use notes of the arpeggio, I don't even reference the melody at this time, right. And the same thing with the scale. I improvise using scale motion, with no concern for the melody. Right, we'll bring that melody in a little later. But you'll you'll hear it when when I do the demonstrations. Finally, after we work through the A section in the B section, using the first four steps of my outline, we actually apply the process to the entire tool, we bring it all together right, the a BA form and we begin improvising using arpeggio motion scale motion melody patterns, like lower and upper neighboring tones, chromaticism, cyclical quadruplets, etc. And if you're not familiar with these concepts, again, I would encourage you to go back to my previous podcast episodes, and check some of them out to help you with these improvisational patterns that you should be using and incorporating into your plane. And finally, step five of my outline, which I believe is the most important if you really want to learn to tune and that is understanding the tune its harmonic function. And we're gonna go through that at the end of the podcast episode as well. Okay, so the five steps of my outline and learn your tune, I play the chord changes in time, I learned the melody, I play a chord changes in left hand with melody in the right hand and then begin using arpeggio and scale motion in my right hand. At number four, I start improvising using the arpeggio and scale motion. And then I apply it to the entire tune the scale motion arpeggio motion and then finally step five harmonic function. Right. So again, one more time Number one, play the chord changes in time. Number two, learn the melody. Number three, play chord changes in the left hand with the melody in the right hand. Then add arpeggio motion and scale motion in the right hand. Number four, begin improvising using arpeggio and scale motion, and then use arpeggio and scale motion mount, pull it all together for the entire form. And then number five harmonic function, learn the harmonic, the architectural blueprint, the blueprint of the song, so that you can ultimately play it in any key that you desire. Wow, that is, I know that is a ton of information. And you may already have a ton of questions. No worry, no worries at all. In fact, I mentioned it earlier in passing, I mentioned that every Thursday evening 8pm Central time I am live online using the zoom platform, which I know all of you are familiar with this online meeting platform. So the jazz piano skills online masterclass is an open discussion and deeper dive into the current week's podcast episode. So this Thursday, we're going to take a closer look at take the a train, and everything that I'm discussing here within this podcast episode. And of course, I always leave room within the hour long class for some q&a as well. So mark it on your calendars, Thursday evenings, 8pm Central Time, join me online, it's definitely as I like to say, a value added educational opportunity that you do not want to miss. The Zoom link is posted on my Twitter, Twitter and Instagram and Facebook pages. So be sure to follow me plus it is posted on the homepage of the jazz panel skills website, as well. So I'm looking forward to meeting you and talking with you on Thursday evening. 8pm Central time. Okay, demonstration number one, we're going to we're going to take a look at the A section eight measures of music. Okay, I'm going to play six courses, we're gonna go through these eight measures six times. The first two times, I'm going to play just the chords only in my left hand, I want to produce a good sound, I want to make sure I'm using really solid chord voicings, I want to add some rhythmic articulation to the chords, I just want it to be very musical. So the first two courses, I'm going to play the chords only now of course, if I was practicing this for real, it'd be a heck of a lot more than two courses, I promise you that I'd be going through this many many, many courses. But for the sake of time, I'm trying to condense my practicing down here to literally 15 minutes to demonstrate everything. The second two courses, I'm going to play just the melody only a microplane chords, my right hand will come in and I'm going to play the melody. And again, if I was doing this, for real learning to tune, I would play that melody over and over and over again. In fact, I tell students when they leave my studio, my office here at the Dallas School of Music, they go off after their lesson. If we're working on two and I say now I always tell them play that melody like 1 million times. And I I want to say I'm joking but I'm actually not joking. I'm in other words, play it a lot, right. And in the last two courses, I'm going to actually put put it together the chords and the melody. So when I do that, I want it to be as musical as I possibly can. I want a nice voicings I want nice melody I want the two working together, I want a nice balance between my hands. I want this to sound as musical as possible. So again, first two courses chords only, second two courses melody only. And then the last two courses, chords and melody together. So let's bring in the ensemble. Let's hear how this is going to sound. And by the way, I'm playing at the temple of 120 nice and relaxed. So here we go. Let's check it out. Pretty nice, pretty cool stuff, man. That just sounds good, right? Nice and simple. You know, one of the things I just have to warn you about when you're learning to tune Don't. Don't try to complicate things right especially at the beginning keep things very simple, very clean, very musical. Okay, so now that I have my chords under my fingers, my hands my, my melody, under control, I got them working together feel good about that. Now I'm going to start actually paying attention to the chord scale arpeggio relationships. So now I'm going to, I'm going to play it again, six courses again, a section just eight measures of music. This time I'm going to do three courses of arpeggios only, followed by three courses of scales only. Right? When I play both arpeggios and scales, I'm not trying to play the this is not an exercise. I'm playing the arpeggios I'm playing the scales as if they are part of an improvisational line. So I want to make them as musical as I possibly can. They have to swing they have to be hip, they have to sound great, right. So now we take it to the next level in the learning process. I have my melody, my chords and melody under control. Now I'm going to start paying attention to those arpeggios and the scales and getting those going to so let's bring in the ensemble. Let's hear how this is going to sound. This a section of take the a train eight measures, six courses, three minute three courses of arpeggios followed by three quarters of scales. So let's check it out. See what this sounds like. Here we go. Pretty darn nice, right? It's funny. Just the pure arpeggios and pure scales can sound very fair. Musical, and very, very hip quite honestly. In fact, if you can't do that, you have really no, no business trying to go further, right? If you can't make just pure arpeggios and pure scales swing, then you're kidding yourself. If you're thinking you're going to decorate those somehow. And now they're going to sound great, just simply not true. Okay, now, I want to repeat this exact same process for the B section for the bridge, right. So, we're going to take the eight measures of the B section, and I'm going to play six courses. And guess what, I'm going to play two courses of just the chords. Focusing on my voicings, I'm going to play two courses of the melody only no left hand, just the right hand melody, making that melody swing, making sure that I can play the melody. And then followed by two courses of the chords and the melody together. And again, if I was doing this in real life, right, not on a podcast episode I was learning to tune, I would be spending a lot more than just two courses, I want to stress that there would be many, many courses of me doing these activities. So let's bring in the ensemble, let's check out the B section of take the a train six courses, to two courses of chords, only two core courses of melody only followed by two courses of chords and melody together. So here we go. Let's check it out. See what we think. Very nice. Right? Very nice. Again, keep it simple. Keep it clean, keep it pure while you're learning a tune, right? And be really quite honestly be critical of your playing. If the chord voicings do not sound good, make an adjustment. You know, I used to have a teacher that used to say to me, you know, hey, Bob does that. Does that sound good? And I said yes, he goes, Well, then it's good. And then he would also say, hey, Bob, does that sound bad? Like we Yeah, I just want that it's bad. In other words, trust your ears, right? When you're doing this, make sure those chord voicings are good. Make sure that melody swains right. Are you playing that with a nice feel nice articulation and be honest with yourself. And then the same thing when you put the chords and the melody together? Are you playing with a nice balance between the harmony and the melody as the harmony out drowning is drowning out the melody? Right? So be critical of yourself. It's It's good, right? That's how you're going to get better. So now, demonstration number four, again, the B section, eight measures of music. Same process that we did for the A section now we're going to do six courses. Three of those courses are going to be just the arpeggios followed by three courses of just the scales right. So we're focusing on our our PEGI on our scale relationships with the courts. All right. So let's bring in our rhythm section again. Let's listen to the B section of take the a train. Let's check out these arpeggios and the scales. So here we go. Very, very nice. Wow, we've done a lot of great work already. Right? We've snapped take the a train apart into two sections, the A section, the B section, we focused on each one of those sections, making sure that we have solidified nice chord voicings, being able to play the melody of each of those sections. also being able to identify and establish the arpeggio, appropriate arpeggios, and the scales for each of the chords within each each section. So a lot of great work up to this point, a lot of great work in learning this classic, take the a train. If you're wanting to really dive in and learn these jazz piano skills. Take a very thorough study and look at these skills, I would strongly encourage you to take a look at the jazz piano skills courses at jazz piano They are tremendous course. The courses are tremendous in that they're sequential, right take you by the hand step by step, and they utilize a self paced format, right so you can move at a pace that is comfortable for you. And each course each lesson within each course is packed with all kinds of goodies, detailed instruction and illustrations. There are in depth educational talks, interactive learning media to help you truly digest the jazz panel skills being taught there traditional guides and worksheets that you can download and utilize. You can use them online or download them and use them sitting at your kitchen table. So there's also high definition video demonstrations and all 12 keys so you can watch my fingerings in my hand movement, play along tracks, of course and lead sheets for you to take advantage of. And of course professional and personal educational support is available as well to help you every step of the way. And again, mobile access to all my courses and lessons on any of your smart devices. Whether it be your desktop or laptop computer, your tablet or your your phone, your TV or yes, even your watch. Believe it or not, I have some students that listen to the podcast and tap into the educational material through their watch. It's unbelievable. So anyway, be sure to check out the jazz piano skills courses at jazz piano Okay, let's go on to our next demonstration. Here's where it gets fun folks. We are going to pull it all together the A section the B section. So now we're going to have our entire a BA form all 32 measures of take da train. So the very first thing I want to do when I pull it all together You already know what's coming. I'm going to play the chords and the melody. Only. No improvisation. No dude lane. No messing around. I want to play the song. So here we go. One course of take the a train 32 measures, chords and melody. Let's make this swing. Let's check it out. Here we go. Pretty stinking cool, right? Wow, that is fantastic. Now listen, again, if I were learning this tune for the first time, and I was practicing, I would play not one chorus, right? I would be playing chords and melody together several choruses. Fact I had a teacher who said, Hey, I remember this, if you can't make the chords in the melody swing, you have no business thinking about improvising and it's so very true. Okay, so now we have the entire form down right, we are actually playing take the a train, we have the chords, we have the melody, its swing and we have a good feel. We are ready to go to the next level we are ready to begin improvising. So you know that arpeggio and that scale work that you were that we did earlier. Now you're going to see how it comes into play. Now I'm going to take a chorus of take the a train and I'm going to improvise using arpeggio motion only. I am going to try very hard. I'm just going to play the notes of the chord. Nothing else I'm going to focus on on making a musical line a musical thought and weaving that musical thought from chord to chord with in the song using only chord tones, chord tones, only arpeggios. So here we go. Let's see if we can make something musical. Playing over the chord changes of take the a train using only chord tones arpeggio motion. All right. Let's check it out. Here we go. Well, what do you think? Not bad, right? If you're like me the first time I heard somebody demonstrate this. I thought to myself no way can that be just chord tones. Man Have I been making This way too complicated. And it's true. We all do, right. So I strongly encourage you when you begin improvising, learning to tune, improvising through that tune. Once Of course, you have the chords under control and the melody under control, start using arpeggios chord tones, only to begin developing your improvisational ideas, your jazz language that you're going to use on this tune, and of course, on other tunes as well as you develop your vocabulary. So now we're going to do the exact same thing, one course of take the a train again. And we're going to improvise this time, using only scale motion. So now, I'm going to focus on ascending and descending scale motion through the chord changes of take the a train. And I want to try to add rhythmic variation to my scales to create musical phrases, musical lines, that makes sense, not doing arpeggios. I'm working on scale motion at this time. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Let's see what happens. See what we think. Here we go. Wow, right. Scale movement, scales, straight scales, right? Nothing but scale movement. It's amazing arpeggios scales, just using those two tools, right? How much vocabulary you can develop. by just having a command of your arpeggios and a command of your scales. We tend to again, overcomplicate things and make it way too difficult. So now that I've got a command of my chords, My Melody I'm getting comfortable with my arpeggios my scales, you know what? It's time finally now to bring it all together. I'm going to bring my melody back into the into the spotlight. I'm going to play one course i'm going to improvise one course of take the a train. And now I'm going to use my melody as the focal point I'm going to work around My Melody using scales and arpeggios and other types of patterns like neighboring towns lower and upper neighboring tones and chromaticism and cyclical quadruplets and, and some of these improvisational concepts and patterns that we have addressed in previous podcast episodes. So I'm going to pull it all together now and let's see what happens again. My tempo is 120 nice and comfortable. One course of take the a train having a little fun with the melody and improvisation. So here we go. Let's check it out. What a great tune, what a fabulous tune that can be played so many different ways, so many different treatments. And it's just wonderful. Every single way. It's just wonderful. So there you have it, right one entire course of of take the a train improvising with melody and arpeggios and scales and various improvisational type patterns and devices, it's can do that all day long, so much fun. Now, when all of that is said and done, my very last thing I like to do is I like to look at the harmonic function of the tune. So then I'll play through the chord changes of the tune. But I will be thinking Roman numerals, harmonic function, I'll be thinking, Oh, the one chord, go into the two dominant go into the two minor go into the five dominant, right. So I want to play a course of that with just the chord changes. And I'm going to actually indicate or, or, I'm going to, say, the harmonic function as I'm playing it, right. So let's, let's do this and then we can wrap things up. So here we go. Take the a train, just the harmonic motion of the tune. So we can folk focus on harmonic function of the two. Here we go. One major, two, dominant, flat five, two minor, five, down. One major, 2512, dominant, flat, 52515, minor, one dominant, four stays on for too dominant. Two minor, five dominant. One, two dominant, flat five, two minor, five dominant, one major, pretty cool. You learn a tune like that you have truly learned a tune. Because now it doesn't matter what key somebody wants to play it in, or sing it in, you know that tune, provided that you know, your keys, you will be able to play that tune in any key great for ear training as well. No doubt about it, right, you start hearing the chord changes, you start hearing those two, five ones start to come come to life, the bridge going to the four of the key, you start to become familiar with the commonality, the patterns that are that are utilized in so many jazz standards. So I can't encourage you enough to do harmonic function. When you really, really truly want to learn a tune, and not just learn to tune in a key, but learn a tune so that you can play it in any key. Well, I hope you have found this jazz piano skills podcast lesson this tune Tuesday to be fantastic of the very first tune Tuesday. Right exploring take the a train. I hope you have found it to be insightful and of course beneficial. Don't forget I will see you Thursday evening jazz piano skills masterclass at 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode in greater detail and to answer any questions you may have about this lesson, or the study of jazz in general. Also, be sure to download the educational podcast guides for this episode. In this lesson at jazz piano they are a tremendous resource that will expedite your discovered learn and play process. As for take the a train, so be sure to do that. And while you're there, you should check out the jazz panel skill courses and the jazz piano skills forums. If you haven't joined the community Please do so get involved make some new jazz piano friends. And as always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 my extension is 211 or by email, Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano and, or by speakpipe right found on the jazz piano skills website and the educational guides and the jazz piano skills courses. So that's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the journey. Enjoy, take the a train, and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano