May 26, 2020

The 8th Note, Pt. 3

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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 extended 8th Note Groupings. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:

Discover
Extended 8th Note Groupings

Learn
How to use Extended 8th Note Grouping for developing jazz articulation 

Play
Extended 8th Note Groupings through the entire measure and beyond

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Illustrations
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)

Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)

Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

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Episode Outline
Introduction
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join JazzPianoSkills
Demonstrations/Exercises
Conclusion
Closing Comments

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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
JazzPianoSkills

AMDG

Transcript

0:32  
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn, and play jazz piano. The last two weeks, we have taken a very close look at the eighth note and why so much attention given to the eighth note. Well, as I have mentioned now several times, the eighth note, at least in my humble abode Onion is the most critical and the most important of all jazz piano scales. It is because it's our interpretation of the eighth note that ultimately determines whether or not we are actually playing jazz. I cannot stress this enough, you have to be able to swing, eighth notes. Bottom line, all aspiring jazz musicians, pianist, or otherwise must have a mental, physical and oral command of the eighth note. So this is why we have spent the last two weeks exploring the eighth note, and this is why we're going to explore it even further today. Yes, three weeks, we have set out to discover, learn, and play the eighth note I love it. Last week, I made a point that it's human nature that we want to study in practice the good stuff, right? You know, the stuff that makes us sound like we're really smart, and really advanced topics like giant steps, a player's guide to Coltrane's harmony, or contemporary drop two voicings or poly chord structures. We love these types of titles and this kind of vocabulary. It's impressive, especially to the non-musician, like our uncle Fred. But the reality is simply this. If you cannot proper properly articulate the eighth note that it doesn't matter how much you know about Coltrane's horn Drop two voicings, polychords, pentatonic patterns, or any other jazz concept. Poor articulation is poor articulation and the complexity of the jazz concept will not disguise it. So you may want to circumvent the eighth note and move on to hipper jazz skills. But sooner or later you will have to confront the eighth note articulation, and specifically your eighth note articulation. I highly recommend making it sooner than later. It will save you a ton of time in the long run. One of my favorite sayings is there is no longer way to get anywhere than by taking a shortcut. And it's certainly true when it comes to the study of jack And jazz piano this Thursday evening at 8 pm Central time. I will be live online as I am every Thursday evening to discuss the most current podcast episode. And of course, answer any questions you may have regarding the study of jazz piano. The Thursday night master class is a tremendous follow up to the podcast episode and a definite value-added experience for all of us. So mark it on your calendars. Thursday evenings at 8pm Central Time. Join me online. The Zoom link needed to join the class is posted every week on my social media, my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages. So be sure to follow me. Plus it's posted on the homepage. The jazz piano skills website. Okay, we started our eighth note journey with playing quarter notes, playing four quarter notes ascending and descending in time with a great swing feel. And yes, quarter notes Swank. I want to stress this jazz fact. Are you listening?

5:28  
If you cannot make four quarter notes sound and feel good. Going straight up and down using the root, third, fifth, and seventh of a core of a sound. Then there is no point incorporating eighth notes into the mix. I am totally serious. Spend time practicing playing quarter notes with a nice relaxed feel and articulation. I made the point last week that if you told any professional jazz musician, you're practicing quarter notes and eighth notes, and how to properly articulate each the quarter note and the eighth note, they would be totally blown away. They would be thinking to themselves, man, this person is serious about learning how to play jazz. After starting with the quarter note, we added eighth note pairs on each count of the measure and isolated them. On count one, on count two, count three and count four. If you have not listened to the May 12 podcast, then hit the pause button on this episode. Go back and listen to it. While you're at it, check out last week's episode as well. In that episode, we created eighth note groupings and move them around from the first half of the measure to the second half of the measure. We then split or separated the eighth note groupings and placed the eighth notes on counts one in three. And then on counts two and four. I also stressed how important it is to rhythmically sing the patterns to help humanize our articulation. In other words, we want our musical lines to sound vocal-like to sound natural, to sound human. The best way to achieve this is saying to saying internally We do not want our melodic lines to sound mathematical. It's much better to internally sing da Vu deja vu than it is to say, one, two, and three, four ad. Did you catch that? It's so much better to sing than to say, saying your line using syllables. Instead of saying your line using numbers, big difference, and it impacts your articulation. monumentally we did all of this eighth-note exploration using the C dominant chord and practiced ascending and descending through the sound playing the root, third, fifth, and Seven, C eg B flat. So, over the past two weeks,

9:08  
we have covered a lot of ground and a lot of material to help you thoroughly and efficiently discovered learn and play the eighth note articulation, and the various eighth-note patterns. I developed three educational guides for you to use when studying and practicing. I do this for every podcast lesson. And I highly recommend that you add these resources to your educational library. The illustration guide helps you discover the jazz piano skill conceptually, the imagery The graphics are amazing. They're beautiful. You've heard me say this 1000 times I'm going to continue to say it. Your physical growth as a jazz pianist depends 100% On your mastery of jazz piano skills, mentally, it's your conceptual understanding that drives that physical development. imagery. The graphics allow you to mentally, visually right, digest the shapes and sounds of jazz, which in turn fuels your physical and aural mastery. The second guide the lead sheet guide uses traditional musical notation. To help you successfully learn the jazz piano skill physically, the play the skill under your fingers right to learn it. If you're a reader, and you like seeing the notes, the concepts placed upon the musical staff, then the lead sheets are perfect. You'll love them. You'll enjoy having them sit on sitting on your piano. As a quick reference, when you when you are getting the Various harmonic shapes, the melodic lines under your fingers, right learning the geography as I like to say, there are 12 lead sheets for each podcast episode, one for each of the 12 keys, right. So not just for the one key that I demonstrate that I use to demonstrate the jazz concept in the podcast, but for all 12 keys, simply invaluable. And the third educational guide the play along Guide, which which are play long tracks, and again, I provide a play long tracks for all 12 keys. And these play long tracks are perfect to help you successfully play the jazz piano scale. Right the scale the eighth notes that are being taught in last week's in the previous week's podcast lesson and in this week's podcast episode, the play-along tracks help you develop a strong sense of internal time Plus the proper jazz feel and articulation that we are spending so much time discussing a teacher. And I've said this before as well a teacher cannot teach you time and feel right. You must experience them in order to properly develop them. And there is no better way to do this than to use quality play-along tracks. Bottom line, I cannot stress enough how beneficial the educational podcast guides are for expediting your discover learn in play process. Be sure to check them out at jazz piano skills calm, go to the homepage, go to the website. Click on the podcast link in the menu bar that runs across the top of the page and you're good to go. All of the podcast episodes are there. The educational guides are there as well. If you download the educational guides and have questions, you can always send me a quick voicemail message using the speakpipe widget that is nestled directly beneath each podcast episode. or post your question in the jazz panel skills forum and let the jazz panel skills community help you or attend the Thursday evening jazz panel skills class at 8 pm Central Time and get your questions answered face to face. You can't beat it right? many ways to get help through jazz panel skills. And again, my entire goal is to provide you with the very best jazz piano lessons, the very best jazz piano education materials and support that's available anywhere today.

13:52  
So this week, we are going to expand our exploration of the eighth note Part Three Right, you are going to discover extended eighth note groupings. And you're going to learn how to methodically use extended eighth note groupings for developing a proper jazz articulation. And you are going to play extended eighth note groupings throughout the measure and beyond. So regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner, intermediate player, an advanced player, or even an experienced professional, you will find this podcast this jazz piano lesson to be very beneficial. So let's get started. As I mentioned, this week, we are going to extend the eighth notes beyond the first or second half of the measure and we're going to begin with Seen eighth notes on counts one, two, and three of the measure. Then we will flip the pattern and place the eighth notes on counts two, three, and four of the measure. And after we extend the eighth notes to cover both the first and second halves of the measure, we are going to place eighth note pairs on all four beats of the measure. And in doing so, we have methodically progressed from our starting point two weeks ago, when we started with quarter notes on all four beats of the measure, to now having eighth note pairs on all four beats of the measure. This is a very cool rhythm progression to practice. It's very thorough, and a very effective way to develop a solid eighth note, jazz articulation. Now before I play these patterns I want to stress as I did last week, and as I did a little earlier in this episode, the importance of singing these patterns, singing them internally as you play them. If your mind is not actively engaged, singing the rhythm and feeding your hands accordingly, then I promise you, nothing jazz-like is going to be produced by your hands. Again, the bottom line, don't leave your hands out there on their own. If you do, it will not be pretty. You will not like what your hands play. I guarantee it. And one more point, don't be a scaredy-cat, right. If you're not comfortable with rhythmically singing, then you need to get comfy as quickly as possible make this a priority. To clarify this point further, by rhythmically singing, I mean attaching some kind of verbal syllables to the rhythm. Last week I use da and Vu and D to help me successfully articulate various quarter eighth-note patterns. And I'm going to do the same for each of the musical lines that I play today. So the first rhythmic line I want to demonstrate begins with a quarter note I want to do this one first. I think I mentioned earlier that I was going to start with eighth notes on counts one, two, and three it followed by a quarter. I'm going to flip it I'm going to start with a quarter note on count one, followed by a pair of eighth notes on counts two, three, and four. I am going to sing this line like this This da booty booty Buddha. So da da is Han imagine that is my quarter note da. My eighth notes are booty, foodie, Buddha. Okay, little slight different articulation on the end there. So I get da foodie booty Buddha. Now the challenge is to play each eighth note pair, each booty

18:34  
with a long-short articulation where the long is played as long as possible and the short is played as long as possible. Yes, you heard that correctly. We want to play the short as long as possible as well. In other words, we want to make sure That each eighth note is played for their entire intended value. And by doing so, we end up playing with a nice we end up producing a very nice legato smooth articulation. What we want to avoid is the high school band interpretation of jazz eighth notes, right? That sounds like something like this.

19:36  
hear that all the time, right? High School bands and they call, the band director says, hey, that's jazz. No, it's not. It's okay. I don't want to get off-topic. That's a whole nother podcast episode. But anyway, we went to play with a very nice, legato very smooth articulation so Let's bring in the ensemble. Let's listen to the first demonstration for today. Let's check out the quarter note on count one, followed by eighth notes on counts two, three, and four. Again, da booty booty Buddha. Okay, so here we go. Oh, and don't forget, sing the rhythms as I am playing them. Take advantage of this opportunity right now to practice. Okay. All right. So here we go. Let's check it out.

22:10  
Nice, very nice. Did you see, hear how important rhythmic singing is. And again, if you're not singing internally, you will not articulate the eighth note correctly. In fact, you want to get to the point that you are not even consciously aware that you're singing anymore, that the scene that you're singing is taking place just naturally. Does that make sense? You want to do it so much? That it simply becomes a habit, that you're no longer even aware that you even do it. I know I'm showing my age here. But I remember growing Growing up watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the best ever right? And I would always get a kick out of his monologue because he always had the same quirky body movements, right? Same hand gestures and facial expressions. He would always turn side to side leaned backward, and with his right-hand index finger, he would always reach up and touch the side of his nose. He would also sit at his desk and flip his pen so constantly, and I remember one time rich, little, rich little was I don't even know what even happened to rich little anymore. But he was an impersonator, right, did impersonations and he was on the show and he did an impersonation. Of course he did one of Johnny Carson. And when he was done, and after everyone was done laughing Carson looked at rich little and he said, Do I really do all those gestures? And basically the entire audience in unison shouted Yes. And Ed McMahon could not stop laughing because he, he knew it to be true because he's witnessed that every night, right? So the point is this. He did those gestures for so many years, that he wasn't even aware that he was doing them. And in fact, he acted surprised when discovering that he had repetitive gestures. This is how you want to become with rhythmically singing your melodic lines. It has to become second nature. Okay, let's move on to pattern two. Now we are going to move our extended eighth note grouping to count One, two, and three, with the quarter note placed on count four. I'm not going to say one and two and three and four. Nope. Not going to approach it mathematically. Instead, I'm going to sing my syllables. For this rhythmic pattern, I'm going to sing it like this. booty booty booty da, right. So it's a booty booty booty da. So let's bring in the ensemble and check it out. Oh, and before I play, I want you to notice how I purposely play sets of four arpeggios. And by the way, I'm just ascending today. Of course, we can do these patterns descending too, but I'm just doing ascending and I want you to notice how I play the chords for instance, sets, right I mean, I play the arpeggios and sets. And then I play chords for a little bit before I start my next set. And this is intentional. So what I'm doing is I am taking a break from playing the eighth notes, so I can assess and correct the break, where you hear me just copying, playing chords in between the arpeggios, the rhythmic patterns. That break gives me an opportunity to assess the good, bad, and ugly of my playing of my articulation. And it gives me an opportunity to determine what I need to do to correct it. So you probably heard me do this in the first demo, and I will be doing it for the remaining demos as well. I strongly encourage you to utilize this approach when practicing as well. Okay, so here we go with dentistry. To booty booty booty da right? sing it with me as I play. So here we go. Let's bring in the ensemble and let's check it out.

28:46  
Very cool, I am trying to play each eighth note. Hopefully you notice this that I'm trying to play each eighth note and each eighth note pair. I'm trying to play each eighth note for their entire intended value, and in doing so, play with a nice legato smooth articulation, right? Like I mentioned earlier, I want the first eighth note, the long eighth note to be played as long as possible. And I want that second eighth note, the short eighth note to be played as long as possible to not easy, but made a whole lot easier when I sing it. It's next to impossible if I tried to think of it mathematically, or if I don't think of it at all, and leave my hands out there on their own. In the discussion, I had with everyone in last week's Thursday night masterclass, again, Thursday nights 8 pm Central time I describe the sensation of playing eighth notes As if someone has reins on you, and they are gently holding you back so you do not get out in front of the beat. You want to stay behind the beat as far as possible, of course without losing time. This is what jazz is referred to as being laid back, right? You've probably heard that expression. It's not an easy feel to develop. It's not an easy feel to play. This is why spending time practicing your eighth note feel articulation is so vitally important. This is why we have spent the last three weeks dedicated to getting a solid grasp on the importance of this essential jazz piano skill. Okay, on to our next rhythmic pattern. We are now going to play eighth notes on all four beats of the measure on all four counts. And as we have done with all of our rhythmic patterns are going to articulate it vocally. We're going to sing this song I'm going to be singing it. I'm going to sing it booty booty Vu down. Again. foodie booty booty Buddha. Just like that. keeping those long shorts as long as possible, very smooth, articulation legato. So let's bring in the ensemble. Let's get ready to sing. Here we go. Let's check it out. All right, here we go.

33:21  
Very, very cool when you could play eighth notes through the entire measure, with a laid back feel you are on your way to becoming an accomplished jazz musician. Now, when arriving at this point, anything you play will sound like jazz. Remember how I stressed in the last two podcast episodes that the reality is, it's not what you play. It's how you play it how true this is We can simply take the root, third, fifth, and seventh of a core. play them as eighth notes, ascending or descending. Play with a good jazz articulation. And it sounds hip. It sounds like jazz. You know why? Because it is, it's jazz. When any note is played with a proper jazz articulation, it's jazz, which proves the point that it is not the notes that define jazz. It's the feel. It is so important that you read good information about studying jazz, and that you use great materials when practicing jazz. I mentioned earlier that educational guides, the illustrations, the lead sheets, and the play alongs that are available for you To download and I strongly suggest that you do. They're invaluable, and they will maximize your musical growth and help you successfully digest today's lesson. But I also want you to check out the jazz panel skills courses. This is a tremendous sequential jazz curriculum that utilizes a self-paced format packed with all kinds of goodies, detailed instruction, and illustrations, educational talks, interactive learning media, traditional guides, and worksheets that you can download. have access to high definition video demonstrations that I play in all 12 keys, play-along tracks, lead sheets, support, and of course mobile access. Be sure to check it out at jazz piano skills.com the jazz panel skills courses and the educational guides. All right, on to pattern four. Now we're gonna have a little Fun stretch out a little bit, I'm going to play eighth notes through the entire dominant sound, we're going to play the seven notes of C dominant. And which by the way, I think I've mentioned, I have been using C dominant exclusively in all three of the podcast episodes, exploring the eighth note. So I'm going to continue in that in that mode, taking the C dominant, and I'm going to play through the entire sound, the root, third 579 1113, or the notes, C, E, G, B flat, B. Right, and I'm going to play them as eighth notes.

37:01  
Right, and I'm going to try to keep that booty booty booty articulation going from the root all the way up to the 13th. Right my long short, but keeping my long as long as possible and my short as long as possible, but expand the sound to go all the way from the root to the 13th. How cool is this right? So let's bring in the ensemble. Let's check it out and let's see what this sounds like C dominant from the root to the 13th working on eighth note articulation Here we go.

39:14  
Love it how cool is playing eighth notes through the entire sound playing the whole enchilada for the dominant sound. For C. Of course, you should explore each dominant chord in this very same way, playing eighth notes through the entire sound from the root to the 13th. In fact, you should go even further you should apply this same approach to each of the primary sounds of music, major dominant, minor, half-diminished, and diminished. Explore each sound from the root to the 13th again, can't encourage you enough to check out the jazz panel skills courses. Courses three through six do exactly that. They explore each of the sounds major dominant minor, half-diminished and diminished. They explore each of those sounds taking you right by the hand and helping you go right from the, to the seventh to the ninth, to the 11th to the 13th. So check them out, you'll be glad that you did, I promise, check them out. Okay, our final pattern for today, I'm going to have some fun. And I'm going to improvise using quarter notes and eighth notes. Only. I'm gonna say that again, quarter notes and eighth notes only from the route through the 13th. That's my question. playground right there from the root to the 13th of the C dominant sound. I'm not going to use any other notes, other than quarter notes and eighth notes. And I'm not going to use notes that fall outside of the harmony outside of the sound. I'm going to use chord tones, only, root, third, fifth, seventh, ninth 11th 13th. No approach tones that do not belong to the core. The point is this. You can make a whole lot of music using quarter notes and eighth notes and chord tones. Only. I want you to hear that word. Only quarter notes, eighth notes, chord tones only. Okay, so here we go. Listen, let's see what happens. So let's check this out. Here we go.

43:41  
Pretty amazing it's hard to believe write only quarter notes and eighth notes, quarter notes. Only. Think about this for a second. If you can swing quarter notes an eighth Notes using the chord tones for each of the primary sounds of music from the root to the 13th. What kind of jazz pianists Do you think you would be? I'll tell you, you would be a very good jazz pianist, a very good jazz pianist. It would seem to me then, that your number one order of business should be to develop an authentic jazz eighth note feel, which can be applied to the chord tones of each of the primary sounds from the root to the 13th. Forget about the impressive topics and subjects like George George Russell's Lydian chromatic concept, or Giant Steps a player's guide to Coltrane's harmony, and so on. Worry about these concepts later, actually much later, and begin to focus on really and truly learning how to play jazz. And you do this by focusing on learning how to swing, quarter notes, and eighth notes using chord tones of the five primary sounds of music. There you have it. You now know the secret. You have arrived at the gateway to becoming an accomplished jazz pianist. It's pretty exciting. I'm thrilled for you. Congrats. So, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcasts lesson on the eighth note, Part Three to be insightful and of course beneficial. Don't forget, I will see you Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills master class online at 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode in greater detail, and to answer any questions that you may have about this lesson or the study of jazz in general. Also, download the educational guides for this podcast lesson at jazz piano skills.com they are a tremendous resource that will expedite your discovered learn and play process exponentially. And while you're there, you should check out the jazz piano skills courses, and the jazz piano skills forums. Join the community get involved, make some new friends, have some fun. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 my office extension is 211 by email Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills calm or use that speakpipe widget found on the website, as well attached to all the podcast episodes, use the speakpipe widget and you can send me a direct voicemail, and I get it immediately and I'll respond to you immediately as well. Okay, so that's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the journey. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano