(Intermediate+) A comprehensive and methodical approach towards building facility, phrasing and vocabulary in the jazz idiom. The course is designed as a daily practice routine of scales, arpeggios, phrases, and a unique approach to sight reading that will prepare you for life on the bandstand.
There are 36 weekly lessons, each with 6 daily practice sessions for every lesson. They vary from 5 minutes to 8 minutes or so.
A few lessons have a theory concept, but most lessons contain four parts:
The scale page should be played slowly at first, and sped up every day that you practice the lesson. I would not try to swing these. Subtle accents and a fluid sound will make them boyant and interesting to listen to. Here we concentrate on one tonal center for the whole lesson, going down the circle of fifths
each week. Still, look at the key signature at every line!
The II-V-I page can swing, and should also be started slowly and sped up as the
week porgresses. Here we visit all 12 keys every week with a different pattern.
The dots page is meant to be used as a reading as well as a phrasing exercise. Use the included video or audio files or make up your own, and make sure there is rest built in. A new figure with a different number of notes should be used every day. By changing the pattern often, one also insures that the dots experience will be different every time you repeat the same page.
NOTE: accidentals do not stick in the DOTS pages. It makes for a very challenging read in some cases.
The choral is also meant to be played with a rhythm. I play the first note, you play the first note. I play the second note, and you respond, etc…
The scale pattern in lessons 1 to 12 is not the easiest, but perhaps the most useful. If you have a younger band, I recommend starting with lessons 13 to 24, than come back to lesson 1. If you only did one 12 week block, I would use the first block, because it is such a complete pattern.
-I suggest to have drummers play vibes or keyboard for this method, except perhaps for the chorals (for which I have him/her keep a groove throughout).
He/she will get a lot more out of the book this way.
-The chorals are a very good way to get the band in tune pitch wise, blend wise, and also in tune rhythmically, so as to have a chance of playing well together later in the rehearsal. Phrasing gets learned here. Everyone gets the whole score for these, so that they can understand their role in the chords, and so they can switch parts easily if need be. Use the audio/video files.
I play the first note, you play the first note, etc…
-If you have a student jazz ensemble, I recommend writing out the solo sections of your pieces for everyone (in their key), writing only the chords, leaving the staff blank, and have the students write one chorus of solo that is based on all the phrases found in the II-V-I and scales pages in the book. This way you have the possibility of having everyone play a solo on every piece, and the students will get a better grasp of the theory as it is applied in real situations.
-There is a little bit of theory included, just enough to understand basic tonal jazz harmony. The director will have to explain these short lessons
in order for the students to grasp the concepts, but it should not take long. The concepts behind the theory in this book were boiled down to the major, harmonic minor (of destination), and the jazz minor (or ascending form of the melodic minor) scales. A very simple approach that draws on everyone’s strengths.
Switch octave as needed, and Enjoy!