I had a go at recording this week, but I don’t have a tripod, and our furniture is really low so you can’t see the piano keys. I also tried recording audio on my ipad but the sound quality isn’t the best. I might upload the audio anyway for posterity. This is the beginning of my jazz journey and it will be nice to look back and see how far I have come
Dont bother too much with quality
with ipad you can already do great recording and if we dont see the keys dont worry neither … just to have a motivation point and you ll be able to see your improvement with the time
Thanks Hayden for your feedback. Yes I’ll definitely introduce more tunes then. I don’t have much practice time - 30 mins on some evenings, and I try to get a couple of 1-hour sessions in a week. Because time is short, should I work on 4 tunes over the course of the week, but work on only 2 during each practice session?
I definitely feel like I am making progress. I’m starting to “intuitively understand” or “feel” the 251 progressions, and my ninth chords, so what chords and Herbie Hancock voicings are coming on well. I may be a bit of a theory geek, but I already get a great amount of pleasure just playing my Herbie Hancock voicings around the circle of fourths! What a lovely sound that voicing produces!! I actually quite enjoy the theory side of playing as well, and I love trying to get my mind around how chords are constructed, and all the different possible note combinations and the quality of sound that they produce. But of course, nothing beats working on a jazz standard
Ideally, 1 hour per day should be the minimum, but of course we all have other commitments so it can be challenging.
I used to do theory drills early morning before I went to work (my brain was more alert in the morning) and then mostly jazz standards in my evening practice sessions. I found that to be effective.
Yes certainly split tunes over different days if you are tight on time.
Most jazz standards follow a similar format.
Understanding this can greatly help with memorisation. Check out this lesson which is from an advanced course, but the information covered is accessible to all levels of students:
Yes the HH voicing is great and that is a very worthwhile exercise that you are doing.
You will be familiarising your ears with the sounds of extensions and you will be visualising the chord tones and extensions in different keys.
It sounds like you are very much on the right path Emma. It’s wonderful to have such an interest in the theory which can be a great motivator. It certainly was, and still is, a motivator for myself.
Ultimately, aim to strike a balance between theory and playing standards.
Particularly if you have aspirations to play with other musicians in the future. It’s important to start memorising jazz standards so that you know the chord changes and forms off by heart.
The above lesson will help you with that.
Every time you pick up a new tune, analyse the form and chord changes and try to remember that information. It will make your life a lot easier when you try to recall on old tune you haven’t played in a while!
I’m moving my practice schedule to paper, just because I want to use screens less. But I still had a great week of practice.
I’ve got the 3rds and 7ths of Misty down (I spent a long time working on it to make sure I knew it really well). I’m now moving onto the extensions.
I started working on Tenderly - melody + root. It seems easy and I can whizz through these exercises with mediochre results quite quickly. But I’m making myself do each step properly until it is almost error free and that takes quite a lot more time!
I’m working on a piece of boogie woogie sheet music I have at home. I want to keep up sight reading as a skill.
I started the 12 bar blues lesson
I’ve done 2 or 3 beginner level transcription exercises per day. I’m finding it difficult to distinguish between minor 6th, major 6th and minor 7th intervals, but I’m making progress.
I’m using a random note picker to choose the notes of the Kenny Barron, Herbie Hancock and So What voicings. They are coming on quite well, but there is still a lot of work to do before I can play them instantly and spontaneously.
I did at least 1 hr practice a day this week. I hope I can keep it up as we enter the busiest period of the year at school. I have 18 meetings programmed after working hours for all the parents evenings and class meetings before Christmas. My evenings are short on those days (1-2 hours from getting home until going to bed). I’m determined not to let it to get in the way of my practice though. I might ask the music teacher if I can borrow his room and get some practice in while I wait for meetings to begin.
Thanks for sharing these Emma! It inspires me to get a bit more structure in my own practise. I see I’m tending to focus on the same things too much (hey it’s fun once you know something!) Hard to guage but we may be at a similar level (i’m def beginner) maybe I’m a bit behind though. I’ll see what I can squeeze into an hour.
Thanks for your reply Brett. Yes I’m a beginner. I did play the piano when I was younger, but after an almost 20 year hiatus, I’ve lost quite a lot of the skill I used to have. I’ve also never played jazz piano before, so a lot of what I’m learning is completely new to me.
I’m really enjoying working on the jazz standards. Hayden suggested to have 3 on the go at all times, so that is what I’m doing. I’m finding great benefit in not rushing through the lessons and trying to learn everything at once. I went quickly with Tune Up and I find that I struggle to remember it. I’m going slower with Misty. I spent hours and hours making sure I could play the melody with the root, 3rds and 7ths almost perfectly before moving onto the extensions and harmonisations. Now that I’m working on the extensions and harmonisations, I’m so pleased that I put in all that work on the root, 3rds and 7ths because it is much easier to remember where I’m going with the tune, and I can also see what is going on voicing-wise.
And I know about the temptation to always play what you know. I’ve noticed the same tendency with myself and I am developing a strategy to try and avoid it, whereby I practice 3 jazz standards at the same time. One that is really good and I’m just “polishing up” or maintaining in my repertoire, another that is well on its way (in the extensions / harmonisations phase) and a third that is new, and for which I concentrate on the melody, 3rds and 7ths. When My new jazz standard gets to the stage where I can start harmonisation, I’ll bump the best jazz standard off the list, and bring in another brand new one and work on just the melody, 3rds and 7ths.
I’m hoping that by doing this, I’ll always have a jazz standard in its interesting harmonisation stage (that I practice at the beginning of my practice session) and a newer jazz standard, which I work on towards the end of my practice session, because melody, roots, 3rds and 7ths are easier and I’m better doing as I get tired from concentrating.