Guillaume Practice Schedule & Goals

Okay ! Im on Tune Up, and practising it in all the way i can find, so that’s perfect ! Thank you !

-Guillaume-

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HI Guillaume,

That’s great that you are feeling the call to play with others. I know that feeling well and there is really just NOTHING more enjoyable in my opinion. I try to play with other musicians as much as possible and especially enjoyed singing along to Hayden’s gorgeous piano.

It sounds like you have some strong steps in place to get you there. And I agree with Hayden’s suggestions. Just wanted to add a few thoughts…

#1 - Staying in tempo is always a trick, something I’m still working on too. It is important when playing with others.

Have you tried setting the metronome to very very slow so that you have plenty of time to hit each chord voicing. Sometimes 40 is too slow, but maybe 60 or so. Stay there till it feels easy to nail the tempo even multiple times through.

Once you achieve playing in tempo at this slow speed, you slowly bring up the metronome in increments of 2-5 degrees, only moving on when you’ve played in tempo at that new speed and can do it a few times through even.

I use this method a lot, and I find that once I can do it in tempo at even a very slow speed, the hard work is done. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you get up to tempo turn by starting super slow then increasing the speed. I know that sounds like a paradox. But it always surprises me how well it works. You can really get where you want to go with this method.
I believe you could even continue to use the ireal play along in this way.

#2 - My play along tracks are designed to help you take steps toward accompanying a singer… Summertime in particular has some straightforward chord changes and there are 2 versions - one with the bass and drums that will be great for your rootless voicings.

And then one without for solo piano that will work better with rooted voicings.

Maybe after Tune up, you might consider getting Summertime up to speed, and then accompanying me here…

There are also lots of play alongs from the ireal pro, jamie Abersoles, ect. where you can focus totally on comping in rhythm. This type of solo practice can really get you ready to play with others.

#3 - When the student is ready, the teacher appears or in this case, the jazz ensemble:) When I first really starting to learn jazz standards, I was living in Montreal. My teacher pointed me towards a program at McGill for adult students. We auditioned with a jazz standard. Then we were placed in jazz ensembles according to level, always with a teacher present. We met once a week a working on about 5 standards that we performed at the end of the semester.

I LOVED that experience and just wanted to mention that there are many programs like this out there in the larger cities across the world.
In more remote places or places with out a jazz culture, it might be necessary to put one together yourself. Or as Hayden mentioned, check out Meet Up to see if there are any in place.

In NYC, you can find lots of them. But I guess it really depends on where you are and how many aspiring jazz musicians you have in your area. You did mention the Blues, and that might be a good place to start. For example, I met once a month with a Blues group that I found through meet up.

Even playing jazz with 1 other person such as singer or horn player - it can open up a whole new world. Somethings just need to be learned in the moment, especially when we are talking about improvisation. And you will probably find yourself stepping up to the challenge in ways you didn’t imagine, and learning very quickly.

So if you have that desire to play with others, best to follow that lead. It’s so worth the effort it will take not only to get ready for it, but also to find those musicians to collaborate with in your area.

  • Lyndol

I understand what you mean, but my problem is when i start to improvise with my right hand my left hand is late or too ahead

I’ll take notes of that ! For the moment, im taking tune with the melody and the root-3-7 up to tempo in the 12 tonality, which is fun to do, also its getting easier and easier each time i move on another tonality. After that i will do LH rootless voicings,and then comping rootless and rooted comping voicings.

The only thing i wonder, is when to do start another standard ? Should i learn to improvise on Tune Up before moving on ?

-Guillaume-

Oh gotcha! Yeah that’s a bit more complicated - that your left hand goes out of tempo when your right hand improvises. I misunderstood, my apologies, I thought you were talking bout your comping.
If you’re already in tempo just working on differing voicings in Tune up, and soloing, then I’d say start to listen to versions of the next one you want to pick up, at the very least.
You’re the one who knows best though, when to add on another tune. Sometimes dedicated practice on one song does make it move along faster.
But for some, like me, pushing a few forward at a time is more enjoyable, because I’'ll only work on a certain tune for so long in a given day, and then it’s a diminishing return.
Especially if you are working on soloing, than taking off some of the pressure to learn it before you can move on might actually help the ease to flow better. But it’s really your call.

My next one will be Summertime, i love the Bill Evans version, ill start listening to others also, when im done experimenting comp with Tune Up i will start to move on the other one, im so exciting to start soloing on Tunes !

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Yes small world!

As a beginner those kind of meetup groups are the most accessible and welcoming. I’d recommend you start there.

Paris has lots of jam sessions or ‘faire un boeuf‘ as they say ‘en français’. Mostly in jazz clubs with an audience.

Paris is an amazing city for jazz… Enjoy it! :sunglasses:

Good question.

I agree with Lyndol, I think you should move onto some new tunes.

I’d recommend working on medium/up tempo tunes which are good to practice improvisation.

Here’s some tunes that will be frequently called at jam sessions in Paris:

In many of those lessons, I start by playing through with left hand voicings. I’d recommend you do this with all jazz standards you play to familiarise yourself with the rootless voicings, and common progressions played with rootless voicings.

Of course the blues is also very useful. I’d recommend that you keep transcribing from blues records whilst learning the above tunes.

Some of Tuomo’s tutorials could also be interesting for you, here’s a couple which are also commonly called at jam sessions:

Tuomo places a lot of emphasis on numeric harmony, which will give you a deeper understanding of the chord changes and help you to learn, memorise, and remember new tunes.

To Summarise:

  • Pick 2 or 3 of those tunes above

  • Create a Spotify playlist with lots of recordings of the tune

  • Listen to the recordings to familiarise yourself with how the tunes are played

  • Transcribe the melodic ornamentation/phrasing, and the improvisations

  • It’s always good to find a vocal version to learn the lyrics

  • Try to memorise the forms, ie. ABAB, ABAC, ABCD, etc…

  • Keep working on the blues form, many songs played at jam sessions are based on the 12 bar blues form.

Hope this helps! :sunglasses:

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Yes, love it! Great action list Hayden. I love doing the Spotify list as a first step.

And continuing to work the blues form - so very important! It’s such a great entry point for playing with other musicians.

Also, Paris is SUCH as great Jazz City. It’s tradition of respecting the Jazz greats of past and present just warms my heart. That’s where I studied jazz formally and find it to be the perfect place to learn the tradition of jazz.

I also wanted to mention that regarding your post about the timing of the left hand whilst right hand improvises; I kept thinking about that for a few days afterward because I started to realize MY left hand needs a bit of work in that space! lol - especially to keep a 3-7 voicing in the LH (rather simpler comping such as root octaves - a huge habit of mine from playing a lot of solo piano)
So I started to key in on a exercise I haven’t done for awhile and thought I’d share with you in case it could be as helpful as it’s been for me.

Exercise:

Playing through the form of a standard at a set tempo BUT rather than full on improvising with the right hand - I run drills instead; playing the appropriate scale with my right hand, whilst comping with the left. I don’t always complete a scale, nor start on it’s one, but rather keep the form and tempo.
It’s easier than improvising (since there are no real creative process happening) so I’m able to focus more on keeping the rhythm with both hands and setting that habit.
I’m also laying the foundation for more mobility in my right hand improvisation when I take it back to that level - which I typically do after a few time through with this exercise. I always find that my right hand dances more through subsequent improvisations when I’ve run these drills first.

If you are interested, I’m happy to explain this in more detail and even record an example. But you might already know about, so please disregard if so.

I am thankful to you @Guillaume for sharing your current practice challenges because it led to me honing in on something I need to work on! So thanks!

FYI - This exercise is something I learned from Steve Browman, a jazz pianist I worked with extensively whilst studying in Paris. So it all comes back full circle. Viva Paris~

  • Lyndol
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Oh that sounds like really interesting drills !
Also it sounds like a real challenge for high speed standards. Also we could also do it with arpeggios right ? I need to try it, this exercice should be really great for virtuosity and hand independance ! Also how can we comp with only the left hand (glad that my schedule can help you in any ways :slight_smile:)
-Guillaume

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Hello everyone, hope you’re having a great monday,

these are my goals for the next week:

  • Finish my introduction for my arrangement of Tune Up (im almost done, but it took ages to get there)

  • Play Tune Up in 12 tonality with R+3+7 (+melody)

  • Make a playlist of “Autumn Leaves”, “Summertime” and “What is this thing called love”

  • Continue to work on the blues stuffs (minor blues, double-enclosure in standard F blues and transcribing)

  • Also im going to start altering some notes in my 251s, this week im going play with the b9 !

Also checking this out could be interesting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36giWR1BSEA&t=918s

This guy gives awesome advices, and demonstrate how we can actually learn standards by ear ! Im going to try this method for the next 3 ones !

Cheers
-Guillaume

Edit: I’ve watched the lesson on the Coltrane changes, these are awesome and facinating harmonics ! i might have to re-watch it but i think im gonna include it in my Tune Up arrangement.

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Hi Guillaume,

Looks like a great work out routine. Hope it’s going well.

I checked out that link… that’s a great example and expansion on a subject I wrote about recently; using your voice for transcription

I love how he walks you through EXACTLY how to use your voice in pursuit of deciphering chord progressions; which I do find much harder than melody, by the way, as he points out is true for me. Comforting since it’s something I’ve found when doing Tuomo’s transcription exercises. I can get the melody with a fair amount of ease but then struggle so much with the progressions that I almost want to give up.

This video gave me some good tips and motivation to use on my next progression exercise. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks & Happy Practicing,
Lyndol

PS - One goal for me this week is to use that exercise I mentioned on a list of standards I’ll be playing for my gig this weekend. Going to break them down a bit and work on that left hand rootless comping since I’ll be with my trio. I’ll run scales with my right hand both. Going to try in tempo first and only turn the metronome off if I can’t do it in tempo. Hoping I will already see a difference this weekend. But if not, then I know it’s good mileage towards better expression at some point.

Ok, good evening everybody, this been a while since last post, but i’m back and ready to put everything in again:

I would like to work again on Tune Up, but i feel like its better to move on for now and come back a bit later, i finished my introduction of my arrangement of Tune Up, i’ll try to record it this week, and continue on.

From tomorrow and until sunday i will finish the double enclosure of the F blues, listen to a lot of the 3 standards i wanted to start (“Summertime”,“Autumn Leaves” and “What is this thing called love”), i couldn’t listen to jazz for the past 2 weeks…and just get back to work…

-Guillaume-

Hi Guillaume :wave:

I think it’s a great idea to move onto some new tunes and expand your repertoire.

For “What Is This Thing Called Love”, here are a couple of tutorials you may find helpful:

Harmony, Form & Bassline:

Improvising With Triads Over The Changes:

Of course it’s also important to listen to many versions and transcribe things you like such as the phrasing of the melody, melodic decoration and fills, improvised solos, comping etc…

Have fun working on that tune. It’s a useful one to have in our repertoire.

Hey @Hayden, ty for you great suggestions, i have a question, knowing that i’m gonna start 3 new standards, if i decide to practice jazz repertoire for an 1 hour lets say, should i split my hour in 3 parts of 20m for each standard, or 1 hour on the same standard, and move onto another 1 of the list the next day ?

-Guillaume-

Hi Guillaume,

I’d say definitely split your hour into 3 chunks where you focus on each jazz standard.

20 minutes per standard per day is a good amount of time. Within the space of a few weeks you will feel much more confident with each tune.

It could also be nice to break each 20 minutes into smaller chunks, here’s some ideas:

  • Spend 5 or 10 minutes just focusing on the ‘head’, ie, the main melody. From listening throughout the day, you will have made note of little things you like and so you can transcribe these during your practice time. This could be melodic phrasing, ornamentation, little fills etc…

  • Spend 5 or 10 minutes just focusing on improvisation. You could set the iRealPro to 20+ repeats and cycle around and around developing ideas. Try to state a motif or melodic idea, and then develop it to its fullest potential.

  • Perhaps lay off on improvisation for a few choruses and practice comping with the iRealPro. Then come back in with your improvisation. This is why it’s nice to set the iRealPro to 20+ repeats so you can practice the different roles of the pianist in an ensemble setting.

  • Spend 5 or 10 minutes transcribing from the solos of your favourite recordings. The key here is to be consistent with your practice. You may not feel like much progress is made within the 5 or 10 minutes, but when you come back to it the next day, you will feel more comfortable playing along with the record. Transcribing is a gradual process and it requires patience.

Ultimately find a routine that you enjoy and one that also gives you a sense of improvement and progression.

Remember to also utilise you time away from the piano, for example listening to the tunes during breakfast or whilst commuting. Or perhaps quizzing yourself on the chord changes whilst away from the piano. If you can sit at the piano and not need the lead sheet in front of you, then you can fully immerse yourself in emulating your favourite recordings.

Hope that helps and enjoy!

Awesome ideas @Hayden ! Thank you !

Hey @Hayden, i’ve watched the triads tutorial improv video mutiple times, but i don’t really understand what Jovino says by seeing chords as triads, and use them as triads in improvisation. For a simple Cmaj7 chord for exemple, i can see it as a Cmaj triad, but what else ?

Hi Guillaume,

The core premise is that scales are linear, and triads are non-linear.

When we see the chord Cmaj7, one option is to play the C major scale.

However, this approach could make us think in a ‘linear fashion’ and the temptation is to just run up and down the scale which can sometimes sound robotic and not very creative.

However, if we take a triad from the C Major Scale, let’s take the G major triad for example, it contains the 5th, 7th, and 9th of C major.

Using the 3 notes of that G triad, we can create melodic ideas and phrases which are non-linear, ie, not just series of half and whole steps like the C Major Scale. Instead, the triad and its inversions contains 3rd and 4th intervals which can be used to create more interesting melodic contours in our improvisation.

Of course we could combine the G Triad with the essential chord tones of C Major (3rd and 7th) and perhaps also some scalar material, but the idea is that we are using the G triad as the basis of our melodic creativity, instead of just using the C Major scale as the basis of our melodic creativity.

A specific triad can also bring out specific colours over a chord. For example, if we play a D Major Triad over a Cmaj7 chord, we are outlining the chord tones 9, #11, and 13, which gives us Cmaj13#11. But all we are thinking is Dmaj/C. It’s effectively a shortcut.

Tuomo made a similar lesson on triad pairs here:

Check that lesson out, and any further questions let us know :+1:

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Jovino also mentioned a few words about non-linear improvisation here:

Also, watch our course on Upper Structure Triads where I explain how this concept is applied from a harmonic standpoint:

Enjoy! :sunglasses:

I’ve watched this lesson, and i’m glad i already starting play with alterations in my 251’s on the dominant chord, i already feel really familiar with alterations and i also did start to incorporate US triads on my extended voicing plan so that’s awesome :slight_smile: , as Steve Job said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards” :slight_smile:

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