How to Practice

Almost all of Hayden’s exercises have us going around the Circle of Fifths. I do see the benefit to this, but would it also be helpful to try playing them chromatically and/or randomly? Or is that somehow counterproductive?

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Hi Wendy :wave:t2:

Great question here.

I’m creating some notation examples for this and I will reply in more detail shortly.

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Looking forward to these examples…

Hi Wendy,

Apologies for the delay in response here. Here’s my opinion/insights:

Benefits of using the circle of 5ths

The benefit of drilling chords/voicings/progressions/licks/lines around the circle of fifths is that it gives us a structure to work through the 12 keys. We start at a point on the circle and work our way around until we are back to where we started.

Sometimes, taking something through all 12 keys in one sitting can be a big task and so we can split the keys into groups of 3 or 4 to make the task more manageable. Again I find the circle of fifths useful to visualise the different sets of keys and the ones I am working on.

Here’s a variation on the circle of fifths for practicing progressions

A nice variation on the circle of fifths is to follow this descending whole step pattern:

ii-7 → V7 → Imaj7 then turn the Imaj7 into a minor 7 chord, and that is that starting point for a 251 a half step down.

When we repeat this pattern 6 times, we get back to the start, ie:

  • D-7 → G7 → Cmaj7
  • C-7 → F7 → Bbmaj7
  • Bb-7 → Eb7 → Abmaj7
  • Ab-7 → Db7 → Gbmaj7
  • F#-7 → B7 → Emaj7
  • E-7 → A7 → Dmaj7

then if we change Dmaj7 to D-7 we are back at the top.

Here is is doing ii-9 to V13b9 to Imaj9

Midi file here:

First Set Midi.mid (2.8 KB)

Now that takes us through half of the keys, if we raise our starting chords by a half step, we start on Eb-7 → Ab7 → Dbmaj7 and then following the same pattern as above it takes us through the other 6 keys.

Here it is with the same progression as above:

Midi file here:

Second Set Midi.mid (2.7 KB)

We can also have some fun by adding other things into the exercise, for example, here I am adding an inner voice over the Imaj7 chord using the first set of chord changes:

and midi file here:

Major 1 Chord Inner Voice Midi.mid (3.5 KB)

More exercises and examples to follow:

That’s just one variation on taking things around the circle of fifth, I will post some other ideas in this thread later this week.

It’s a somewhat open ended question and there are a potentially infinite number possibility to spice up our practice drills. I will have a think about some other fun variations like the one above.

This topic will tie in nicely to my Live Seminar on Friday so I’ll be sure to elaborate:


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