Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bring on the Muggy!

Afternoon: I’m still sick, but I find practicing is a way to keep me busy when I’m not feeling well. I’ve spent a lot of my time this afternoon on my playing by ear exercises. I did some of yesterday’s modal exercises and then I spent some time playing over some random or spontaneous motives from the loopstation. It’s a real interesting exercise. Both have given me a different perspective on improvising. It’s a little frustrating because I don’t always hit the right note, and because I’m not always comfortable not knowing where I am on the instrument. But maybe that’s the point. I’m seeing a little progress and a lot of potential, but right now the exercises are a little tough and don’t always leave me with the best self-esteem.

Evening: More of the same this evening. I wanted to keep my practice time balanced and work on my speed exercises as well as playing along with transcriptions, but my evening practice was pretty much improv work. I started with the same stuff I was working on earlier in the evening. One of the problems I have with just improvising of a vamp is that there is no melody to embellish. Because I’m creating the tune I have come up with a melodic motif and then develop and expand on it. This if fine when I’m feeling creative and inspired, but sometimes these exercises can be difficult with out a framework to play with. To acknowledge this need I moved my exercises over to the CD player and put on a couple of jazz standards. I would just listen and then play back what ever I thought sounded good. I would sing the phrases as I was playing them. I remember doing this with my rock n’ roll studies when I was a teenager. It brought back good memories and reinforced the value of what I’m working on and working towards.

Tomorrow I want to take a look at some Ella & Louis licks (foundations of Jazz) as well as work for a better balanced practice routine.


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