Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Evening Breeze

I’m really enjoying my: "playing by ear" exercises. By taking away notes and patterns I feel it’s like looking into a piano to play the notes. It’s just on big chromatic instrument (up & down one string). I like this work a lot, but I frequently make mistakes with it. It’s not a very easy thing for me. It’s amazing realizing how dependent I was on the note names and functions. I would make mistakes playing that way as well, but it didn’t seem to bother me as much. I like these exercises so much, that it’s all I want to do. I have to force myself to remember my other work: speed & transcriptions.

My shoulder was bothering me a bit today. I haven’t been doing my exercises because I’ve been sick. I think that will turn around for me tomorrow. I’m feeling progressively better now, rather than progressively worse.

Metronome studies: eighth, triplet and sixteenth notes (major scales) at 90 & 95 bpm. 95 was on the fringe for me. I could sort of do it at sixteenth notes, but not for very long and not very clean. I’m appreciating the progress that I’m making with my speed exercises. It’s helping both my right & left hand. My right hand need(ed)s the most work.

Transcription studies: I played through my handful of transcriptions. I had to brush up on a couple. I see the value in working on them everyday. It’s just not always exciting to do some. I’m glad I’ve committed to doing it, because I don’t always feel like doing it.

I spent some time working on playing by ear with CDs tonight as well. I worked on 2 jazz pieces and one rock tune. I like the jazz stuff because it’s easier to be more chromatic and I think the lines are more interesting. I chose the rock tune because I wanted to see what it was like playing music I’m very comfortable with. I’m still surprised at how much I’m thinking of the notes I’m playing, the chords that are happening and the lines I’m building while I’m soloing. With the rock tunes I feel very comfortable using shapes, patterns and scales, but with the jazz stuff I don’t feel as comfortable using my strengths. I don’t feel like I know enough to commit to a strategy yet. The playing by ear thing is such an incredibly difficult thing for me sometimes. I’m so used to using other pieces of info to choose my notes that what I take them away I’m not as confident. It’s also really hard not to use the other forms of improvising. Overall, I’m pleased with the exercise and the effort. My better judgement tells me that I’m in an extreme position right now and when I come back to the center and use all my tools again things will be much better. Even though I know, patience is difficult sometimes.

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