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Posts: 105
Reply with quote  #16 
Hi Greg,
I like your way of expanding on a musical idea. It's making the most of the least. Taking any small musical idea and plugging it through the works.
It works for me.

Posts: 455
Reply with quote  #17 
Thank you for your detailed responses and ideas.  This is the forum at its best, and really almost a 'lesson-like' discussion.  You guys are good at explaining things!

There's one thing I found in playing w/the TV that might be useful: ear training and just trying to play with whatever is on.  It's not a disciplined approach, but trying to drop into commercials or TV music can really take you and your hands into some new places.  This does NOT however count as practicing, in my mind.  It's more of an 'ear stretcher.' 

One of Ted's stories that many heard in lessons was his description of another player who sat outside in the garden and tried to match the sounds of birds with his guitar - to get fresh ideas. He never said who the player was, and I suspect it was someone notable.

It all goes to the notion of music integrated with life and the surroundings. 
As I write this it reminds me of the old Disney cartoons where animals spoke by the melody they created in their language - the birds chirping back and forth for example.  We all watched that and understood what they were saying when we were young.  And the sounds and the score all fit together.
I've written too much.


Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #18 
For today's thought rather than writing a long post on a particular practice technique I want to just post a quote by Bill Evans.

"“If you play too many things at one time [while practicing], your whole approach will be vague. You won’t know what to leave in and what to take out. Know very clearly what you’re doing and why. Play much less, but be very clear about it. It’s much better to spend 30 hours on one tune than to play 30 tunes in one hour.”

One way of looking at Bill's quote is this:  Decrease scope, increase depth.


Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #19 
Today's thought is "Option Anxiety".

Option Anxiety occurs when there are so many things to accomplish that you can't get any of them done.  Open up Ted's book "Chord Chemistry" to the infamous 2 pages of "Required Chords".  It's 2 pages each with 10 rows of 12 chords.  That's 240 chords without all the optional notes.  It's easy to be overwhelmed. Open almost any page of the Single Note Soloing books and it's just as overwhelming.  There's just so much to learn, how can I learn all this? Moreover, you end up in a state where you're learning things which, in the long run, will help you, but right now aren't helping you become a better jazz player.

Some will say that the solution is prioritization.  I think the solution is diversification.  Spend a portion of your valuable practice time on stuff like Modern Chord Progressions and Single Note Soloing.  But make sure that you're also playing songs and practicing using your new chords and licks in those songs. Rather than saying "This year I'm going to play every chord progression in MCP" you may instead say "Each day I'll practice MCP for 10 minutes.  Then I'll take one of those progressions and apply it to a song."

I like to practice MCP by letting the chord forms wash over me as I sit and listen to the pretty sounds.  I don't try to memorize the progressions unless I hear one that really grabs me.  There is so much repetition in MCP that you'll end up learning those chords anyway.  When I find a progression that I really like I'll find a place in a song where I can fit it and then stick it in there (A variation of "learning to improvise by not improvising").   I'm always trying to remember that the reason I'm learning a chord progression or a technique or a soloing strategy is to make better music.  Always bring it back to the music.

I have any number of books in my library which could fill my practice time for the next several weeks, months, or even years.  But in that time although I would understand the topics in that book, I may not actually be a better player.   If I take a book in small chunks, realize that it's too big to eat all at once, and apply those small chunks to actual songs then I'll end up being a better player more quickly.

So when presented with Option Anxiety remember the answer to the question :"How do you eat an elephant?"

Answer:  One bite at a time.

Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #20 

Gregb.I agree with everything you wrote.I also find C.C. and M.C.P intimidating and have done the same as you( on the good advise of Tim Lerch). Personally,I hate chord scale exercises and the mention of "modes" give me instant heartburn. I'm from the old school where we served our apprenticeship playing in big bands and listening/learning from our friends and peers. Joe Pass always said" learn tunes "as you cant really improvise unless you know the changes and hear them-same applies to C/M arrangements. I will never play like Ted -Joe et al nor would they want me too,but I love the guitar as I can express myself thru it either good bad or indifferent but its me. Finally, I had an email from Matt Warnock advising me to look at Hal Galpers site where he gives and expounds his ideas about syncopation-I finished up watching every masterclass he gave and I recommend it to you as you will find it interesting in light of your writings of yesterday.The Best.

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