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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lesson #6

Continuing the practice of summarizing each lesson with Dave Frackenpohl and outlining each new assignment…

We usually start off playing whatever new scale has been assigned. This time, we skipped over the new scale (mixolydian bebop). I'll continue to practice this scale, along with the others Dave has assigned. We started off this lesson playing Jobim's Wave. I showed Dave an intro that he hadn't seen before. He's going to steal that from me. Dave showed me a way to play the bridge that I hadn't thought of. I'm going to steal that from him.

Then we moved on to The Girl from Ipanema. We first played it in the standard key of F, taking turns playing the melody, improvising, and comping for each other. Part of my assignment was to transcribe a solo from a recording of this tune. I had transcribed the classic Stan Getz solo, which was in the key of D-flat, which meant that I had to learn this tune in both F and D-flat. That was a good exercise!

We then went on to finish up the F Blues exercise in Barry Galbraith's Guitar Comping book. That was a long project. It took me six weeks to work my way through it, but the rewards were great. Thanks to this particular exercise, I have a lot of new chord voicings under my fingers.

Here's the new assignment:

  • Three different chromatic scale fingerings. I'm already familiar with one of them. The others aren't too tricky. These are great warm-up and technique exercises.
  • The Girl from Ipanema: We will continue to work through this song, focusing heavily on the bridge so that I can try out yet another new scale.
  • Mixolydian #11 scale: This is the new scale to try out in Girl from Ipanema's bridge. Dave gave me a sheet of different ways to use the melodic minor scale. One way to think of the myxolydian #11 is a melodic minor scale starting on the 4th scale degree. The easier way to think of it is as a myxolydian scale with a raised 4.
  • Gone with the Wind: I'll be doing quite a bit with this song! I'll be learning the Gone with the Wind comping exercise in the Galbraith Jazz Comping book. I'm also supposed to learn the melody, memorize the chords, and be able to improvise over the changes. Finally, Dave wants me to transcribe a Wes Montgomery solo from his recording of the song. Whew!
Since we were working on some Latin songs, Dave recommended The Brazilian Guitar Book by Nelson Faria. This book outlines authentic guitar comps for several Latin styles. I just ordered it and can't wait to work through it and put it to use in my gigs!

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