About Me

My photo
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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lesson #16

This is a recap of my latest jazz guitar lesson with Dave Frackenpohl, who teaches at Georgia State University. This helps me wrap my head around the new assignment, and I hope it also helps others who may be on the same path.

We started with a series of 7th chord arpeggios over the melodic minor scale…1 going up, 2 down, 3 up, etc., and then working our way back down. Dave showed me a more useful fingering for a form that starts on the 6th string, but otherwise, these went pretty smoothly. Then we played through Four. He showed me some different chords to use in the B sections. I've been starting the B section on an E-flat, but Dave told me that it's more common to start on G minor. Next, we moved on to Old Devil Moon. I mainly wanted to work on this so that I could work up a good accompaniment and a chord melody solo. Dave was pleased with the chord melody solo, but noticed that I tended to rush the B section, when I switch from Latin to swing. He also questioned the lead sheet and asked me to double check other sources for the melody and changes in the last 4 measures. Finally, we started looking at When Sunny Gets Blue for the next lesson assignment.

The new assignment:

  • Continue Diatonic Arpeggios. I've worked on a series of 7th chord arpeggios over the major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales. Now I just need to keep at it until I can play them without having to think about them.
  • Excerpt from Perpetual Motion. This general technique exercise is from a Paganini piece. To strengthen my up-picking, I'm supposed to play the 8th notes up/down/up/down in addition to the usual down/up/down/up pattern.
  • You Took Advantage of Me. This was part of today's assignment, but I didn't work on it. I've had several gigs to prepare, and something had to go! The assignment is to listen to the Joe Pass/Ella Fitgerald recording of this song and steal as many comping licks and ideas as I can. I would eventually like to transcribe the guitar solo, too.
  • Four. I had a feeling I'd be working on this one again. I learned the basic melody and chords last time. Now, my assignment is to transcribe a chorus of either Miles Davis or Horace Silver from their recording of the tune.
  • Old Devil Moon. There's not much more to do with this song, at least as far as lessons go. I just need to check on the chords and melody at the end and put myself on a metronome to resist the tendency to rush the B section.
  • When Sunny Gets Blue. Memorize it.
As usual, I have a mix of old and new assignments to practice for the next lesson. We're getting deeper into the arpeggios and a couple songs, and I have newer material to learn. All of these lessons are paying off. It's nearing Christmas time. I find that holiday music is a good measure stick of yearly progress. You play them for about a month and then put them away until next year. This year, I'm finding many of the Christmas songs easier to play, and I've discovered that I can improvise over several of them unaccompanied, when last year I had to use a looper for nearly everything when I played solo.

No comments:

Post a Comment