I will be providing specific information in key areas by introducing concepts and rinsing those concepts for all they’re worth and providing countless ways of practicing them from many angles to make learning fun whilst progressing at your maximum potential. No more plateaus, no more frustration with practice and development – but plenty of ” eureka” moments and a focused route for improvement as a jazz guitarist.
I always found I never knew what and how to practice when learning jazz guitar. I would get frustrated and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material to work on. Should I practice licks from books? transcribe solos? How should I practice scales and arpeggios? How can I learn and memorize tunes? “There’s just too much, I’m never gonna learn all this!”
Improvising with arpeggios & scales:
When I asked musicians about how to solo over this tune, chord progression, chord whatever – I’d always get responses like, “Well, you can play D Dorian over that D minor chord” or ” To get an altered sound over C7 alt, whack Db melodic minor over it” or “play the arpeggios of the chord”etc… And I’d always think, yes fine, but HOW should I play these scales and arpeggios? How do I make it sound like JAZZ? How do I get the twisty, turny, zig zaggy melodic lines that sound jazzy? How do I apply this to tunes and make it come out in my playing ?
Time is precious, and how do I make the most of that time to learn and improve as a musician? So over the years, I started investigating concepts. I’d listen to recordings, watch live jazz gigs, read books, get the occasional lesson off a high profile jazz musician and through practice and hard work stumble upon certain concepts. I had many eureka moments finding these concepts. But the main point is that I take a concept and think of as many exciting ways to exploit it so that I practice it in countless ways using different approaches.
So rather than saying as mentioned above ” whack Db melodic minor over C7alt”, I’d explore all the possible permutations of that scale, which are the important notes, how I can incorporate passing notes, targeting and enclosure of notes, what are the arpeggios built off the scale degrees, superimpose arpeggios over the chord, which arpeggios sound best over the chord, how to link these arpeggios together, ooh well I could play the arpeggios in all possible inversions, which inversions sound best? How can I mix the scale and the arpeggios – so I devised numerous devices to mix scales and arpeggios, what interesting rhythms /time signatures can I use? Play it scacatto, legato, loud, quiet, fast, slow, standing on my head upside down, make it sound classical, baroque, old Skool, modern, jarring, nice, ‘orrible! , beautiful, sleazy, twee, anything! I want my practice to be fun and I want to sound good when I play live. I’m still learning, and am no where near where I aspire to be, but I am meeting my goals over time and am actually now where I aspired to be sometime ago when I set my old goals. So any, here’s the plan Stan!
Soloing over chord changes using single note lines:
We’ll be thoroughly exploring concepts using scales, arpeggios, triads, playing the melody of a tune and embellishing it, guide tones, targeting and enclosure and more to develop fluency when soloing thru the “changes”.
We’ll start by looking at the common chord types- minor, major, dominant and getting our gnashers around soloing over vamps over these chords.
We’ll move onto chord progressions such as the 2,5,1 in both major and minor keys and how to create interesting lines through the chords using guide tones and other devices.
We’ll analyse tunes, breaking them down into chord progressions and key centres and I’ll provide countless ways of practicing over the tune to gain fluency in creating meaningful lines weaving through the progressions and key changes.
We will leave no stone unturned in our quest for mastery of the fingerboard so will be practicing in all areas of the fretboard (including the dusty end!) and all string sets so that you are not limited by your easy familiar patterns. You’ll soon be flying all over the shop.
We’ll be looking at triads and 7th chords, inversions of these chords up and down the neck, quartal chords stacked in 4ths for that oh so modern sound, chord substitutions, tritones – tri what? Chord alterations, superimposing cheeky chords over chords, Voice leading, different ways of comping and of course – APPLYING it to TOONZ, it’s got be be used in context in real life.
The guitar is a solo instrument. As well as playing single note lines and chugging chords in a band, you can actually play it on your own playing the melody, chords and walking bass lines. It’s true! Check out Joe Pass, Martin Taylor, Fred Greene, Lenny Breau, Francecso Buzurro, Diego Figuerido and you’ll see!
And even if you don’t aspire to be a solo guitarist, this will still help fill out your playing in a band setting. We’ll be looking at how to come up with chord melodies by analysing the melody notes of a tune in relation to the chords, exploring which chord inversions can be used and various other techniques such as inner voice movement, baroque counterpoint and classical guitar stuff so your arrangements don’t all end up sounding like clumpy chords with the melody shoved on the top. Let’s make it sophisticated.
Threads running through the course:
There will be threads running thought the subject areas. For example, it is common for jazz guitar students to learn all the info n bumpf then wonder why they can’t execute it. So I’ll be providing support on guitar “Technique”, a commonly neglected area. Minimal movement and pressure, proper hand positions, left and right hand techniques, playing with and without a pick. All the stuff that’ll help you play well and cleanly, develop speed, chops and avoid the dreaded RSI and tendonitis.
Making practicing fun so you actually want to practice and look forward to it rather than regarding it as drudgery and hard graft. As I mentioned, taking concepts apart and wringing them out, rinsing them for all they’re worth and practicing in as many fun ways as possible. Getting the most out of your valuable time, reaching your goals but most importantly practicing concepts over jazz standards, Latin and bebop tunes. Yes, I’ll show you drills, exercises and the like but when we find ways of practicing these concepts over tunes, it’ll come out in our playing.
Analysing / performing jazz standards, be-bop & latin tunes:
We’ll be getting our teeth into jazz standards by analysing the chord progressions, key changes, melodies and heads so that you can play fluently through them. We will also work on MEMORIZING tunes and transposing them into all 12 keys so for example if a singer says “let’s play ‘Just Friends (or just fiends, teehee!)’ in D” you’ll be able to play it instantly without faffing with your iPhone to transpose it. I’ll be showing you techniques for this both on the guitar and AWAY from your instrument. If I’m ever in a boring que in a bank or something, I’ll take a standard and go through it in my heed in all 12 keys, stuff like that.
Course venue, structure and times:
Each session will run for 2.5hours with me demonstating the material, answering any questions and you practicing it with the other students. I’ll be showing you how to play effectively in jazz guitar duos and other practical situations. I will provide students with Prep work before each class – these will be key areas to look at and be aware of, which we will explore in detail during lessons so we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. I will email the link to the Prep work to students which will be found on the Blog section of my website ; http://paulrichardsguitar.com/blog-new/
The course will be run at the Brunswick Pub (where I run the Brunswick jazz jam, which I will encourage you to play at!). The Brunswick is a buzzing hub for the local community, providing various events and workshops. It’s a great environment to learn in with lovely friendly staff and the venue will be an ideal place to meet fellow jazz guitar nuts and hang out afterwards and talk jazz guitar and other stuff over the Brunswick’s great selection of beers and wines and gorgeous meals (which are often only a fiver).
£20 per class / £55 for 3 classes
Sat 11th January
Sat 22nd February
Sat 22nd March
11am – 1.30pm
The Brunswick Pub 1 Holland Rd Hove BN3 1JF