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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Mental Preparation for Improvising

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So, as we get ready to play through these
very important building block
progressions of jazz harmony.
I want to point out a little bit of
the mental process of improvising.
What I'm thinking about and what you might
try to think about is you try to play
through these things with cool lines and
get your melodic ideas flowing.
You know, we've,
we've studied a lot of things.
We've studied arpeggios,
we've studied scales,
intervals a little bit of harmonies,
ear training.
We've gone through a lot
of different things.
Modes, we even talked about modes.
And now this is kind of the moment
of truth when we're gonna take these
things and
put them into a harmonic progression,
that you're gonna find
in a lot of jazz tunes.
And we're gonna begin our journey
towards playing over these cord changes.
So what do you think about
when you're improvising?
I can't say that I'm
thinking about specifically
each mode as I get to each chord.
Because I don't think there would be time
to really think fast enough about okay,
this is coming up on the five chords or
that's the mode and
I'm gonna play the notes in that.
Because remember, the modes are based
on the notes in a particular key.
If a progression is particularly
modal as the ones that
we played over before with
those modal chord progressions.
Yes, you would be thinking
specifically of that mode.
But when you're moving through
a set of changes in a key,
in this case we'll be in the key of G and
you're going from the one chord to the 6
chord, to the 2 chord to the 5 chord.
There wouldn't be enough time and
there wouldn't be really rationale for
thinking of each mode as you get there.
So don't worry about that too much.
It's not really necessary.
You're gonna find that because
you're in the key of G and
you're playing let's say, on a A chord,
your hand will be near the A.
So you're actually going to
be playing a Dorian mode,
because you're gonna be playing
a fragment of these G major scale from A.
And you can kind of reference it,
it might come up, but
you don't have to be forcing
yourself to think about it.
A lot of times I will be using specific
arpeggios from each chord and I will be
aware and I will be kind of thinking now,
remember, hopefully our improvisation
doesn't come from thought as much as
it does come from our inner ear and
getting our hands to play what's
the melodies we're hearing in our head.
We're trying to create really beautiful
melodies to play over these changes and
melodies that outline the changes.
But sometimes, it's really helpful to
start from a concept that you know does
outline those changes.
So many times [SOUND] just playing the
arpeggio outlines the chord quite well.
You know, I reversed the direction,
I went up the first chord change B minor.
It's a B minor 7th arpeggio,
the 3, the 6th chord.
[SOUND] And then I went down
the E minor 7, [SOUND] so that's.
Creates a nice melody.
And then I went up the A minor [SOUND] and
down the D.
It's a little pattern in the arpeggios.
I will think about the arpeggios and
I will aim for, many times for
the root of the chord that I'm getting
to in the progression at that moment.
And then if I play an arpeggio or I play a
pattern or I play a scale from that note,
I will in effect be using some of
the modes, but only in passing.
Remember that these progressions
we're working with now
most of them are diatonic.
Meaning that they're just using
the notes in the key of G,
as we start adding the dominant 7th.
The 5, 7 of 2, the 5,
7 of 4, the 5, 7 of 5.
As we start altering those chords a little
bit and borrowing chords from other keys.
Yes, we'll have to look at adding
notes that are outside of the scale.
For now, a lot of it, we're just gonna
be concentrating on notes in the scale.
So mentally, most important thing is
to try to connected to your inner ear.
Connect what's in there and
try to get that information to your hands.
We've practiced hopefully a lot of
these skills in our pitches, so
they should be under your fingers and
you'll practice it a lot more.
But try to use that connection.
Bring out the melodies that are inside and
bring them outside to
the net of the guitar.
Mental Preparation for Improvising Part 2.
So this, now I'm just gonna give you
a little example of try to, I'll try to
outline the mental thought process by
actually playing through a progression.
It's gonna be 3-6-2-5-1.
And I'm gonna try to speak out loud, so
you, if's a little bit of mind reading.
I'm gonna speak a little bit about
what I'm thinking as I move from chord
to chord.
Let's see if I can walk and chew gum
at the same time let's give it a try.
We are gonna start on a,
a B minor arpeggio.
And now an A minor.
Just outline the notes in the chord.
There I went down the, the scale to
get to a scale tone to connect myself.
I'm using a scale pattern,
one, two, three, four, five.
Starting on the root of each chord.
At the end,
I used descending arpeggios on each chord.
Now again it's hard to talk and that's
fundamentally what I'm doing each time.
But, the idea again is to try to be
familiar enough with the notes and
the pattern surrounding each of the chords
you're playing within the key of G.
Remember, when we do the positions
all across the neck
The idea is to have access,
to have familiarity with
the notes in any given key
wherever you find yourself on the neck
So if you know all six
positions all the way across in
when you need to find the note that
you're looking for, either mentally or
orally and you're thinking about it,
it should be under your fingers.
Of course, this takes many, many hours
to practice and that's why we're here.
And the best thing to do, is to do it
a lot people talk about the 10,000 hours.
Get started with,
let's do 100 hours on one, on 3-6-2-5-1.