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Jazz Sax Lessons: Play Your Scales with Me in All Keys: Melodic Minor

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Okay, it's
melodic minor time.
Here we go, so know that if you have
been studying your traditional theory,
you would know that a minor scale,
I'm sorry,
a melodic minor scale is different
ascending than descending.
When you play a melodic minor
scale in traditional music, it
encompasses a minor third on the way up,
but a natural sixth and seventh.
But descending, it's the same as a natural
minor scale with the flat seventh,
flat sixth, and a flat third,
so it's different.
Us jazz people play the ascending version,
both ascending and descending.
Not because we're lazy.
Because the reason we learn
these scales is because they
are used over various types of harmony.
I'll save that for another lesson,
but just know that the scale is
used over all kinds of different chords.
A alter-dominant scale for instance.
You can play a melodic minor
scale half a step above the root
of any alter-dominant chord.
[LAUGH] I said that way too fast.
You're going to find out
way more about that in my,
in my lessons down the road as far
as improvisation are concerned.
But for now,
we want make sure to know the scale.
That's the whole point of this.
So as you see,
just like the other scales in the section,
all the scales are repeated, you're going
to repeat them once along with me anyway.
And they end with a whole note,
the tonic again.
And if you're playing a B flat instrument,
start on the second,
the second scale, the F melodic minor.
When you get to the bottom I want you to
repeat back to the top, and that way we
can all sync up and play in unison that
way no matter what horn you are playing.
Okay, here we go.
I've got my metronome set at 150,
and off we go.
Melodic minor.
[SOUND] One, two, one two go.
let me stop
you and
let's switch
So we're going to staccato each one.
I stopped on E flat, so if you're playing
alto or baritone, play E flat if you're
playing a B flat instrument like tenor or
soprano start on A flat, melodic minor.
Here we go.
All staccato.
One, two, one, two, go.
We go.
Pick up on my A flat.
Stop there.
Let's play three long and one short.
Okay, I stopped at B, if you're
playing tanner or soprano, start at E.
Here we go, three long, one short.
[SOUND] One two, one two go.
For these last two let's reverse that and
we'll play three short, two long.
Three staccato, two legato, okay?
Here we go, last two.
two, one,
two, three.
All right
So as I'm playing, and you may feel the
same thing too, you know it's, especially
with staccato notes where you're trying
to play right along with the metronome.
It's tricky, and I'm constantly just
kind of feeling like a push and
pull a little bit, where I'm sometimes
I feel like I'm a teeny bit ahead,
sometimes I'm more than a teeny bit ahead.
Sometimes I'm behind.
And so I'm always sort of correcting,
but one good rule
of thumb to help you
with that the problem,
this isn't a slow tempo, it's 150,
but still, there's a fair distance,
especially with the staccato note, to try
to land exactly on the beat is tricky.
I commend drummers who do that for
a living when every single
note is smack dab on the beat.
Subdivide the beats of
the metronome in your head.
So I'm the most accurate when I'm,
if I hear duh-duh-duh-duh,
and I'm feeling one and two and
three and four, and one and [SOUND].
Because by doing that
you can feel the pulse.
You can feel the groove of
that subdivision more easily
because there's less time between
each of those subdivisions.
There's half as much time
between a subdivided beat
as there is between the entire beat.
So by subdividing in your head, it helps
you feel that time rather than just kinda,
especially on a slower tempo.
Especially on a slower tempo you
wanna do that always if you're
playing something really, really slow.
Otherwise it's kinda like throwing darts
at a dartboard, it's really hard to find
that beat without having some sort
of subdivision to latch onto.
Another point I want to make too,
in practicing in general, is that
whenever you're playing anything, and
scales are a great way to find these
little issues,
you're going to find a little technical
problems, or things that hang you
up the most when your playing.
Things like going from B to C.
That's a tricky combination.
[SOUND] It's easy for there to be
an overlap and have it sound like.
[SOUND] That happens all the time.
Same thing with the F to F-sharp.
Okay, in my curriculum, at the very end,
you're gonna find a lot of
exercises called finger twisters.
There's 50 of those exercises that
we're gonna be playing together,
unless you've gotten to those already.
If you have, kudos to you,
you've jumped ahead, but
they focus in on these little
issues that Done that are tricky,
that hang us up, that's another great
reason why you wanna practice things
at a controlled tempo or slow.
If you try to do this really quickly.
You might hear the issues but
you might not understand what
the problem is where you overlap.
If you slow them down and
play them with a metronome nice and slow,
it'll be much more apparent, but
the problem is which finger perhaps
is lifting too soon or too slowly?
So just be aware of that and
another good reason for practicing slowly.
All right, there we go.
So there were our melodic
minor scale exercises.
Off to the next scale.