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Jazz Piano Lessons: Ear Training: Overview

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Let's get started with
our first ear training exercise.
The ear training is kind of a parallel
process to a lot of the stuff that
we're working on.
The truth is that a great jazz solo is,
some parts are things that,
it's not playing by rote but
it's stuff that falls under your fingers.
It's a sequence of things that you've
played 10,000 times even if it's just
Whatever it is,
a little bit of a line you're adept at it.
You can access it.
You see it as kind of a macro,
to be honest,
rather than trying to brain
it in from note to note.
And then a lot of your playing
is going to be stuff that is
only as good as your ear is.
Especially when you're on the gig,
when you're developing your solo,
that's a great time.
You can play sparse and
spare because you're gonna take those
ideas and develop them further as you go.
But that's a perfect place to just play by
ear, just get some thoughts in your head.
like that.
There's not a system for that.
I wanted to hear that.
That F sharp over C7 thing.
And so I just put it up and
had some fun with it.
So developing your ear is really crucial.
I mean, I know guys who can
play bebop solos forever without
ever playing anything new.
And that's because they never really take
the time to stop and listen to themselves.
And they can play all that stuff but I'm
not sure if they could sing it, because
it's like they're great saxophonists
rather than great musicians.
A lot of people,
if you listen to Ornette Coleman,
classic example of a guy who
played everything by ear.
And was a genius that way.
I don't know if he had
any kind of a system.
But we don't think of him as a bebopper or
any guy that was a well-oiled machine
playing stuff that he
had already worked on.
So more of a pure ear guy.
We have some ear training
exercises here and
then I'd like to get you to
transcribing solos as well.
The first ear training
exercise that we have
is something that progresses
from one interval at a time.
And as we continue on with the ear
training, we're gonna start to get into
hearing qualities of things over a chord,
and so forth.
So let's dive right in and
start with the first ear training
exercise in the next lesson.
Let's start out by talking about
the kind of, the colors and
the textures of the different notes in
both a major key and in a minor key.
The first interval that we're
gonna encounter is a major second.
And different people have different
ways of thinking about these notes.
Some people remember them by
a melody that they remind them of.
And that's useful in a lot of ways.
In some other ways, though, it can be a
little bit confusing because, for example,
I think of this major second.
From that tune,
doe a deer from Sound of Music.
But, if it's over,
let's say it's over this chord.
It's still the same melody but
it's not functioning the same way, so
I kind of have developed more of a habit
of hearing them as how they function
in the chord and where they want to go.
This one though
it's hard to be just the second note of
So that's the second of the scale,
of a major scale.
The major third,
it's pretty easy to remember that one
cuz it's just kind of the happy one.
Perfect fourth
I think of that in terms of
where it wants to go which is
down to the third or
The fifth
Is pretty identifiable by
the start quality that it has.
That open quality really
only happens with the fifth.
Which is the only note other
than the octave that contains so
many overtones that are already present
in the C, I'm doing all this in C.
It's also the first interval of the 2001.
So you might
remember that by that.
The major six.
To me this is the corniest note
in the scale.
I mean, when you hear those
Andrew Sisters arrangements and so forth.
The notes, it's giving it that happy,
corny quality, is the sixth.
If you want to do, like,
Glinda the Good Witch.
So that's how I think of that one.
The major seven
has a real particular kind of
open strident quality.
And again I hear it cuz I
hear that as wanting to go
just a half step higher to the root.
The great guitarist John Scofield,
often voices in major sevens like that too
or diatomic sevens I guess it is.
So there's our notes in a major scale and
how I think about them.
I encourage you to think about
what popular tune you might
be able to associate
a particular interval with.
play them and kind of think about them.
The exercise that we're gonna do has
me playing them slowly one at a time.
Giving you a chance to either find them or
recognize them, and
them I'm going to tell you what it is.
Quickly on a minor chord we just have
a couple different intervals.
Once of which of course is the minor
Which as has famously been
detailed, is the sad interval.
And then the other one being,
the flat seven,
which we also have in our dominant chord.
And again, that's one I hear
by where to me it wants to go.
I hear it in relation to the octave.
So the first step to developing your ear
in this way is to just learn to
identify these basic intervals.
We're not gonna deal with
things like that yet.
We're gonna deal with those as we get
further into our dominant chords and
their extensions
Which is a very cool
lesson that's coming up.
But for now we're gonna try to
just deal with the scale tones.
So let's take a listen to
the first ear training exercise.
The second ear training exercise,
or maybe it's the third,
we're gonna start working
on identifying basic chord
types, these four.
So let's move right on and
take a look at what our first
ear training exercise is like.