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Jazz Piano Lessons: Practicing Guide Tones

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[MUSIC]
Let's work on our guide tones and,
there's not too much point
practicing them on a modal track,
a static track that just
sits on the chord [SOUND],
because you're just gonna
find yourself doing
this let's move them around a little bit.
Let's go right ahead and
put them on the blues, and
let's see if we can be a little bit
creative with what we're doing on these.
I'm gonna play the blues track at 110 BPM,
the F7 blues track,
and just kind of lay these
in in a kind of a jazzy way.
One thing that's very important to
keep in mind with your left hand
is that it's got a swing just
as hard as your right hand.
I mean I can think of piano
players where the left hand
is really the swing in this thing.
People tend to want to push it with
the left hand for some reason.
There's something exciting about playing
with their left hand for a minute.
It's gotta sit in the pocket.
It's gotta be rolling a triplet.
We're gonna do a little exercise
with it coming up that helps you
hear the triplet feel, but for now,
let's just lay it in on the blues.
Let's start with [SOUND]
a real simple pattern.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Hear how the bass has the root.
[MUSIC]
Put a little grease on it, maybe.
[MUSIC]
Those
are grace notes
into it.
[MUSIC]
I'm just
playing
a little
bit of
blowing up
there to
illustrate
some of the
different
ways that
we use
our left
hand.
We can take a little break from the line.
[MUSIC]
Like that or we can use it to.
[MUSIC]
We
can use it to play kind of
a chord melody kind of thing.
These obviously will work beautifully
under [SOUND] everything that
we've learned so far on the F blues.
And the idea again is just
to get it going under there,
keep harmony going, to punctuate with it.
It's hard to overstate how
much a great pianist like
Barry Harris or Red Garland,
Wynton Kelly that we've mentioned,
how much of the hard swinging aspect
you get out of their left hand,
sometimes more so than the right, and the
right on all those guys is spectacular.
So that's our first exercise on this.
You want to get this again to where
you don't have to think about it.
So keep them burning when you're
working on your exercise.
[MUSIC]
While you're doing your exercises,
you don't even have to
play a pattern with them.
Just find them and hold whole notes.
[MUSIC]
That's a little enhancement there.
But, you get the idea to get this.
For now, the guide tone
should just be on auto pilot.
We're gonna get more
creative with left hand.
As we go, we start to get into some
[MUSIC]
this sort of thing where we're actually
making more of a counter
melody under there.
But for now,
do these [SOUND] on an F7 blues.
For extra credit, take something,
let's go to a C7 blues [SOUND] and
find your guide tones on that.
There's a PDF for all blues in all
keys available as a download but
C7 blues is simple, we know the C7,
we know that F7 will add the G 7 and
D minor 7,
so the guide tones for
that would be E and B flat.
E flat and A, back to E and B flat.
And then,
[MUSIC]
for D minor it would be C and F.
For G, it would be B and
F so this is just stuff.
It's a good idea to start getting
this stuff going in other keys but
really our main mission for now is to put
these things under us on the F7 blues.
So we will take it further in our
next lesson on the left hand.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Let's do a little bit more work with
our left hand here as far as integrating
it into what our right hand is doing.
And for this exercise, I'm going to focus
a little bit more on
the rhythmic component of it so
we're gonna do some work on
the F dominant modal track.
In which, we're gonna play our exercises,
different ones of them.
And we're gonna work the left hand under
there in kind of a steady rhythmic way.
So, we're gonna put the track up.
This is the 110 BPM,
F dominant, modal track.
And I'm gonna show you what I mean as we
start to work it in under our exercises.
One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Let's just use that for a pattern for now.
[MUSIC]
Let's play
just a scale going up.
[MUSIC]
There's
some
approach
patterns in
there.
Just kind of trying to take
things that we've learned and
get this guy underneath there.
[MUSIC]
If you'd like,
start at
the 80 bpm.
That gives you a real chance to
think about what you're doing.
And if that little pattern
isn't sticking with you, for
now just start out just get
these things going on the beat.
I mean you could also just
play something like this.
[SOUND] A one two three four.
[MUSIC]
Where you give yourself
a little break, and
you play more of a little
rhythmic figure in there.
But you're just holding these things
on whole notes on the downbeat.
Just so that you're getting the principle
of the thing where you've got
that harmony going underneath there.
Do that with each of these
on the dominant modal track.
We've got our F7, B flat 7, and
C7 and,
get those things under there like that.
Don't forget about the G
minor seven modal track.
Let's have a little bit of fun
here with our 80 beat per minute F
dominant modal track.
This is really slow, and we want to
really hang these things off the back of
the beat,
especially the little pushed one.
[SOUND] One, two.
Let that be either the last third of the
triplet or maybe even a slight bit later.
I try to stick it in there like that.
And then as always work on
laying back with your left hand
especially at tempos like this.
If you're rushing It's painful.
It's painfully obvious.
And this is a difficult tempo to play.
You rarely encounter something like this
with a walking bass swinging this way.
But let's just lay it in under there and
kind of see how it fits.
I'm gonna play a very simple
pattern to begin with, and
then I'll bring in a little bit
of our right hand exercises.
One two three four.
[MUSIC]
So
there
I was
just
playing
some
real
simple
patterns
and
working
the
right
hand
in
over
it.
Once you get your exercises
flowing in the right hand,
that's a good time to add this in there.
Once you've got a little bit
of muscle memory going there,
it makes it easy to start
adding this element.
And again, for now,
if you just wanna hold whole notes just so
that we're getting it in the mix.
That's what we're after
with this exercise.
So, that's it for this lesson and
I will see you for the next one.
[MUSIC]