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Jazz Piano Lessons: Daily Practice Routine

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Let's take a break quick here and
discuss what your daily practice routine
might look like, and I'm gonna model it on
what my daily practice routine looks like.
First thing I start with is Hanons,
because I wanna
get my groove going as far
as minding my technique.
Starting out on a good foot, rather than
diving right into something that's really
challenging, and the next thing you
know I'm like this, and whatever.
I like to get the groove
going in the proper way.
So, I typically start with Hanons,
and I start with them loud and strong.
Again we don't want to get ourselves to
where we're hurting ourselves with these,
but we want to get the muscles going.
You can hear there there
that just came right out.
This is typical of the way I practice.
I decided to accent the notes in that way.
Now I'm going to do it a different
way that's going to put the accent on
the fourth finger.
Just so that I'm making sure
that my fourth finger up
here is getting a workout.
And that when I call on it to play strong,
it can play strong.
So the Hanons, again,
are a little bit of a mindless thing.
You can burn through them.
Put your metronome on 2 and 4.
As I've mentioned, I tend to start
playing fairly straight and once I feel
like I'm warming up, then I start to
play it more like a jazz exercise.
Sometimes I put these,
little filigrees in there just to
make sure that that's
a well oiled machine.
Then I would suggest that you pick
some bop scales that are relevant
to what you're gonna work on
that day later as a song.
Maybe if you're playing Stella
by Starlight for example.
Let's look at the end of Stella.
The chords go like this.
If you want to look at the chart, there is
a chart that I have kind of marked up
with my reharmonized version of this,
but there's also a chart
of the tune straight.
E minor seven flat five,
to A seven altered, D minor seven
flat five to G seven altered.
Actually let's play that
the way it's written,
C minor seven flat five to F seven.
The reason I'm picking this is
because look at what it's got in it.
If we really want to get
a workout on our minor two fives,
this is a sequence of them.
[SOUND] We get three of them in a row.
And it's a useful thing because that's
a very commonly played standard.
So I would take that, if I was working on
that today, that was kind of my harmonic
and melodic mission, I would practice the
the the bop scales that relate to that.
[NOISE] Let's practice
them just straight first.
Play them just
up like that, and
then maybe on back
on the way down.
Like that, up and
down, then start mixing in our
approach patterns.
[NOISE] Like this,
and approach different,
just pick a chord tone to approach.
Let's go with maybe the
mix up the approach patterns,
approach different notes.
Again, let's keep our metronome on two and
four here.
There's no reason not to be
constantly getting yourself more and
more in the groove
reference to a good clock.
So, next thing I would do, I think,
is the pentatonics up and down.
This one I find really works my muscles
in a way that, that feels right to me.
It's not overworking them, but
I can kind of feel that I'm
developing what I need to play.
The way
I typically
do them.
You can see that each time I go up,
I'm playing one octave further.
The thing that I like about that is that
it gets us used to kind of turning around.
At a certain point and I go like that,
metronome on two and four, one two,
one two three four,
Even at tempo, even when you're really
playing fast, when the actual tempo
is three 20, let's say you gotta
have that metronome on two and four.
One thing, it's really distracting to have
something hammering away at actually 320
beats per minute, so
it gives you a little more space.
And even at that tempo Mentally, you
need to be keeping the time on 2 and 4.
It's tempting, the faster it gets,
to start looking at it as
1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4.
Help, I'm really struggling at this tempo,
1,2 1,2,3,4 1,2,4 1,2 4,1,2 4,1,2.
And working with the metronome
as you go always on 2 and 4,
even at tempo, is really important.
I usually start my exercises pretty slow.
I put the metronome at 80 as 2 and
4, which isn't really that slow But,
I know, my exercises by now, so
I don't need to go slower than that.
Start as slow as you need to go.
If you need to put it at 50 and
use that as 2 and
4, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4.
Like this, go for it.
Do it as slow as you need to make sure
that you're not starting to get sloppy, or
you're starting to crab like this or
flat fingers or any of that.
Do it at a tempo that you can do it right,
is basically the bottom line.
Work into maybe some pentatonics
with approach patterns built in.
That kind of thing.
Again that's a thinking man's exercise,
a thinking woman's
exercise that you're improvising
the approach patterns in there.
Maybe do it and skip a note.
Like that.
Go up, go down, reverse your course.
Our pentatonic crossover exercise
is another really good one.
You might not have
time to do all of these but
you'll see the value in
each of them as you work on them.
And that's a good overview.
Maybe next thing you do is you work
on around the circle of fifths with some
of the techniques that we've talked about.
Let's try a natural 13 chord.
you're just finding
these as you go around.
Let's go with the altered.
Maybe you make a little fun thing
like that out of it, again,
at whatever tempo you can handle it.
Work on your left hand.
I'm gonna go ahead and play,
let's actually do the altered dominant
voicing just for the left hand.
The more you can get these to just
automatically show up on call,
the better off you're gonna be.
So that.
And then, next thing I would do is either,
if you're working on a tune, put that up.
If you're not, put up the one six two five
cuz there's a million different ways to
work out on that.
There is also as you get more facility and
you start to get up to tempo
there's a funk track on the one
six two five that's really fun to play on,
and put that up.
It gives you one, two.
It's like
that kinda
And that gives you a whole different,
just a fresh kick to play on that.
So, this is a typical example
of my practice routine.
It always includes Hanons to get started.
They're ugly but they're mindless, and
they let you think about everything else.
Check your breathing, check your posture,
check your hand position.
The other one,
that's the other hand and
exercises that we have.
Always starts with that.
Get that up to 320 BPM.
And once I'm there,
I start doing these crossover
exercises and,
like that.
That's how I get my day started,
20 minutes of that stuff and
then I'm into the meat
of what I'm practicing.
So let's move forward.
The next lessons are really cool lessons,
because they start to
deal with modal harmony.
And that's gonna be 50% at least of what
you play if you're playing professionally
these days is you're playing over kinda
one chord for four or five minutes.
Maybe it shifts a little bit.
If we're playing impressions,
you start out on D minor seven.
Then you get eight bars of E flat
minor 7 and eight more bars.
So some of them refresh themselves
a little bit, we're gonna look at a tune
called Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
which is a real classic standard tune.
Mostly just burning on C minor, but
then you get a bridge in bars 17
through 24 that has a little bit of
our standard two five harmony in it.
So let's get into that next.