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Jazz Piano Lessons: Practicing Pentatonics

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What we're gonna do,
when we practice these,
is very similar to what we
did with our bop scales.
We're gonna play them in
an articulated jazz way.
And for the time being, just to get them
under there, in the right sort of way,
with good fingering,
let's just play them up and down.
We're going to start on the different
degrees of the pentatonic.
And, I'm going to do a little example of
the way I practice when I practice and
you'll hear a lot of stuff go by.
You'll hear real straight
time with a lot of power.
You'll hear a lot of pretty
lopsided swing sound
as I experiment with laying
back against the click.
You know testing that elasticity,
testing my ability to stay with the time
as I practice way back behind the beat.
You'll hear different combinations
of accents and so forth.
And I'm just trying to get this
thing really fluid under there.
Because you can really
move on these things.
When you're soloing even at a very up
tempo, they just really sound great.
In future lessons,
we're gonna start discussing laying in an
alternate on there.
That's a real simple sequence there,
I substituted
a C sharp minor on there that resolved
And then for a second,
I went with an E minor that resolved here.
That's all for later, but
the point is that if you can get these
shapes under there with some
really simple thinking,
you can be playing outside really
beautifully and coherently.
Let's get these under our fingers first
though, metronome on two and four, and
we're just gonna play up the scale and
down the scale with different kinds of
articulations and
we're gonna start from different degrees.
[SOUND] Once again, our fingering for
all four of these is gonna be one,
two, three, one, two.
[SOUND] One, two,
one, two, three, four.
how I
Again, a lot of it is kinda
feeling myself against the click
rather than trying to
play right on the click.
The last passage down you could hear
that the click was well in front of me.
And that's kinda how I
think about this stuff,
is that it's not just about
developing muscles or whatever.
It's also about working on our time
while we have the notes that are given.
And now we can dwell in on the physical
aspects of our playing, on good posture.
I mean I think I could still put a nickel
on the back of my hand and play even,
you know.
It's very quiet.
This is just kind of
gliding along like this.
This is another exercise where we're not
really using our fourth finger but, boy,
are we gonna get to the fourth finger
in the next few lessons when we get to
playing the Hannans in this style.
Because one thing you're gonna
have to get used to with
these pentatonics is a lot of
awkward thumb on the black notes.
Check out the E flat minor six.
You gotta have a lot of this action and
there's no way to avoid it.
If you have a way of avoiding it,
[LAUGH] let me know what it is because
the only thing I can think of is this,
which is worse, crossing under from the
So, the point is, here, to get comfortable
with these as they're fingered,
to work on our time while
the notes are a given.
So, play with the metronome like this and
then also put up a play along track and
I'm going to play with these for
a second here on our 140 beat per minute
F modal track, F minor modal track.
That sounds a lot like jazz to me and
I'm limiting it strictly to step wise or
diatonic step wise motion.
I'm not skipping around in there.
You can hear that it's
a very characteristic sound.
And again,
the thing that I really like about it is
that it gets you places pretty quick.
It's a more open sound than the bop
Very useful addition to our vocabulary.
In the next lesson, we're gonna do a quick
round on the G minor sevens, and
then we're gonna go ahead and
put these on our blues, and
start tying some things together.