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Cello Lessons: Learning From Your Voice

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All of us humans are pretty
fluid improvisers.
It may not always be in a musical
language, but I, for instance,
grew up speaking the English language, so
I can improvise pretty well with words.
And we wanna draw on our voice and
our natural instincts with our voice
as much as possible,
when developing as an improviser.
A lot of jazz musicians have a saying,
which is if you can't sing it,
you can't play it.
So before we dive into some harmonic
analysis and a lot of theoretical
ways to understand jazz,
I want us to access our instinctual voice,
start to just improvise right
away through scat singing.
Scat singing is when you improvise
vocally with nonsense syllables.
And you've probably heard this,
you know when somebody goes like,
boo ba doo be bop bop a do bop
sho be be di bop boo be dow.
You can choose any syllables.
Jazz musicians tend to gravitate
towards certain syllables.
But the idea is that you
don't have to say words
in order to express yourself vocally.
So I want to ask you, even if you
don't feel comfortable saying it,
I want you to close the door and close the
windows and make sure nobody's home and
practice scatting along with
these backing tracks first,
because the more direct way we
start improvising the better, okay?
So I'll demonstrate a little bit.
And then actually, after I get used to
scatting a little bit, the exercise I want
you to start to explore is
alternating scatting with playing.
So it doesn't really matter what you play.
We are gonna try and
stick to the notes in E natural minor,
E Aolion,
which has the same notes of G major.
It's a very simple scale on the cello.
So you should feel comfortable,
just improvising any notes in G major.
And so the idea Is whatever you
naturally sing when you're scatting,
you wanna try and
imitate that with the bow, and try and
play your cello improvisation as similar
to your singing improvisation as possible.
Now let me give it a shot,
so you see how it sounds.
Ba doo, doop, dow.
Ba-dum dum dum dum dow.
Bada doo
keep going,
it's really fun.
But I'm going to demonstrate alternation
between singing and playing.
Remember, I'm always gonna try and
imitate my voice with the cello, okay?
After you can
imitate your voice
exactly with the bow,
you can also try and
respond to your voice
with different notes like this.
This is a really natural way to try and
tap into your inner musician and
really start expressing
yourself right away.
This tune is gonna be great cuz
you can use just G major or
E natural minor for the whole tune.
And really try and draw on your
instinctive musicianship from your voice.