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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: D Minor - Improvisation

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Now we're gonna explore a couple
different ways to improvise in D minor.
We already did these with D major,
but everything is gonna sound and
feel different now that
we're in a new scale.
First, I wanna do some call and
response phrases where you try and
imitate back to me exactly
the phrase that I play.
And I'll be using the notes
that you know from D minor.
Repeat after me.
Ready, play.
Here's another.
Ready, play.
Now let me do one more.
I'll continue this sequence.
Remember a sequence is when you do
the same pattern from starting from
different notes.
Here's the same patterns starting from F.
Ready, play.
For what it's worth, I'm adding some slurs
in my phrases, and
maybe you were checking out the slurs
cuz you were worried about
the notes I was playing.
But I want you, if you can,
to try and imitate both the slurs and
the left hand pitches that I'm playing.
I'll play those three
phrases one more time so
you get a chance to look at the bowing.
Ready, play.
Down, up, down, up.
Next phrase.
Ready, play.
Last phrase.
Ready, play.
I'll keep going with some
other notes from the scale.
Ready, play.
That has the extension back with
the first finger.
Ready, play.
Ready, play.
Let's do a couple more.
Ready, play.
Last one.
That last one was just a D minor
arpeggio up ending with a C.
So, now that we've played a couple phrases
let's improvise over the drone, and we're
actually gonna do our whole guide tone
improvisation exercise that we learned.
So, I'm gonna focus on each scale degree,
one at a time,
using all the notes in D minor scale, but
I'm gonna kinda focus on one at a time.
I'll focus on D first.
Now with
the drone still
at the D I'm gonna
start focusing on E,
the second scale at E.
I'm going
to demonstrate all
the way up the scale now and
here we go with F.
Open A, with
extension on
the first
That's a really painful interval there.
Move up
to B flat.
Then we
end with
the octave Ds.
So you, I definitely want you to be doing
this modal guide tone improvisation.
It's a really relaxing way
to kind of just breathe,
and zone in on the feeling of
each scale interval in D minor.
It's a beautiful way to start the day.
And actually if you're feeling
adventurous, particularly with this scale,
you could turn off all the lights, and
you could just be basking in the screen,
the glow of your computer screen.
And just kind close your eyes and
improviser on each scale of degree
with this guide tone improvisation.
After you improvise with the guide tones,
then we still wanna practice
our rhythmic improvisation.
So we'll add the metronome
to the drone now.
And we're gonna work on some of our
rhythms that we learned in our earlier
We can also play whole notes, half notes,
quarter notes, and
we can even try some eighth notes.
I'll demonstrate a little bit.
I can play any
rhythm, and
I can keep trying
them out.
But the main point is you
wanna stay with the metronome.
Make sure that all of your
beats stay with the metronome.
And if you submit a video of
you playing with the metronome,
I can help make sure that you're not
rushing, you're not playing too fast or
you're not dragging, you're not playing
too slow behind the metronome beat.
So, I would say you could spend maybe a
week working on the guide tone improv and
then you could add the rhythmic improv for
another week and
just really explore all of
the sounds that you like in D minor.
And after you do that,
maybe you can even experiment with
the jazz backing track that's
included which has a full band sound.
I'll try playing along with
that just to demonstrate.
This is in
a swing feel.
So just like we did in Summertime,
we wanna play with swung eighths,
which are slightly uneven.
Just use your ear and
explore how the notes of
the D minor scale sound and
feel against all of the rich
harmonies of the jazz backing track.
I hope you enjoy exploring
improvisation in D minor.