Students in our new Eastside Elements ensemble are doing so great! They are just starting to click! And if you are a first year jazz student this may be helpful to you as well. Or maybe you’d like to get started. No time like the present!

If you would, allow me to suggest a few critical components of music that would be extremely beneficial for you to work on this summer. And a few suggested routines for summer practice of jazz, blues, and folk music.

jazz in the dark

12 Bar Blues Song Form

Continue to practice playing through the head (Melody section) of C Jam Blues. Continue to memorize and be familiar with the chords, especially knowing where the transitions are (I7chord in bar 4, V7 chord in bar 5, etc.)

Spend time each week practicing your arpeggios of the chords, one note per beat, up and down, changing each time the chord does.

Once you are comfortable with the arpeggios, play them in sequence over the form of the tune, every time the chord changes, changing accordingly.

 

12 Bar Blues Chord Scales for Melody Construction and Improvisation

The next step in becoming familiar with the blues or any song form is getting to know the chord scales. A chord scale is a scale that outlines the harmony of the chords and fits well over it melodically. Down the line, we will learn many different scales, some that create very different colors and feelings over a chord. The ones I have you learning here are historically the most common and clear sounding over a blues.

Practice your scales individually as scales, one at a time, each day, learning each one as well as you know how to walk and talk.

 

C instruments:

C7: C Mixolydian, that is a C Major scale with a lowered or b7 (C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb)

F7; F Mixolydian, an F Major scale with a lowered or b7 (F, G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb)

D-7: D Dorian , this is a minor scale with a lowered or b3, a lowered or b7, and a natural six unlike the natural minor scale (D, E, F, G, A, B, C)

G7: G Mixolydian, a G Major scale with a lowered or b7 (G, A, B, C, D, E, F)

 

Bb Instruments:

D7: D Mixolydian that is a D Major scale with a lowered or b7 (D, E, F#, G, A, B, C)

G7: G Mixolydian, a G Major scale with a lowered or b7 (G, A, B, C, D, E, F)

E-7: E Dorian, , this is a minor scale with a lowered or b3, a lowered or b7, and a natural six unlike the natural minor scale (E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D)

A7: A Mixolydianm this is a Major scale with a lowered or b7 (A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G)

 

Once you are familiar with the scales and can play them each from memory, you will begin to play them over the form of the blues, in sequence. Every time the chord changes, you change accordingly.

 

A Suggested Routine

Here is a 20-minute practice routine I might suggest. I would encourage you to do this at least three to five times a week. By the way, when you are not practicing you can do this same routine with or without your instrument. You can do this anywhere and at any time too! It is tremendously helpful to work through a song form like this mentally.

5 Minutes: Begin by playing the melody or playing the chords along as you would behind the melody. Relax, have fun, make music, and get the feel of the blues.

5 Minutes: Arpeggiate the chords over the form of the blues, as we have in class. Do this for two to three choruses (repeating the 12 bar blues two to three times). Once comfortable, begin to improvise using just the chord tones. This is called a chord tone solo. Do this until your five minutes is up.

5 Minutes: Play the scales over the form of the blues, as we did in class. Do this for two to three choruses (repeating the 12 bar blues two to three times). Once comfortable, begin to improvise using just the chord tones. This is called a chord tone solo. Do this until your five minutes is up.

5 Minutes: Do whatever you want. Have five minutes of fun on your axe. You worked hard! Do it again tomorrow.

 

Questions?

Give me a call. We are here to help!

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