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Sample lesson notes 1: beginner jazz student
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Sample lesson notes 1: beginner jazz student

The first set of lesson notes I wrote for an adult beginner who was mostly interested in playing jazz organ, e.g. Jimmy Smith and the James Taylor Quartet.

GENERAL

When it comes to practice habits:

  • try to do a little every day (say, 15 mins)
  • don’t confuse practice with playing
  • focus on one or two things per practice session

NOTE NAMES

Test yourself on these by jumping around the keyboard, naming notes as you go.

  • C is just to the left of the group of 2 black notes
  • F and B are the Front and Back of the group of 3 black notes
  • D Divides the group of 2 black notes
  • G and A are in the middle of the group of 3 black notes (think GAGA)
  • E – picture an E on its side, slotting into the group of 2 black notes – E is then the bottom prong

STARSKY & HUTCH

With all of the playing this week, just aim to play the right notes with the right fingers – don’t worry too much about rhythm.

Master each exercise before moving onto the next one.

1) Learn “shapes” 1 and 2:

http://youtu.be/sIM8zCpjpvc

“Legato” means going from one melody note to another without a break (the opposite is “staccato”).

2) Practice the “crushed” note:

http://youtu.be/csLSivLk1Nw

3) Combine it with the top “shape”:

http://youtu.be/HbS74xaowZc

4) Learn the 4-finger “drum”:

http://youtu.be/PFTA9zo8L9U

5) If you get as far as putting them all together, this is what it’ll look like:

http://youtu.be/6JXGs-kYfbg

WHAT’D I SAY

1) Learn the “shape” with E, A, and B at the top:

http://youtu.be/9C72fJOJCNw

2) Learn the LH:

http://youtu.be/kmMi7t1vh_Q

The pattern is:

E E E E

A A E E

B A E E

That’s called a 12-bar blues. I’ll explain next time.

3) Put them together, if you have time:

http://youtu.be/58iCzuGZbW4

FINGER EXERCISE

This will help you prepare for Back at the Chicken Shack. You can do this on the desk at work:

http://youtu.be/r-nyKQblAvk

VIRTUAL HAMMONDS

Apparently this one is the best. I don’t know how it works – you’ll have to investigate and might want to search for alternatives as well! Try the demo version first if you’re interested.

http://www.genuinesoundware.com/?a=showproduct&b=24