Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Practice, practice, practice.

For this class, I have developed a kind of practice schedule I don't usually stick too the way I have been. I spend on average an hour on the piano every 2-3 days, sometimes shorter and in spurts. I can't believe how much better my coordination is getting on the piano as well as how quickly I jump online to look up a chord name I don't recognize opposed to simplifying it.

No joke, this class is kicking my butt, I just found that I have a C in it, but I'm hoping some extra hard work will pay off in the next five and a half weeks before the semester ends. My sight reading is getting easier in the sense that I know I can do it, so I am not as quick to throw in the towel.

I haven't been keeping up with the blog like I usually do, but here is the last few weeks.

February - March 2012

I did pretty terribly on my first assessment in this class and had to re-take it because I wasn't prepared for it, but some new things I learned are:

  1. I CAN play it if I put my mind to it. Just try, don't give up.
  2. Start training your ear to use fixed DO as in fixed solfeggio. 
  3. Jazz is HARD, but makes me feel like I can play way better :)
So let's start with the solfege stuff. Going up chromatically, the scale would be:

C   C#   D   D#   E   F   F#   G   G#   A   A#   B   C
do  di    re   ri    mi  fa   fi    sol    si    la   li      ti   do

Going down, it would be:

C   B   Bb   A   Ab  G   Gb  F   E   Eb   D    Db   C
do  ti    te    la    le    sol  se   fa  mi  me   re    ra   do

The difference between fixed and movable Do is that you never have to think about what key you will be in with fixed because Re will always be D. 

Here was my 12 bar solo I wrote in solfege over the chord progression to Sonnymoon for Two:

This particular song has been my favorite so far because I feel like I hear the chord progression everywhere! 

I had a really good time writing this solo out, but originally didn't write out the melody in fixed solfege. 

You can see the difference between the fixed syllables and the movable ones on the bottom line. 

Anyway, I have been focusing on rhythms because that is the hardest subject for me, and I am thinking of starting to go through my old theory workbook again..... after I'm done ear training..... after I am done trying to hear the difference between different EQed frequencies..... after I'm done practicing..... AHHHHH! This summer I want to really get down to business so that I can really better myself as a performer.

Here is the second piece I wrote out the solfeggio for:

This piece was a pain in my ass, but I got myself to get the two hands down which nearly killed me.

My left hand is illiterate.

Some of the new stuff we've been working on includes Impressions by John Coltrane, So What by Miles Davis, and Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock. These are examples of modal pieces which is a whole other world in itself. UGH

Maiden Voyage has a crazy looking rhythm that I definitely did not understand until we spent like 2 class periods playing the rhythm non-stop. 

I practiced this at the expense of my lower floor neighbors by basically stomping my foot while I loudly counted the rhythm after I broke it down on paper. Why is this so hard for my head to grasp??

X   x   X   x   x   X   x   x   x   x   x   X   x   X   X   X
 1     +    2    +   3    +    4   +   1   +   2     +   3     +      4      +

This is basically how I figured it out. I broke down the rhythm into a language I can understand faster and now, I am understanding tied and dotted notes quicker than I was before. 

Impressions was my favorite because it was the most abstract and once I got it, I couldn't stop hearing it and singing it and playing it. Damn catchy tunes. 

Once I got So What, I realized how simple it really is yet can be perceived as complex. I like this one too because I really had to practice to get my fingering and chord voicings correct and fluidly able to switch back and forth. 

Here is my latest solo for the latest assessment which I scored a B+ on. It is over a D dorian progression and low and behold.....



I like this class because it is pushing me to work pretty hard on my piano skills, which I have wanted to improve for a while now, just never had the time or motivation. 

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