This week we are going to start a series on core concepts and exercises that I feel every jazz player should have in their toolbox. Our first stop is going to be a great exercise dealing with the modes of the major scale. This exercise is a simple one but it carries huge benefits when it comes to developing a general base of technique and facility when improvising.
There is much talk of practicing your ‘jazz scales’ but the way I think of it is scales are scales no matter what type of music you play. After all, most jazz harmony was born out of the classical music that cam before it. Learning the modes and being knowledgeable and facile when it comes to these important building blocks of harmony will get you far. These are much of the ‘jazz scales’ that everyone talks about. You have probably practiced some form of this exercise without even realizing it.
I play one version unaccompanied and then another over a static major chord to give you a taste of one of the many ways to approach this exercise. The only limit to what you can do with this exercise is your own creativity! Make sure, like always, that you take this exercise and put it in all 12 keys for maximum benefit. Enjoy the episode and I’ll talk to you next week!
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