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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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It seems everyone is putting out a "ii-V" book or "BeBop Diminished-Dominant-Wholetone Approach to Gregorian Chant" book these days. I certainly want to stay 'hip' to the new stuff but it really is overwhelming. I'm going to have to fight the urge to buy the lastest - "Book o' Jazz Tricks" and focus on the fundamentals.
 

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I bought some books many years ago that I never really practiced from .

I preferred to transcribe by ear from recordings and just keep playing .
 

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It seems everyone is putting out a "ii-V" book or "BeBop Diminished-Dominant-Wholetone Approach to Gregorian Chant" book these days. I certainly want to stay 'hip' to the new stuff but it really is overwhelming. I'm going to have to fight the urge to buy the lastest - "Book o' Jazz Tricks" and focus on the fundamentals.
Not just improvisation too. Part of my job requires sitting with my guys and talking about their goals. One guy was sitting with me and he was telling me he wanted to get better at his tune writing/arranging, cleanliness of parts, etc.
So we take a look at couple of his tunes, etc.

Then he pulls out his hard drive to show me all the composition/arranging books he has PDFs of. It was insane. My question to him was, "Okay, you have them. Which ones have you read? What did you get from them? Which ones are good?"

-Bubba-
 

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I ran across something the other day. I found it both entertaining and enlightening. (Well, maybe not so much enlightening as I agree with Aimee's take on chord families and have been practicing it for many years). Worth a look for any improviser.

 

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Tony, you hit on something key. You will sound great doing one or two concepts really well. and most people work on many things not to that depth and it shows what you can "almost do". I count myself in that category. If you just run a bop or parker lick real well in a few keys until you can alter that one lick many ways with phrasing and time displacement that seems a better bang for your practice buck K
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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It seems everyone is putting out a "ii-V" book or "BeBop Diminished-Dominant-Wholetone Approach to Gregorian Chant" book these days. I certainly want to stay 'hip' to the new stuff but it really is overwhelming. I'm going to have to fight the urge to buy the lastest - "Book o' Jazz Tricks" and focus on the fundamentals.
The key to this whole thing is just picking one thing today and practicing the crap out of it. Don't let it go until it is mastered whether it takes, days, weeks, months or years. Just think about your playing and pick a weakness then start practicing. Too many players including some of my adult students are jumping from topic to topic way too fast. It's the curse of the adult learner. They feel like there is not enough time to get where they want to be and they are in a rush to get there thinking the next book, pathway, teacher or website will get them there. The thing I love about teaching kids is they don't think that way. You give them something and tell them what to do and they practice the tar out of it. They aren't thinking about the next thing or looking for a shortcut. They are just trying to do what their teacher asked them to do. Most players out there know what their weaknesses are but instead of addressing them in the practice room one at a time it is easier to buy a book or download a transcription that they can read and learn next to nothing from. It's fun to look at all the stuff out there but in the practice room you have to pick one thing to practice at a time. One thing.........
 

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The key to this whole thing is just picking one thing today and practicing the crap out of it. Don't let it go until it is mastered whether it takes, days, weeks, months or years. Just think about your playing and pick a weakness then start practicing. Too many players including some of my adult students are jumping from topic to topic way too fast. It's the curse of the adult learner. They feel like there is not enough time to get where they want to be and they are in a rush to get there thinking the next book, pathway, teacher or website will get them there. The thing I love about teaching kids is they don't think that way. You give them something and tell them what to do and they practice the tar out of it. They aren't thinking about the next thing or looking for a shortcut. They are just trying to do what their teacher asked them to do. Most players out there know what their weaknesses are but instead of addressing them in the practice room one at a time it is easier to buy a book or download a transcription that they can read and learn next to nothing from. It's fun to look at all the stuff out there but in the practice room you have to pick one thing to practice at a time. One thing.........
Guilty as charged.
In the world of YouTube and $few PDFs - it's just to easy to spot another thing to try, follow, and abandon once another shinny thing pops up.

Seems to me, however, that although much of the material has similar titles XYZ scale, ABC pattern - actually they are often very different, more like "Here's how to develop a musical feel similar to mine using XYZ, ABC etc.". Aimee's bible (which I transcribed) will help you get Aimee's way of playing etc. There's another piano chap - "Walk that Base" who has a whole other approach to voicing etc. not to mention Bill Hilton, NewJazz, etc etc. (and that's just piano)
Given which (given it's IMHO), I recon the thing to do is find someone you like the sound of and follow their recipes till you get it.
 

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The key to this whole thing is just picking one thing today and practicing the crap out of it. Don't let it go until it is mastered whether it takes, days, weeks, months or years. Just think about your playing and pick a weakness then start practicing. Too many players including some of my adult students are jumping from topic to topic way too fast. It's the curse of the adult learner. They feel like there is not enough time to get where they want to be and they are in a rush to get there thinking the next book, pathway, teacher or website will get them there. The thing I love about teaching kids is they don't think that way. You give them something and tell them what to do and they practice the tar out of it. They aren't thinking about the next thing or looking for a shortcut. They are just trying to do what their teacher asked them to do. Most players out there know what their weaknesses are but instead of addressing them in the practice room one at a time it is easier to buy a book or download a transcription that they can read and learn next to nothing from. It's fun to look at all the stuff out there but in the practice room you have to pick one thing to practice at a time. One thing.........
Steve, that is the best post Ive read on this forum re practice/learning etc, that Ive seen in a long time.
Thanks for posting it.
 

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Steve, bravo! This is the best advice about practice. I remember practicing in my childhood and, reflecting on it now, when it came time to practice, I made sure that it was going to be my activity and was determined not to be distracted by anything else. When it came to figuring out fast passages with accidentals in the key signature, it was challenging; you had to sight read it properly, get it right when the naturals came back, and make it sound good with the appropriate articulations at the various tempos used to bring it up to proper speed. No short cuts, like you said. Adults get distracted way too easily, unfortunately.

The key to this whole thing is just picking one thing today and practicing the crap out of it. Don't let it go until it is mastered whether it takes, days, weeks, months or years. Just think about your playing and pick a weakness then start practicing. Too many players including some of my adult students are jumping from topic to topic way too fast. It's the curse of the adult learner. They feel like there is not enough time to get where they want to be and they are in a rush to get there thinking the next book, pathway, teacher or website will get them there. The thing I love about teaching kids is they don't think that way. You give them something and tell them what to do and they practice the tar out of it. They aren't thinking about the next thing or looking for a shortcut. They are just trying to do what their teacher asked them to do. Most players out there know what their weaknesses are but instead of addressing them in the practice room one at a time it is easier to buy a book or download a transcription that they can read and learn next to nothing from. It's fun to look at all the stuff out there but in the practice room you have to pick one thing to practice at a time. One thing.........
 

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Most players out there know what their weaknesses are but instead of addressing them in the practice room one at a time it is easier to buy a book or download a transcription that they can read and learn next to nothing from. It's fun to look at all the stuff out there but in the practice room you have to pick one thing to practice at a time. One thing.........
No past or future, only "One Thing, Now" Healthy happy kids are so in the now, playing and laughing.
 

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No past or future, only "One Thing, Now" Healthy happy kids are so in the now, playing and laughing.
Exactly! I have adult students who want me to lay out a 5 year path for them to be a gigging sax player. Every lesson, in exact order, etc......... I always respond with a few questions about where they are at and then invariable say something like "Don't worry about a five year plan, master your 12 major scales this week. You don't know them well enough." I can't tell you the number of adult students who are discouraged by this advice and I never hear from again. Me, I would just go home and master my 12 major scales and have it done with whether it takes 4 hours or 72 hours. You do what needs to be done to get it done. Once something is mastered you can move on to something else and build on that foundation.........
 

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Best advice I’ve heard was very similar....practice one thing until you can’t get it wrong....then move on to the next thing...
 

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Someone sent me this article a few months ago and I thought it was excellent. It has to do with karate but it applies to practicing music just the same in my mind.

https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019/08/a-key-to-jazz-improvisation-success-boredom-and-repetition/

It's funny, because I believe that many of the players we think of as "talented" might not have a natural talent at music but that have a talent at being obsessive and practicing stuff relentlessly. I put up 17 hours of me practicing one concept on my site and heard back from a bunch of people that it was crazy that I could do that. To me that is practicing. I did an hour a day for 17 days on this one thing in all keys. That is only the tip of the iceberg though. I haven't mastered it yet. The cool thing is that even though I haven't played the material from that 17 hours in 6+ months, I ran through some of it the other day in all 12 keys and although I made a few mistakes I got through all 12 keys in a few minutes. That shows me that that 17 hours was not in vain. That stuff is still in there and there are brain pathways built around it that are still there. Much of that 17 hours of video is incredibly boring but repetition in of itself is boring so that is what you get. I find this whole subject fascinating.
 

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Got rid of all my jazz education and solo transcription books. Don’t miss them at all. They are all a waste of time. Best thing I ever did. Only have fake books now.

Much better to transcribe things that I find interesting... licks, solos, tunes, ii V7s etc...and work on my own stuff.

But I do recommend the Eddie Harris book called “jazz cliche capers.” It’s a LOT of fun!
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Got rid of all my jazz education and solo transcription books. Don’t miss them at all. They are all a waste of time. Best thing I ever did. Only have fake books now.

Much better to transcribe things that I find interesting... licks, solos, tunes, ii V7s etc...and work on my own stuff.

But I do recommend the Eddie Harris book called “jazz cliche capers.” It’s a LOT of fun!
I never heard of this one. What is so great about it that you threw everything else away but you kept this one? I'm curious?
 

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It’s basically a brilliant 57 page long stream of consciousness mashup/ run-on sentence of strung-together jazz blues and funk licks, motifs, intervalic motifs, melodic fragments, quotes, assorted absurdities and it’s really amazing. And of course it’s OOP.... Simply a must-have!


I never heard of this one. What is so great about it that you threw everything else away but you kept this one? I'm curious?
 

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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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It’s basically a brilliant 57 page long stream of consciousness mashup/ run-on sentence of strung-together jazz blues and funk licks, motifs, intervalic motifs, melodic fragments, quotes, assorted absurdities and it’s really amazing. And of course it’s OOP.... Simply a must-have!
Very interesting. I took a look at one of the pdf document archives I subscribe to (Scribd) and they have a copy available for download (in case anyone is interested in getting a copy).
 
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