Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
349 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As part of my practice I've been working through the Patterns for Jazz book. Right now I'm finish off the Maj 9 chords, and am starting to work on the major scale patters (specifically four and three-note patterns in all 12 major keys).

However I was curious how everyone actually makes use of the exercises in the book. Are you memorizing the patterns entirely, or just getting enough proficiency you can play through them before moving on? Or, are you using them to get the sounds of the chords or being able to find all of the pitches in the scale without necessarily being able to pull out the specific patterns? Also, how important is it to get down each progression in the exercises (IE some progress chromatically, others in circles of 5ths, some in whole steps, etc).

There's a LOT of exercises, and a lot of different patterns and licks which may double or more including all the alternate exercises, and I'm finding if I were to memorize all the patterns I could be spending months on each section getting them all down (especially the triads...). Especially since if I backtrack just to review I find myself sometimes struggling with them (IE reviewing the Maj 6th chords, and I keep playing 7ths instead :p ).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Its been talked about a couple times on this forum, but generally you should memorize the patterns to a certain degree. Most people would agree that learning “licks” and patterns are more to help develop the sound you want, not really for practical use in solos.
As far as the application of the book, to me it seems as a means of building key fluency so that one can get used to playing in all 12 keys and learning chordal tones.
Finally, the beginning of the book spends a page or two discussing how the progressions you mentioned are 4 of the most common/important in jazz.
This all being said, I play more classical than jazz, but it’s still a lovely book!
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,016 Posts
I worked with this book off and on for a fairly long period of time. I agree with mercurypluto that a big part of it is attaining fluency in all 12 keys, getting the various chord (maj, min, dom, dim, aug, etc) arpeggios under your fingers, and learning some basic chord progressions.

I skipped around, working on things I wanted to really get down (mostly chords in 12 keys). One thing I'd recommend is after learning a pattern or lick in one key, get away from the book and continue to work the pattern out in the other 11 keys by ear. The book is actually set up to learn that way; patterns are not written out in all 12 keys, so you're expected to continue on playing by ear.

The value of this book, imo, is to get comfortable with chords, scales, patterns in all keys at a basic level, then go from there. It's a good reference book to return to when you want to learn or review some specific area (for ex, the diminished scale or a specific chord type).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
349 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So if I'm following you, the patterns are more or less a musical mnemonic for learning the chords, scales, and progressions, rather than patterns to actually use and apply directly.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,793 Posts
That was the book my teacher used with me when I was a kid. I worked out of it form 9th grade through until college. So for 4 years. I was working on other stuff as well but every lesson we would try to make headway with Patterns for Jazz. I think it is a huge help in really learning your chords and scales. I did 7 video lessons on how I used the book and use it now with students on my site http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/?s=Patterns+for+Jazz . There is a short sample video from the lesson under each lesson if you click on that tab that you might be able to get something from also.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,793 Posts
As part of my practice I've been working through the Patterns for Jazz book. Right now I'm finish off the Maj 9 chords, and am starting to work on the major scale patters (specifically four and three-note patterns in all 12 major keys).

However I was curious how everyone actually makes use of the exercises in the book. Are you memorizing the patterns entirely, or just getting enough proficiency you can play through them before moving on? Or, are you using them to get the sounds of the chords or being able to find all of the pitches in the scale without necessarily being able to pull out the specific patterns? Also, how important is it to get down each progression in the exercises (IE some progress chromatically, others in circles of 5ths, some in whole steps, etc).

There's a LOT of exercises, and a lot of different patterns and licks which may double or more including all the alternate exercises, and I'm finding if I were to memorize all the patterns I could be spending months on each section getting them all down (especially the triads...). Especially since if I backtrack just to review I find myself sometimes struggling with them (IE reviewing the Maj 6th chords, and I keep playing 7ths instead :p ).
I found that getting down the progressions in a general sense really helped me when I was younger. You should be able to close your eyes and practice things around the circle of 5ths, half steps up or down, in minor thirds, major thirds, ii-V-Is around the circle, etc........ the more you can remember these relationships the better.

You can use the patterns as melodic ideas for improv also. As long as you are spending time practicing them you should try to memorize them as melodic ideas you can pull from when improvising also.

The true benefit of the book is learning how to learn these chords, scales and patterns so that you can expand your vocabulary past the book later.After working from the book for a year or two it was easy for me to start working on Bird and Phil Woods licks in the same ways. I would learn a lick I really liked and then practice it in all keys like many of the progressions in the book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Memorize the patterns. It's kind of like 'thought training' -- make yourself think of them as what digit of the scale am I on? It's a Cmaj7 chord, I'm on the 7th; the next chord is a G7, if I hold that over I'll be playing the same note, it's the 3rd. It may seem a real hassle and chore at first, but it'll get easier the more you do it.

Practice the same pattern in a cycle, up and down in minor 3rds, and 4ths, to Giant Steps at different tempos. Then do the same thing but mix up the patterns: 1-2-3-5 on one chord, 3-5-7-9 on the next, alternating between the two. Stay cognizant of what digit you're on for that chord.

Once it starts to feel natural, start thinking in shapes -- the digits will be things you just know, like spelling DOG or CAT. Think of one shape as climbing up a ladder, then sliding down a slide. Then make the slide be curvy. Then stomp some grapes into wine, vent effect and so on. Then go on a roller coaster. You get the idea.

The non-terminal patterns are mostly Coltrane. They're good for traversing from one range to another, much like arpeggios will do.

I studied for 2 years my freshman and sophmore years in music school with Jerry Coker, and Patterns for Jazz came out pretty early. I was pretty mediocre went I left school, but still wound up playing at Jazz festivals where people would come up after a show and say "When did you study with Jerry?" Especially the non-terminal patterns, which are very very well known, are kind of a giveaway. It took me years to not sound like that, but I still think the same way when I'm improvising. Jerry would say that people who ignore that sort of thing mostly play a lot of wrong notes.
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
Joined
·
5,878 Posts
Memorize the patterns. It's kind of like 'thought training' -- make yourself think of them as what digit of the scale am I on? It's a Cmaj7 chord, I'm on the 7th; the next chord is a G7, if I hold that over I'll be playing the same note, it's the 3rd. It may seem a real hassle and chore at first, but it'll get easier the more you do it.

Practice the same pattern in a cycle, up and down in minor 3rds, and 4ths, to Giant Steps at different tempos. Then do the same thing but mix up the patterns: 1-2-3-5 on one chord, 3-5-7-9 on the next, alternating between the two. Stay cognizant of what digit you're on for that chord.

Once it starts to feel natural, start thinking in shapes -- the digits will be things you just know, like spelling DOG or CAT. Think of one shape as climbing up a ladder, then sliding down a slide. Then make the slide be curvy. Then stomp some grapes into wine, vent effect and so on. Then go on a roller coaster. You get the idea.

The non-terminal patterns are mostly Coltrane. They're good for traversing from one range to another, much like arpeggios will do.

I studied for 2 years my freshman and sophmore years in music school with Jerry Coker, and Patterns for Jazz came out pretty early. I was pretty mediocre went I left school, but still wound up playing at Jazz festivals where people would come up after a show and say "When did you study with Jerry?" Especially the non-terminal patterns, which are very very well known, are kind of a giveaway. It took me years to not sound like that, but I still think the same way when I'm improvising. Jerry would say that people who ignore that sort of thing mostly play a lot of wrong notes.
Just curious: what do you mean by "non-terminal patterns"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Non-terminal: a symmetrical pattern that repeats, potentially up to the range of the horn. This one is applicable to any chord that lends itself to a whole tone scale, This one applies to A-B-Db/C#-Eb-F or G. The scale is (depending on where you want to start) A-B-Db/C#-Eb-F-G-A. There are only 2 whole tone scales, the other one is Bb-C-D-E-Gb/F#-Ab-Bb. You can play them on 7+5 chords, for example.

You can play this pattern ascending also. There are many, many of these for any chord type.

View attachment 217510
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,867 Posts
Nothing more boring than practicing jazz patterns from a book, or listening to a player executing them in a solo. You don't need the patterns from a book, what you need is the technical and musical flexibility to make up your own while performing.
Each day, construct a pattern of your own and put that through all keys. Don't write it down, just play it by ear. This will help you forward much quicker than working from some book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
It's good to construct a pattern of your own, but you should write them down if you can. Inspirations come and go, so writing them down keep your ideas accessible at later times. Michael Brecker who is still admired as a player said he had Pads of musical ideas he wrote down for later inspiration. Writing down our own ideas visually puts them in our memory. Sometimes we can use our previous ideas as inspiring starting points to improvise with. Writing ideas down helps to recall the things we may not remember. This way we don't loose those magic moments of discovery. "Patterns for jazz" is a book by Jerry Coker sharing some really good musical ideas. At some point we should start hearing and writing down our own ideas if we can. In my opinion it's good to learn the language before we attempt to articulate it. Seeing certain things written down in books can help when needed.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,919 Posts
Don't write it down, just play it by ear. This will help you forward much quicker than working from some book.

It's good to construct a pattern of your own, but you should write them down if you can.
Which of these two opinions is the right one?

I think as an aide memoire you can write down the original phrase and the way it repeats (or else maybe the second and third to get the idea of how it repeats), but there should no need to write down the continuing sequence from there on.

It's a pattern and the human brain should be capable of sequencing patterns.

If I say:

AB AC AD you don't need me to carry on AE AF AG AH etc.

If the way the pattern repeats is more complex, and you cannot work it out without writing it down, then maybe you aren't yet ready to include that pattern in your impro.

So I might learn

  • a single phrase
  • that I repeat it a tone lower (or a minor third higher or starting on the note it finished on or round the cycle and so on.)


I thereforeonly need to memorise or take a note of those two pieces of information, I should not need to write down the whole sequence of the pattern going through the repetitions and variations)

Hmmm, yes the emperor has no clothes I guess because in my book of patterns I do actually write them out - guilty as charged, a 100 page book could have been a lot shorter!.
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
Joined
·
5,878 Posts
Non-terminal: a symmetrical pattern that repeats, potentially up to the range of the horn. This one is applicable to any chord that lends itself to a whole tone scale, This one applies to A-B-Db/C#-Eb-F or G. The scale is (depending on where you want to start) A-B-Db/C#-Eb-F-G-A. There are only 2 whole tone scales, the other one is Bb-C-D-E-Gb/F#-Ab-Bb. You can play them on 7+5 chords, for example.

You can play this pattern ascending also. There are many, many of these for any chord type.

View attachment 217510
Thank you for the clarification. I hadn't come across the term before.
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
Nothing more boring than practicing jazz patterns from a book, or listening to a player executing them in a solo. You don't need the patterns from a book, what you need is the technical and musical flexibility to make up your own while performing.
Each day, construct a pattern of your own and put that through all keys. Don't write it down, just play it by ear. This will help you forward much quicker than working from some book.
I have a friend who has played as soloist with a number of name groups including Maynard's, who hasn't spent a day in this book. Rather, he consistently carried with him a manuscript book that he entered licks in to be practiced later. I remember seeing him writing in his book while waiting for his wife one day. He was always with it. The key is using your ear and gaining technical fluency in all keys.

IMO, there's nothing wrong with this book, I've got one myself, but it's how the material (from the book or self generated) is used the key.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,016 Posts
The key is using your ear and gaining technical fluency in all keys.

IMO, there's nothing wrong with this book, I've got one myself, but it's how the material (from the book or self generated) is used the key.
+1. Well put, gary. The idea of this type of book is not to learn a bunch of patterns to regurgitate in a solo. The idea is to "gain technical fluency in all keys."

One important point: I think it is essential to get away from the book asap and play the material by ear. IOW, don't just read a pattern off the page over and over; rather, only read it long enough to 'learn' it, then put the book aside and continue working on it by ear. And transpose it into other keys by ear.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,793 Posts
+1. Well put, gary. The idea of this type of book is not to learn a bunch of patterns to regurgitate in a solo. The idea is to "gain technical fluency in all keys."

One important point: I think it is essential to get away from the book asap and play the material by ear. IOW, don't just read a pattern off the page over and over; rather, only read it long enough to 'learn' it, then put the book aside and continue working on it by ear. And transpose it into other keys by ear.

it's like the analogy that someone wants to be a great writer and write their own books but they have trouble even spelling words. Patterns for Jazz gives you the tools you need to start spelling musically. That being said, when I was a kid and working out of this book there was no aural component of the book. I spent most of my high school years looking at the chord symbols and associating them with the notes. I got really good at that and still am BUT I never associated those symbols with the actual sounds until years later. Now there is a BIAB play along set out there that goes along with Patterns for Jazz that I wish I had to practice to when I was younger.

http://bhs.minor9.com/midi/patterns4jazz/
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,867 Posts
I have a friend who has played as soloist with a number of name groups including Maynard's, who hasn't spent a day in this book. Rather, he consistently carried with him a manuscript book that he entered licks in to be practiced later. I remember seeing him writing in his book while waiting for his wife one day. He was always with it. The key is using your ear and gaining technical fluency in all keys.

IMO, there's nothing wrong with this book, I've got one myself, but it's how the material (from the book or self generated) is used the key.
Of course, yes. I carry one of those manuscript books with me all the time, and I write down a lot of stuff to be looked at later. But, it's more fun if that stuff is your own and not somebody else's. There is enough copying going on in jazz as it is :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top