Diminished Scales...AAAAAHHHH! (running away screaming)

Diminished Scales…AAAAAHHHH! (running away screaming)

Hi All!

A quick overview of yesterday’s session:

I started with my warmups. Afterwards, I noticed that my voice was not cooperating like the day before. There was a lot of fuzziness and I don’t quite know why but it remained for the duration of my practicing. Weird…I sang through the “Ornithology” transcription and then worked on the first two major chord patterns. After taking them through all the keys, I practiced them both over the chord progression for “You Stepped Out of a Dream.” It was fun to use them in context or at least out of the context of “Ornithology.” Next I sang through the random major, dominant, dorian minor and half-diminished chord/scale exercises from the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Ear Training book. I wanted to work on some piano stuff so I ventured into diminished scale territory next and that’s when it got hairy! Thinking of constructing the scale using whole and half steps proves to be too confusing for me. It’s fine ascending but then I can’t remember what I played on the way up when I’m trying to descend. Maddening! I find that it’s easier to think of the arpeggio (1-3-5-7) and then approach each of those notes from a half step below. I was able to get through all of the keys slowly and did this few times before doing a review of all the scales I have been working on singing. I played the major scale ascending/descending, the dominant, dorian minor, half-diminished and diminished (starting with a whole step) in all twelve keys before calling it a night.

Today’s session:

Warm-ups as usual, although today, I tried out Jay Clayton’s Jazz Vocal Practice Series CD 1. I don’t know…the jury’s still out on this one. I’m still going to continue alternating between the Anne Peckham, the Singing for the Stars and Jay’s warm-ups for now. Sang through the “Ornithology” transcription then worked on a ii-V-I pattern from the solo. This pattern stars on the 3rd of the ii chord so I practiced playing minor 7 chords around the cycle and hearing/singing the 3rds. When I was pretty comfortable with the pattern, I practiced it within the chord progression of “Just Friends.” I went back to practice the diminished (starting with the whole step) scales I started practiced yesterday. They’re hard to sing and descending is still scary although I’m getting better at playing them on the piano. I took time to write them out in all the keys so that I could play and sing them with the Aebersold recording. I’M DETERMINED TO BE ABLE TO SING THESE #$*&^ SCALES! LOL! Next, I wrote out the second chorus of the Ella Fitzgerald “How High the Moon” solo and then decided to have a look at the Mark Levine Jazz Piano Book. This book is very intimidating and I don’t know quite how to use it…? He goes into sus and phrygian chords/scales right after three-note voicings…! I’m an intermediate piano player but I have been scared of this text. People really swear by it and it’s used in classrooms all over the world so I’ve decided to give it another try. I worked on the three-note voicings exerise with playing the melody on top for a while. I can play these voicings pretty easily. I can accompany myself with four-note voicings in the right hand and the bass note in the left but I haven’t really tackled being able to play the melody along with the voicings in the right hand. What I REALLY need to get to is how to fill and possibly…wait for it…improvise on the piano! O.k…getting ahead of myself. Back to my basic voicings with melody. LOL!

Good night!