Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Final Assignments

Lester Young Solo

- Sing the solo with the recording. Email me the recording by Wednesday 3/5 at 8:00 PM

- Perform the solo memorized in class on or before Thursday 3/13

Two Compositions for Final Performance Friday 3/14 at 7:30 PM in Room 35

- 12 bar blues composition with one of the following forms:

      Four-bar A B riff repeated three times
      A, A, B (four bars each)
     Improvise over 12-bar blues in C and B-flat.

- Melody and improvisation over a drone. The piece can be rubato or over a rhythmic groove.

Reflection Paper 

Email to me by Thursday 3/20 at 8:00 PM

Write a short paper (at least two pages double-spaced) reflecting on your experience in the class. Discuss which concepts came naturally and which were more challenging. (Consider playing by ear, learning a swing feel, singing, thinking in scale degrees, transposition, composing riffs, improvisation over a blues, composing A B phrases, transcription, and performance in front of an audience.) Discuss any areas you are interested in exploring in the future and/or how they might inform your teaching.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Week Six

Assignment for 2/18

- Improvise with the riff rhythms and blues scales the keys of C and Bb along with the rhythm section practice tracks.

Major Blues Scale - 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6, 8
Minor Blues Scale - 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7, 8

- Compose three four-measure riffs with a question/answer structure. Be ready to play them in C and Bb. You can use the riff rhythms and blues scales as a starting point, but feel free to branch out from there.

Assignment for 2/20

- Choose one of your AB or AA'B phrases over a drone to expand into a longer composition. You can remove the pitch restriction and use a drone other than C if you wish. Be ready to perform your piece in class. Write down your piece (approximate rhythms are fine) if possible.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Week Five

Assignment for 2/11

- Improvise using the one- and two- measure riff rhythms from the handout along with the shuffle drum track (in the dropbox). The repeats are "open," so repeat a single rhythm over and over again until you are really grooving. Start on a single pitch and then add other notes once you are comfortable with the rhythm.

- Experiment with the "major blues scale"  1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6, 8 in the keys of C and B-flat. You can play along with the drum grooves or blues rhythm section tracks.

Here's another great version of "All of Me" by Duke Ellington featuring Johnny Hodges. Check out Hodges's amazing triplets!

All of me Hodges:Ellington by boberwig

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week Four


- Drum along with the Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, and Art Blakey recordings in the drop box. Practice drumming even quarter notes, quarter notes with accents on beats 2 and 4, ride cymbal pattern. Drum triplets with the slower tunes (Lil Darlin' and Things Ain't What They Used to Be).

- Compose and record five new A A' B phrases with the following perameters:
     Use the C Drone track (or accompany yourself with a low C on piano)
     Each phrase should use a four-note combination from the packet in a single octave
     Compose rubato melodies
     The B phrase should answer the two A phrases
      Explore dynamics, rhythmic phrasing, tone color, and pacing.

Email me a recording of your phrases by Wednesday 2/5 at 8:00 PM.

- Begin to listen to Lester Young's tenor sax solo on "All of Me." You will need to be able to sing and play it from memory by the end of the quarter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week Three

Jerry Lewis bit on Count Basie's "Blues in Hoss Flat":

Assignment for 1/28

- Learn the melody to the first two A sections (16 measures) of Count Basie's "Taps Miller" by ear. Listen and sing with the recording many times before transferring the melody to your instrument. Be ready to sing and play it in class without any notation. Analyze the melody in scale degrees.

- Using four-note limitations over a drone, compose five A A' B phrases. (We will discuss this in class on Thursday). Record this assignment and email me the mp3 (or video) before class on the 28th. Let me know if you need help making a recording.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week Two

Assignment for 1/21

- Transpose two of your melodies into six keys by thinking in scale degrees. You can look at your scale degree map, but don't write down the pitches. Be ready to perform them in class.

- Spend a couple hours playing and experimenting with the one, three, and four pitch limitations over a C C drone that we worked on in class. Focus on varying the dynamics, rhythm, tone color, pitch inflections, and proportion of notes to silence.

- Choose your favorite pitch combinations, and compose five phrases with AB (or question-answer) structure. Write down the phrases on manuscript paper, bring five copies, and be ready to play them in class. The notation can be approximate, especially if your phrase is rubato.

- Listen to the mp3s in the dropbox


Cello Drones For Tuning and Improvisation

Download mp3 tracks at Amazon
or order a CD directly from Marcia Sloane

Pair of drumsticks and practice pad

Standard drumset sticks are Vic Firth 5A, but any pair of sticks will be fine. The closest place to buy them is Capitol Music on 50th and Roosevelt.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week One

Assignment for 1/14

Teach yourself three simple melodies entirely by ear and be ready to perform them for the class. Choose songs you know well and can sing. Work through this process:

- Imagine the melody in your musical imagination
- Slowly and accurately sing the melody
- Figure out the melody on your instrument through trial and error
- Practice the melody until it's performance ready

- Vary and personalize the melody
- Figure out what key your song is in and write down the scale degrees.

Ex: When the Saints Go Marching In

1 3 4 5, 1 3 4 5, 1 3 4 5 3 1 3 2, etc. . .