Day 4: Roll With The Changes

Today I was able to work all the scales, as well as the circles of fifths and fourths. I then spent quality time on “Autumn Leaves.” What is fun is that playing it in different keys really cements the progressions into my head.

“Autumn Leaves” is full of ii-V-I progressions, and as I play it in all the keys the progressions just get stronger and stronger.

Now, if you’re not a musician, look at it this way: As you learn to ride a bicycle, you must keep pedaling–left, right, left right. At first you must think about it, but later you do it unconsciously, bringing forth the adage: “you never forget how to ride a bike.”

The ii-V-I in all its variations (and there are many) is similar. I must learn to play it, in every key, to unconscious perfection. As music is an art created in rhythmic real-time, I must do this without thinking. If I think, I’m already behind the beat. I therefore must practice over and over until I have it in my heart, not just my head.

In addition, as I listen to all the different versions of the song, I am not listening to the improvisation (the solos). I am listening to the chords as best I can. This helps me to understand how they are voicing the chord (which notes they omit and add).

And all this is very doable on the Casio toy, because I just need to hear the tones. Now that I’ve charged the batteries…

I am enjoying the journey!

Day 3: Batteries Not Included

Practice: 2 Hours playing, 2 hours learning/listening

Well, the Casio batteries died this morning because someone left it on. So I ran my scales, major and melodic minor in silence, focusing on form, speed, and accuracy. Then circle of fourths and fifths as quickly as possible repeatedly, followed by adding major sevenths in and running those in root position. Tomorrow I may invert them into cluster chords, but not sure yet.

Worked “Autumn Leaves” purposely in the challenging keys (like Gb…) focusing on the progression structures and how they flow through the song. Very, very tempting to try to change keys in the middle of the form, but I do not want to lose my attention as to the original form.

Sorry, no recording tonight. No batteries, remember?! By the way, I have no wall plug; we broke that years ago…but I am looking at a Yamaha P125 this weekend I think…

No excuses! Thanks for making this journey with me.

JCarl