Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lesson #33 (Jazz #2 11/20/11): Finding the Key and Shifting to Second

I'm way behind on my lesson notes so this is a bit out of order, but I should have my notes caught up by next week after finals are over.

This was a pretty fun and complicated lesson. Lots of music theory again. Clayton recommended that I take a Music Theory class for non-majors, but unfortunately its only offered in the afternoon and I don't have time during work to leave and take the class. Darn...

Lesson Notes:

1) Determining the key of a note
  • We reviewed the piano accompaniment for Suzuki Book 1 to determine how to find the key for Twinkle and Go Tell Aunt Rhody 
  • Basically, look at the chords that are being played and see what three notes create the arpeggio in the major key. This was one of the reasons why we went over a bunch of different scales (Ionian, Dorian, & Mixolydian) and their arpeggios during my last Jazz lesson. I have yet to have them all memorized.  Example:
    • Measure 1: the notes in the chord are D, F# and A which make up the arpeggio for the D Major scale
    • Measure 2: my memory is failing me, but I think he said that the notes had to be 3 whole steps away to create a chord. The notes in the staff below are D, G and B, but aren't right next to each other. However, I could move the D one octave up so they are next to each other to form the chord, which results in G, B, D anyway! Those notes are the arpeggio for G Major and so on and so forth...

  • So the key and chord progressions for Twinkle are: 
  • Chord progressions
    • There are 7 Major Scales from A through G, so we just number them accordingly:
      • A = I
      • B = II
      • C = III
      • D = IV
      • E = V
      • F = VI
      • G = VII
      • Therefore, each key has a number, see Twinkle above. So when musicians are talking about chord progressions, and say that they're doing a I, IV, I, V progression, it just means they are playing in the key of D Major, then G Major, then D Major and finally A Major (which is the first 4 keys of Twinkle)
  • Go Tell Aunt Rhody key and chord progression
    • We also looked at the piano accompaniment to figure out the chords
    • The chord progression for the first line would therefore be: IV, I, IV, IV, I, IV
  • Importance?
    • To learn how to jam with other people! If I ever decide to jam with a group and they call out a I, IV, I, V progression, I know I have to play in the keys of D Major, then G Major, than D Major and then finally A Major! 
    • To start training my ear to hear what key a song or piece is being played
    • And, it also teaches me to read music to determine what key is being play, i.e. if I happen to be jamming in a group (which I'm not...yet) and I don't know what song they are playing, but they happen to have the music sheet, I can look at the chords to determine what keys I need to play! Pretty nifty! :).

2) Assignment for Twinkle & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 
  • In each Major Key, play the following: 
    • Roots (first key of the major key only)
    • 1st & 2nd notes of each key
    • 1st through 3rd notes
    • 1st through 5th notes
    • Triads  - play the 3 note arpeggio for each key
  • This is the beginning of learning how to play variations, next is to add rhythm to these keys
    • It definitely doesn't sound like Twinkle any more! But its supposed to teach me what notes I can play within the key 

3) Shifting to Second Position
  • Since we're doing a lot of scales and only knowing first position without extensions or shifts is limiting which scales I can play, Clayton decided to teach me how to shift to second position
  • I tend to panic when I get introduced to new concepts, and I think he sensed that because he was very  nonchalant about it! 
    • I think that's how he approaches new technique when he's teaching his kids (I think he mostly teaches little children). It's an interesting approach, and I think one that worked well on me! I think if a teacher acts like its not a big deal, than it kind of drains my apprehension a bit
      • I was really worried about shifts (and also vibrato!) and didn't even want to try shifts because I've heard and read that its very difficult. But the way he approached it was like, "yeah, its not a big deal... you can do it - just do this..." and then voila I was doing shifts! Not great, but not bad either! :).
      • I've got to remember that the next time I have to teach a dance move or something - its all in the presentation and approach! 
        • I swear, it's like he tricked me or something! I was thinking, "OMG this is going to be AWFUL - a complete disaster! Why am I trying this?! I'm not ready for this!! What in the world is he thinking?!" Then a few minutes later, "....huh...okay...that wasn't so bad...I guess he was right..." LOL! :). Yes, I am a pessimist ...or realist! 
  • My shifting assignment
    • Play:  A B C# B C# D E
      •  0  1  3  1  1  2  4
      • Shift occurs on the B and C#
    • Try it on other strings
    • Visualize where my third finger is and replace with the first finger
      • It's easier if I close my eyes to visualize where my third finger is than to look at it and get the shift right because what I feel in the movement feels different from what I see! Returning to first position feels a lot wider than shifting from first position to second position, which always feels like I didn't move my hand enough

Interesting lesson, but LOT of information....its a bit overwhelming...I have to admit I was avoiding these assignments because they seemed pretty tough so I wasn't prepared for my next lesson. Next time, I won't be so unprepared...

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