This 6-week course is part one of a multi-part exploration into the process of making music, creativity, and some of the tools we can use to play with the 12 notes we are given. This includes a dive into triad pair and slash chord vocabulary, fourth chords and lines, and counterpoint exercises.

Voice-leading is the fundamental underlying principle that makes chord progressions. The ability to see the voice leading at work helps decipher the symbols we see in lead sheets, real and fake books. When we recognize some of the linear ‘moves’ that make cadences, it becomes clearer how to create meaningful single note phrases and to improvise with two voices. With these we will make solo guitar arrangements of standards in real time. The choice of standard can be at the students’ request.

The chromatic scale comes from the cycle of fifths, or fourths (depending on your perspective). Five perfect fourths in a row give us the pentatonic scale. Seven perfect fourths give us the major scale. Seeing tonalities, scales diatonic and symmetrical, and modes from this perspective opens a world of intervallic lines and ideas for our vocabulary.

Triad pairs are a big part of the vocabulary of modern jazz. We will be creating lines from two distinct triads, from diatonic and symmetrical scale sources.
We will of course work on concepts of economical fingering that might be new, even to advanced guitarists. Though the concepts may be easy enough to grasp, they might require a new approach to technique. Getting the phrases to breathe and dance has to become part of the practice.

The common reference will be standards and jazz tunes. Practical application into a recognizable context makes the information less abstract and more fun to play. Music is love. If it’s not fun you’re doing it wrong.

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Class Content

Six Weeks of Live Instruction

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