Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Jazz Piano Lesson #32: I Hear a Rhapsody Etude

In this week's lesson we will be taking a look at an etude I composed over the changes to "I Hear a Rhapsody."  The goal of this etude is to work on incorporating basic three-part shell voicings in our playing.  After learning the etude as written you will want to start experimenting with your own voicings and improvisations.  You may even want to try your hand at writing out your own original etude based on the provided changes.  Please note that the voicings played in the accompanying video lesson do not exactly follow the .pdf.

Etude .pdf in Cminor:  Lesson #32: Rhapsody Etude
Etude .pdf in all 12 keys:  Lesson #32: Rhapsody Etude in all 12 Keys
Video Lesson:

Practice suggestions:

Remember to always work slow and diligently.  Don't be a afraid to take a short break if you find your mind wondering off during practice sessions.  Five minutes of focused practice will always be worth more than thirty minutes of unfocused practice.

1)  Work slowly through the etude with the metronome at around 60-80bpm.  Work out any fingerings as needed.  Don't worry if you have to work out the etude hands separately at first.

2)  Play and sing.  Play slowly through the etude while singing and playing the melody.  Make sure to match the pitches perfectly in tune.  Work on small challenging sections as needed.

3)  Play the left hand, sing the right hand.  This is the most challenging (also most rewarding) step.  You will have improved your hearing greatly even if you can only get a couple measures down perfectly.

4)  Practice improvising slowly over the tune using voicings based on what is written.  You can do this solo or with a group.

5)  Write out your own etude based on I Hear a Rhapsody or any other standard.

Remember to take is slow and stay as focused as possible.  The biggest problem my students have with practicing is that most often they can not see results in "real time."  It can take weeks, months or years to start incorporating something new in to your playing.  Be patient and remember to have fun!

I hope you enjoyed this free jazz piano lesson.  For more jazz piano lessons check out my Youtube channel over at

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