Posts Tagged ‘practice’

Practice: On Green Dolphin Street and Lush Life (learning by ear)

July 8th, 2009
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Here are two short piano practices I did in the last couple of days. The first one I am practicing the jazz standard On Green Dolphin Street, and in the second one I am working on learning the Billy Strayhorn tune Lush Life by ear. I have listened to Lush Life a lot of times, especially the classic Coltrane version which is one of my favorites, and recently heard Kurt Elling sing Lush Life at his fabulous concert at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival this year.

Click below to listen to my jazz piano practices:

On Green Dolphin Street Practice

Lush Life practice (working by ear) with some technique at the end

Here is a beautiful rendition of the song Lush Life being performed by vocalist Dianne Reeves and guitarist Russell Malone:

Lush Life – Dianne Reeves, Russell Malone


Piano Practice – Joy Spring

July 6th, 2009
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I did another short piano practice on the jazz song Joy Spring by Clifford Brown. It’s more like a warm up really.

Click here to listen to my short practice on the Clifford Brown tune Joy Spring.


Joy Spring and On Green Dolphin Street piano practice

July 4th, 2009
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I did about a 45 minute practice on the tunes Joy Spring and On Green Dolphin Street. I have been practicing quite a bit lately and it seems my fingers are in pretty good shape (but my technique could always be better). In the last part of the practice I mainly worked on getting a bit of fluidity into the motion of my fingers, and didn’t focus so much on what notes I was playing.

Click here to listen to my practice of Joy Spring and On Green Dolphin Street in Midi format.


Joy Spring – another practice

June 29th, 2009
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I did another practice, for about 50 minutes, on the tune Joy Spring by Clifford Brown. I’m mainly trying to work on the technique of my right hand. This melody has a lot of notes and runs in different keys, and is almost like some kind of classical “study” piece.
I have also noticed that several keys on my electric piano are starting to stick. This makes it a lot trickier to play and I am concerned that I may be learning some bad habits trying to compensate for the stickiness of certain keys (in particular, the C above middle C). Time to get a new keyboard soon and sell my old ones!

Click here to listen to my practice on the tune Joy Spring in Midi format.


I Got Rhythm jazz piano practice

June 28th, 2009
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I practiced for about 25 minutes on the jazz standard I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin. I haven’t worked on this tune much before, and it’s a commonly played tune at jam sessions so I thought I’d learn it a bit more.

Click here to listen to my practice of I Got Rhythm.


Piano Practice recording – jazz standard Joy Spring, Autumn Leaves, and technique

June 19th, 2009
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I practiced the piano for about an hour today, in two different sessions. The first session was about 20 minutes. I am working on getting my technique flowing again and learning the jazz standard Joy Spring by Clifford Brown. I also did a bit of improvised accompaniment to myself singing Autumn Leaves.

Click here to listen to my piano practice in Midi format.

Here is a nice recording of Arturo Sandoval performing Joy Spring from his album I Remember Clifford:

Joy Spring – Arturo Sandoval

Here is a recording of Joy Spring by the late great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and his trio:

Joy Spring – The Oscar Peterson Trio


Practice recordings – Tune Up by Miles Davis and Triste by Antonio Carlos Jobim

June 11th, 2009
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A couple more practice recordings to share:

Tune Up by Miles Davis, practice no. 4

First time reading through the tune Triste by Antonio Carlos Jobim (about a 10 minute practice, before I had listened to the original recording)

Here is one of the original recordings of Triste (click here to view on Imeem) or use the player below:

Triste – Antonio Carlos Jobim


Miles Davis “Tune Up” – Practice #2

June 6th, 2009
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I practiced for about 45 minutes on learning the song “Tune Up” by Miles Davis. This is my second practice learning the song and I seem to have got it pretty much in my head.

One part that I am finding tricky is soloing over the first 2-5-1 progression (Emi7, A7, DMaj7). I am not used to having a major 2-5-1 right at the beginning of the tune (they usually come at the ends of phrases). It’s almost like it resolves too quickly. So I am experimenting with playing some extensions and dissonant harmonies on top of the DMaj7 to make it more interesting. I still haven’t figured out what I really want to do with the first DMaj7. But it’s quite fun nevertheless!

I am also still trying to strengthen my right hand, which I worked on by playing the Bb major scale at various speeds.

Click here to download my practice recording of Tune Up in Midi format.


New Jazz Piano Practice – Tune Up by Miles Davis

June 5th, 2009
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I did about a 45 minute practice tonight, learning the tune “Tune Up” by Miles Davis. It is a deceptively simple tune that seems like it will be great to solo over once I really learn it. I finished the practice by playing some scales. Finally I am getting some of the strength back in my fingers – it is really encouraging!

Click here to download my practice of Miles Davis’s Tune Up and technique in Midi format.

Since it is in Midi format, the sound quality will depend on what kind of music synthesizer your computer has. The one that comes with Quicktime works, but isn’t the best. If you have a Yamaha DIsklavier piano or a Roland, try playing the midi file though your actual piano!


Learning how to sing – first steps

May 17th, 2009
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I decided that I want to learn how to sing!

I was flipping through my jazz Real Book (which contains lead sheets for many popular jazz standards) and came across the tune “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” by Duke Ellington. I remember that my late grandmother, who I love very much, said this was one of her favorite songs, and I can see why: it’s a simple and heart wrenching ballad that is so beautiful – it makes me think of all the emotions relating to romance, love, loss, hope, and personal self-worth.

So I realize that learning to sing is a long and many faceted journey, of which I have taken the first few steps today. I sang the Duke Ellington tune for about 15 minutes and then thought that in order to figure out what I should focus on during my practices, I should make a recording of myself singing. By listening back to the recording I will be able to act as a more critical listener and decide what I want to change or improve in my singing.

I also thought that by posting my first singing recording here on this blog, I might inspire or encourage someone else to also take the first steps to learn how to sing. For me it is kind of intimidating to be surrounded by many good singers, each who has progressed along this journey in their own way. But I know that my sound will be unique and I know that all I will need to do is keep listening to myself and working towards the goal of finding my own voice.

Here is my first attempt at singing “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” by Duke Ellington. Feel free to use the player below or get the MP3 here.