Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 332 #376)


Following up on the power of knowing your scales, Grant jumped in this week to share some of the thinking and techniques he's used to expand his improvisational ability. At the core of it, the ability to improvise can be practiced. Read David Barrett's book; set practice challenges for yourself; and above all, realize that repetition and call and response techniques will put you on the right track.

Where to start? Practice a melody you know well and make small changes in it. Put a play-along track on and force yourself to start your phrasing each chorus with a different note in the scale. Start a one-chord track and sing or scat a phrase then try to play it on your harp. These are all techniques that will expand your improv thinking...and remember, they are practice ideas, not performance ideas. Work on these at home and let the lessons learned inform your improv playing when you hit the stage.

Class Notes
  • Joe announced the prizes for his end of year contest. Get your CD in by end of December that shows what you are capable of and you could win! Third Prize, one high performance Marine Band Deluxe; Second Prize, two high performance Crossover harps; First Prize, three high performance Crossover harps!
  • Reminder that Joe will be away touring with Eric for the next two classes. Private lessons with him are cancelled but group classes will continue as usual. Level Three classes will be taught by Zoe and Grant (be sure to bring a copy of your transcription for them to watch as you play); Level IV classes will be covered by Shoji and RickEy. Joe's gone October 21-November 11, but you shouldn't be! Get a fresh perspective on your playing from these other great teachers.
  • Special note for the 6:30 class next week - don't count on there being a guitar player to back you up. Please bring a play-along CD for the song you're working on.
  • Jam! Grant will be hanging out in B1 and hosting a casual open jam from 3:30pm to 5:30pm next Monday. This is a great chance for you to practice, ask questions and just have a good time. It is also a great opportunity for you to rehearse and work out arrangement questions for tunes you want to record for Joe's contest.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew