The piano teacher who does the normal level III and IV courses (I did III this summer and am doing it again in the fall - she has us repeat III until we're ready to progress to IV - each course has students at several different levels in it) talked the extended education people into letting her teach a short blues improv course between the summer and fall semesters, which I signed up for. Today was the first class, and I am reporting on it as per yhlee
's request. :)
The first thing we did was to choose jazz names. :) The teacher is "the Duchess". I picked "Boss," a former nickname of mine. For the first half the class we primarily worked on rhythm, the swing long-short long-short rhythm, and clapping various rhythms out. She had cards with various combos of eighth, quarter, and half notes on them and we had to clap those out. We also did pentascales in C (i.e., 5-note scales up and down: C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C) to a swing rhythm. And then the hardest part. See in regular music with 4 beats per measure, the emphasis is usually on the 1 and 3 beats: 1
- 2 - 3
- 4. In jazz, it's on the 2 and 4 beats: 1 - 2
- 3 - 4
. So she had us doing the pentascales in swing time with out right hands while tapping the 2 and 4 beats with our left.
If you're new to rhythm, it's kinda close to patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.
The second half the class we learned the basic 12-bar blues progression
, and were commanded to memorize it. (I already have!) It uses the I, IV, and V chords, and if you're new to chords that means (as we're working in C), C-E-G, F-A-C, and G-B-D. The progression goes:
I - I - I - I
IV - IV - I - I
V - IV - I - I
And if you play that out, especially the last 4 chords sound like EVERY CLASSIC ROCK AND ROLL SONG EVAR.
And then we learned a barrelhouse blues thing, which means that instead of holding the chords, we did a fifth and sixth - i.e., the first measure, played by holding down C-E-G for four beats in the 12-bar progression, is played C-E-G C-E-A C-E-G C-E-A.
To those who now what I'm talking about, that explanation is horrifically simplistic, and to those who don't, it's completely incomprehensible, I bet. :)
Anyway, that was it. After class I showed the sheet music that yhlee
made for me from her composition "Ghostfall" to the teacher, and she was excited about it and told me that if I wanted to start learning it, she'd help me. :) So I shall be working on the right hand for that this week in addition to the blues stuff.
And now I am very sleepy and shall go to bed.