Week 1 of my learning project journey is in the books! My biggest takeaway from the week is that this is going to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. Playing jazz compared to classical music requires a shift in how you think and process music. Instead of relying on sheet music, I am focusing on using my ears to listen to the chords and my brain to figure out what I am playing. From a theoretical standpoint, I find jazz music fascinating as you experiment with different chords and voicings. But I also find it frustrating because I am so used to playing exactly what is written on a sheet of music. In some ways, I compare it to learning a new language, where you are translating the words in your head before speaking. This week I am “translating” the chords and creating a visual image in my mind before I play the notes on the piano. Sometimes I rely on the feel of the keys and my hand position, but then my technical brain takes over as I want to know exactly what I am playing. I anticipate this will be a continued struggle as I progress through my journey.
After my initial blog post about the learning project, I received some great feedback about where to look for resources online. Similar to my classmate Brooke, I put a call-out on social media asking for advice of where to start. I received lots of useful information and of course some funny but unhelpful advice.
To document my learning journey, I pondered with the idea of vlogging like my classmate Amanda. Like Amanda, I am completely new to vlogging, but we had a great discussion in class on Tuesday night about ways to document our journey in interesting ways. Here is my first attempt!
What I worked on:
- Demonstrated what I already know (basic form of the 12 bar blues)
- Practiced play 2-5-1 (ii-V-I) chord progressions using 3rds and 7ths voicings
- I figured out the progression fairly quickly and immediately fell in love with the “jazzy” sound
- I didn’t resort to using sheet music! This is a big one for me. I practiced strictly by ear.
- A realization that playing jazz is a lot more difficult and mentally involved than I thought
Aimee Nolte’s YouTube channel is supposed to be great according to recommendations from my jazz friends. My only complaint is there is a lot of talking before you get to the main practice.
That’s a wrap on week 1! For the next week I will continue my 2-5-1 practice in all keys and maybe starting working on a more sophisticated 12 Bar Blues.