Wow. What. A. Week. I know distractions are a part of life, but this week was something else. First we had (multiple) Thanksgiving dinners, followed by a teething baby who wouldn’t nap then a stomach bug that knocked our household out flat for 3 days. My classmate Melinda talks about her challenges with learning piano, like getting her own keyboard to practice. It just goes to show that everyone has different struggles and we are all working towards our own goals!
Unfortunately I didn’t complete all my goals for practice this week. But, I managed to squeeze in short daily practice sessions and learn at least one new skill. My vlog recap will give you a snapshot into my practice attempts this week!
After getting bored with the basic blues scale practice (mostly the shuffle pattern in the left hand), I googled “blues shuffles pattern piano” and came across this video:
I was so happy to see that it was:
- less than 5 minutes long
- a simple lesson with an outline (and part of a series, so potential for further learning)
- included music notation (sheet music)
Yes, I know my goal was to stay away from sheet music and focus on learning by ear, but I couldn’t resist. I realized that I am very much a visual learner, and I was feeling frustrated by trying to learn only by ear. But, trying to stay true to my goal, I decided to make a compromise. I used the sheet music for a brief moment to initially understand the pattern and voicings in the right hand.
- LH = play the root and 5th of the chord
- RH = play the 3rd and root of the chord (in that voicing)
From there, I was able to use audio only to figure out the pattern in each hand and easily put the whole lesson together. Overall, I really enjoyed this practice because it felt like I understood the pattern and form. I could easily learn this arrangement in another key, which helps explain why you can’t just rely on reading sheet music – you have to really understand what you are playing so you can transfer the skills to other keys.
What I worked on:
- Reviewed C Blues scale with shuffle pattern in LH
- Learned a C Blues scale lick with a new shuffle pattern in both RH and LH
- I learned something new (C Blues lick) despite the chaos this week
- Starting to feel very comfortable with the Blues form and scale
- Found a good YouTube channel that may be helpful for future Blues practice.
- Only accomplished one of my goals this week (Blues scale) and didn’t do a lot of work on the 2-5-1 progression
This week I plan to tackle the lead sheet and learn how to read it like a real jazz musician. I am also excited by the David Magyel YouTube channel, so I will try another lesson. After the half-way point in our learning project, it will be useful to evaluate our progress. Maybe it will mean changing our end goals? What are your plans to reflect on your learning so far?