- Chord tones
- II — V — Is in all keys round the cycle
- Harmonising scales with 7th chords C through Ab
I’ve just discovered a huge blocker that was holding me for a long time! So, my thing was that, when I used to play an exercise that had a lot to do with mind games — like harmonising a scale or II — V — Is in all keys, etc. — I used to always run into this paralysing moment of “Errrr… Where am I supposed to go next? I’m in F, so next one will be… Er… Bb, and the V in Bb is… F… Er… But I’m still in F, and the 5th of F is… Er—” So, like, I would always think about what I’m playing at the moment, and not about what’s coming up next. And therefore by the time I got to the next key, I would be lost and have to pause. There’s a scientific term for it actually, it’s called “analysis paralysis” — when you are presented with too many choices, you just get stuck and don’t do anything. So, in my case, I think the problem was that I kept holding too much to that key or whatever the thing was from which I was transitioning, and didn’t really think about the next thing to play in advance. But why think about II — V — I in F if you have already figured it out? Just let your fingers play it automatically and in the meantime think about II — V — I in Bb which comes next and figure it out before you started playing it!
It could be tricky, because your brain does not want to switch attention to something that it’s not doing at the moment, and instead it wants to control everything, even if it’s already in the fingers, but you have to force it and persuade it that you can do some stuff on autopilot, and then use this time to think about the next changes or about the larger-scale things. Not sure if this ramble was helpful for anyone or at all understandable, but that’s my today’s enlightenment, I’m feeling pretty happy about it! 😄