Practice session: permutations and more Gershwin studies

Scale studies

  • All Lydian scales
  • All Ionian scales
  • Scale dissection: Ab Lydian over Ab∆7 moving arpeggios in groups of two
  • Scale dissection: F# Dorian over F#m7 moving arpeggios in groups of three
  • Scale dissection #2: F# Dorian in groups of three over F#m7 regrouped arpeggios
  • Scale dissection #3: F# Dorian in groups of three over all F#m7 inversions in 1-3-5-7 permutations (several slow passes, but couldn’t really play it fluently)

Left hand

  • Gershwin reversed stride bass (#14 from Jazz Piano: The Left Hand)
    • Original chord progression (dominant descent over the cycle of 4ths from F#, in fact 🤓)
    • Minor variation
      • Only reversed stride in 3-7 → R | 7-10 → R pattern
      • Reversed stride + broken 10ths + block triads up the octave (sounds super dope 🔥)
  • Descending 10ths in a free jam: focus on 10-5 movement

Improvisation

  • Major blues scale around the cycle (quick recap)

Session timing: 2h 30m

Observations

Variations are great! It definitely is much more inspiring an empowering than simply learning the piece from sheet music and finally reading it without any errors. Understanding the logic behind the particular composition and the techniques that are used in it — and then being able to freely play your variation of it in which one can still recognise the original — this is extremely satisfying.

Piano practice (1h 45m)

Scale studies

  • All Lydian scales
  • All Ionian scales
  • C, F, Bb Lydian in grand form
  • All Lydian scales over moving Lydian DNA
  • Dissecting Phrygian scales over arpeggiated inversions (E, A, D, G) — sheet music link coming soon

Jazz voicings + left hand

  • iim9 — V13 — I∆9 | iiø — V7b9 — im9 (format 2) from Jazz Piano Voicings (C thru F#). Left hand:
    • Blocks
    • 10ths + octave blocks + b7-1-5 run on iiø

Improvisation

  • Minor blues scale — quick recap in all keys

Piano day (2h)

Left hand + shells

  • Descending major 10ths workout (10-5-1 + 6-7)
    • Only LH
    • With RH: 7-3-5 shells
    • With RH: alternating shells of same chord (7-3-5 to 3-6-9 or 3-7-9) — octave jump
    • With RH: connecting descending shells (cycling 7-3-5 to 3-7-9)

Left hand + modal studies

  • Lydian DNA (Imaj7 — II7) in all keys
    • Blocks
    • LH: 1-5-10-6’-7’ | 1-1’, RH: 7-3-5 shell | 1 octave scale run

Left hand + scale studies

  • Major blues scale recap (LH: broken 10ths, harmonic 5ths and 6ths)

Reading + analysis

  • Fascinating Rhythm by George Gershwin  (first 4 bars, then quick improv over LH pattern) — Exercise #14 from Jazz Piano: The Left Hand book

Observations
I haven’t been practicing too much bass during the last months, as I’m trying to focus in on left hand on piano, but recently I picked it up late at night and simply did some walking over a jazz standard. Then some inversions. Some permutations. Some arpeggios. All that stuff that I though I’ve had enough of. One big takeaway from that? Wanna get excited about seemingly boring material like scales, arpeggios and reading on your instrument? Simply practice another one for a month or so (completely ignoring the first one), and I swear you’ll start CRAVING it! 😂