Practicing arpeggios and extensions in modal context

I love combining different workouts in one so that I don’t spend two hours just doing arpeggios and then another two hours trying to make them work with right hand patterns. My approach is to work on both hands at the same time by putting emphasis on one of them and keeping the second busy with something super simple and minimally technical, yet still meaningful in terms of theory. But, there’s also a possibility to pack one more thing in an exercise — and that’s when you make it modal!

For this one a picked the classic Mixolydian progression: I7 — bVII∆7 and played it it using 7th chord arpeggios with left hand and doubled intervals in the right.

Stuff I improve while practicing this:

  • Modal DNA
  • Arpeggios
  • Diatonic intervals

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 18.43.06.png


Sure enough, you can transpose it to any key or apply to any modal progression like Dorian i — IV7 or Phrygian i — bII∆7, etc.

Piano day (1h 40m)

Jazz voicings + left hand

  • Dominant +13 to Major +9 w/ harmonic 6ths and 9ths in LH
  • Fourthy modal structures over blanket scale — “Jazz Improvisation for Keyboard Players”, Dan Haerle (Book 2, Lesson 7) ⭐️
    • Blocks
    • Arpeggiated
      • C Dorian
      • C Lydian
  • 7-3-5 modal structures over G Mixo blanket scale
  • Alternating modal voicings over constant phrase

Scale studies

  • Whole-tone — getting to know the scale / improv over augmented chords in C through Bb


  • Crazy (Gnarls Barkley) — C, Bb
    • RH — inversions: R, 1, 2
    • LH — broken 10ths, 1-5 shells

Piano day (1h 30m)

Left hand + moving shells

  • Combining moving shells with LH patterns
    • Minor to Dominant (skill 37c from Jazz Piano Voicing Skills) + LH: [1-5][1-7][1-1’][1-4-5]i — 1-5-10-1’-5’-6’IV7
    • Dominant to Major (skill 38a from Jazz Piano Voicing Skills) + LH: 1-5-10-6 to 1‘-1I7 + desc arpeggio + 6IV

Scale studies

  • Concurrent Ion + Lyd 1-octave scales (in 2 forms)

Soloing + comping

  • All Love is Fair Focus on 3-7-9 shells in LH and major / minor scales in RH


Try constructing 3-7-9 voicing in LH from 9 down!

Piano day (1h 40m)

Jazz voicings + Left hand

  • Combining cycling shells with left hand patterns
    • Minor to Dominant (Dan Haerle, Jazz Piano Voicing Skills, Skill 37c) + LH: [1-5][1-7][1-1’][1-4-5]i — 1-5-10-1’-5’-6’IV7

Scale studies + Left hand + Shells

  • Combining blues scale improv with moving extension shells
    • RH: minor blues scale, LH: 1 — [3’-7’-9’]
  • All Aeolian scales
  • All Locrian scales

Piano day (1h 30m)

Scale studies + Modes

  • Combining modes (4th apart)
    • Ionian into Lydian (1 octave scales)
      • C Ion →  F Lyd → Bb Ion → Eb Lyd → …
      • F Ion → Bb Lyd → Eb Ion → Ab Lyd → …
    • Dorian to Mixolydian (same approach)
  • Major blues scale recap (alternating blocks / broken 10ths in LH)

Left hand

  • Phrygian i — II — III7 in 5-1-10 + desc. arpeggios (F#)