Piano day (2h 45m)

  • Improv / scales study
    • Locrian 2-octave scales in all keys with two hands
    • Improvisation: Locrian scale over m7b5 chords, all keys around the cycle (to the bass line and rhodes)
    • 2-octave Lydian pentatonic in all keys (major shells in LH)
    • 2-octave minor pentatonic in all keys (minor shells in LH)
    • 2-octave “Locrian pentatonic” (1-b2-b3-b5-b6) + m7b5 shells in LH
    • Hirajoshi scale (checked out in C)
  • Left hand
    • Intervallic patterns
      • 1-5-6 in major & minor (cycling)
      • Broken tenths (1-5-10 + 1-5-6 8va) in major & minor (cycling)
      • Broken chords (1-5 + 1-3-5 8va) in major & minor (cycling)
  • Interpreting pop tunes (wow!)
    • Muse — New Born
    • Damon Albarn — Hostiles (looked up chords on UltimateGuitar and adapted to piano using intervallic patterns in LH and shells in RH)

Observations

Moving towards 3-hour sessions on weekend. Taking breaks after each hour is essential! Also, 3 hours really feel awesome in terms of stuff you can cram into this time without rushing and messing up. Musical observations: I finally go to Locrian mode! I have been avoiding it for such a long time. Professors in music school only mentioned it briefly saying it is not that useful, we weren’t asked to compose in it, so I totally ignored it. Until lately. And man it’s beautiful!!! Don’t believe anyone who tells you that Locrian is “ugly” or “scary”. It’s sad, tragic, dramatic, incredibly touching, anything but ugly. Also I discovered a whole family of modal pentatonic scales that can be derived from normal heptatoic modal scales by applying major or minor pentatonic patterns to them. For example, you can take 1-3-4-5-7 and apply it to Lydian mode, which will give you 1-3-#4-5-7, which is BEAUTIFUL! Fun fact: most people on the internets tend to use major pentatonic pattern to derive modal pentatonics (1-2-3-5-6), but it’s definitely worth looking at minor as well.

Another cool practice routine I came up with is adapting pop songs to piano using patterns that I already learn (or am learning). That is, taking chords and breaking them down to shell voicings and intervallic patterns for the left hand. Makes any song sound immediately like a “piano version”.

Piano day (2h)

  • Modal studies
    • Harmonising Mixolydian mode with shells (3-7-9) — C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db
    • Harmonising Dorian mode with shells (3-7-9) — C, F, Bb, Eb
  • Improvisation
    • Lydian pentatonic in all keys over major chords in 7-3-6 shells
    • Recap minor blues scale
    • Harmonising Mixolydian mode with block chords & 7-3-5 shells in LH & runs starting on each new scale degree in RH (C-D-E-F…, D-E-F-G…, F-G-A-Bb…, etc.)
    • Same for Dorian
  • Comping
    • Free comping over “Worth the Wait” in Eb (just chords & focus on voice leading)
    • “Worth the Wait” in C — block chords in LH, chord scales in RH

Piano day (1h)

  • Improvisation
    • Chromatic progressions (“Jazz Improvisation for Keyboard Players” by Dan Haerle)
      • Mixolydian scales over dominant 7th chords in shells in all keys
      • Dorian scales over minor 7th chords in shells in all keys
    • Melodies (reading a couple of examples from book II of “Jazz Improvisation”)
      • Repetition
      • Transposition
      • Exercise 1: dominant run around the cycle of 4ths
      • Exercise 2: Dorian run around the cycle of 4ths
      • Motive inversion
    • Recap Lydian pentatonic & minor blues scale in all keys

Piano day (1h 40m)

  • Jazz voicings
    • ii — V —I’s (major & parallel minor over IV) in all keys, inverted arpeggios / inversions with LH
    • Major & minor 7th chords around the cycle in all inversions
  • Comping
    • Using shells & chord scales over a standard (Worth the Wait in F)
      • Mixo scale over dominant chords
      • Dorian & minor blues over minor
      • Lydian pentatonic over major