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! 😂

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

Bass day (1h 40m)

  • Technical / Experimental
    • Playing Hanon piano exercises on bass! This is awesome!!! (Just #6 from the 1st book)
  • Walking bass
    • Worth the Wait in C, Eb and F (all inversions, 7-1-3-5 permutation)
  • Pick / Rhythm
    • Famous Bass Lines, Line #8: 70 to 90bpm

Observations

WOW!!! I just tried it out of pure curiosity and it turned out to be a completely mind-blowing exercises. The cool things about Hanon exercises are that they all start deep in bass clef (which means you won’t need to bother adapting them for your instrument) and they’re pretty much all in C — which means you can TRANSPOSE THE SH*T OUT OF THEM. And yes, they are absolutely mathematical, and you don’t have to read through the whole sheet once you’ve got the logic. Of course, the coolest thing is that they feel very uncommon (because they’re meant to be played on piano!), and even the simplest could be pretty tricky on bass — both in terms of fingering and harmonically. On the other hand, transposing them on piano is a huge P. I. T. A., whereas on the bass you can do it pretty much on the fly once the pattern is clear! Yuppie! Okay, so I’m going to do it every time now, just like I do on piano — and we’ll see how it goes!

Piano day (2h)

  • Modal studies
    • Modes of Melodic minor (all modes in C, without click, just getting familiar)
    • Harmonisation
      • Melodic minor (1st mode)
      • Dorian b2 (2nd mode)
    • Mixing / borrowing
      • Mixing Dorian with Dorian b2 (in the parent key of C)
        • i7 — IV7 / i7 — IV7 — bIImaj7+5
  • Imporvisation
    • Minor Bebop scale over Dorian progression with b2 (IVmaj7 — i7)
    • Exotic scale study
      • Lydian pentatonic (in C)
      • Mela Vagadhisvari (Minor Bebop without passing tone, in fact — it’s just the name that makes it sound fancy 😆)

Observations

Next time, I need to equally geek out on bass 🤓