By now you should have a really solid sound and we shouldn't have to talk about that. I will expect that you already warmed up you've done some overtones and you practice your basic scales up through the five note scales, then you should also play the full scale starting on low G starting up to high D down, And then back down to Low D and back up ending on G.
Do it a few times listening for ease of playing and evenness from note to note. The main objective of this recording and routine is to teach you how to play and mix all of the rhythms.
The very first thing you have to do during a jazz improvisation lesson when mixing rhythms is to remember to count before you play any of the exercises. You want to count, sing and then play in that order and keep it in time. If you can count and sing the actual pitches going to the target note you will be that much closer to being able to play it on your horn.
So let's start with eight notes on beat four. Count and sing along as I demonstrate on the recording.
Once you get beat four then you will practice the end of three and put those two together. The next rhythm will be the end of four and adding one more eighth note which will put you on Beat three. Once again sing along as I do each rhythm one after the other. Once you sing along with me playing then you should feel ready to deal with this on your own with the track that I have provided, the G blues progression and play the entire form of the song with the same pair of rhythms. If you do not feel confident that you have it then you should repeat it over and over until you do feel that you've solidified it in your subconscious. Don't skip any rhythms and give special attention to any rhythms that are particularly difficult. Once you're able to mix up all of the pairs of eighth notes then you should start to randomly mix the eighth notes together. Do this over and over until you feel that you can easily mix up all of the eighth note starting points. The better you can do this the more freedom you will feel in your jazz improvisations.
Once you have worked it out on eighth notes, proceed to practicing the triplet note routine for mixing all of the triplets. If you need to slow down the track please do so so that you are easily able to count, sing and play all of the triplet rhythms with the correct articulations. It goes without saying that you should also not let your sound suffer as you are focusing your attention on the rhythmic pairs. Pay attention to good sound quality and solid articulation as well as good time. If your time is sloppy then you are playing too fast and you need to slow it down on Transcribe.
The next level with mixing rhythms on your jazz sax improvisation lesson is working on 16th note rhythmic pairs. At this point you should definitely slow the track down at least 20% and get very comfortable playing each 16th note pair until you are able to mix those up, comfortably without feeling rushed and tense. Remember when you're practicing, speed is the least important thing. You must start slowly so that your fingers really have a good solid feeling which will translate into more evenness between notes and better time feel.
The next level of mixing up rhythms is to start mixing eighth notes with triplets so again take it in pairs. The ultimate goal of this rhythmic mixing up is to be able to mix all of the various starting points on each division of the beat. That means eighth notes, triplets and 16ths and all of the various starting points and keeping the time feel very solid throughout. Once you can do that very solidly your playing and improvisational ability will go up tenfold and your confidence will take you up to another level which will allow you to start concentrating on the more musical expressive ideas that really turn all of this kind of jazz improvisation into actual music that moves people.
Recording yourself practicing is one of the best teachers that you can use to improve quickly. Whether you are taking lessons with me or trying to do this on your own, recording yourself will get you there so much faster than any other means.
Whether you are a student of mine taking lessons on a weekly basis or you are starting independently and using some of my free videos, you are welcome to send me comments on anything you are working on as well as you are welcome to send your recordings for an honest response that will help you reach the next level no matter where you are. You can send your recordings to Rick@losangelesmusicteachers.com or Rick@rickrossi.com or if you'd like to contact me and take a lesson in Los Angeles or an online lesson, give me a call at 818-209-2620.
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