Music Lessons Spring TX

Tip of the week Archive

Tip of the week #1

One of the most asked questions from intermediate students is "how do I keep from sounding like I'm playing random scales while improvising?". There are tons of approaches to answering that question but one of the simplest and easiest to apply immediately is the tone targetting concept. It's exactly as it sounds: you simply focus on a specific note and make it your target. How to target tones is a more of a phrasing concept and I'll cover that in depth in a later tip but for now let's just say that we'll make that target tone the first and the last note you play in your lick or melody. To keep things easy we will use the G shape C major scale(in this case functioning as an A natural minor scale) and keep the accompaniment simple. We'll use 2 chords: A minor and F7. I have only chosen 3 notes per chord and even though there are other sounds that will work, stick to these for now. By choosing a chord that doesn't quite fit the scale shape (F7 has an Eb where the scale we are using has an E natural) you will be forced to pay close attention to the notes you are supposed to target and will begin to hear the changes (the prescribed notes emphasize the difference between the chords). Check out the examples below and e-mail me any questions at jorge@firehousemusic.net

A minor Target

Tones

e-5--7--8-

b---------

g-------5-

d-7--9----

A---------

E---------

F7  Target

Tones

e-5-------

b-------6-

g----8----

d-7-------

A----6--8-

E---------

2010 - present

2010 - present

A Natural Minor 

Scale

e------------------------5-7-8

b-------------------5-6-8-----

g----------------5-7----------

d-----------5-7-9-------------

A------5-7-8------------------

E-5-7-8-----------------------

-Jorge Maldonado, Master Instructor at Firehouse Music