Today looked a lot like yesterday.
The short version:
35 Minutes petatonics
10 Minutes lower neighbors
30 Minutes ii-V's
20 Minutes Donna Lee
Recently I've been pushing myself in terms of rhythm and harmony. Learning new scales in new rhythmic patterns. Experimenting with the metronome (lately been putting accents on 2 and 4). Today I scaled it back just a bit to refocus on core technique.
In major pentatonics, I continued to play the "extra note" scale with displaced accents.
In minor pentatonics, I switched to plain old 8th notes at 160BPM, which is a bit slower than I am capable of playing. The reason I made it simple was to focus on tone, intonation, moving smoothly between notes, and articulation. I just had a feeling it was time to revisit the basics.
I still finished pentatonics faster than I anticipated, so I went through lower neighbors but in a different way than before. This time I played the pattern on all 12 major chords in the circle of fifths. Below is a demonstration going up, but I also repeated the pattern descending.
After a break, I returned to the Bebop Bible and played through a bunch of ii-V licks very slowly concentrating on my swing. I noticed that in addition to my time feel, my sight-reading is also improving a lot.
I noticed though that it was a little harder to focus as hard as I have been on this exercise. Perhaps I need to do something more to engage my brain next time. It could have just been the fact that it was later in the day.
In any case, here is a video of me drilling it. The second video is transposed (I started both of them out of time, then at 80 BPM, and eventually got to about 160BPM). It usually only takes me a couple of minutes to memorize the lick.
I think I could still groove better. An ongoing project for sure.
Eventually I moved on to Donna Lee. My goal was to have the whole head memorized, which I accomplished but only barely. I doubt I will have it totally memorized tomorrow. I still did pretty well though, all things considered.
As with the licks, I took DL in chunks very slowly to play it perfectly. I took phrases, usually about a measure or two, and worked them up with a metronome. Eventually I played the whole head around 120BPM, then scaled it up slowly to 160BPM.
I listened to the recording of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis as well to absorb their style and nuance. I want this tune to be a laboratory to experiment with my swing at faster tempos.
Tomorrow will include another special Friday post, happy practicing!