Home, Scales, and Auditions

Today was a very good day for practicing. I was at my parent's house. Peaceful, nice acoustics in the basement, felt very comfortable. Plenty of water and coffee.

 

The short version:

 

30 Minutes Scales

30 Minutes Lady Bird

60 Minutes Cheesecake

20 Minutes flute

 

I had a rehearsal for tomorrow's gig last night which went very well, so I didn't practice it at all today.

 

Finally, for the first time in about a week I got to practice scales. I chose melodic minor today as a way of getting into altered scales. Instead of step-wise or in thirds like usual, I practiced broken chords/diatonic triads.

As you can hear, I put the metronome fairly slow at 70BPM and played triplets. Always looking to push the envelope rhythmically and get away from 8th notes. My solos are including less 8th notes overall which I like. I definitely played too many 8th notes in the past.

 

After scales, I practiced Lady Bird because I will be sending in a recording for a job application soon. I like Lady Bird since it's up tempo, the changes are a little more sophisticated than some other simple standards (Lady Bird has a backdoor, down-step ii-V, and a tritone sub), and overall I feel it affords me the opportunity to show both technical ability and melodic improvisation.

 

I took a break, then came back to practice Dexter Gordon's Cheesecake solo. I used mostly a transcription I found online, but I frequently learned bits on my own by ear and checked a bunch of it too by ear. This is also something I'll be using for that recorded audition.

 

Before learning each phrase, I listened to Dexter play it even though I've heard the track countless times before. Then I would play it very slowly, and use a couple of tricks to learn it faster as well. I was almost done getting it up to speed and perfect after an hour.

 

I also spent some time on the flute today. First I just blew into the head joint to practice making sound. After I got a decent sound several attempts in a row, I put the rest together and worked on expanding my range.

 

I noticed that I could make the low notes speak better today. So I actually learned the beginning of Miles Davis's solo on "So What". Since I took the video on my phone you'll have to click the link to hear. Technology is confusing sometimes.

 

So What

 

You'll notice that I didn't practice long tones today. That's because with a long show tomorrow, I wanted to give my lips and mouth muscles a lighter day to recover and be strong tomorrow.

 

If you haven't already, listen to my latest interview with percussionist/ jazz pianist Jake Victor. Next week will feature an interview with a jazz bassist from Missouri.

 

Happy practicing!

 

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