Voice Leading Milestones Pt.2

With a 3 hour recording session at the end of the day, I practiced a little more flute and a little less sax.


The short version:

1 Hour flute

30 Minutes long tones

1 Hour Milestones


I grabbed my first ten minutes during a small gap between classes in the morning. Flute long tones. One thing I noticed is that when I measure how long I can hold a note by counting beats, I take a bigger breath at the start. So I made sure to pay close attention to how I filled my lungs after that.

For long tones I played chromatically from middle B down to low C, slightly under an octave. Then I played dominant 7th chords in root position, resolving to their proper 3rd and then adding tonic. For instance, starting on D, I played D-F#-A-C then B-G.

After my second class I finished long tones on the upper half of the flute. Before I got past G from middle B, I played some overtones as I did in the video on my last practice post. Practicing the overtone series has made a great improvement to my embochure and control of air speed.


Finally got to the sax for long tones on my first 30 minute break of the day. I opted for normal long tones over Bach today because I noticed that the Bach exercise helps my tuning more than my tone. I am also transitioning to new reeds, so my tuning will be totally off for a few days anyway.


Later, I returned to the "Old" Milestones written by John Lewis. I decided to really invest in more practice than improvisation today. I voice-led chord tones and scale patterns through the changes in several rhythms. Then I transcribed the first chorus of Dexter Gordon's solo on it.


There was one lick Dexter played; a descending pattern that ends on the 3rd of a dominant chord leaping up to the root, which is also the 5th of the tonic chord. When he hits that 5th of the tonic, he moved to the 3rd. So overall three notes.


In A major, that would be G#-E-C#.


So I took that pattern (3-1 on the first chord to 3 of the second chord) and played it through the changes. It didn't always sound good but it was an effective way to exercise my ear, brain, and fingers on this tune. I start off playing the lick in the video and go through the A section.


Normally I improvise with headphones and a backing track, but today I left my headphones at home so I just did it without a track. It was less challenging than I thought, which I believe is related to how thoroughly I had practiced the form and many licks over the form.


An appointment I had for registration was delayed, so I spent an extra half hour on flute. Today was my first day attempting a variation on the Jim Gailloreto method (a method for practicing all the modes of every scale).


I did it in thirds, like this:


I would like to take less frequent breaths, but at the same time I am striving to play with proper support and my best tone. It's a rather long process, but I am getting better each day.


If you didn't see yesterday, I did an awesome interview with trombonist Dan Quinn.


Happy practicing!

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