Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Sapphire Ng | Berklee Guitar Styles Skills - Jazz (Week 3) SPRING 2016 [Class Materials & Concepts]

Guitar Styles Skills - Jazz

Berklee College of Music
SPRING 2016 Semester

Class Teacher: John Baboian

[Week 3]

Class started today with the melody reharmonization homework we were given last week. We were asked to play the original/notated version of the melody and then a reharmonized version. I actually went into class with the melody of a Mandarin song, haha and then I got the feedback that I should have chosen a jazz tune because the idea is to see how melody reharmonization can be applied to a  jazz context, and also because the actual artists of the pop songs would most probably not do anything similar to their tunes. 

Next we went onto another homework from last week which is "Simple Improvisation Ideas". We first played all the lines as a group, and then we were individually asked to play one of the licks from the handout in a different key. I chose the first lick and played it in the key of A. John did want to draw our attention to the fact that out of all the lines notated, there is only one example where it is not two separate lines that make up a lick, but rather a lick that runs fully for the entire 4 bars, namely the second example of C-7 lick. 

We then moved on to jam the tune "Cantaloupe Island". Regarding my improvisation to the tune, my teacher said that I could try to add more chromatics into my playing. 

Concepts/content covered in class:

~ Regarding the "Simple Improvisation Ideas" licks, I really liked it when John demonstrated playing the same licks using legato, literally transforming the phrasing just by playing the licks in legato as compared to just picking every single note. The idea is for any lick we learn, we can try to vary it in as many ways as we can and by combining the use of hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides, and it would be able to produce lines that sound very different. 

~ "Arpeggios, etc" handout: we were guided through the 4 ways to use arpeggios, namely just playing the chord tones of arpeggios; playing chord tones and diatonic passing notes only; adding chromatic notes to the mix; and then finally combining all previously mentioned with rhythm. This represents a very systematic way of breaking down jazz soloing using arpeggios as the raw material and I do like this worksheet alot. 

~Transcription piece given this week is "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" by Wes Montgomery. Some discussion was made around Wes as a guitar player, for example his playing using his thumb, his chord soloing and octave playing. If we choose to play this tune for our midterm exam, we are only required to play it from the start of the tune to right before the piano solo starts, which means we do not have to play anything after the piano solo. My teacher said that for students who may want to try octave playing, they should attempt this tune. 

Class Homework:

~ Write arpeggio lines to "All The Things You Are" with the worksheet given. With the first 8 bars, we are supposed to write lines with only chord tones of arpeggios; for the next 8 bars, we are to write lines combining arpeggio chord tones and diatonic passing notes; for the following 8 bars, to write using arpeggio chord tones, diatonic passing notes and chromatics; and for the final 12 bars, we would have to write lines incorporating arpeggio chord tones, diatonic passing notes, chromatics and rhythm. [Write only 8th notes for the first three parts of the assignment, and be sure to be able to play what you write.]

~ Practice playing to the chord changes for "All The Things You Are" 

Class Materials/Handouts:


"All The Things You Are" Arpeggio Worksheet

Polka Dots And Moonbeams - Wes Montgomery  

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