Friday, 8 April 2016

Sapphire Ng | Berklee Guitar Private Instruction - (Week 1) SPRING 2016 [Class Materials & Concepts]

Guitar Private Instruction Lesson

Berklee College of Music
SPRING 2016 Semester

Private Instruction Teacher: Tim Miller

[Week 1]

When I was asked on what I would like to learn from class, I mentioned fusion jazz. It has always been a genre I would like to go into but have not. I have always stayed in the realm of smooth jazz or swing jazz, but one of my dreams would be really to learn fusion jazz and to be able to play crazy sounding lines like guitarists such as Mike Stern and to compose songs like Mike Stern's "Chromazone". Concepts covered in this private lesson class is thus related to the vocabulary of fusion jazz.

Concepts/content covered in class:

~ Minor 11 chord quality - My instructor mentioned that the minor 11 chord quality to the fusion jazz vocabulary is similar to the definite article "the" in the English language. It is therefore essential to learn voicings of the minor 11 chord throughout the guitar fretboard.

~ An exercise involving minor 11 and minor 9 chord quality - My instructor said that as an exercise, when playing vamps for example in the key of A minor, do not play minor 7 chord voicings at all, instead substitute with and play only chord voicings of minor 11 and minor 9.

~ Popular modes in fusion jazz - It is most common to play the modes Dorian and Mixolydian in the genre of fusion jazz. It is thus important to know the modes well on the guitar fretboard. 

~ For the class exercise involving a vamp in A minor, one option for soloing would be to use the A dorian scale to improvise. 

~ Sing what you improvise - Be able to sing phrases and lines you improvise on the guitar, no matter how complicated the lick. If a lick is beyond the singing ability of the guitarist, having a mental picture of the lick is important. My instructor said that if a musician sings what he or she improvises, it will also contribute to better dynamics. 

~ Timing problems - My instructor mentioned that for musicians who have timing problems, it is due to either of the 2 causes, the first would be a technical problem whereby the musician is unable to play on time because of technicality; while the second would be that the musician is not listening or stopped listening to the surroundings, be it metronome, backing track or comping instrument. This provides a clear framework to allow the musician to analyze  and then specifically target the reason for timing problems.

Class Homework:

~ I was given 4 voicings of minor 11 and minor 9 chords in class, and am asked to master the 4 voicings and practice them in various keys by the next class.

~ Revise the Dorian scale on the guitar. 

Class Materials:

Keys To Practice In



Minor 9th and Minor 11th Voicings





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