Approach Notes Practice Directions

Approach Notes Practice Directions  

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Approach Notes Practice Directions

I discussed practicing scales in the “New York Guitar Method Bundle” post.  The next most important improvisational concept you need to know is “approach notes.” The New York Guitar Method Bundle contains both the books covering scales and approach notes. Approach notes specifically are covered in the New York Guitar Method Volume Two and New York Guitar Method Ensemble Volume Two.  Recently I also created the Approach Notes Course which is meant for any instrumentalist including a guitarist.    

Scales and Approach Notes Practice

If you think of scales as the universe of sound that fits over a chord in any given situation, then think of approach notes practice as a way to make your improvised melodies sound like they are expressing the sound of the chord in any given situation.  Most great improvisors use a combination of both scales and approach notes in order to give variety, but also to help the listener hear the harmonic implications within the melodic content.    

Approach Notes Importance

If you have plans in your musical development to play over more than one chord change, then approach notes are a crucial study concept. That said, approach notes are a much more difficult improvisational concept to master, and should be studied by themselves for usually around one year or more if you are a guitarist.  Approach notes can be used in many ways and the New York Guitar Method Bundle and the separate Approach Notes Course cover all the common ways approach notes can be used.  That is unique to both of these courses; I know of no other course that covers approach notes in such depth.    

Developing your Improvisational Abilities

Here’s the bigger picture of developing your improvisational abilities. First, you work through 22 scales in all keys. You are not trying to master these scales. You just want to get them into your playing a bit, and understand them intellectually.  Learning these scales in this manner will also greatly help your ear training abilities especially if you use a MetroDrone when learning them, and apply them for 10 minutes or more a day to Jam Tracks.  It usually takes 3 to 6 months to finish these scales if you have 2 hours to practice each day.    

Approach Notes Practice

Now a little bit more information about approach note practice.  The first thing for any instrumentalist to do is learn how to play 9 of the 13 possible chord type arpeggios in all keys.  The approach notes will resolve into the notes of the arpeggios in certain places within a measure.  That is a key statement I just made.  That statement means a “time” element has been introduced into your improvisation where you need to get to a chord tone via an approach note at a certain place within a measure.  That is one of the hardest things to develop for an improvisor, and both the New York Guitar Method Bundle and the separate Approach Notes Course cover this important aspect of improvisation.    

Courses to Use To Develop Improvisational Skills

So I hope this post helps you see that there are two important things you need to learn; scales and approach notes.  For a guitarist, the New York Guitar Method Bundle covers both subjects. For any other instrumentalist the Essential Scales and the Approach Notes Course cover both subjects.  If you want to be an improvisor who can play over anything, then you need either the New York Guitar Method Bundle or the Essential Scales and the Approach Notes Course .    

Muse Eek Publishing Inc.

There are many things unique about Muse Eek Publishing Inc. but these courses I’ve just mentioned are organized in a logical way, and have been used by my students for over 40 years to develop amazing musicianship and they incorporate strategies for ear training as you move through them.  One final thought is if you are sold on this strategy I would include the Scale Analysis Course in your studies so that you fully comprehend how ear training and playing over chord changes relate.    

Conclusion: What You Need to Master Scales and Approach Notes

So to recap if you are a guitarist and want to be a well rounded musician prepared for anything, then you need:

  If you are any other instrumentalist you need:  

Crowning Achievement for Muse Eek Publishing Inc.

Developing the courses above was one of my crowning achievements in music education.  With this information you can become a complete musician.  You won’t have any anxiety when playing any type of music.  In other words, you are totally prepared for whatever anyone throws at you in music.

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-16 Modern Reharmonization Approach Notes Practice

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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