One Minute Lessons Phrasing

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One Minute Lessons Phrasing

One Minute Lessons Phrasing

Phrasing is easily one of the most overlooked aspects of playing and writing music.  Students frequently get bored with what they are playing and wish they could change what they play so that it sounds fresh and more interesting.  Learning how to phrase a melody or harmony in another way will instantly give any of your musical ideas new life.    

Getting Out of A Rut with One Minute Lessons Phrasing

Many students fall into a rut of always playing melodies starting on a specific beat and also ending on a specific beat.  This creates a monotonous, repetitious sound and even if you change the notes you are playing it won’t help because you need to change your phrasing.  You will also find that different styles of music use different types of phrasing so that is another important thing that you learn in this course. Each one minute lesson gives you ideas for how you can change your phrasing through super simple practice techniques.  Here are the subjects covered in the One Minute Lessons for Phrasing.

  • Simple exercises to use to change the way you begin a melodic phrase with just a few minutes of practicing each day.
  • Simple ideas to change how you end a melodic phrase.
  • Simple exercises to use to change the rhythms you use within a melodic phrase.
  • Ideas for rhythmic variation of your melodic phrase.
  • Ideas on how to start a melodic phrase with emphasis on the tools that are at your disposal.
  • Using articulation to give your melodic phrases more depth and sound more musical.
  • Looking at dynamics and how they can make a phrase sound more interesting.
  • Looking at how different styles affect the type of phrase you create.
  • Ideas for changing the melodic direction of any phrase.
  • Changing a melodic phrase with octave variation.
  • Macro phrasing: Learn how to create a solo that goes somewhere and creates excitement.

By following the guidelines within One Minute Lessons for Phrasing you can really change the musicality and excitement created by your melodies whether they be written or improvised.  

Simple But Important Concepts

Most of the concepts presented in the One Minute Lessons for Phrasing are simple and easy to implement, but are overlooked by a lot of musicians. These eleven lessons will really give you a broad overview of the technique involved in expanding your phrasing capabilities which in turn will help you to analyze the phrasing of your own melodies in written or improvised music.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

One Minute Lessons Harmony

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One Minute Lessons Harmony

One Minute Lessons Harmony

I’m writing today to explain a bit more about what makes the One Minute Lessons different from other Muse-Eek courses. There is a big difference between working out of a book and taking a one-on-one personal lesson with me. I noticed over the years that sometimes I would have long discussions with my students; times where we stopped playing and would just talk about music. I wanted to distill some of these conversations into an easily digested, informal series. So I created the One Minute Lessons. The title may make it seem like they are not weighty, but in fact they cover important topics that are key to improving your musical expression.

One Minute Lessons Harmony Help By…

The One Minute Lessons Harmony will help you to think outside the box that so many people unconsciously put themselves into.  This overview contains to the point information that doesn’t require you to do any work; just to watch the video and look at some examples. There are many considerations that go into choosing the right harmony for a piece of music, and having an overall understanding of these choices helps you put all harmony in context and clarifies the many options you have when creating or using it. Examples are provided so that you see and/or hear the music created from these various concepts.  

By understanding the bigger picture that The One Minute Lessons Harmony presents, you can make intelligent decisions regarding which type of harmony to use where, and the factors that will make a chord work -or not work- in any given situation. Having this overview of harmony can really help you to understand any chord progressions you encounter, as well as help you when you are composing or improvising. The following eleven topics are covered:

  • Harmonic reharmonization: One of the most common types of reharmonization, by using the 3 ways a dominant chord can resolve with a few added possible additions.
  • Chord tone and tension reharmonization: Using chord tones and available tensions as a means for creating substitutions within harmony.
  • Modal harmony: Looking at the various types of harmony that can be created by using the mode of a chord to create substitutions.
  • Slash chord harmony: Looking at the various types of harmony that can be created by using slash chords.
  • Creating harmony from melody: Looks at the possible scenarios to use melody to create a harmony.
  • Create harmony by the use of pitch class sets which can be used in the simplest type of music to the most complex.
  • Creating harmony from counterpoint gives you a completely different way of thinking about harmonic structures within music
  • Create harmony from intervallic structures opens your mind up to alternate ways of creating harmony that function outside of usual harmonic patterns.
  • Combining multiple harmonic methods to create a musical reharmonization.
  • Harmonic density looks at the style and size of your harmonic structure, which can make an important difference in what sounds good in any specific situation.
  • Harmonic rhythm is discussed which is the key to making any of the aforementioned ideas work within music.

Get yourself out of a limited mindset and see that you can create harmonically rich situations by having just a basic understanding of the ideas presented in the One Minute Lessons for Harmony.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

One Minute Lessons Technique

 
 
 
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The One Minute Lessons Technique

The One Minute Lessons Technique

The One Minute Lessons Technique Course gives a music student important information they need to know about many of the aspects of playing an instrument that relate to technical skills.  While you might think these One Minute Lessons just give you some technical exercises (which they do) the lesson is way more than that. 

Nine Lessons in the One Minute Lessons Technique Course

There are nine sections to the One Minute Lessons Technique Course. Each lesson teaches you about a subject that is related to technique through a one minute video, plus PDFs to explain further and/or to give you exercises to help implement the idea presented. Below is a list of the ideas presented in the nine One Minute Lessons, and I hope you will see what makes them special.

Subjects of the Nine One Minute Lessons Technique

  • Exercise to lighten touch on any instrument.
  • Understanding how your physical interface with your instrument affects your speed and accuracy.
  • Understanding Long Line Rhythm and how to use a four note melodic pattern found in a song in 96 ways.
  • Understanding technique, and exercises to correct it when it is bad.
  • How to practice, and scrutinize your habits to see if they are holding you back from your goals.
  • A Discussion of Warm Ups and how they fit into your overall practice regimen.
  • How hearing what you play affects your technique and your musical ability.
  • How the style you want to play should affect your practicing.
  • Guidelines on how a good melody is formed and discussion of the factors that make a melody sound musical.

Three One Minute Lesson Courses

There are three One Minute Lesson courses. One on Technique, Phrasing and Harmony in which you learn about things that are mostly not found in other courses in the Muse Eek Publishing catalog.  As I have pointed out before, these are subjects that often come up in conversation during private lessons, and they help a student understand the bigger picture or discuss an important aspect of music that a student might not understand or is overlooking in their development.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Five Backing Track Courses

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Five Backing Track Courses

Five Backing Track Courses

I want to dig inside the five backing track courses on the Muse Eek Publishing Inc. website in this post to discuss some of the features that make them special.  Each of the five backing track courses have some unique features that you won’t find in other jam track packages.  I thought a brief discussion of each of the five backing track courses could be enlightening educationally.                                                    

Backing Tracks are Not Easy to Make

First, I’ve got to say that making jam tracks isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.  This is probably one of the reasons why you see such high prices for other packages.  Programming drums, keyboards, bass and other instruments is very time consuming, and then making them in all keys can bring up transposition concerns like an instrument going out of its usual range.  Because this kind of programming is tedious, a short phase or progression is often simply looped by the creator; that’s why with other jam tracks, you might end up with a track that becomes boring pretty fast.    

Diversity in the Five Backing Track Courses

I also find that 99.9% of jam tracks don’t cover some of the more interesting chords and scales that an improvisor should know and use.  As I mentioned in my previous email, if you are not exposed to for instance, the sounds of Harmonic Major, Pitch Class Set Chords etc… How do you expect to instantly recognize and play along with these things?  The answer is, you won’t be able to, until you do a lot of further work.  So for no other reason than that, it is worth working with these Jam Tracks so that you improve your harmonic palette and/or expand your melodic palette by improvising over them.    

About Each of the Five Backing Track Courses

Jam Tracks Volume One gives you all the chords you need to improvise over the 22 scales most commonly used in improvisation.  It has long been the package I first recommend because the chord progressions are easy to hear and the grooves are simple enough not to throw a beginner off course.   The same can be said of Jam Track Volume Five.

Jam Tracks Volume Two is unique because it uses pitch class sets within rock chord progressions.  This doesn’t make it weird sounding, but it does introduce your ear to fresh sounds that hopefully will influence your playing and writing after working with the tracks.  Many of these tracks come from my Heavy Metal recording Vanishing Point which puts the highly versatile pitch class sets into a heavy rock setting.  This doesn’t mean you have to improvise with pitch class sets the way I do on Vanishing Point, it just means you are introducing your ear to some new sounds, which is always a good thing.    

Jam Tracks Volume Three again gives you progressions to apply using all 22 scales but the big difference is it also uses much more rhythmically advanced drum patterns.  Working with these tracks will go a long way toward keeping you from getting lost rhythmically if a drummer starts using a lot of fills and complex drum patterns.  This is an important collection of tracks that will help you head off any problem you might have after joining a band with an advanced drummer.    

Jam Tracks Volume Four works with the 7 modes of Harmonic Major.  You might think “why do I need that scale?”  Well, if you are working with secondary dominant chords you will definitely need this scale; it is commonly used for “V7 of VI” and “V7 of II” to name just a few applications.  The whole Harmonic Major scale can be harmonized using a chord built with a half step and a tritone. i.e. 016 pitch class set.  Listen to some of these tracks. They are great for introducing the Harmonic Major modes and adding a new sound to your palette.    

Jam Track Volume Five actually goes back to super simple tracks.  I call it Pure Country Jam Tracks because many of the tracks have that simplicity found in much of Country Music.  These tracks cover the modes of major which arguably will be the scales you use most, so they are great for this application.  They also evolve throughout the track.  There are many instruments involved and I personally played through every track in every key so you have highly individualized tracks in all keys.    

Conclusion

I hope this helps you appreciate the wide variety of styles and concepts that have been put into five backing track courses. Jam Tracks are fun and an important part of applying everything you learn on your instrument. I highly recommend using them everyday.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Jam Tracks Bundle Course

 

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Jam-Tracks-Bundle-Course

Jam Tracks Bundle Course and Ear Training

You may wonder what a Jam Tracks Bundle Course would have to do with ear training but let me give you some advice.  A lot of people are unfamiliar with key centers outside of major and minor.  And there are actually many different types of key centers too numerous to mention here, but here are some common ones that are covered in the Fanatic’s Guide Volume Two.

  • Major Triad
  • Minor Triad
  • Diminished Triad
  • Augmented Triad
  • Major 7 Chord
  • Minor 7 Chord
  • Dominant 7 Chord
  • Dominant 7sus4 Chord
  • Minor 7b5 Chord
  • Diminished 7 Chord
  • Minor Major 7 Chord
  • Major 7#11 Chord
  • Major 7#5 Chord
  • Dominant 7#11 Chord
  • Dominant 7#5 Chord
  • Major 6 Chord
  • Minor 6 Chord  

Learning Key Centers Through The Jam Tracks Bundle Course

All the key centers listed above and the others I alluded to can be tough to hear initially and need to be worked on to get your ear to hear them correctly.  This is one of the main reasons why musicians rehearse.  They need to hear the new ways that a key center is formed by music that they haven’t heard before.  Rehearsing allows them to internalize this before they perform them in public.  Musicians with great ears quickly pick up on these new key centers and once they do, they improvise better solos.    

Listen Perform and Practice Key Centers

So for those of you who are not out there performing and rehearsing every day, you need alternative ways to gain this experience.  The Jam Tracks Bundle Course will be one of the ways to help you expand your harmonic palette so that your ear hears these types of key centers faster.  Again, this is why when I have students work with the Essential Scales Course I want them to use Jam Tracks to apply the scales — but I also want them to start hearing these new types of key centers.    

Other Helpful Courses to Develop Key Center Perception

This is also why I created the Practice Perfect Series of courses.  Again if you are in the situation where you aren’t playing a lot with other musicians and play a variety of styles that would encompass many different types of key centers, you need the courses from:  

Conclusion

To recap, If you want your aural comprehension to work with real music you need to work with real music both actively and passively.  The Jam Tracks Bundle Course  will give you a way to work on typical key center vamps with all the common scales types that you will come in contact with in your life in music.  They are fun to improvise over, but even if you just passively listen to them with headphones, it will help your ear to grow accustomed to these key centers and this will greatly aid your ear training skills.     I hope this helps you to see how listening to music is important as well as how the Jam Tracks Bundle Course fits into the bigger picture of educating your ear to hear more difficult key centers through the use of real music.  

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Cycle 5 The Key to Musical Success

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Practicing Cycle 5

Today I am presenting a discussion about the importance of Cycle 5 practice when learning music.  For those of you who don’t know what Cycle 5 is, here is a brief description.  Playing a musical exercise Cycle 5 means you play the exercise in all 12 keys.  You organize these 12 keys by moving up or down a 5th – which is 7 half steps – each time you play the exercise.    

Example of Cycle Five

For example if you move up a 5th from the key of “C” you would have the key of “G.”  You would then play your exercise in the key of “G.”  If you continue this process you get the following sequence of key centers C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, Ab, Eb, Bb, F.  Working through ascending 5ths is more of a classically based way of approaching Cycle 5.  This is mostly because of the sonata allegro form which arose in the early classical period.

Contemporary Approach to Cycle 5

Many of these innovations such as Cycle 5 were codified from that time on.   Jazz and any contemporary music tends to move down a 5th.  Think of a blues in “C.” it starts on “C” then goes down a 5th to “F.”  So contemporary musicians tend to think of Cycle 5 as C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D, G.  You will find many Muse Eek Publishing Courses organized in this descending 5th order.    

How I Learned Cycle Five

When I attending Berklee College of Music some courses and ideas were organized via descending cycle 5 but it wasn’t till I started studying with Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos that everything I learned had to be played Cycle 5, period.  If you can’t play it in Cycle 5 you don’t know it.  It makes sense; you don’t know what key you will be presented with in every new piece of music you learn, so to be prepared you need to know everything in every key.    

History of Cycle 5

You may wonder where Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos came up with this idea of playing everything Cycle Five.  To grasp this particular music education history you need to look at the music genealogy of Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos studied with Madame Chaloff who studied with I. Vengerova who studied with Czerny who studied with L. van Beethoven etc… To see the complete list go here.  My point is you are studying various courses that I’ve created based on the teachings of my teachers.  But really you are studying the same way and the same things as L. van Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart – the list goes on and on.    

Conclusion

So one of the things that all of these musicians/teachers recommended was to apply the things you learn to all keys and to use the information in a real musical situation either through improvising or writing music. Some of Bach’s most famous music is written in all keys…and surely he knew something about music!

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

New York Guitar Method Bundle

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Now that the New York Guitar Method Bundle has been created I’d like to talk in general about everyone’s overall organization of practice both on the macro and micro level.  I bring this up because the New York Guitar Method Bundle encompasses pretty much everything you need to learn as a guitarist, and combines it all into one very large course.  (While those books are meant for guitarists the overall ideas relate to all musicians.)     I tend to divide various aspects of music into improvisational concepts. Scales and approach notes are two of the fundamental improvisational concepts a musician needs to master first.  While concentrating on these two areas many other problems may come to the surface. Here are some common ones:  

  • A weakness in music theory understanding so that it takes too long to think of various relationships in music.
  • A lack of knowledge of the notes found on one’s instrument.  This is by far most commonly found with guitarists.
  • Weakness in a host of other things such as rhythm, time, ear training and sight reading.
  • An inability to easily apply scales and approach notes to real musical situations.

What is unique about the New York Guitar Method Bundle is it already assumes you have some or all of the problems I just described and has work built into the course to improve in all these areas.   First thing to understand is you can’t tackle all of these things at once.  You need to see the bigger picture and tackle one improvisational concept at a time while also working on your overall weaknesses of rhythm, time, ear training and sight reading.

Note: If you are a guitarist, you really should check out the Guitar Technique and Physiology Course to make sure you are playing correctly before jumping into this. You would be surprised how many folks have essential misconceptions in this area, and these can cause severe problems later on, both technically and physically.

So to review, you need to have one improvisational concept that you are spending most of your practice time mastering and in what time remains you are tackling one or more of the other issues depending on how much time you have to practice.  Let’s say you have very limited time to practice; perhaps only one hour a day.  Let’s use that as a template so you can see the overall organization and then expand the amount of time you spend on each subject if you have more than an hour at your disposal.

The New York Guitar Method Bundle starts with the scale improvisational concept.  If you are not a guitarist then you would also be using the Essential Scales book which covers the 22 most commonly used scales.  You want to spend one week on each of these 22 scales.  Think of this first go-through of scales as just getting a general idea of how the scale works on your instrument. Things to remember:

  • By no means are you trying to master these scales right now; you are just playing them all through in the key of C and introducing the sound to your ear and organizing it on your instrument.
  • You are not memorizing fingering patterns, you are thinking about the notes names or degrees within a key center.  In this case it is a “C” key center.
  • Most importantly, use the MetroDrone so that you improve you ability to hear these scales as you practice them.
  • If you are a more advanced student but don’t know all these scales you can start fairly soon in applying the concepts found in Long Line Rhythm to this practice of scales.

You should spend 20 minutes of your hour practicing the scale on your instrument.  If you are more advanced you could add in some of the modal sequencing as found in the Essential Scales book or the New York Guitar Method Bundle or expand out into Two Note Modal Sequencing or Three Note Modal Sequencing.  All of this sequencing will give you more melodic ideas and more physical ability with the scales.

You also need to apply these scales to real music so use either Jam Tracks Volume One  or Jam Tracks Volume Three for 10 minutes each day and apply the scale you are learning.  Again these are only baby steps for now.  You are just getting an introduction to each of the 22 scales over 22 weeks.   Next you need to concentrate on one of your weaknesses for 10 minutes.  

The next 10 minutes for guitarists concentrates on chords and applying them to chord progressions.  This is built into the New York Guitar Method Bundle but I would also recommend using the Complete Blues Comping Both Major and Minor MP3s which approximates having me play a duet with you as you apply chords to chord progressions.  If you don’t play guitar you should concentrate on arpeggios like those found in the Ultimate Arpeggio Course.  I can make suggestions on applying arpeggios if you are going down this path.

Finally, you have 10 minutes left so work on anything that you want, but make sure it is FUN.  It’s psychologically important to have some fun in your music practice because you need to be consistent in practicing every day and if practicing is only a drag, then you won’t want to do it every day.

You should also work on ear training, which I would do as you take breaks in your practicing, or  commuting, or other down time throughout the day.  If you are just starting ear training use the Ear Training One Note Complete and Contextual Ear Training.

I hope this gets you organized and started on a path.  I’ll discuss how to tackle approach notes in my next post.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Music Rhythm Series Course

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Music Rhythm Series Course

Music Rhythm Series Course

This is part 2 of suggestions on how to use the Music Rhythm Series Course which is on sale for 1/3 of its usual price.  I should point out that I created this series for MY OWN practice! Here is a brief history which should also give you plenty of ideas on how to use this series.   From the Music Rhythm Series Course  Rhythms Volumes 1-5 was a specific assignment given to me by my music guru Charlie Banacos.  The assignment was to take the 9 basic rhythms on 4 metric levels and add rests and ties through all permutations of each rhythm.  I augmented this assignment here, by also adding in all possible rhythms within a half, one or two measures.  I entered this information into a computer rather than writing it out by hand.  This made them available to you but also with midi files so you can check your accuracy.  What does this accomplish?  

  • By working with this you are dealing with every possible rhythm that can exist within a half, whole or two measures depending on the metric level.  If you think about that it’s a very powerful exercise that will weed out any rhythms that are going to cause you problems, either when you are sight reading or when someone in your band wants you to play a specific rhythm.
  • Later on I realized I needed to change my right hand technique on guitar.  Sight reading through these rhythms trains your forearm to recognize all these rhythms.  Remember, your muscles learn rhythms so if for any reason you are changing your technique to use other muscles, you will need to train those muscles to play all common rhythms.
  • At the time there was no MetroDrone so I recorded a loop in “C” and played the rhythms on an “Ab” because I just couldn’t hear “b6” in a key center.  It made a world of difference doing that.  I’ve already prepared that for you with the Rhythms Volumes 6-12.
  • Again, all of these books come with midi files so you can test your accuracy at any tempo.  I wish I had had that, back then…. But I did have the ear of Charlie Banacos checking every damn rhythm. 🙂

Music Rhythm Series Course Rhythms Books 6-12

    Rhythms Volume 6-12 were created for multiple reasons:  

  • I wanted to make sure I could perform odd groupings such as quintuplets, sextuplets and septuplets with a high degree of accuracy.
  • By reading through the odd grouping over a piece of music or a drum beat in 4/4 you are actually superimposing one time over another which is a common technique used in contemporary jazz and prog rock.
  • I added an ear training component because it allowed my students to work directly on notes that were causing them problems while they were working with one note ear training.  It worked great for me and I’ve seen it work countless times with students. By the way it doesn’t mean you even have to learn the rhythms; it can be used solely as an ear training listening exercise.
  • I wanted to master my ability to sight read odd groupings and also used the “Beat Reading” exercise on one page of Rhythms Volumes 6-12 each day.  That only takes maybe 10 minutes at the most to do.  It made a huge difference in my reading skills.
  • I also extracted one or two measure rhythmic patterns, and applied them to real music such as the Jam Tracks or a jazz standard.  I applied this as both a melodic and harmonic rhythm.  Again, just 10 minutes a day yielded great results.

One last thing.  A few questions have come in about what tempos folks should shoot for with Music Rhythm Series Course .  Here is a synopsis:  

Music Rhythm Series Course Practice Suggestions

  • Any exercise using eighth note rhythms i.e. Rhythms Volume One should be read as straight eighths and swung eighths.  You should put the metronome (MetroDrone) on 2 and 4 for the swing and one and three for the straight eighths.  You want to get these rhythms to a 1/2 note equals 120 BPM.  That is as fast as you will usually see these rhythms used.  Reaching that tempo requires multiple passes through the 120 page book and usually takes 3 to 6 months to complete.  I encourage you to use the MetroDrone and place that beat only on the downbeat of the measure.
  • Please note that if you are using Rhythms Volume Four or Rhythms Volume Five which are in 3/4 time you can start with the metronome on every beat but switch to the metronome only on the downbeat as soon as you can.
  • Any exercise with sixteenth note rhythms i.e. Rhythms Volume Two should be read with straight eighths only.  The metronome should be playing on the beat, though it would be much better if you used the MetroDrone or the files in The Big Metronome and placed the click only on every other beat or even the entire measure.  The goal is 120 BPM for a quarter note.  Again reaching that tempo requires multiple passes through the 120 page book and usually takes 3 to 6 months to complete.
  • Any exercise with thirty second notes i.e. Rhythms Volume Three should be read with straight eighths with the metronome on every beat.  You goal is 60 BPM for a quarter note.
  • Rhythms Volumes 6-12 rhythms are usually not played that fast so as an estimate you could halve the goal tempos I’ve mentioned above.

One further clarification:  I usually have a student work through Rhythm Primer,  Rhythms Volume One and Rhythms Volume Two as their first assignments. This applies to musicians at any level.  If they are a beginning student, Rhythm Primer is perfect.  For a beginner the assignment in Rhythms Volume One and Rhythms Volume Two would be to learn only one measure per week.     Finally, fast forward to the last few years, when I’ve been working on various applications of pitch class sets.  I’m getting back into these books again to help me diversify the rhythms I use when soloing or comping with the various pitch class sets.

Conclusion

The Music Rhythm Series Course will transform your ability with rhythm and time. If you have some of the common problems musicians face with rhythm then this is truly the series you need. I’ve found through my 40 years of teaching that most musicians do not adequately prepare themselves when it comes to rhythms. This adverse affects their groove, feel and rhythmic accuracy when playing. Most musicians when deciding whether to play with someone are either consciously or unconsciously guided by how it “feels” to play with the person. Rhythm is the secret sauce that will put you in the right place within the time of the music and make you a much better and sought after musician.

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-13 Chord Reharmonization Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo jazz guitar Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop The Music Rhythm Series Time Transformation Music Rhythm Series Course

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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Applying Rhythm Ideas

Applying Rhythm Ideas

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Applying Rhythm Ideas :   I recently completed the Music Rhythm Series which is a series of 12 books with exercises covering all rhythms from eighth notes to quintuples, sextuplets and septuplets.   Here is what the series primarily focuses on:      

  • 1. Learning to play all common and uncommon rhythms.
  • 2. Learning to sight read on multiple metric levels
  • 3. Increasing the speed at which you can recognize AND PLAY these rhythms.  It includes midi files so that you can challenge yourself and check accuracy at any tempo.
  • 4. Rhythms Volumes 6-12 add in an ear training element; an exercise where you can be actively involved or just listen to it as you do anything else.
  • 5. Teaching your eye to read ahead of the music by using the “Beat Reading” concept. This is a simple but almost magical concept that will speed up your ability to read music amazingly fast.

There are actually a lot of additional exercises you can do once you get to the point that you can read through even just the first couple of books.

Applying Rhythm Ideas

Pick out a one measure rhythm if you play a melodic instrument, and add notes to this rhythm.  I did this a lot with the pitch class sets but it could be anything from a C scale to an arpeggio to a II V lick.

  • 1st: loop the rhythm and the notes every measure
  • 2nd: start to change the order of the notes but keeping the same rhythm
  • 3rd: start using this rhythm to play through an entire tune in any style
  • 4th: start using the rhythm to play through a set of chord changes you find challenging
  • 5th: try playing the rhythm with both straight eighths and swing eighths.

What Applying Rhythm Ideas Will Do for You

You don’t need to do all of the above, but even a few of these activities will do the following for you:  

  • Ingrain a new rhythm into your memory
  • Help you to see rhythm problems when you loop an unfamiliar rhythm.
  • Usually will help you realize if the scale, arpeggio etc… that you are using is sufficiently memorized.  Playing a note group that you know in an unfamiliar rhythm usually points out one’s deficiencies.

Applying Rhythm Ideas with Drum Beats

I also do this same process with a drum groove.  I use the Drum Genius app which is way cool.  Get the additional drum beat downloads.  Not only are the drum grooves great but it also allows you to change the tempo and the pitch of the drums.  But it doesn’t end there, many times it also gives you examples of real music where that groove was played.  That really helps a non-drummer to understand the different types of beats which helps you communicate with a drummer much more effectively.

I should also mention that when you play a random rhythm with a drum beat you will soon find out how well that rhythm works with a specific drum beat.  That is the beginning of you understanding drum beats and starting to improvise with appropriate rhythms when improvising.  Bottom line is your rhythms need to fit into the groove of the drum beat.  That’s quite important to be a successful member of a band.  The rhythms you use to improvise are actually more important than the notes you play.  If you don’t play within the groove no amount of notes will sound right.

Learning to Write in the Correct Metric Level

If you are a beginner at mastering rhythms then you might also consider the Rhythm Ear Training Video Course because that explains in what music you will commonly find the various metric levels covered in the  Music Rhythm Series.  This is priceless information because no one really talks about this; they just assume that (for example) you know that jazz is written with eighth notes and funk is written with sixteenth notes.  The Rhythm Ear Training Video Course talks about all types of music and gives you a list of examples that you can check, then search for, on the web via YouTube or iTunes.

The Rhythm Ear Training Video Course contains very important information because the last thing you want to do is write out a tune in the wrong metric level– the drummer will hand you your head, and the band will have a much harder time reading the chart.  This is true even if it’s just a chord chart with rhythmic notation.

Conclusion

Rhythm is easily the most under practice and misunderstood part of playing music. Musicians often want to concentrate of learn melodies or chords and don’t think about the rhythms that are connected to these pitches. When playing with a band there are two important factors that will be the most important. How the rhythms you play fit with the groove of the music and you be sensitive and listening to the other players so that not only your rhythms fit the music but also the volume at which you play is appropriate.

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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-18 sight reading recommendation Applying Rhythm Ideas