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Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
#2904606 10/25/19 08:17 PM
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Very simple question... I'm tackling jazz piano with a vengeance. After taking lessons on-and-off without theory, I am stunningly weak at identifying chords/notes. Of course, I know them to play them, but I need to learn to "internalize" jazz chords so I can play them without thinking.

I developed a "flashcard system" for practicing: put the chord name (ie., Em, D#m, etc) on index cards (old grad school method, circa 1990), photograph them, create photobook on ipad, then "run" a slideshow on shuffle so they randomly come up....

Anyone have a better, or more practical, or more metacognitively-sound idea??

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Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2904629 10/25/19 10:50 PM
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This sounds like a good way to do it, if a little labor intensive.

Here's another approach: Learn your 12 major scales. 1, 3, 5 and 7 of the major scale is the major 7 chord. Lower the 7th of that and you have dominant 7. Lower the 3rd and you have minor 7. Lower the 5th and you have minor7b5. Lower the 7th again and you have diminished 7.

This is a fool proof way to learn the 5 essential 7th chords and you don't have to rely on a picture of the chords, you can always figure out the right answer if you are not sure.

Once you can do this, read tunes in the Real Book and play chords in your left hand, melody in right. Check your chords using the system described above. Any chords that you are not sure of just run the major scale and make adjustments to find the chord you need.

I'm happy to explain it further, just contact me.


Bill
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Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2904670 10/26/19 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluegrassdog

Anyone have a better, or more practical, or more metacognitively-sound idea??


I think you would be much better off learning a few at at a time and learning to use them in context as you go along, by learning one tune at a time and then, once that tune/progression is getting boring or too easy, move on to another tune. This way you are not only learning to play chords but also learning how to play them with melodies, improvisations, bass lines, and rhythms, all at the same time.

Also you can try moving the chords around in patterns - up and down chromatically, in tones, minor thirds etc.
Also arpeggios, inversions, broken chords etc. This way you can improve your technique whilst at the same time learning the notes in the chords.

Also ear training - listen to music and work it out. Start simple and build up.

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2904677 10/26/19 07:24 AM
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Another important exercise: play a chord and sing it simultaneously in the form of an arpeggio up and down.

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
beeboss #2904738 10/26/19 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by beeboss
[quote=Bluegrassdog]
I think you would be much better off learning a few at at a time and learning to use them in context as you go along, by learning one tune at a time and then, once that tune/progression is getting boring or too easy, move on to another tune. This way you are not only learning to play chords but also learning how to play them with melodies, improvisations, bass lines, and rhythms, all at the same time.


Thank you!. I started working with a jazz teacher who has given me some “starter pop songs” to work with, along with the chords. And this is what I’m wondering: is it better to learn them in context, as I go along— this song uses F, Dm, and C, so let’s work on those and all iterations of them for now— , or is it better to just learn many upfront, and “apply them”?

It sounds as though you’re in favour of the former, which makes sense. It’s in my nature to take it all on at once, though ( the latter). I’ll stay focused and work in small chunks <g>

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Nahum #2904739 10/26/19 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Another important exercise: play a chord and sing it simultaneously in the form of an arpeggio up and down.


Yes! I have begun doing this and I’m surprised I am able to “hit the notes” with my voice. I guess I have under estimated my 40 years of piano-playing, hey? Oh, to be young again....all that confidence! 😝

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
JazzPianoOnline #2904742 10/26/19 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzPianoOnline
This sounds like a good way to do it, if a little labor intensive.

Here's another approach: Learn your 12 major scales. 1, 3, 5 and 7 of the major scale is the major 7 chord. Lower the 7th of that and you have dominant 7. Lower the 3rd and you have minor 7. Lower the 5th and you have minor7b5. Lower the 7th again and you have diminished 7.

This is a fool proof way to learn the 5 essential 7th chords
.


Thank you so much! This is the best exercise I’ve used yet and I really appreciate it!

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2909223 11/07/19 03:52 PM
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Depending on how much time you have, practice one chord/scale per day.
Day 1: major 7 chord (different voicings closed/open, etc), Ionian/Lydian scale. In all keys, chromatically or cycle of 5ths or . . .
Day 2: minor b7 chord, Dorian/Aeolian scale
Day 3: dominant b7 chord, Mixolydian scale (this is slightly redundant as it's the "same" as Day 2).
Day 4: dominant b7 b9 chord, half/whole tone diminished scale 1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7
Day 5: dominant altered b7 b9 #9 #5 chord, half-diminished/wholetone (also known as the Altered scale) 1 b2 b3 3 b5 b6 b7

The idea is to play patterns, arpeggios, licks - embrace the sound, the tonal colour of each.

Then apply to tunes (Standards, not bop). Spend 1 day per bar or two bars.

Another suggestion of a practice order is to follow Gary Burtons from bright to dark. Or yet again, tunes.
https://www.coursera.org/lecture/jazz-improvisation/10-most-important-scales-9BClj

Btw, this Coursera course is pretty ok - and free!

Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2909387 11/08/19 04:22 AM
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Thanks Chris

The Gary Burton videos are very good.

Cheers


Simon
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Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Best way to practice "memorizing" jazz chords
Bluegrassdog #2909879 11/09/19 04:24 AM
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The best way to memorize is by spaced repetition. Check Anki. It uses flash cards.
https://apps.ankiweb.net/


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