I am sending you the 2017 holiday newsletter again which has Mel Torme’s "Christmas Song" featured. If you are already working with the open voicings lessons then this might be a good refresher for you. If you haven’t seen this newsletter before, and it looks interesting to you, then take a look and download the free lesson links in it. Here I show one of the fundamental ways to play songs, by chord concept, from a fake book. If you would like to pursue more of this concept look for the “Open Voicings Study” page on the website.
Don’t forget we have a 20% sale on all lessons on all instruments going on until January 1st. Just input GLEN20 on the payment page.
DECEMBER, 2017 - NEWSLETTER
“THE CHRISTMAS SONG”
GIFT VIDEO LESSONS
Hi Fellow Pianists, It’s holiday time and I have free gifts for you! I made a few short jazz lessons, using Mel Torme’s Christmas Song as the example. The charts and video lessons here are not on the web site nor on YouTube for public view. They are private, made especially just for those of you who are on my mailing list.
In these videos, I demonstrate the song and discuss it from the concept of using jazz patterns. If you have gone through the two lessons on jazz patterns,* then it will make good sense to you. If you aren’t familiar with the importance of the jazz pattern concept, the lessons will still be of value to you. They demonstrate the value of understanding patterns and give you a hint of what they are about. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, identifying and playing tunes according to their patterns simplifies learning and is the secret to chord playing!
In the videos, you will also begin to understand how to harmonize a melody and play from a chord chart. I know that everyone is on a different level of progress and evolution with their piano development, but I hope everyone can get something out of the lessons. No matter what level you’re on, I hope you will all be able to play both lessons 1 and 4.
Lesson #1 will give you an easy way to play the tune by simply combining melody line with a bass line. With just the two lines playing, the tune may take on the sound of a simple Bach fugue. When you play the bass note and melody line together you are developing your ability to read chord information and melody together. You are not playing the chords but you are playing the correct bass notes. Eventually you will be able to fill in the notes between the two lines to create chords for fuller arrangements. Lesson #4 is similar to Lesson #1, but makes use of open 7ths in the left hand. The single extra note can make quite a difference in defining the jazz sound.
There is real value in learning to play a tune by using just the root of the chord (or just the root and 7 of the chord) in your left hand while playing the melody with your right hand. For those of you have learned to play by reading music, this simple step can often be difficult. It’s a new orientation for you. This because most of you are used to reading the bass and treble clef together. However, when reading from chord charts, there is no bass clef. You need to look at the chord above the staff where the melody line is written and read the chords while playing melody at the same time. The chords show you the root of the chord and tell you what type of chord to play.
Lessons 2 and 3 focus on all of the chords and patterns in the song. In Lesson #2, I’ll show you all the chords in root position, playing them in the left hand. In Lesson #3, I’ll play the same chords in the right hand, with roots in the left, while providing melody with my voice.
Each of these exercises are valuable for establishing a framework for beginning to understand chord progressions, harmonizing a melody, and playing from a chord chart.
To get the most out of the videos, I suggest you download the special attachments by pushing the blue download bar below. They give invaluable detailed information about how to identify the jazz-chord patterns and provide song charts for you.
About the special attachments. . . 1-- Song chart downloads. . . I’ve included two charts of “The Christmas Song” for you to download. One is simply the jazz-chord chart for the tune. The other is the same chart, but with all of the jazz patterns identified and circled. Your challenge is to get a pencil and try to identify and circle the jazz patterns on your own. Test yourself to see if you can do it, then compare it to the second chart to see how well you have done.
2-- Additional materials to help you identify the jazz patterns on chord charts. There are two pages that list all the major and minor jazz-chord patterns for all 12 keys. The pages that follow describe in detail how to look for those patterns.
I hope you enjoy these gift lessons. Many of you have written to me to say you connect with my teaching style. After a lifetime of being on the road with my music, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share the things I have learned and pass them on to you!