Lesson 120

Improvisation in A Blues

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we are doing some improvisation
using the A Blues scale.
So let's come over to the piano and learn the notes of A Blues.
Here I have the five notes of the A Blues scale.
Can you point and name
each one for me? Say the letter names of each note, go:
If you said A C D D-sharp or E-flat E, you're correct.
Remember, black keys can have two possible names depending on whether we call it D-sharp or E-flat.
Both would be correct.
Now let's take a look at how our fingers will
cover up those notes because we didn't need a B at all,
we'll skip that one and go from finger 1 to finger 2
from A to C like this, and then fingers 3 4 5 will all be a half step apart.
In order for finger 4 to reach, it might feel more comfortable to slide forward.
Let's place your hand in this position,
and try playing these five notes
from the lowest to the highest. My turn first.
Now you try.
Good, now let's try going down from the
highest note to the lowest.
Your turn.
Now to make this sound even
cooler, I'll teach you one additional bonus note
in the A Blues scale.
When you get down to here, if you want to take finger 2 and glide it across, let the other fingers follow along.
Finger 2 can reach over here to G,
and that sounds very bluesy. Listen to the whole thing
going from the top note E.
So finger 2 reaches over,
and then finger 1 plays it's A again, and then your fingers can go back to their position.
Watch again,
crossover, A. That's called
a crossover when one of your longer fingers
goes over a shorter finger like your finger 1.
Now let's do something called trading fours.
I will play a melody for 4 beats.
Since we're improvising, I can play any
note I want. Whatever I feel like is fine.
When my 4 beats are done, then it'll be
your turn to play, and we'll just take turns
kind of like a conversation talking back and forth.
To make it more interesting, we're going to add some
Good, now our beat is this fast: 1 2 3 4
So that's the amount of time each of us will have.
Remember, in jazz it's okay to keep things very
simple, even a repeating note can sound cool.
Like this:
Okay, and that would have
been my four beats. Now get your hand in position
and we're going to do some trading fours. I'll go first playing whatever I feel like,
then you play what you feel like using any notes of the A Blues scale.
But remember, you
only get 4 beats to do it, so keep it short and sweet.
Here we go my turn first.
Here I go:
Your turn.
Last one.
You finish it up.
Nice job!
right, now let's try one more form of improvisation.
I'll play an accompaniment,
and this time you're free to improvise whatever you want in the A Blues.
You can
use also that bonus note G below the A if you like.
Here's what I'm going to be playing:
And to make it more interesting, let's add in the drums.
So while I'm playing that, you're going
to improvise whatever you want while I play.
You can use this octave, or if you
want to come up to A position up here that's fine too.
It's your improvisation, so have some fun.
Here we go:
Last time.
Great job today improvising with the A
Blues scale.
If you purchase the complete materials for this unit, you'll also get an mp3 file
with a backing track where you can keep improvising and practicing more on your own at home.
Thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time!