Week 2 - A Bossa Nova
This week I'm posting Bossa Nova changes. These are the same changes as Blue Bossa. Post a sound cloud/dropbox/youtube etc. link in the comments and lets make some music:
For the accompaniment file this week we're using a file from http://www.ralphpatt.com/VBook.html, the location of the Vanilla Book. This site is a great resource with many tracks and changes. Also, the track is split so that the right channel is piano and the left channel is piano/bass so that you can block one out if you desire.
There is a four bar introduction on these tracks.
Here is the accompaniment file for these changes:
I'm so Impressed with the way animals relate to music. I've compiled my favorite videos of animals dancing and making music. To learn more about animal music listen to our interview with animal music researcher David Rothenberg. Some of these are trained behaviors, some of them are natural, but all of them are amazing.
PBS does these remixes, and I just relived my childhood. I used to watch Mr. Rogers every day.
Instructions are now at the Jazz Tune A Week Landing Page
Week One - Rose Room
For the first week I have chosen Rose Room, as it is not too challenging, and public domain. My intention is to alternate between public domain songs and more modern jazz standards from week to week.
If you plan on recording, go ahead and introduce yourself in the comments.
Here are some youtube clips of this song:
And the Lead Sheets:
Right click the file and choose "save link as" to download
Update: 6/10/2013 - Benny Goodman Transcription
I took some time today to transcribe the way the Benny Goodman plays the melody in the clip above. I have provided sheets and a recording of me playing my transcription. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. Enjoy.
I just saw an amazing video from Felicia Day's blog over at Geek and Sundry. I'm a huge fan of her work, but only recently realized that she is also an excellent violinist. Here is here duet with Tom Lenk:
Note, On Some iDevices the wrong video has been loading, so, if this is a different video, follow this link to the intended video:
I found this video both fun and impressive. Please go to Geek and Sundry and like all of their videos and their page. They are changing the face of entertainment.
Here's a cool site I found floating on the internets. This is a great resource to point any jazz player towards to see all of the greats in one place.
TMEA has been Amazing! We've gotten so much accomplished.
The Clinic I presented was well received, and we will release the video in a couple of week.
Tonight we interview Joshua Wells of Oddquartet.com and will release it on Tuesday.
Finally, a big surprise. After my clinic I met Marta and Yigal from Joytunes Music.
Yigal is an Oboist for the Jerusalem Symphony and was an amazing guest. I can't wait to for everyone to hear it.
In the mean time, check out Piano Dust Buster, an app that allows you to use your piano as a game controller, without plugging anything in. It's amazingly fun and awesome. Also, check out his recorder applications, just as awesome and totally free when used on a Mac or PC.
Have you ever heard a performance that, in the first five minutes, you started to wonder what sin you must have committed that the universe would put you in this audience?
I have. Also, I'm pretty sure it was for that one time I stole a church hymnal.
A great performance will stay with you forever. A terrible performance will seem to last forever.
If you'd prefer to avoid giving lousy performances as a musician, try some of the following advice:
1. Choose your music wisely
This is the first step to crafting an excellent performance. You have to be able to assess your ability level and the challenge presented by a piece of music.
If the music is too difficult, you will not sound good, if it is too easy, you won't be challenged.
I use the 80% rule. You should be able to sight read at least 80% of any piece you intend to perform. The other 20% should be at least appear attainable in the half the time you have before your performance. Be careful, because this decision will make or break you.
2. Good practice, seriously good practice
How much are you practicing? No, really how much? I recommend practice plans and logging practice time for more reasons than I can explain in one post. Mostly, it promotes planning and honesty with yourself.
If you're not practicing at very, very least a few hours a week, you aren't progressing very much. If you practice 3 hours a day, you're on the super star route. Most people fall somewhere in between, and that's okay.
Make a plan and stick to it. Try to have your music ready a couple of weeks before your performance so that you have time to create "ease" in your playing.
3. Do your part
If you are in a performance with other musicians, make sure your part is ready to go before your first group practice.
There is nothing worse than trying to practice when an ensemble member can't play their part. It's a waste of time, and pretty rude. When you practice with a group you should be working on ensemble sound, not individual parts.
This is the same for solos with piano accompaniment. These are usually more like duets than solos w/accompaniment. If you aren't prepared to practice with the pianist, you're putting them through grief.
4. Emotionally connect with your performance
Music requires a connection to the piece you are performing. Listen to recordings of your pieces and try to connect emotionally. Apply this to your playing and make music - vibrato, dynamics, tone color, precise articulation, and phrase shaping are the biggest difference between a mediocre performance and a great performance.
5. Sell it, dude!
When you step on that stage, you take over. Be a presence, smile, and engage that audience. If there is room for some theatrics, employ them. Just ask yourself, "Would I care if I were in the audience?"
If you apply the right music with good practice and great musicality, people with love what you do.
It's not easy to be amazing. It takes hard work and dedication, just like you would expect. It is worth it though.