Improvisation is the essence of the jazz experience. For those just starting out, it helps to have some basic tools to start with. A thorough understanding of scales and chords is an important stepping-stone for the beginning soloist.
Learning scales and chords in all 12 keys is important, but is also intimidating. Concentrating on one key at a time will help internalize that key and will help make the journey more fun.
This session will focus on the F Mixolydian Scale. Mixolydian is the same as the major scale, but with a lowered seventh degree. To demonstrate we will use exercises from The Lady Knows Her Cheese, one of the 12 tunes found in First Place for Jazz
Improvise short licks using the pitches of the F Mixolydian scale. Keep it simple and rhythmic. Call and Response is a very helpful way to get started. Listen to the example in Pitch Set B1 and imitate the player on the recording as closely as possible.
Apply these concepts in performance. You can play The Lady Knows Her Cheese with your big band. If you are practicing by yourself or with a small group of friends, use the Lead Sheet. A full rhythm section accompaniment track is included with the Lead Sheet.
First Place for Jazz also includes exercises and tunes that focus on concert Bb mixolydian and Eb mixolydian. As you get comfortable improvising in one key, continue to challenge yourself with others.
Happy Practicing, and keep in touch!