Archive for September, 2014

Jazz Trombone Blues Improvisation Scale and Ear Training Video and PDF

I recently shared a post for jazz trombone blues improvisation, showcasing a Barry Harris Masterclass, entitled Practicing the Blues with the horns part1 and Practicing the Blues with the horns part2

Barry Harris is often called the “keeper of the flame” in teaching and playing jazz and bebop. Barry Harris stands out to me because of three important factors that I have identified in his approach.

1. Barry identified the problem. Specifically, starting in the late 60’s early 70s, Barry recognized that jazz was declining in popularity. He knew the solution was to share the message with young people to continue this message to their and future generations. He has dedicated his life to this, and the results are nothing short of monumental.

2. He adds reality to his approach. He offers immediate application through demonstration and participation with clinics. The resume of Barry Harris speaks for itself. What he shares are not just theories that have not been proven. The material he shares is from direct experience, and from conversations with masters like Thelonious Monk. In these videos, this is demonstrated by his presentation in creating and composing the melody with the class.

3. He is adamant about a foundational approach. Barry is very specific about scales, harmony, and rhythm. This is demonstrated in the video below, “Practicing the Blues with the horns part2” where he describes the basic scales and how to practice them for a 12 bar blues progression.

I had comments from readers from the first post I described that they loved the material, but Barry goes so fast that they could not keep up. As a result, I decided to create two PDFs which walk the reader through the video with time reference to the video. Included are the melodies and scales he describes, as well as his verbal reference which is critical to the learning process.

As I was writing this, I started to get excited thinking about the combination of the two videos and two PDFs as a part of a curriculum for band directors teaching jazz band. This would be appropriate for high school, but I am also sharing with some advanced middle school students.

Jazz Band Curriculum Ideas for Band Directors from Barry Harris Masterclass

Please see below for further study from the two Barry Harris videos below. Jazz Band Curriculum Ideas for Band Directors from Barry Harris Masterclass include Ear Training, Basic Essential Scales, and Rhythmic Approach.

Click the link below to download and / or view the PDF outlining the melody that Barry creates with the students. Barry’s presentation is brilliant, and I wrote the chart to include the full melody, but also the text below the melody describes verbal explanation and the stages he presents. Specific start time on the video is included for each stage.
Practicing the Blues with the horns part 1 – Ear Training Melody

Please click the link below to view the PDF file that outlines the basic scales that Barry Harris considers essential in conjunction with the video above, “Practicing the Blues with the horns part2”
Practicing the Blues with the horns part 2 – Basic Scales

I would be grateful to hear your feedback and if you found this to be useful. Also, please let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Jazz Trombone Blues Improvisation Scale and Melodic Ideas

Legendary jazz pianist and educator, Barry Harris really breathes life in how to play bebop lines over a Bb blues progression. Great information, realistic flow, and motivating for students.

In the two videos below, Barry shares some very specific ways to get started in practicing scales, and builds a melody with class participation demonstrating melodic construction. Another point that he drives home is the importance of practicing with good time. He applies this both in commitment to the tempo, as well as which notes land on the beat in scale practice.