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Never seen it but in checking the video out he has some cool suggestions, nothing revolutionary but some basic, practical practice strategies. I don't know for sure but I'm guessing his approach is for "all instruments". I feel there are piano specific techniques that apply here that obviously single note instrument folks like sax, trumpet , bone, don't have to concern themselves with.


One suggestion of his I've used is turning the melody into whole or half notes. I harmonize the top note of the melody with a chord voicing-out of tempo, very slow tempo and practice above the tempo usually played.


Playing the melody alone in time (no LH voicings) with the metronome on 2 & 4 or playing the melody with the LH and adding a RH structure--the RH can be rootless or have the home bass root in the voicing for easier reference.


Comping the changes with no melody, playing a walking (or dotted quarter note to eighth to dotted quarter for straight 8th bossa rhythms) LH bass line along with the chords. All this stuff reinforces the tune as a whole.


Often I'll have a problem with recalling certain intervals or the shape of a melody in certain places of a tune. For example I played the Benny Golson tune "Along Came Betty" over weekend with a trio. I've been playing that tune for a really long time but I had a senior moment and spaced on the melody line in measure 30 on the F7 going to the Bbm7b5. It's a very simple line--the +5 to the 5th to the root to the b5 of the Bbm chord-but for some reason I couldn't recall it.

When that happens I'll take those little one bar melodies and turn them into an exercise--transpose to all 12 keys, play the melody with the accompanying chord chromatically up and down, play the sequence in both minor and major thirds up and down the octave. This really helps to internalize and recall.


Taking tunes like All the Things you are, Autumn Leaves, In your own sweet way and putting them 3/4 gives it a whole different vibe. As does changing the groove-Giant Steps as a straight 8th Bossa ala Metheny. etc..."Moment's notice" works wonderfully as a ballad.


All these are good practice strategies but the most important aspect of playing with people shouldn't be under empathized. That's the best way I've always retained a tune. Even little duos with sax, bass, vibes, guitar and yes even with the "dreaded singer" in oddball keys can go a long way to building and retaining a repertoire.


One of the hardest tunes I still have to read today is "Falling Grace". I feel I play it pretty well but for some reason the way that tune moves around--it's a tough one to memorize unless you're playing it 5 nights a week (jazz heaven ). Also "Very Early" is hard to always remember.



 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515









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Good post Dave..SOmetimes I like to take a melody line and put a diff chord/root under each note of the melody. Sometimes after I do a verse n it comes out nice, I generally 4get what I did lol, so senior moments happen to everyone.
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GREAT suggestions, Dave. I admit, in composing mode as I've been for many months now, I've been neglecting standards repertoire. Even if I mostly play gigs where it isn't called for to play called-out tunes beyond a certain comfortable set of them, there are benefits to musicianship in general reaching back over a greater number of tunes, and learning more, and playing with approaches to playing and memorizing them.


Nice to see you posting here again, man.


"Very Early" -- love that tune, love playing it ... I was just playing that one the other day. Has some interesting intervals for sure.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby


"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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