Greetings fellow Indabians! I hope you’re all well. Sorry
for getting back to you so late but we had the passing away of a close family
member, which sort of slowed down our direction for a minute. Hope you are well
and have had some fun and success with things we touched on last time.
Practicing dynamics not only makes me a better player, but also causes me to
hear the various volumes more in everything.
I’m a real lover of brain exercises, especially lately, and
here are a couple of them that I would like to share.
Two things that make music, and almost everything else, so
exciting, interesting, and great are anticipation and organization. Think about
it. Almost everything we do requires anticipation and organization of the
execution of that anticipation.
For example, let’s say we’re going to go out the door of a
room, and there is a chair between the door and us. There are anywhere from one
to a thousand ways to get from where we are to the door. We can walk around the
left of the chair, the right side of the chair; we can stand on the chair and
step down on the other side. We could jump over the chair. We could move the
chair to any number of places. Or we could crawl under the chair, and on and on
and on. Any one of these ways requires anticipation. We then organize how we’re
going to execute that anticipation.
The same is exactly true in playing music except we are
anticipating and organizing our hand and finger moves instead of our body
moves. This is true whether we are moving to the next chord, the next note, or
the next rhythm. We anticipate how we’re going to get there and what we play is
the organization of the execution of the anticipation. We do this all the time,
often even without realizing it!
Let’s play some exercises that will really develop the brain
and cause you to play faster and better.
We are going to add rhythm to the dynamic exercises we did
before. Here’s how:
(1.) Play a scale, for example C Major, two octaves: C, D,
E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
(2.) Use two eighth notes on the first beat and a quarter
note on the second, third, and fourth beats. In other words C and D are played
as eighth notes on the first beat, then E is played on the second beat, F is
played on the third beat, and G is played on the fourth beat. E, F, and G are
(3.) Now, move the eighth notes forward one beat each
measure. This means that on the first go round the first beat holds two eighth
notes. The second go round the second beat holds the two eighth notes. The
third go round the third beat holds the two eighth notes. The fourth go round
the fourth beat holds the two eighth notes. The three beats in each exercise
that don’t hold the eighth notes hold the quarter notes.
(4.) Keep going, moving the two eighth notes forward one
beat every measure, and then start backwards. Next, mix up the notes to create
different melodies. For example:
E, G-F (eighth notes), E, C, D-E
(eighth notes), F, E, and D. Then go from two eighth notes to an eighth note
(5.) Organize which notes you’re going to play louder or
softer. Could be just one note – then pick another note to change the dynamics
on. Do this for at least twenty minutes a day and you’ll discover that your
brain and your playing are getting faster and more variable. Write a song, or
some exercise using different scales or a chromatic scale.
Let me know what and how you’re doing and I’ll do the same.
If you don’t understand this or have any questions, let me know at any time and
we’ll talk about it. Hope to hear from you soon!