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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Memory Maxim: Expect Growth, from Small to Strong

Practice makes "Perfect?" No, practice makes permanent. Most all old and new musicians understand the challenge of creating unity between the fingers, breath, body motion, linked in with the tempo's pulse. Many hours are spent getting the feeling just right. Dean Earl, (my teacher who played with Charlie Parker) used to tell me, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk all stacked the simple stuff to make that complicated sound. That's where it all begins. So "Expect Growth, from Small to Strong."

The mechanics of playing are set, they are there to learn and once you have them, they never change.

I've heard it said that each song to a musician is like patients to a doctor. He or she fills each new patients charts from scratch. They never assume that because the patient is human, and that they are a doctor, they have an automatic cure. A study of the condition and how it is affecting them is necessary. Even if they have seen very similar symptoms, they do not skip this process.

I've also heard an 80 year old saxophone player say he wakes each morning, sits on the side of his bed, and practices his scales, arpeggios, rhythms, breath and tongue exercises. Each morning a musician rises to life, the goal of mastery must be in front of our spirit.

Today starts what I call "Daily Development Duties." Each is placed in a "Memory Maxim." The purpose of "Daily Development Duties" in "Memory Maxims" is to set the stage for the music to come. There will be songs with music of merriment, joy, enlightenment, understanding, peace, unity, camaraderie, brotherhood, hope, compassion, and love. Oh, did I say peace? All of these commitments and feelings will develop as we look daily to our "Daily Development Duties" placed in "Memory Maxims."

Notice how the feet of each child in the picture above seem to make a complete circle. Let us now think of scales as a complete circle. Lessons will get deep, but remember, "It takes the simple stuff to make that complicated sound."

Starting in the key of "C," sing along as you rename each note. C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, F is 4, G is 5, A is 6, B is 7, and back to 1 as the octave C. This is the C major scale. Many know it and some don't. Simple huh? Stay with me, because you may go places you never knew existed.

If you play by ear, stop in your nearest sheet music store and pick up a copy of a note fingering chart for your instrument. Each of us needs a metronome. If you don't have one, pick up one of those as well. If you have a digital recorder, you should have a programmable beat clock in it. Please allow me to say here, what I am sharing and will share, applies to any instrument. Before we finish, you will have organized, or arranged complete band songs with drums, guitars, bass, strings, and horns, and know the relationship of each note. But remember to place "Daily Development Duties" in the "Memory Maxims."

Now set your metronome or digital beat clock to 60. With each tick, sing and play each note, C, D, E, and so on. When you get to C, go back down and up again, this time pass the octave C, go to the second octave up, and back down. Do this until you are comfortable with playing this pattern as a complete circle.

When you're done, reset your metronome or digital beat clock to 65. Play the same pattern until you get comfortable. When you do, reset your metronome or digital beat clock five steps and continue the process until you find it introduces difficulty. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL IT GETS HARD TO PLAY. At this point I suggest that you reset your metronome or digital beat clock back to about two steps. Practice the pattern from this point until it becomes a challenge for you to play.

Your wrists, or fingers my be a bit tender by the end of this rehearsal session, but we are reaching for perfection through "Daily Development Duties" in "Memory Maxims." Remember, "The simple stuff stacked makes that complicated sound. That's where it all begins. So "Expect Growth, from Small to Strong." I will see you next week with another music lesson to put to rehearsal.

"Peace is the Power that Propels People to A Powerful Point in Productivity."
Unit One and The Soul-Rock Movement