San Diego Saxophone Lessons

San Diego Saxophone Lessons
presented in conjunction with

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Practicing chords + scales

As saxophonists, we need to find ways to associate our scales with the corresponding chord. For pianists and guitarists, this is fairly simple as they can see where all the notes are laid out and they have the ability to play multiple notes at one time. For those of us who play single-line instruments, it can take a while to get the sound and feel of each chord associated with the scale.

Check out the video lesson here:

This is a simple way I practice all of my scales and chords together:

Get the 2-page PDF of this exercise here

I'm combining the 9th chord with the entire scale (also played to the 9th) in one exercise. You should eventually be able to play the whole line straight through in one breath. This helps to get the chord and the scale to reside in the same part of your brain. With time and diligent practice, it will be available to you in-the-moment (like when playing a solo over changes).

It's important to get these under your fingers and in your ear. Once you become comfortable with the fingering, try playing these with a backing-track such as one of the ones available from Aebersold or Jerry Bergonzi. It is a huge benefit to hear the notes in context with a rhythm section. Another good option is to strike the chord on piano with the sustain pedal, and then play the exercise while the chord is ringing.

Happy practicing!


Sam said...

Thank you. Excellent practice suggestion.

Ian Tordella said...

Thanks for dropping in Sam - feel free to print and share.

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