Practiced bass guitar a little way ago. Most of the time that entails either playing along with tunes or trying to find interesting intervals.
Last night was some serious time on the bari for the first time in a while. It was great fun and my sound was right where I left it. I spent most of the session trying to work on the emotion of my playing. Essentially exploring the various levels of expression one can utilize.
We had a rare "no vocalist" rehearsal this morning. Our two lovebirds were supposed to be there, but something came up and at 9:00 am, it was all horns and no songbirds.
So, for four straight hours, we played all of the "jazzers" that we normally would not bother to touch. From Basie (C) through Basie - Straight Ahead to Theme From "The Naked Gun" to Theme From "Peter Gunn" all the way out to We'll Get It, it was dramatic dynamics, syncopation and page-spanning eighth note patterns up the wazoo.
(We did not do Sweet Georgia Brown, as we are saving that for the hazing of a new alto player who did not make it this week.)
We were ringin' and swingin' to beat the band (so to speak; I don't know if that is a mixed metaphor or not), all morning long. Very tiring for an old fart like me.
Moonlight Serenade for my goal of actually performing a clarinet solo live this year. Gordon Goodwin's 'Phat Pack' for the change of pace in the otherwise standards setlist for the Gates Foundation black tie event. I'm covering the sop part of the sax section which looks like this: sop, alto, tenor, tenor, and bass clarinet. Killer sax soli that's not on that audio clip by the way...
I started with tunes on the flute...."Half Nelson" was the last tune I heard on the radio before I started practicing, and I always try to pick out the last melody on radio by ear with the flute for ear training. So I made the notes to the head of Half Nelson once I slowed it down. Then I tried to pick out the solo changes by ear. I'm trying to rebuild my flute chops after not playing it for a number of years.
The next flute tune was "The Good Life" by Sacha Distel. Read it out of the book and played around with the changes. Nice tune. Then I moved on to a nice little Tango, "Orchards In The Moonlight." Nice tune, moving from minor to a major release.
Then I did some minor arpeggios exercises out of an old Ernest Wagner flute book I got as a kid, and my flute half hour or so was over.
On alto, I started with eye excercise. I read out of an old syncopation book,"16 Smart Studies" by David Gornston. Lots of old style cool hep daddy figures and motifs. But I find that it really helps my reading, especially since my regular reading gigs seem to have slowed down. Moved on to a Joe Viola rhythm studies book and did a little sight reading.
Now it's time for tunes on the alto. I do tunes that I'm either trying to commit to memory, melody and chord change wise, or just stay fluent with the melody and changes. I play each tune 20 times a day, alternating melody and changes. I always start with "Giant Steps" for a warm up. I've long ago committed this one to memory, but I use it to get my fingers moving by taking it at a fast tempo, around 360 beats a minute.
So today's tunes were "You're My Everything," c concert, done at a swinging medium, "The Way You Look Tonight," f concert, way up on the ceiling, about 360 again. I'm trying to work on my fast tempos. Next was the old standard "I'll Be Seeing You," Eb concert. Another swinging medium tempo. I finished with the Clare Fischer hip bossa, "Pensitiva." This is a great tune, beautiful.
Nah. It's not that much. Just seems like a lot when you see it written out. I actually dropped 3 tunes as of the beginning of this week 'cause the project I was practicing them for happened last weekend, a thing at Lincoln Center with Frank Wess. But I'll probably have to add 4 or 5 more soon for a recording project I have coming up.
Someone mentioned that if you spend 10,000 hours on something, you've become an expert (Google "10,000 hours"). I'm not sure I necessarily agree and if it's a good rule-of-thumb, I also think you have to amend the rule to, "Spend 10,000 hours doing something the right way."