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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

Eartrainingisanessentialpartofabalancedpracticeroutine,butitsanareathatsoften
avoidedbyguitaristsintheirpracticing.Whetheryouvestruggledwitheartraininginthe
past,orwereputthroughexercisesthatseemedirrelevantorimpractical,manyjazz
playershavenegativeassociationswithauralskillsdevelopment.
But,improvingyourabilitytohearjazzmelodies,chords,andsolosinrealtimedoesnthavetobe
aslog.Infact,itcanbethemostengagingandfunpartofyourpracticeroutine.
Withtherightexercises,anddirectapplicationoftheseexercises,youcanfindyourselfspending
timeeachdayworkingoneartraininginyourjazzstudies.Thistimespentwillproduceresults,
whichwillleadtomoremotivationtopractice,andsothecyclecontinues.
Theexercisesinthislessonaredesignedtobuildthattypeofpositivepracticecycleinyourplaying.
Theyreeffective,efficient,andfuntoworkon.
Eventhoughyoumaystrugglewithsomeoftheseworkoutsatfirst,keepatit.Withtime,focus,and
dedication,youllbetranscribingyourfavoritesolos,hearingchordchangesinrealtime,andable
tooutlineanytunewithyourvoiceinnotime.

Vocal Jazz Ear Training Exercises


Guitaristsoftenavoidvocalexercises,astheycanseemdifficult,andoftenimpractical,compared
toyourmusicalgoals.
But,withthecorrectapproachandexercises,vocalstudywillhelpdevelopyourear,increase
yourtechnicalknowledgeofthefretboard,andincreaseyourabilitytojamoverjazztunesallat
once.Thiswillnotonlyprovideeartrainingresults,itllincreaseyouroverallabilityasan
improviserandaccompanistontheguitar.
Tobegin,youllexplorethreeeartrainingexercisesthatconnectyourearstoyourfingersonthe
guitar.Connectingyourearstoyourfingersisthemostimportantaspectofanysolideartraining
exerciseforjazz.
Learningtosingtechnicalitemssuchasscalesorintervalsontheirownwillhelpyourearsto
develop(checkoutourreviewofEarmasterPro6),butsingingwhileplaying,oragainstsomething
thatyoureplaying,willgoastepfurtherandconnectyourabilitytoheardirectlywiththefretboard.
Bydoingso,asyourearsdevelopyourperformanceabilitywilldevelopatthesametime,awin
wininthepracticeroom.
Thefirstexercisefocusesonsingingalongwithyourtechnicalworkoutontheguitar.

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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

Whensinginganyoftheseexercises,feelfreetosinganoctavelowerorhigherthanthenote
youreplayinginordertoaccommodateyourvocalrange.
Singalongtoyourscalepractice
Singalongwithyourarpeggioworkout
Singalongwithyourlickpractice
Singalongwithyourimprovisationalexercises

Aftersingingalongwitheverynoteyoureplayingontheguitar,youcanbegintotakethingsastep
furtherasyouholdnotesorchordsontheguitarandsingthenotesyouarentplaying.Bydoingso,
youllbetrainingyourearstohearthefullnotesofachord,evenifallyouhaveasareferenceisa
bassnote.
Aswell,youlllearntozoominandheartheimportantnotesofanychordorchordprogression,
the3rdsand7ths.Hearingguidetoneswillnotonlyhelpyoulearntohearvoiceleadingmovement
betweenchords,itllallowyoutotargettheseguidetonesinyoursoloinglinesatthesametime.
Holddownachordandsingthechordtones
Singonlythe3rdand7thofthatsamechord
Playthebassnoteonlyandrepeattheseexercises
Playthetopnoteoftheonlyandrepeatthese2exercises

Thenextvocalexerciseconnectsyourvoiceandfingerstojazzsongsyoureworkingon.Vocal
exercisesareaneffectivewaytolearnanynewtune,andareoftenthemostefficientwaytoget
thosetunesmemorizedandunderyourfingersontheguitar.
Startwithajazzstandardyoualreadyknowasanintroduction,thenwhenyourecomfortablemove
ontotunesyoudontknowasyouexpandonthisexercise.
Pickastandardyouwanttolearn
Compthechordsandsingthemelodyline
Singthebassnotesforeachchordasyoucomp
Singthearpeggiosforeachchordasyouplaythechanges
Scatsingasolowhilecompingthechordchanges

Backing Track Exercises


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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

Ifyouvebeenworkingonimprovisationinyourpracticeroutine,youllknowhowvaluablebacking
tracksareforlearningtoblowovertunesandprogressions.
But,didyouknowyoucouldusethesesamebackingtracksinyoureartrainingexercises?By
workingwithbackingtracksinyoureartrainingroutine,youllbeconnectingyourearsdirectly
topopularjazzchordprogressions.Aswell,youllprepareyourselftobeabletohearchord
progressionsinrealtime,whichisaninvaluableskilltohavewhenjammingonjazztunes,
especiallyonesyouarentfamiliarwith.
Oftentimesyoullspendtimeworkingoneartrainingexercises,singingintervalsetc.,thathelps
yourhearingbutarentdirectlyrelatedtopracticalsituations.
Playingchordsandsolosoverbackingtracksbyearisnotonlybeneficial,butitsdirectlyapplicable
tojamsessionandgigsituationswhenyouhaveanewtuneputinfrontofyou,orareaskedtoplay
atunewithoutthebenefitofacharttoreadfrom.
Thefirstbackingtrackexercisefocusesonlearningchordsandchordprogressionsbyear.
Now,thistypeofexercisecanbetoughatfirst,butdontgiveup.Evenifyouonlygetoneortwo
chordsbytheendofthetrackcorrect,thatsagreatstart.Usethosesmallgainstobuildupfrom,
nottobenegativeabout.
Startsmall,tryyourbest,andwithtimeandrepetitionthisexercisecanproducenoticeableresults
inyoureartrainingandperformanceability.
Putonabackingtrack,dontlookatthechords
Begintocompalongtothetrackbyear
Bytheendofthetrackaimtocompthecorrectchords
Writethechordsdown
Checkyouranswersagainstaleadsheet

Thenextbackingtrackexercisewillfocusonthesoloingsideofeartraining.Thisexerciseissimilar
tothepreviousone,thoughnowyouresoloingbyearoverthebackingtrack.
Again,thiscanbetough,andfrustrating,atfirstinthepracticeroom.Butstickwithit,overtime
itllbecomeeasierandyoullseepositivedevelopmentinyourabilitytosolobyearoveranytuneon
theguitar.
Putonadifferentbackingtrack,dontlookatthechords
Begintosolooverthetrackbyear
Bytheendofthetrackbeabletooutlinethechanges
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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

Writedownthechordprogression
Checkyourworkagainstaleadsheet

Transcribing Exercises
Oneofthemostimportantjazzeartrainingexercisesthatyoucandoistranscribing.Transcribing
iswhenyoulearnanything,chordsmelodysoloing,fromarecordingbyear.Fromthere,youcan
writeitout,playitontheguitar,orboth.
Transcribingisnotonlyagreatwaytobuildyourabilitytohearmusicquicklyandaccuratelyyoull
alsobuildyourvocabularyatthesametime.
Asyouvealreadyfocusedontuneandchordexercisesearlier,thefollowingtranscription
exercisesarebuiltaroundlearninglicksandsolosbyear.
Thisfirstexercisewillintroduceyoutolearninglicksandlongerimprovisationsbyear,aswellas
expandyoursoloingchopsatthesametime.
Goslowwiththefirstpartoftheexercise,thesingingsection.Ifyoucangetasolointoyourears,
singingitfrommemorywithconfidence,itllbemucheasiertotakeittotheguitarthanifyouskim
overthesingingpartoftheexercise.
PickaJazzguitarlickorsolototranscribe
Singalongtotherecordingbymemory
Playthesoloalongtotherecordingbymemory
Singandplaythesolooverabackingtrackbymemory
Writethesolodownandanalyzethenotes

Inthenextexercise,youllworkontakingmaterialfromatranscriptionandexpandinguponit.This
isaveryimportantstepwhenworkingonanytranscription,asitsthebridgebetweenlearningand
applicationontheguitar.
Becauseitssuchanimportantapproachtolearningbyear,itwouldbebesttotranscribeone
shortlickandthenrunitthroughtheseexercises,comparedtotranscribingalongsoloandleavingit
thereinyourstudies.
Pickalickfromthesoloandsingitwhilecompingthechords
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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

Repeatinmultiplekeys
Singthebassnotestotheprogression,suchasiiVI,andplaythelick
Repeatinasmanykeysasyoucan
Repeatwithotherlicksfromthesolo

Asyoucansee,thesearebothgreatjazzeartrainingexercises,butlearningawholesolobyear
canbeintimidating.Ifyourenewtotranscribing,orhaventdoneitinawhile,itcanseemlike
adauntingtasktotackle.But,youdonthavetostartbylearningColtranesolosbyearonday1.
Instead,startwitheasiertohearsolosandworkyourwayontomoredifficulttranscriptionsfromthat
point.Tohelpyougetstartedwiththerighttranscriptionforyou,heresalistofdifferentsolosfor
differentlevelsofplayersthatyoucantranscribe.
Somewillbeguitarsolos,someonotherinstruments,butallareclassicimprovisationsthatare
worthlearningasyoucontinuetodevelopyoureartrainingandimprovisationalskillset.

BeginnerJazzGuitarTranscriptions

ChitlinsConCarneKennyBurrell
SoWhatMilesDavis
LesterLeapsInLesterYoung
MovinAlongWesMontgomery(SingleNotes)
CoolBluesGrantGreen

IntermediateJazzGuitarTranscriptions

YoudBeSoNicetoComeHomeToJimHall
SaysYouWesMontgomery
BilliesBounceGeorgeBenson(SingleNotes)
HowDeepistheOceanKurtRosenwinkel
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10/17/2015

Essential Jazz Ear Training Exercises - The Jazz Guitar Blog

AGoGoJohnScofield

AdvancedJazzGuitarTranscriptions

JoySpringJoePass
GiantStepsJohnColtrane
OnGreenDolphinStreetLennyBreau
BoboAdamRogers
MomentsNoticeMikeStern

Jazzeartrainingisessentialstudyforanyguitaristthatwantstotaketheirplayingtothenextlevel
asanimproviser.
Whilesingingintervalsandothertechnicalexercisescanbehelpful,workingthepractical
exercisesinthisarticlewillhelpgetyoufromAtoBwhilebuildingastrongauralfoundationatthe
sametime.Addafewoftheseexercisestoyourpracticeroutineandseehowtheyhelpraiseyour
gameovertheshortandlongterm.
Evenafewminutesadaywillbeenoughtoseeimprovement,sogetstartedtoday!

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