Be sure to start your free subscription and begin receiving weekly jazz piano skills
Let's discover, learn, and play Half Step Approachments. What about music excites us? What makes music emotionally intriguing? What makes music interesting? Well, the answer to all three of these questions, as well as many other questions we can ask about the thrill of music, is the "Half Step." Yes, it's true, without the half step, we would lose our greatest approach for creating tension and resolution in the music we create. No tension, no resolution, no tension/resolution relationship, equals very dull music! So, let's take time today to discover, learn, and play Half Step Approachments.
Half Step Approachments
Time to discover Half Step Approachments. As with any jazz piano skill, we need to understand it first intellectually before we rush off to attempt practicing it on our instrument. A robust conceptual command of the jazz piano skill is a must if we hope to have our hands one day successfully perform the skill. With this in mind, let's take a moment to think about and establish relationships for Half Step Approachments. Relationships are meaningful and help us see the jazz piano skill in a musical context; absolutely necessary for constructing a successful way to learn and play the jazz piano skill. The relationships we're going to establish today for Half Step Approachments center around the primary target notes of any sound - the root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th. Let's learn these relationships so we can create exciting tension/resolution Half Step Approachments.
Half Step Approachments
Time to learn Half Step Approachments. Today we'll use the Major, Dominant, Minor, Half Diminished, and Diminished sounds for "C" to explore Half Step Approachments. Let's take a quick look at the primary target notes for each sound:
Using the primary notes of each sound, we can create a pattern of Half Step Approachments for practicing. Take a look at the Half Step Approachments exercise I use for solidifying these new and exciting relationships. I always use these relationships when performing and improvising.
Now that we have determined and established relationships for practicing Half Step Approachments, it's time to play Half Step Approachments!
Half Step Approachments
Time to play Half Step Approachments. In my video below I demonstrate how to play the Half Step Approachments by placing them into a musical context. In the video I play at a tempo of 75; however, I can not stress enough how important it is to play a tempo that allows you to perform Half Step Approachments comfortably. After you have a command of the shapes and sounds of the Half Step Approachments, you can begin to challenge yourself with faster tempos.
Once you play Half Step Approachments for each of the "C" sounds, put a plan in place to play the Half Step Approachments for the remaining eleven chord families. I strongly recommend using an app like iRealPro or software like Band In a Box to help you play Half Step Approachments and all jazz piano skills you set out to discover, learn, and play.
If you wish to discover, learn, and play more Half Step Approachments and other essential jazz piano skills, you should join JazzPianoSkills.com. In addition to receiving free professional jazz piano lessons on a regular basis via Email, your membership grants you lifetime access to all of my instructional jazz courses and lessons which contain invaluable interactive exercises and videos (which you can access and study as often as you wish). Additionally, you can establish your own private Mavenlink Support Portal, hosted and maintained by The Dallas School of Music, which will allow you and me to personally interact with one another as often as needed each and every week. Likewise, you’ll receive tuition discounts if you ever choose to have private online jazz lessons with me through The Dallas School of Music.
I welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have regarding this blog so feel free to Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 972-380-8050 Ext. 211. Please take a moment and listen to a few of my recordings or follow me at SoundCloud to get a feel for how I play and approach this wonderful art form we call jazz. I've included one of my recordings below for you to quickly check out.
I look forward to helping you discover, learn, and play jazz!
I am a professional jazz pianist and music educator residing in Dallas. I founded The Dallas School of Music and currently serve as President. Likewise, I am the creator and developer of JazzPianoSkills.com.
Location (Dallas, TX)