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Flashcards in Improvise for Real Deck (17):

What is the objective of Exercise 1: Landscape?

To coninuously improve in your ability to clearly visuaise your entire musical range and move effortlessl over it.


Modes of the major scale

  1. Ionian (major scale)
  2. Dorian
  3. Phyrgian
  4. Lydian
  5. Mixolydian
  6. Aoelian
  7. Locrian


Exercise: Discovery

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Play the lowest note that you can comfortably play on your instrument. Try to produce the most beautiful sound you can. Enjoy this note and give it your full attention.
  3. Now move up exactly one half step and play the new note. Again you should make a special effort to produce the most beautiful sound you can.
  4. Now very slowly continue to move up in half steps, pausing at each note to just relax and enjoy the sound.
  5. Keep moving up in half steps until you reach the highest note that you can comfortably play without straining.

Now begin to come down very slowly, one half step at a time until you reach the very bottom of your range. Try not to rush through the exercise. 


Exercise: Staircase

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Choose any random note on your instrument and play it.
  3. Move down exactly one half step and play the new note.
  4. Keep moving down in half steps until you decide you have gone low enough.
  5. Whenever you decide, start coming back up in half steps and keep moving up for as long as you want to.
  6. Continue to wander around your musical landscape in half steps, changing direction freely wherever you feel like it. 


Exercise 1 Daily Meditation

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Pick a note, any note. Don't always pick the same one.
  3. Enjoy this note for as long as you want to. 

  4. Move to the note exactly one half step below.  

  5. Alternate between the two notes. Improvise with just these notes. 

  6. Now add a third, and keep going until you have five notes, two below and two above your first note. 


Exercise 1: Mastery Level 

We practice the same daily meditation from earlier but we extend it to include every interval in the musical octave. The first interval you should study after the half step is the whole step, until you can move effortlessly all over your instrument in whole steps.

Then you can try increasing the interval to a minor third, then a major third, then a perfect fourth, etc. Maybe one day you practice with a very big interval and the next day you go back to half steps.  


Exercise 1: Seven Little Notes - a first, simple little exercise 

Pick a very simple song, like a Christmas carol or nursery rhyme. 

Try to find the song''s tonality and tonal centre. 

  1. Listen to the song with your full attention for at least one full minute.  
  2. Sing a note that you can clearly remember from the song. 

  3. Now try to imagine a note one step lower than this one. Then move one step lower, then another and another. 

  4. Keep coming down until you reach what you feel to be the most “final” note of the whole bunch. 


What is the objective of Exercise 2?

To continuously improve in your ability to relate sounds to the major scale and the major scale to your instrument. 


Seven Worlds first exercise

  1. Start by randomly choosing any note of the major scale to work on, eg note 2.
  2. Pick any note on your instrument as the starting note.  
  3. Build a major scale from your starting note that makes that note the scale number you decided to work on. In this example, that is note 2.

  4. Play the resulting scale in ascending and descending order. 


Seven Worlds: play the map

After building a scale in the Seven Worlds first exercise, wander freely around the map, staying within a single 8 note octave.

As you play each note, you may notice that the note doesn’t give you the same sensation that it does when you play the scale in its original order from 1 to 7. 

For each different note that you choose as your tonal center a completely different harmonic environment is created. 


Seven Worlds: sing the map

There is no more powerful exercise than singing the notes of the major scale without the help of your instrument. Even if you never did any other exercise, doing this every day would eventually lead you to recognize the notes in every piece of music you hear. 

You can use your instrument to teach yourself the sound of each note. But then you should no longer use your instrument for this part of Exercise 2. 

  1. Play a major scale on your instrument in any key.
  2. Now sing the scale, actually singing "one, two three...." 
  3. Now go back down the scale.
  4. Finally, wander freely. Make music with these sounds. 


Seven Worlds: sing the map (full version)

In this version, we practice sing the map in all seven harmonic worlds of the major scale.


Seven Worlds: free your imagination

It's also important to let your musical imagination out to roam freely sometimes. 

  1. Listening Freely: Listen to music but don't try to analyse it. Instead just try to memorise the sound. One day, it will be there for you in your playing.
  2. Spend some time each week singing sounds freely, without trying to recognize where you are on the tonal map. 


Seven Worlds: follow your voice

Now it's time to combine singing and playing at the same time. we do not actually sing the numbers out loud. You can just sing the sounds with whatever syllable you want.

We need to connect our conscious mind (which moves our hands to play our instrument) with our subconscious musical mind (which enjoys and imagines musical sounds). 

It’s your voice that expresses your musical imagination. And so gradually, over time, the hands need to learn to express what the voice wants to sing. 


Seven Worlds: Follow the Melody (advanced)

The previous exercises can be played by a raw beginner. But this one requires some experience with the notes of the major scale, and should be set aside until you have a solid foundation. You can even go on to Exercise 3. 

Listening actively to a piece of music and try to visualise each note of the melody on the tonal map of the major scale. At first there will only be a few notes you can recognise. 

In Sing the Map, we put sounds to the numbers.

In Follow the Melody, we put numbers to the sounds. 



Exercise 2: Mastery Level (advanced) 

Not for beginners. 

  1. Listen to a piece of music. 
  2. Try to sing the notes of the relevant major scale.
  3. Find note 1 of this scale (the song may be in any of the seven worlds). 
  4. Play one note on your instrument. Decide if it is a scale tone or an off-scale note. If it's off, move up or down a half step to enter the scale. 
  5. Improvise freely. 


Exercise 2: Mastery Level  Streamlined Version (advanced)

  1. Play a single note on your instrument. 
  2. Feel where you are on the tonal map. 

For many students, this is the level of mastery they have always dreamed of. If that is your goal as well, then with Exercise 2 you already have everything you need to enjoy playing with other people in any musical context for the rest of your life.