Groove – The Key A Week Workout

One of the great things about being an adult amateur with a serious day job is that you probably have some disposable income that you can spend on your hobby. I say go ahead and spend it; have fun and buy what you want. You deserve it.

For this part of your workout I’m recommending that you buy a Personal Keyboard such as a Casio, Yamaha or Radio Shack keyboard. One of my students recently bought one of these from Radio Shack on sale for under $200 and it sounds fantastic. It has 100 different grooves and all kinds of sounds plus a fingered chord function which comes in very handy.

Here’s my suggestion on how to use the keyboard. Pick a rhythm such as swing, funk, disco or whatever, then select a tempo, push start and the rhythm begins. With the fingered chord function selected, hit the lowest note on the keyboard. Now you should have a whole band laying down a groove for you. This is your key for the week. It’s likely that the lowest note is a C concert so you’ll be in the key D major if you play a B flat instrument and you’ll be in A major if you play an E flat instrument. Every day for a week, or longer if you feel that you need it, you can jam in this key to all kind of different grooves and tempos. Have fun improvising while you master this key.

To make sure that you have the basic technique to get around in each key play the following scales and arpeggios. Don’t forget to use different articulations when you practice the scales. Standard Jazz articulation is slurring the upbeat to the downbeat when playing eighth notes. I included a couple of articulations, but you should make up your own and mix it up. The tongue is very important in any style of music that you might play.

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