The Chord-scale system has become the most established and widespread method for teaching jazz improvisation…
And it’s no mystery why. So often, scales—more specifically the modes of the major and melodic minor scales—get passed-off as the most important aspect of learning to improvise.
It’s as if by magic, you learn a couple scales and their modes, and you’re playing jazz!
Scales and modes, are NOT the secret to learning to improvise. They are important, but don’t fall into the trap that so many do, thinking that they are the system that will give you improvisational freedom— they’re nothing more than a starting place.
The modes are the equivalent to learning your times-tables when you’re learning how to multiply.
Recall back to when you learned the basics of math. Remember how your teacher made you memorize the times-tables and drill the information until you didn’t have to think about it anymore?
That’s exactly what you want to do with ALL scale and chord knowledge. Just like the times-tables, you must internalize the information and move far beyond it. Otherwise, you’ll always wonder why your playing still doesn’t sound authentic, like you’re speaking the jazz language, because despite what you may think or have been told, scales are not the language of jazz.
Scales and modes fit into an overarching melodic and harmonic framework that help you to conceptualize melody and harmony in any genre of music. This framework allows you to intellectually understand how specific notes relate to a … Read More