Developing Jazz Vocabulary for Guitarists

In this class you'll learn how to develop jazz vocabulary in a fun, organic way. We'll be focusing on solo transcription, the application of transcribed lines/licks, and how to shape your own voice as an improviser!

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Learn and ask questions with Cecil Alexander every week.

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Cecil Alexander
On TIL since 2022
Guitarist/Composer based in Boston,Ma
What you'll do
Where to get vocabulary?
Vocabulary is what we use to improvise. Improvising a fluid, interesting solo is similar to telling a compelling story: You have to be able to express yourself clearly and have a wide array of vocabulary to choose from. In this week, we'll be diving into solo transcription as a means of acquiring vocabulary, and learn to use that vocabulary in context.
Applying vocabulary to the Blues Progression
The Blues is one of the most common chord progressions in all of Jazz. This progression prepares you for so many Jazz standards by introducing you to melodic voice leading, harmonic generalization, and the horizontal/vertical approach to soloing. In this week we'll be learning to apply classic Bebop vocabulary to this timeless progression!
Rhythm-a-ning our way through Rhythm Changes
In this week, we'll be diving into another classic Jazz progression: Rhythm Changes. Rhythm Changes has been a proving ground for improvisers since the 1940's. By learning to weave hip melodies through the harmony, you'll be crushing Rhythm Changes in no time!
Digging into Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves is another tried and true standard that will prepare you for lots of common harmonic progressions. The emphasis on the minor ii-v chord progression will allow us to put a new twist on vocabulary you likely have internalized already. We'll check out some classic minor lines and see why they work!
Unlocking the harmonic puzzle of "Stablemates"
Stablemates is a classic jazz standard by Benny Golson that features some very uncommon chord progressions. This week we'll be looking at tweaking some of our vocabulary to fit a wide variety of contexts.
Taking Giant Steps!
This week we'll be taking a deep dive into the behemoth that is "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane. This tune forces you out of your comfort zone as an improviser. We'll be looking at ways of stretching the harmony to fit what you're hearing in the moment!
Who you are
To take this class, you should have familiarity with the fretboard (note names, scale shapes, triads, arpeggios) and be able to improvise solos through some standard jazz forms.
What to bring
A Guitar and an open mind!

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