2.04.2013

10 Minutes - Some Quality Time With the Key of D Major

Hi. It's Joe.

I had my jazz piano lesson tonight. My teacher and I decided that I need to get more comfortable with scales so they become more second nature. So the strategy we came up with is for me to focus on 3 or 4 different scales each fortnight between lessons. We are going to begin with the sharp keys, D major, E major, A major, and probably B major. G major is a sharp key too, but it is pretty easy with only the one sharp. I also made a pact to practice for a minimum of 10 minutes every night, instead of trying to do marathon practices less frequently.

So tonight, I spent some quality time with the key of D major, running two octaves worth of scales with both hands at the same time, using a metronome. I went for a good 30 minutes and near the end I was getting pretty comfortable with the scales, so I mixed it up a little by offsetting each hand by a third. That forced my brain to think harder, but really the fingers are no different, just the muscle memory is a bit different. The timer went off while I was still working on that, so tomorrow night I will have to work on that some more. Then I will flip the offset and do an interval of a sixth. Eventually, I will try all the intervals and then find some other fun things to do in this key.

I am the kind of person who likes to master something by diligently focusing on it. So I will probably stay on D major for a while until I feel really comfortable all over that key. I hope that I can have a good grasp of it in a week, then I can start on E major and do the same with that.

The hardest thing about jazz piano is making things become second nature. I can figure stuff out, given enough time, but I want to be able to freely improvise and that means having a mastery of getting around the keyboard. My teacher thinks my limitation is more mechanical than anything else. I understand the music and the notes. It is just mastering it that is hard. And I wish I had more time to practice too. Tonight I only did 30 minutes because it was lesson night (and that says a lot, because I usually don't practice at all on lesson night). Plus, I have an early meeting tomorrow and I need to get some rest.

I asked my boss to move our weekly meeting to Tuesday morning instead of Thursday because our Thursday meeting kept getting pre-empted by these disrespectful upper managers who have a meeting before ours that always runs over. They don't make any effort to end on time and they never apologize to us, as if somehow their meeting is more important than ours just because they are managers. Well, I had about enough of that, so I told my boss to change our meeting time or I was going to escalate my complaint up the chain. He made a wise choice. There is nothing that sets me off more than a bunch of smug, self important management types that treat everyone else like crap. We are the ones doing the actual work that gets the product out the door. I'd say that makes us the important people. Anyway, my boss moved the meeting to an earlier time slot than usual, probably trying to punish me for being a squeaky wheel. But that's OK. I give upper management no quarter and very little margin for error. We are trying to run a company here. Get yer shite together, people.

Time.

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