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Rhythmic Dictation

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

A great way to develop your musical ear is to practice rhythmic dictation.  Rhythmic dictation is when a rhythm or sound is presented, and you test your listening by writing down the rhythm that you hear in musical notation.  This can be done is many ways:



  • The Clap Test.  You have a friend clap a rhythm and you clap it back to them.  Compare the two sounds.  Did they sound alike?  Did they sound similar?  Write down the rhythmn in musical notation.
  • Dictate music.  Listen to a musician and write down the rhythmn of one specific instrument.
  • Listen to nature.  Go to a place where you can hear natural sound and listen to the sounds of animals.  For example, write down the rhythm of a woodpecker pecking.
  • Try out Chop Monster.  Chop Monster is a jazz language book and CD set that is designed to teach young players how to improvise, using call and response.  The CD will play a short lick, and the student would play the pattern back.  After developing an ear, the student may be able to write down the rhythms and notes they hear in musical notation.

Learning Improvisation With Vinyl

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The other day I was rummaging through the shelves at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, Missouri and I noticed a carboard box tucked away under the section marked "Jazz".  To my suprise, the box was full of Play Along Records!  Luckily I picked up a Miles Davis play along.  It is Volume 7 of A New Approach to Jazz Improvisation For All Instruments by Jamey Aebbersold.  Included on the list of songs are Four, Solar, and Milestones.  I was very excited and could not wait to bring the record home!  I took it home and began to play along to this wonderful record, which is somehow much more fulfilling than playing along to a CD.  I reccomend play along records to any musician looking to imrove his/her improvisation skills. I noticed the bass player on the record is Rufus Ried, a fine bassist that was a guest artist with the MU Jazz Ensemble in my years studying music.  Upon this discovery, I realized how much jazz there really  is in Missouri.

Upcoming Show with Kabomba

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This Saturday, December 14 I will be playing with Kabomba at the MARC in San Marcos, Texas.  We will be playing with Henry and the Invisibles.  This is a free show, and all are welcome!  This will be my last gig with Kabomba! before I head to St. Louis for the winter.  I will be playing more with Kabomba during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.


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