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Soloing tools

Major scales
Never underestimate the power of knowing all your major scales fluently. For all styles they are a fundamental and provide you with the musical fitness for getting around your instrument. Major scales are a great soloing tool and the starting point for learning the Jazz modes.

Download these two PDF files:
Major Scales Sharp Keys
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Major Scales Flat Keys

Use the fingerings and play slowly just one octave to start. When you can do this accurately move to two octaves. Always play slow enough to be accurate.


This is another musical fundamental and one of the fun sides to learning. Listen to as much music as you can. Be courageous and listen to a wide range of material you will be surprised at what grows on you.

I would like to make this section of the website a part that my students and site visitors can be involved in. Please feel free to contact me with listening suggestions or pass on your favourites at lessons. Some of the best tunes have been passed onto me from fellow musicians.

I will start us off with the following:


Charles Mingus
"Moanin" is a composition by Bobby Timmons first recorded by Art Blakey in 1958.This is from 'Nostalgia in Times Square' 1993 - Ronnie Cuber plays the Baritone Saxophone.
An awesome version the energy that the whole band brings to this chart is what inspires me here. Charles Mingus an American bassist was really making a noise in music around the time when I was first born. This is a great example of energy and pushing the boundries. Check out the barri whew!!.


Aladdin Sane David Bowie
Aladdin Sane is Bowie's 6th album released by RCA records in 1973. The name of the album is a pun on "A Lad Insane". Aladdin Sane became Bowie's 4th alter ego for dramatic and stage presentation purposes.
The title track Aladdin Sane has some remarkable work by pianist Mike Garson. His playing gets quite out there at times and when I first heard this track I found it challanging in the harmony, but loved the aggression of his style.This boy really knows how to let go and play on the edge. Listening now I can hear how clever he was and how Bowie used his sound and style to push the envelope once again. Garson's piano style has a huge impact on this album. Try the full album and check out the intro on "Lets Spend The Night Together" real fist full chords, great stuff.


Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 (colloquially known as the Waldstein)
Completed in 1804 the Waldstein is a key work for Beethoven's heroic decade (1803 -1812). The work set a standard for virtuoso piano playing. Beethoven dedicated this work to his close friend and patron Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein.
I loved the Rondo or final movement so much that I learnt to play it. I can assure it is a mission. The trills in the rondo are very long, but when you get them right they are also very satisfying. A great one to learn just for the Challenge. Try it as a listening experience reading the score as you listen.

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