Making the Most with what you know:
Today we’ll be showing a few examples of how to take a single idea, and start using it in licks you already know. Although this example is primarily for Jazz, the concept can be applied to just about anything.
The concept here is to take a new idea (one you created, or “borrow”), and find creative ways to fit the idea into your own musical vocabulary. Similar to the way one learns a new word, and then goes further, using it in the context of a sentence. This concept is similar.
The example we’ll be using is from the a Charlie Parker lick, in a tune called “Donna Lee”. The lick will fit one bar. It is catered towards a dominant 7th sound (with some color tones), and easily leads into or out of other ideas, regardless of the preceding/incoming chord. If you’re not familiar with the tune, check out this link here.
Example 2 shows 2 bars of A7, then transitions into D7. The licks in the first and third bar are pretty standard A minor pentatonic blues licks, with measure 2, the “Donna Lee” lick is thrown in, to transition the solo line smoothly to D7.
Looking to improve your technique with Major 7ths? Check out this article for more information!
Example 3 is a similar idea, in key and application. The first measure is a freely improvised lick in A minor pentatonic. Then, the 2nd measure contains the Charlie Parker lick, transitioning into D7.
Example 4 we have the same chord progression, and the same application. We’ll use the new lick we’re trying to get ‘into our hands’ as the primary mover to the next chord. Here, we’re in 9th position. Instead of playing the lick verbatim, we add a half note rest. Then, continue and play the rest of the line.
Check out this article about sweep picking!
The concept here is not just learning lines. The main goal is learning them in a way that they can be used in a musical context. Learning licks and solos is just one step in playing music. The next step is being able to use what you’ve learned to come up with unique phrases all your own. These examples are one of many ways to reach those goals.