Back to Back Issues Page
blues lesson
February 19, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Thanks to those of you who came to the CD Release party for my 6-voice a cappella pop/jazz group The Wicked Pitches in Salem, MA two weeks ago. We were so happy that so the room was filled with such an enthusiastic crowd. If you'd like our CD, Think Twice, you can mail a check for $17 ($15 plus shipping) to PO Box 1360, Burlington, MA 01803 and make it out to The Wicked Pitches. The CD took over a year to produce and contains 10 finely-tuned popular songs with a very different "twist". You'll have to .....well ..... think twice as you are listening to them.

If you are a local and missed that concert,we are performing again at a Children's Concert on February 24th, Tuesday at 7PM at Cary Hall in Lexington, MA. Admission $6. We will sing four songs and the children, ages 5-12, accompanied by a professional band made up of all professors at the Berklee College of Music will sing all music from the 60's. It'll only be one hour - bring your kids! Free dessert reception after!
Today's Lesson

With most of my adult students now, I am teachng the Blues. It's a great way to learn how to improvise and it teaches you about form, style, chords, and ostinatos or patterns in music. I highly recommend learning more about it. It's really fun to play too AND blues riffs can be used everywhere in popular and jazz music (other genres too, for that matter).

You probably know the basic 12-bar form. Bar, by the way, is the cool word for measure. This form is repeated over and over. If you are playing in a band, one instrument would solo with each repetition of the form. They may solo a few times through it. Here is the basic form, then I will show you a neat variation on the standard form. I will put everything in the key of C although blues can be played in any key!

So, here is the Basic Form.....

C /C /C /C /F /F /C /C /G7 /F /C /C /

Now, here is a way to vary this form. If you are not familiar with the Basic form, practice that first, then move on to this.

Variation on the Basic Blues Form

C /F /C /C /F /F#dim /C /A7 /Dm /G7 /C /G7 /
Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Reminder, two spots left for "Playing with Style" class on February 28th, Saturday, at 10AM - 1PM, I will be teaching at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Cambridge, MA. Using the text of "Playing with Style", you will learn many different accompaniment techniques for playing jazz, broadway, blues and uptempo pop tunes. Every student will play on their own keyboard too!

To register, to the following link.
The Cambridge Center for Adult Education
That's it for today. Keep playing, practicing and listening we'll talk again in 1-2 weeks.

Yours truly,

Back to Back Issues Page