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Proper Practicing (Guitar Lesson)

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Matt Brown

Proper Practicing

Matt takes you through his own daily practice regiment in order to help you budget your practice time.

Taught by Matt Brown in Jazz Guitar with Matt seriesLength: 31:00Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (0:53) Introduction Matt begins the arrangement of the tune “Darn That Dream.” Guitarist Gary Galbraith wrote this particular arrangement. We highly recommend that you pick up the first three books in Barry’s jazz guitar studies series. All three books are published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. The first book is titled The Fingerboard Workbook: Concepts in Logical Fingering. This book is designed to enhance your reading skills in a variety of keys across the entire fretboard. It is mainly comprised of etudes that will get you acquainted with reading jazz melodies and solos. This book will be referenced frequently in later lessons.
Chapter 2: (13:29) Proper Practicing Note: This is a two-part lesson. The next installment is lesson 8.

Many Jamplay members have expressed that Matt Brown’s Proper Practicing lesson in the Rock series was quite beneficial. For this reason, he has returned with a similar lesson that will help each member organize his/her personal jazz journey.

Due to the complexity and construction of jazz music, there are several specific areas of practice that must be addressed. It is impossible to cover all of these areas every day. For this reason, it is very important to create a practice schedule at the beginning of each week. This will help you organize and maximize your practice time. Creating a practice schedule will ensure that you cover each important area of study at some point in time during the week.

In this lesson, Matt presents his own practice regiment. Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of how to organize your own practice sessions.

First, you must first determine how much time throughout the week you have available to practice. Everyone’s lifestyle is different. Some people have more time available to practice than others. Regardless, of how much overall time you have, it is of paramount importance that you are consistent. It is much more beneficial to practice a little each day than to have a marathon practice session a few days out of the week.

Matt is a professional musician. It’s essentially his job to practice the guitar. For this reason, he probably has much more time available to devote to practicing than the typical person. Keep this in mind when devising your own practice schedule.

Matt’s Practice Schedule
In a typical week, Matt Brown practices five hours each day. He usually takes a break from all forms of work on Sunday to catch up on sleep and watch football. The five hours he spends practicing each day is broken up into four different areas. Matt spends two hours practicing electric guitar. These two hours are broken down into an hour of jazz practice and an hour practicing rock and roll. Then, he spends two hours practicing classical guitar. The final hour of the day is devoted to singing practice.

If you practice for several hours each day, it is very important to break up this time into smaller sections. For example, practice for an hour to start with. Then, take a break and move on to a different task. When you return to the guitar, you will hopefully have a clear head and perspective. Most people can only focus on a single topic for about an hour and a half before their attention begins to dwindle. Once your attention and focus disappears, you begin to practice bad habits. This is to be avoided at all costs. Take note of how long it typically takes before you space out and loose focus on what you are doing.
Creating Your Own Practice Schedule
Jazz practice can be broken up into 7 basic categories: technique, comping (accompaniment), learning tunes, improvisation, solo arrangements, sight reading/general reading skills, and listening. Matt primarily discusses technique in this lesson. He addresses the remaining categories in the second installment of this two-part lesson.

You always want to start your first practice session of the day by addressing specific technical issues. Practicing technique is the most effective way to warm up your hands. Practicing technique gets your fingers reacquainted with the guitar each day. It also prepares you for the music you are going to practice later in your session.
Technique includes exercises such as scales, modes, finger exercises, etc. At this point in the jazz lesson series, Matt has demonstrated a number of different scales and modes. He has discussed the major and minor scales. You have also learned the Mixolydian, Dorian, and Lydian modes as well as some more advanced scales such as the Lydian Dominant scale and the Bebop Dominant scale. Each day, select a few of these scales to practice in all 12 keys. Make sure you practice every pattern you know for each scale. For example, there are seven modes of the major scale. Select one mode each day, and practice it in all twelve keys.

Note: Check out Brad Henecke’s Phase 2 Classic Rock lessons for detailed information regarding the seven modes of the major scale. Matt will reference these lessons often in the course of this series.

Watch at 6:45 to see how Matt practices the Ionian mode (major scale) in all 12 keys. Notice how he alternates finger patterns when he changes keys.

Note: Check out Lesson 5 of Matt Brown’s Phase 2 Rock series for all five major scale patterns.
Playing Musically
Regardless of whether you are playing a piece or working on technique, your highest priority is to play musically. This includes playing with rhythmic clarity as well as emotional intensity and energy. In the grand scheme of things, speed is a relatively low priority. Speed should only be used as a means to a musical end.
Chapter 3: (17:31) Rhythmic Variations In this scene, Matt demonstrates 18 rhythmic variations that can be applied to any scale pattern. Practice all 18 variations with a different scale each day. ALWAYS practice these variations with a metronome! Keep the metronome at the same tempo throughout all 18 variations. Rhythm is the single most important aspect of any musical performance. It’s what makes people dance, bob their heads, or start a mosh pit. If you don’t have good rhythm, you are essentially worthless as a musician.

Matt demonstrates these variations using the seventh position pattern of the C major scale. This exercise is designed to help you play various rhythms in perfect metronomic time while improvising a solo.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

eggbertineggbertin replied

Which lesson gives us a chord progression to practice in order to memorize and learn to play chords instead of trying to learn them one at a time?

scawa1952scawa1952 replied

Never mind.... Found them on the Jamey Aebersold Jazz site.

scawa1952scawa1952 replied

I tried to get Barry's books. There are none available. They seem to be out of print. There is one in "poor" condition on Amazon but that's of the 1974 print version.

crmcrmcrmcrm replied

This may be a silly question... How do I get more than the first page of the supplemental content?

mattbrownmattbrown replied

you should see the additional supplemental content live on the site in a few days.

mattbrownmattbrown replied

I see what you mean. For the vertical intervals, page 1 of 3 pages is the only one that is showing. I will get to work on getting this fixed right away.

kevinacekevinace replied

When you click supplemental content there will be items listed on the left side. Click one and it will load on the right side. If it's longer than a page, there will be scrollbars.

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Hurray! I'm trying to inspire a jazz revival.

potownrobpotownrob replied

Very interesting practice routine, Matt!! I think I got a lot out of that even though I'm not past the first phase yet and far from ready to delve into the world of jazz guitar. I used to play tenor saxophone in the jazz band back in high school (many moons ago), and this just may have rekindled my interest in the genre.

Jazz Guitar with Matt

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In this lesson set, Matt will teach you everything you need to know to fluently play jazz guitar.

Intro to JazzLesson 1

Intro to Jazz

Check out this lesson to learn some basic jazz theory & chord voicings.

Length: 31:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Voicings & MelodiesLesson 2

Voicings & Melodies

Learn some more advanced chord voicings as well as the Charleston rhythm.

Length: 19:13 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
Set II VoicingsLesson 3

Set II Voicings

Learn a handful of Set II voicings & round out your knowledge of the basic jazz chords.

Length: 27:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Applying Chords / Solo IdeasLesson 4

Applying Chords / Solo Ideas

Apply the chords you've learned & experiment with some solo ideas.

Length: 32:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Scales and Chords TogetherLesson 5

Scales and Chords Together

Learn which scales work with which jazz chord voicings.

Length: 43:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Circle of FifthsLesson 6

Circle of Fifths

Matt sheds some light on the circle of fifths.

Length: 28:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Proper PracticingLesson 7

Proper Practicing

Learn how to get the most out of your time when practicing.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Proper Practicing Part 2Lesson 8

Proper Practicing Part 2

Here's the second installment of Matt's proper practicing lesson.

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Physicalities of PlayingLesson 9

Physicalities of Playing

Learn how to avoid carpal tunnel and other hand injuries by using proper technique.

Length: 46:19 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
All of MeLesson 10

All of Me

Matt Brown teaches the jazz standard "All of Me."

Length: 31:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lead and ScalesLesson 11

Lead and Scales

Matt Brown explains how to improvise over the changes to "All of Me."

Length: 7:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Estudio No. 1.Lesson 12

Estudio No. 1.

Matt Brown begins talking about solo arrangements in this lesson. He teaches Carcassi's "Estudio No. 1" as an introduction to this concept.

Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Reviewing the ii V I ProgressionLesson 13

Reviewing the ii V I Progression

Matt Brown returns to his Jazz series with a review lesson. He applies the standard ii V I progression to the circle of fifths.

Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnback ProgressionLesson 14

Turnback Progression

In lesson 14, Matt discusses the turnback progression in the jazz style.

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Set Three VoicingsLesson 15

Set Three Voicings

Matt brown discusses and demonstrates the set three voicings used in jazz guitar.

Length: 25:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Jazz Solo ArrangementLesson 16

Jazz Solo Arrangement

In this lesson, Matt demonstrates how to practice jazz solo arrangements by taking a look at "Here's That Rainy Day."

Length: 35:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Expanding on the 12 Bar BluesLesson 17

Expanding on the 12 Bar Blues

In lesson 17, Matt reviews and expands on the jazz version of the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 23:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Adding VoicesLesson 18

Adding Voices

In this lesson, Matt adds to your voicing repertoire while playing the Charleston rhythm.

Length: 14:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Key of B Flat MajorLesson 19

Key of B Flat Major

Matt Brown talks about lead options when playing a blues in B flat major.

Length: 23:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Key of FLesson 20

Key of F

Matt Brown provides instruction and examples of playing jazz heads in the key of F. Once again, all examples follow the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 18:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Jazz Heads in B FlatLesson 21

Jazz Heads in B Flat

Matt Brown takes another look at blues heads in the key of B flat. In this lesson, he covers a head by Thelonious Monk.

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Tools for Solo ArrangementsLesson 22

Tools for Solo Arrangements

Matt Brown takes a look at a solo arrangement and provides thoughts and tools necessary to complete this type of guitar playing.

Length: 23:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Introduction to Bossa NovaLesson 23

Introduction to Bossa Nova

Matt Brown starts breaking down the rhythmic tendencies and patterns to the Brazilian Bossa Nova style of playing.

Length: 17:56 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Blue Bossa #1Lesson 24

Blue Bossa #1

In lesson 24 of his Jazz series, Matt takes a look at the melody to Blue Bossa.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Blue Bossa #2Lesson 25

Blue Bossa #2

Matt Brown takes a look at the available chord voicings for Blue Bossa.

Length: 10:39 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Matt Brown

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

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