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#2024158 - 01/30/13 04:45 PM How fast should be mastered the scales in RH
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Hello folks,I have this question if anyone could help me with.

How fast scale runs should an regular jazz pianist
handle in the right hand.
Like let's say should he be able to play with no problem Major,minor,diminished,wholetone,m6,pent,blues etc. scales at 160 bpm in 3 octaves in all modes without looking down at the keys.Is that something like a standard and basic skill(besides others of course)

I am asking since I want to go work on some agility excercises
for RH and I'am curious till what speed it is advisable ,healthy and practical.Also I might add I'm not gonna pretend to play like ART Tatum ,just want to be comfortable and confident when siting down at the next serious jam with pros.
Thanks
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ado

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#2024229 - 01/30/13 06:54 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
need for speed???

Speed is the least important in music but, the fastest guitarists in the world Tiago della Vega plays The Flight of the Bumblebee at 340 beats per minute so I guess you should aim at that...

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#2024235 - 01/30/13 07:13 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
custard apple Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2300
Loc: Sydney
Hi ado
I would say as fast as you can hear the melody of your line in your head.

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#2024483 - 01/31/13 07:59 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: zapper]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Originally Posted By: zapper
need for speed???

Speed is the least important in music but, the fastest guitarists in the world Tiago della Vega plays The Flight of the Bumblebee at 340 beats per minute so I guess you should aim at that...


Speed in playing is not the point here, point is

Someone who got blues scale down at 180 bpm will probably sound more solid in blues song at 100 bpm then someone who can hardly stumble out a blues scale at 90 bpm.
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ado

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#2024736 - 01/31/13 04:09 PM How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Ado,

I believe you should read over your own true statement until you internalize it:
Originally Posted By: ado
Speed in playing is not the point . . .


The following, however, is NOT generally true.
Originally Posted By: ado
Someone who got blues scale down at 180 bpm will probably sound more solid in blues song at 100 bpm then someone who can hardly stumble out a blues scale at 90 bpm.

For the next time you sit in to jam with those pros, feeling confident, remember that jazz is 90% feel and timing, and (perhaps) 2% speed. (What happened to the other 8%, I am not sure . . .)

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2024786 - 01/31/13 05:23 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: LoPresti]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Ado,

I believe you should read over your own true statement until you internalize it:
Originally Posted By: ado
Speed in playing is not the point . . .

Ok, I might not have formulated it exactly with correct words
what I should have probably said is speed for excercizes or something of that kind ,sorry for my english language shortcomings,Im not native

Anyway I believe it should not be that difficult to get a drift of was I was trying to say for someone who could have a helpful answer

The following, however, is NOT generally true.
Originally Posted By: ado
Someone who got blues scale down at 180 bpm will probably sound more solid in blues song at 100 bpm then someone who can hardly stumble out a blues scale at 90 bpm.


So why do we excercise at all then ?

(if the one above is NOT generally true) this MIGHT be then generally true according to you)

Someone who stumbles at blues scale at 90 bpm will probably sound more solid in blues song at 100 bpm then someone who got blues scales down at at 180 bpm.

But no hard feelings Ed and thanks for the rest,feel and timing that's consoling since I'm not very good at those fast scales ,peace




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ado

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#2024806 - 01/31/13 05:50 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
playing very slow is more difficult that fast and it does teach you more as well.

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#2024929 - 01/31/13 10:43 PM How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi Ado,

I am certainly NOT picking on your use of the English language. I am embarrassed to admit that I know almost no Spanish. But language details aside, I believe we are communicating, and we do understand each other so far.

I understand the principle that if one can play a certain scale at a fast speed, then it should be easier for that individual to play the same scale slower. So far, we agree.

I also believe it is good to practice scales to improve finger dexterity, AND to become familiar with “correct” fingerings in a particular key. I believe we agree on this point, too. (For improvisation, it also helps to train the ear to the unique pitches of that key, AS LONG AS one remains aware of each scale degree he is playing at any given time.)

I further recognize that various scales and modes have been adopted by jazz educators, as a method for teaching improvisation -- “When you see this chord, you play notes from this scale.” We probably agree on this point also. (This is likely not the best way to teach/learn jazz, but it is certainly popular.)

Now, here is where things seem to break down in our communicating: Becoming FASTER with any of these things will not make you, or anyone, a better jazz player. In fact, when one is learning the craft, excessive speed is usually the ENEMY. And the reason for that is that higher speed sacrifices GROOVE and FEEL.

However, IF I were intent on increasing the speed at which I can handle things, I would focus in four areas, where higher speed does count for something:
[1] Sight-reading charts, and keyboard parts
[2] Changing chords in the LH, smoothly, and with minimal physical movement
[3] Translating sounds from my head to my fingers – interval skips, not step-wise in the RH. And unusual chord changes in the LH.
[4] Closing my eyes, touching random single notes, and identifying each by ear - the quicker, the better!

Increasing speed in these four areas, WHILE MAINTAINING ACCURACY, will pay big dividends to the jazz performer. Practicing playing scales faster-and-faster will make you -- a faster scale player.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2025045 - 02/01/13 04:00 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: LoPresti]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Originally Posted By: LoPresti


Now, here is where things seem to break down in our communicating: Becoming FASTER with any of these things will not make you, or anyone, a better jazz player. In fact, when one is learning the craft, excessive speed is usually the ENEMY. And the reason for that is that higher speed sacrifices GROOVE and FEEL.



Hi ,Ed and Thank you for time and help.

That's what I was trying to find out,how fast is sort of enough

So then I can use my precious available time working on other things,
among many others those interval skips for example.

I'm not sugesting the mastering scales and virtuosity is the key to better jazz playing, as a matter of fact I'm not classically trained and
never been a fan of scale drills just for the sake of passing exams etc.

But I remember time when I learned diminished scales and dim.chords arpeggios well ,suddenly my improvisation
lines started to take me in the new directions and backfeed new ideas instantly while playing.
Then I really relized the potential of having them scales in your muscle memory firmly and available.
Now of course I do practise many other things like standards melodies,licks and melody ideas in all keys,
but just having those basic scales down helped me a lot.

Now to your excercize number 4 identification with eyes closed sounds like interesting thing to do,do you mean you can guess what note you play just by the pitch?
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ado

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#2025092 - 02/01/13 06:35 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
offnote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 258
Loc: Banned

Quote:

Now to your excercize number 4 identification with eyes closed sounds like interesting thing to do,do you mean you can guess what note you play just by the pitch?


Do you guess colors when you look at the picture???

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#2025156 - 02/01/13 09:18 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
[4] Closing my eyes, touching random single notes, and identifying each by ear - the quicker, the better!

Originally Posted By: ado
Now to your excercize number 4 identification with eyes closed sounds like interesting thing to do,do you mean you can guess what note you play just by the pitch?

Yup,

It is a form of ear training, and also a reflex-training for jazz musicians, but in reverse. Most of the time, we are attempting to play what we hear in your heads. This helps reinforce that process by implying "This is what I played, and this is what I heard."

Most of us find that the wider-spaced intervals are more difficult to identify instantly. Also, pitches become more vague as we work with very high, or very low notes. Just as OffNote suggests with her/his post, this exercise might start out as a "guess", but with practice, will move you toward certainty.

And there is no end to the possibilities! Once one has single pitches pretty well down, then start work on two-note intervals, sounded simultaneously. Then maybe tone-clusters, etc.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2025494 - 02/01/13 05:51 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
Steve Nixon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 216
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: ado
confident when siting down at the next serious jam with pros.
Thanks


Hi Ado,
Being able to play fast scales won't necessarily make you a great jazz piano player. Most pros won't care too much how fast you can play your scales at a jam session.

Most pros will be listening for other elements in your playing. Things like jazz vocabulary, improvisation ability, rhythmic articulation, time feel, groove, etc.)

Take a very close listen to your favorite blues and jazz piano players. You'll notice there is a lot more to their sound then just running up and down scales.

Scale studies and technique exercises are usually done as a means of supporting these other important elements of the style



On a related note. It's cool that you mentioned Oscar.

Oscar Peterson had an incredible amount of chops but WAY more important than that he had incredible swing feel and groove. That groove laid the foundation for his incredible technical ability.


There are plenty of people who can run scales up and down quickly but they can't swing well or improvise on a high level.


So, just remember there are other things that are way more important than scales and how fast you can play them.

In my opinion, if your groove and time feel isn't at a high level yet then don't worry about how fast you can play your scales right now.
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#2025653 - 02/01/13 11:35 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think you guys are missing the point... the OP is asking about how fast you should be able to play to be a competent musician. That' a legitimate point. For some reason, the thread is becoming about how technique isn't the most important thing in making music.

Most Pros don't care about your technique because pretty much every single one of them have great technique. It's a given. If you go to pro jam session in NY, LA or any of the top jazz places, you are pretty much expected to be able to play tunes like Cherokee, Giant Steps..etc at 300+bpm.

It's like saying how fast should a classical pianist be able to play their scales, or how fast you need to be able to pitch at MLB. There are ballpark benchmark on this. Being able to run faster/longer will make you better athlete, having better techique will make you a better musician overall

I just don't like hearing about how technique isn't important.. because it is. Good technique starting point for any good musician if they are serious about making good music. There are good number of very well-accomplished pianists whose routine consisted of playing the entire Hanon in All keys or other forms of extreme technical exercises. It's about how you use the facility you developed. Besides, without good technique, you won't be able to play with the right articulation, you won't be able to play accurate, even 8th notes and you will not be able to play well in groove/time.

As far as the ball park benchmark is concerned. IMO being able to play 300 bpm on fast standards is minimum, don't be surprised if you play up to 350 bpm on Pro jam sessions. What OP mentioned (various scales at 160bpm) is a good long term goal to aim for.

EDIT:ADo for practicing, always put more emphasis on accuracy and not speed. Speed will come in time smile


Edited by etcetra (02/02/13 12:00 AM)

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#2025710 - 02/02/13 03:05 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: etcetra]
offnote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 258
Loc: Banned
Quote:


Most Pros don't care about your technique because pretty much every single one of them have great technique. It's a given. If you go to pro jam session in NY, LA or any of the top jazz places, you are pretty much expected to be able to play tunes like Cherokee, Giant Steps..etc at 300+bpm.


At that speed you can get a ticket...

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#2025727 - 02/02/13 04:13 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: offnote]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
haha, not really smile Don't be surprised if they call "Moment's notice" in 7 at 300bpm. I had this gig couple of months ago with a guest musician from NY. He called cherokee and it was well over 300bpm, and most of the tunes he called were FAST. I don't think we played a single tune below 250bpm The rhythm section could barely keep up.

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#2026127 - 02/03/13 12:57 AM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: Steve Nixon]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Etcetra,you nailed it,thanks for clarification of my query object.
Now those are crazy speeds, I imagine I could get through familiar tune in a familiar key at 250 with wind players taking the heat, but being up there in trio with drums and bass is a scary proposal.
I remember last time on vacation in Montreal on a jam and sort of redbull competition later at night ,I had to look for a obscure club corner after I walked off the stage.

Originally Posted By: Steve Nixon

On a related note. It's cool that you mentioned Oscar.

I think I metioned Art Tatum but never mind ,Oscar Peterson is one of my favorite I love his tasteful virtuosity and swing and it always brings in sort of like good relaxed vibe in the room when I put the cd on.

Originally Posted By: LoPresti

And there is no end to the possibilities! Once one has single pitches pretty well down, then start work on two-note intervals, sounded simultaneously. Then maybe tone-clusters, etc.
Ed

Ear traing is a long term goal in my case,I'm kind of lost in that area.
I tried some interval guess exercises found on internet even bought some books and all that to no avail or should I say very slow progress.
Although I can play by ear no problem ,to recognize the freqencies of the pithes and to name them seems impossible to me so far.
I can sort sort of hear intervals but to tell of which notes they consist I will probably need another lifetime.


I wanna thank you all people for the sugestions and help
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ado

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#2026336 - 02/03/13 02:01 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
ado, just to be clear, these are very long term goes. It's better that Play slow for now, but focus on making everything sound right and most importantly, comfortable. Playing at 300bpm is something you'll be doing 10-15 years down the road(probably).

Btw when I started college, I had both classical and jazz instructor, the first thing my classical teacher told me is that I have to get my technique to a point where I can play scales at 16th notes@120bpm both hands, and I have to be able to do 150bpm by the time I graduate. When I asked about grad school one of the teacher told me you have to be able to play tunes at 250bpm comfortably&accurately minimum. I think that's a reasonable requirement for any pianist at college level.



Edited by etcetra (02/03/13 02:05 PM)

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#2027447 - 02/05/13 01:17 PM Re: How fast should be mastered the scales in RH [Re: ado]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Looks like I got plenty to do then and I'am a way behind too , since my collage days are long time past ,thanks etcetra
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ado

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