Lesson Bookmarks

The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice

The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice

The High Tide Approach to Scale PracticeFeatured in module 49Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 49My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALES The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice In this video lesson, I share my concept called...

Exploring Hip Lick #3

Exploring Hip Lick #3

Exploring Hip Lick #3Featured in module 49Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 49My BookmarksRelated LessonsVOCABULARY Exploring Hip Lick #3 In this video lesson, I explore Hip Lick #3 from Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1....

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a LickFeatured in module 48Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 48My BookmarksRelated LessonsVOCABULARY Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick In this video lesson, I show you a concept...

Creative Scale Practice

Creative Scale Practice

Creative Scale PracticeFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALE STUDIES Creative Scale Practice In this video lesson, I share a story about one of my Skype students who was...

Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale

Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale

Secret Applications for the Bebop ScaleFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALE STUDIES Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale In this video lesson, I share what I call the...

Six Essential Items for Daily Practice

Six Essential Items for Daily Practice

Six Essential Items for Daily PracticeFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsPRACTICE STRATEGIES Six Essential Items for Daily Practice n this video lesson, I discuss the...

Charlie Parker – Use of Bebop Ornamentation

Charlie Parker – Use of Bebop Ornamentation

Charlie Parker - Use of Bebop OrnamentationFeatured in module 38Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 38My BookmarksRelated LessonsELEMENTS OF STYLE Charlie Parker - Use of Bebop Ornamentation In this video lesson, I analyze...

Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments

Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments

Rollins & Coltrane OrnamentsFeatured in module 37Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 37My BookmarksRelated LessonsELEMENTS OF STYLE Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments In this video lesson, I demonstrate two of my favorite...

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Jazz educational publications by Greg Fishman

The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice

The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice

The High Tide Approach to Scale PracticeFeatured in module 49Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 49My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALES The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice In this video lesson, I share my concept called...

Exploring Hip Lick #3

Exploring Hip Lick #3

Exploring Hip Lick #3Featured in module 49Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 49My BookmarksRelated LessonsVOCABULARY Exploring Hip Lick #3 In this video lesson, I explore Hip Lick #3 from Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1....

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick

Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a LickFeatured in module 48Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 48My BookmarksRelated LessonsVOCABULARY Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick In this video lesson, I show you a concept...

Creative Scale Practice

Creative Scale Practice

Creative Scale PracticeFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALE STUDIES Creative Scale Practice In this video lesson, I share a story about one of my Skype students who was...

Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale

Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale

Secret Applications for the Bebop ScaleFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsSCALE STUDIES Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale In this video lesson, I share what I call the...

Six Essential Items for Daily Practice

Six Essential Items for Daily Practice

Six Essential Items for Daily PracticeFeatured in module 44Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 44My BookmarksRelated LessonsPRACTICE STRATEGIES Six Essential Items for Daily Practice n this video lesson, I discuss the...

Charlie Parker – Use of Bebop Ornamentation

Charlie Parker – Use of Bebop Ornamentation

Charlie Parker - Use of Bebop OrnamentationFeatured in module 38Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 38My BookmarksRelated LessonsELEMENTS OF STYLE Charlie Parker - Use of Bebop Ornamentation In this video lesson, I analyze...

Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments

Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments

Rollins & Coltrane OrnamentsFeatured in module 37Related LessonsMy BookmarksFeatured in module 37My BookmarksRelated LessonsELEMENTS OF STYLE Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments In this video lesson, I demonstrate two of my favorite...

Module 50


LESSON 1: (Part 1) Minor Tetrachord over Four Dominant Seventh Chords

Part 1 of 2 Category: Ear Training and also in the Chord and Scale Categories.
A tetrachord is a four note scale. You could look at a major scale as being made up of two tetrachords: CDEF as the first tetrachord and GABC as the second tetrachord.

These examples are major tetrachords. You could think of a Dorian scale to produce two minor tetrachords: CDEbF is the first minor tetrachord and GABbC is the second tetrachord.
In this video lesson, I explore the minor tetrachord over four dominant seventh chords.

This lesson provided an ear-training breakthrough for me when I first discovered this practice approach. The video shows you how to train your ear to recognize the harmonic differences of the notes of the tetrachord when placed over four dominant seventh chords.

It is important to note the the minor tetrachord fits many more than four chords, but for the purpose of this particular lesson, I wanted to narrow the focus for the sake of ear training and explore the sounds of two different minor tetrachords over four dominant chords.

This approach combines many different categories of study; it’s a scale study because of the tetrachord (a four note scale), It’s a chord study, and it’s also an interval study as well as an ear training system. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 2: (Part 2) Minor Tetrachord over Four Dominant Seventh Chords

Part 2 of the lesson on minor tetrachords. This portion of the lesson focuses on using tritone intervals created by combining notes of two different minor tetrachords.

The notes are then placed over the four dominant seventh chords to produce a strong melodic and harmonic effect over each chord.


LESSON 3: Pinky Control – The Secret to Smooth Technique

In this video lesson, I share a concept that completely transformed my technique on the horn.

In 1995 I was on a four-month gig in Singapore. It was a wonderful gig, playing four hours a night, free all day to practice my horn. I decided to rebuild my technique. I wanted to improve my speed, fluidity and smoothness.

At that time I was transcribing a LOT of Stan Getz. Getz’s technique is so clean and smooth. When I was playing along with his recordings, I noticed something…a lot of his lines involved a lot of pressing of the pinky keys, in both the left and right hand. I noticed that my pinkies
were flying far off of the keys. I also noticed that the G# and D# keys are what I call “reverse action” keys. By reverse action, I mean that when you press the pinky down to activate the G# and D# keys, you’re opening the keys, and when you release the key, you’re actually closing the keys.

This is the reverse of how almost all of the other keys on the horn operate. Think about pressing the F key…You press it to close it and you release it to open it. This is the opposite of the pinky keys. Because of this reverse action, it is always harder to play evenly when the pinkies are involved. This means that in order to play a smooth line of eight notes involving the pinky keys, takes very precise control.

I also learned at that time, that I was applying too much pressure once the key was down. It took a lot of slow practice and patience, but my technique was completely transformed after I started to pay close attention to my pinky technique, in particular. Of course, there are more aspects to clean technique than just the pinkies, but I’ve found that if the pinkies are in good position and played with control, the rest of the hand is also in a comfortable, relaxed position, as well. If you’ve already worked on my “surfer analogy” to improve your technique, this additional lesson on pinky control will give a level of technical poise that would make Stan Getz proud!

Includes PDF lesson notes based on the fingerings for tenor, as demonstrated. Alto players should use the same fingerings as demonstrated in the video (included in the PDF).


LESSON 4: The Rotation – Practice Strategy for Improved Musical Memory

In this video lesson, I share a practice concept that was a total game-changer for my ability to memorize and keep track of lots of different musical ideas while also transposing into different keys.

The rotation will help to improve your musical focus and concentration. I’ve included detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments, but I recommend that you try to follow along by ear to really expand your musical memory.

You can use this device on any musical content you like, but for this video lesson, I’m referencing another lesson from the course, “six variations on a descending minor seventh chord.”

This lesson will take your musical focus and memory to a new level!


approx 40 min

Module 49


LESSON 1: Creating a melody from Three Voice Leading Lines

In this video lesson, I demonstrate how to construct a melody from three voice leading lines. This is a great way to make your playing sound both melodic and harmonically accurate.
Harmonically, this approach covers you because you’re using voice leading from three locations in each chord, leading to three new locations in the upcoming chord. Melodically, you’re covered because this approach has built-in sequencing when you switch between the three voices.
Includes PDF practice notes for Eb, Bb and C instruments.


LESSON 2: Exploring Hip Lick #3

In this video lesson, I explore Hip Lick #3 from Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1. The lick highlights a iimi7 V7 chord progression, starting on the 9th of the iimi7 chord.
The video explores strategies for hearing the root movement, 7-3 voice leading and hearing how to easily locate the first note of the lick, which is the 9th of the iimi7 chord. For advanced players, I demonstrate some ways of extending the lick into a two measure
phrase. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 3: The High Tide Approach to Scale Practice

In this video lesson, I share my concept called “High Tide” for scale practice. This approach will improve your technical facility on the saxophone while also improving your musical memory.
This approach adds one new note each time you ascend the scale from the root. If you’ve been playing your scales the same-old-way for many years, this new approach will add extra freshness for your ears and your fingers.


LESSON 4: The Surfer Analogy & Thinking in Reverse

In This video lesson I share two key concepts that will help to give you smooth technique through efficiency of motion, minimizing any wasted finger movement while
playing the saxophone. In the surfer analogy, your fingers are the surfers, the keys are the surfboards and the keys moving up and down on the horn are the waves of water.
The “thinking in reverse” concept is something that i developed in my 30’s when exploring ways to improve my technical accuracy on the horn. I found that instead of thinking about the finger pressing the note being played, my technique improved if I focused on the keys not being pressed. Implementing these two concepts will greatly improve your technique on the saxophone.


LESSON 5: Road Tips – Location of Notes within Dominant 7th Chords

In this lesson, I show you how to think of one note in four different locations within a Dominant 7th chord. For example, C = Root of C7, but C = the 3rd of Ab7, C = the 5th of F7, and C = the 7th of D7. The importance of enharmonic notes is also discussed in the video. The first part of the video is at an easy pace.
At the end of the video I do a “speed round” for advanced players. This is a fun way to review and sharpen up your chord spelling skills.


approx 30 min

Module 48


LESSON 1: Steak & Parsley aka: Evolution of a Lick

In this video lesson, I show you a concept that I call “The Steak and the Parsley.” I explain the difference between the main notes of a lick (the steak) and the ornamental notes of the lick (the parsley). I

present the lick in a step-by-step manner that shows the evolution of the phrase.

Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb, and C instruments.


LESSON 2: Hearing Like a Piano Player – Cycle with 7-3

In this video lesson, I share my strategy for hearing like a piano player.

A jazz pianist is always at a harmonic advantage over a horn player because they can use their left hand to play the bass notes (or full chords) to provide harmonic context for anything they play in their right hand.

I developed my own way to approximate this pianistic approach to hearing in context by playing a bass note in the low register of the horn and then jumping into the high register of the horn with the voice-leading notes.

This is a fun way to train your ear and also gain incredible flexibility on the horn with large register skips.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 3: The Cat Water Fountain – Ear Training Echo Game

In this video lesson, I use one of my teaching analogies that I call the “cat water fountain.”

Think about a d versus a cat. A dog is happy with water that has been sitting in the same bowl all day.

A cat wants freshwater, which lead to the popularity of cat water fountains which recirculate the water, making the water mo appealing to the cat.

The ear is like the cat. It can get tired of hearing the chords played in the same way t many times.

This lesson shows you how I keep things fresh for my ear with some unusual variations to my usual chord practice routine.


LESSON 4: The Rabbit Hole of Misinformation

In this video, I share my thoughts about what I call the “rabbit hole of misinformation.”

When I started teaching in the 1980’s, people studied with a teacher and took their advice about what to practice and how to practice. There was no internet and no YouTube.

In a way, this was a good thing, because the students would stay on-track with a good teacher’s guidance. However, in today’s society, there’s YouTube, and anyone can create their own channel with their own teaching videos.

Some of the videos are excellent, made by fine teachers and players, but many are made by unqualified people who are simply sharing their uninformed opinions.

The trick is to be able to tell the difference between the useful videos and the videos that will lead you down the rabbit hole of misinformation.


approx 29 min

Module 44


LESSON 1: Six Essential Items for Daily Practice 

In this video lesson, I discuss the importance of practicing each item on my practice planner. I developed this approach in my 20’s when I was practicing many hours each day. I experimented with many different approaches to practicing and found that these six items yielded the best results.

Many people get stuck practicing only scales or chords and never seem to get to other items like vocabulary, transcriptions, etudes, and tunes.

Includes PDF practice planner.


LESSON 2: Secret Applications for the Bebop Scale

In this video lesson, I share what I call the “secret” applications for the bebop scale. These are not the types of applications that you learn in school. In both my undergrad and graduate studies, there was no mention of these applications of the scale.

And yet, when I transcribed the masters, I found that they routinely applied the scale in this way when they wanted to get more harmonic flavor from the scale.

If you’ve ever been at a loss for how to use the bebop scale over a minor ii / V situation, this video will show you how to apply the scale like a seasoned professional.

Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 3: Creative Scale Practice

In this video lesson, I share a story about one of my Skype students who was very bored with his scale practice. He was in a rut, always playing his scales like a technical exercise, rather than finding the music hidden within the scales.

I showed him these creative practice strategies that I use in my own practice and he was instantly playing with more energy and creativity while also improving his musical memory and his instrumental technique.

Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 4: C.E.S.H. – What it is and How to Use it.

In this video lesson, I explore and explain C.E.S.H. The term was coined by one of my former teachers, the great Jerry Coker. It stands for “Contrapuntal Elaboration of Static Harmony.” Basically, it means that you apply voice leading to a chord within itself by moving the sevenths (and sometimes the fifths).

This is a common harmonic device used by all pro players. You’ll recognize it as soon as you hear it. I explain the device and break it down in a way that makes it easy for all levels of players to immediately use this in their solos. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 4: Thumb Position for the Octave Key

In this video lesson, I discuss and demonstrate the importance of good thumb position on the saxophone. This topic is often overlooked. Over the years, I’ve taught many students who needed to correct bad habits with their thumb position. In some cases, students were experiencing pain from using the wrong position or from using too much pressure.

The left hand cannot operate with efficiency without an excellent thumb position, combined with a light touch. If you’ve ever had issues with left-hand technique problems or pain in your left hand or arm due to the octave key, this video will address all of those issues and provide a clear strategy to fix the problem.


approx 33 min

Module 38


LESSON 1: Scale Junction Navigation

In this video lesson, I share my method for connecting various types of scales through a ii V I progression. This is a critical skill for all improvisers, as it gives you the flexibility to switch smoothly from the scale of the current chord to the scale for a new chord Many players are limited in their approach with scales because they think that they need to start each new scale from the root.

This is how scales are often taught in academic settings, but my system shows you how to easily connect the scales through voice-leading, from any note, highlighting the strongest notes in every chord. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.
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LESSON 2: Charlie Parker – Use of Bebop Ornamentation

In this video lesson, I analyze Parker’s use and application of bebop ornamentation. Bebop is an ornate style of jazz, sharing some similarities to baroque classical music in its use of ornamentation. Ornamental notes are what I describe as “sudden sixteenths” which are placed within an eighth-note line to add extra detail and sophistication to the line. In this lesson, I take a Parker phrase and break it down, removing all of the ornaments and then showing you how to use these concepts in your own lines, demonstrating with a line that I composed and then enhanced with the application of bebop ornaments in the Parker style.

INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb, and C instruments.


LESSON 3: Locating the 13th of a Chord

The thirteenth is one of the most colorful notes in a chord, and yet, many aspiring players have a difficult time locating and hearing the note. In this video lesson, I show you my system for easily hearing and locating the thirteenth of any chord.

This lesson includes hearing thirteenths over: Maj7, dom7, mi7, mi7b5 and dim7 chords. Intermediate level. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 4: Listening Recommendation: Mel Torme Swings Shubert Alley

One of my favorite albums! Mel Torme at the height of his powers with beautiful pitch, tone, phrasing, taste, and humor. Marty Paich, one of my favorite arrangers, has created an amazing collection of arrangements of popular standards.

I love his instrumentation and the inclusion of the tuba in this ensemble. The engineering is also incredible on this album. It’s like you’re right there in the studio with the guys. Paich is also quite humorous, having the band slyly quoting “Who’s Sorry Now” and “Easy Living” while Mel is singing the tune “Just in Time.”

The band is an all-star cast of top West Coast players at the time — Jack Sheldon on Trumpet, Frank Rosolino on trombone, Art Pepper on alto, Mel Lewis on drums…A must-have for any collection.


approx 38 min

Module 37


LESSON 1: Rollins & Coltrane Ornaments

In this video lesson, I demonstrate two of my favorite approaches to bebop ornamentation, based on my observations of Rollins and Coltrane and the way that they dress up their lines with ornaments. Intermediate & Advanced level. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 2: The Jackpot 7-7-7 – Hearing a major scale over a II V I

In this video lesson, I show my technique for harmonically aligning a major scale over a ii V I. This strategic approach provides great clarity and voice leading, giving you all 3’s, 5’s, 7’s or 9’s over a ii V I while simply playing a diatonic scale.

A key factor is setting up your ear to hear the roots of the chords in relation to the starting note of the line. I demonstrate the process throughout the video lesson. Intermediate & Advanced level. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb, and C instruments.


LESSON 3: Speed Bag – Cool Minor Lick

In this video lesson, I share one of my favorite minor patterns that I used for working up my technique.

This is a short but very effective lick for improving your precision on the keys, as well as improving alignment between your articulation and fingers. ALL LEVELS. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.


LESSON 4: Greg’s Philosophy of Music: Playing by Theory vs Playing by Ear

In this video lesson, I discuss the difference between playing by theory and playing by ear. I share many examples from my years as a student and later observations from the perspective of a pro player and teacher.

If you’ve been trying to figure out music theory to make up for the possibility that your ear isn’t all that developed, this video will really shed some light on the reason that the theory (as much as I enjoy it) is no substitute for a highly trained ear. I’m not saying that theory isn’t important, but when it comes to playing jazz and improvising, the ear must be first, not the intellect.


LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Frank Sinatra: Point of No Return

For me, Frank Sinatra was the greatest singer, ever. He had it all…perfect intonation, diction, dynamics…the way he could tell the story of the lyrics in a way that felt like he was speaking directly to the listener. And, his phrasing…the breath control…astounding.

This album isn’t one of the most popular, like Live at the Sands, or Come Fly With Me (both equally good, but different). This is a mellow, introspective Sinatra, not the ring-a-ding Sinatra. Axel Stordahl’s arrangements are great examples of beautiful, clear, uncluttered orchestration. Like all of Sinatra’s Capital album’s, the engineering is top notch, sounding like it was recorded today.


aprox 27 min

Module 35


LESSON 1: Exploring Hip Lick #9

In this video lesson, I explore Hip Lick #9, extending the lick with the same ii / V chords, as well as making the lick resolve to a I maj7 chord. I also demonstrate the effect of starting the lick in four different locations; beats 1,2,3 & 4. In addition, I also demonstrate the lick in 12 keys. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb & C instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.


LESSON 2: Major II V I vs. minor II V I – Apples to Apples Comparison

In this video lesson, I’ll give you an “apples-to-apples” comparison of a line played over a major ii / V / I and then that same line, harmonically adapted to fit a minor ii / V / i. If you’ve ever felt unsure about the sound of the minor ii / V / I, this video will put things clearly into focus. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.


LESSON 3: Bebop line over the bridge of “I Got Rhythm” from Two Voice-leading Lines

In this video lesson, I show you how I constructed a Bebop eighth-note line over the bridge of “I Got Rhythm,” using two voice-leading lines to nail the changes. Next time you’re playing “Oleo,” play this line on the bridge, and you’ll hear how clearly this approach outlines the changes. In the lesson, first I’ll play the eight-measure line for you and then I’ll deconstruct it, going step-by-step through the process I used to construct the line. Some very good and practical information about using the Bebop scale in this lesson, as well. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.


LESSON 4: Palm Key Hand Position Exercise

In this video lesson, I share my system for fixing years of poor palm key finger positioning. Most intermediate players, or even advanced players with poor left-hand palm key technique, tend to play with flat, straight fingers when it comes to playing the palm keys.

This causes a lack of fluency when switching between the palm keys and the lower range of the horn. In order to achieve fluency of technique, you will need to keep the fingers as curved as possible while pressing the palm keys. This lesson presents a three-step approach to gaining control over the palm keys.

There are no PDF notes with this lesson, as it’s best that you watch the video and imitate the moves on your horn. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.


LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Stan Getz – Focus

This Stan Getz masterpiece from 1961 is simply like no other record. This was Stan’s own favorite album of all of his many wonderful recordings. It’s a suite of seven pieces with a string orchestra, composed and arranged by the great Eddie Sauter.

Stan’s part is completely improvised, and the freshness and searching quality of his improvisations make this a truly unique classic. It’s not “straight-ahead,” though. Sort of a hybrid between jazz and classical. Highly recommended.


aprox 35 min