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Module 56

LESSON 1: How to Hear Melodies in Harmonic Context

One of the biggest challenges facing the aspiring saxophonist is learning how to hear a melody as it relates to the underlying chord progression. In particular, the relationship of the melody notes to the underlying root movement (bass notes) is essential for successfully hearing whether a melody note is a 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.

For example, if the melody is playing a “B” natural, and no chord is heard underneath the note, that “B” is undefined, harmonically speaking. However, if you hear an E in the bass, that “B” now has a clear identity as the 5th of the chord.

In this video lesson, I share a technique for adding the bass notes to the melody and combining these two elements to help players hear this important relationship. I also share some additional strategies for memorizing chord progressions, though singing the bass notes while singing the chord names.

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

LESSON 2: Coltrane & Stitt Highlight Major 2nds over V7b9 Chords Category: Elements of Style / Interval Studies

In this video lesson, I explore the way that both Coltrane and Stitt highlight major second intervals in the diminished scale when playing over a V7b9 chord.

In addition to Coltrane and Stitt, many of the old-school jazz players preferred to highlight this particular interval when playing over a V7b9 chord, because this interval is pleasing to the ear, highlighting a sort of musical “sweet and sour sauce,” with the following note combinations: 13 & 5 / #11 & 3 / #9 & b9 / and Root & b7. This approach will help you to dial in very specific color combinations as you solo over the V7b9 chord.

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

LESSON 3: Exploring Hip Lick #59

In this video lesson, I’ll explore Hip Lick #59 from my book, “Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1.” This is a Dmi7 lick (tenor key) that combines three common elements to form the two-measure phrase. I break the lick down into each of these component parts and conclude the video lesson with the “Echo Game” (by ear) in 12 keys.

LESSON 4: The Car Analogy – Sounds vs Theory 

In this video lesson, I share a new analogy that has been resonating with many of my Skype students. Although I’ve so often mentioned the importance of playing by ear and not just relying on music theory, this analogy, describing theory as license plates and sounds as cars will really help you to get the big picture on the differences between the ear approach and the theoretical approach to music.

approx 26 min

Module 51

LESSON 1: Randomized Minor 3rds Echo Game with the Vibes

In this video lesson, we’ll play the echo game with minor 3rds in the four directions, but also, they’re randomized.

This was one of my main ear-training strategies in my early 20s as I was developing my teaching method. It’s challenging but fun, and it will yield great results.

Why the vibes? The vibes provide a clear, bell-like tone that rings for a long time. I have found this to be excellent for helping players internalize the sounds of the pitches….The notes will still be ringing while you try to match the pitch.

This will allow your ear to compare the ringing pitch of the vibes with the sounds coming out of your horn, and you’ll learn to adjust to match the vibes very quickly.

LESSON 2: Cannonball Adderley: ii mi7- V7 – Melodic Genius Phrase

In this video lesson, I explore the opening phrase of Cannonball Adderley’s classic solo on Autumn Leaves. It’s a iimi7 – V7 phrase – Ami7 to D7 in alto key.

This is a masterpiece of melodic efficiency and beauty. Follow the video by ear and play along with me to learn this essential phrase of classic jazz vocabulary from Cannonball.

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

LESSON 3: Escaping the Conscious Mind of Theory

In this video, I share my thoughts about escaping the conscious mind of theory and playing at the speed of sound. Many aspiring players seem to only play as fast as they can mentally calculate the correct notes for a scale, chord, or phrase.

I’ve even encountered pro players who have come to me for help, telling me that they just can’t stop thinking about theory as they play. I used to play that way, but it was very limiting and musically frustrating.

However, I discovered that if I played very fast, my conscious mind couldn’t keep up and didn’t even try. This freed me up to focus on the sound I was hearing, as opposed to the theory I had been thinking.

Once I felt what it was like to play by ear, with my fingers responding to the sound, it felt like I had an aural awareness of the chords as I played (at any tempo), without having to think mechanically through the spellings and theory.

This is not to say that you don’t need to know music theory. You do need to know your scales and chord spellings but think about this in terms of spoken language…You’re not spelling out words in your mind and diagramming sentences while you have a fast conversation with a close friend.

The music should be the same way…you need to break free of those chord and scale spellings and play by sound (ear). Since this involves high-speed playing, I also discuss some of my concepts of hand and finger relaxation so that you can learn to play at high speeds without injuring your hands, wrists, and arms.

LESSON 4: Major 6/9 Chord Voicing with 4ths

I’ve had many questions from students about major 6/9 chords, versus C maj7 chords. In this video, I discuss the differences between the two chords, as well as the similarities.

This chord voicing utilizing 1-3-6-9 is a piano voicing that I like. It has a fresh, open sound when played on the saxophone, and it’s a nice contrast to hearing the more common chord voicings in thirds used by most saxophonists. Includes two echo games — one with maj7 and major 6/9 chords for your ear to compare the two sounds, followed by an echo game with just the new voicing.

approx 43 min

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 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 42

LESSON 1: The Echo Game – Major Seventh Chords with Lower Neighboring Tones

In this video lesson, I play the echo game with major seventh chords, adding lower neighboring tones to the root, third, fifth or seventh. Includes directions one, two and a bonus round of direction three for advanced players.

LESSON 2: The Diminished Scale over a Cº7 Chord – New System

In this video lesson, I share a completely new approach to learning the diminished scale for use with the diminished seventh chord. This is one of the more challenging topics, as aspiring players are often unsure about the notes in between the chord tones of 1-b3-b5-bb7 when playing this scale. This new system eliminates all doubt and will help you to hear the scale with clarity.

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

LESSON 3: Major Scales in 3rds Shifting by Half Steps

In this video lesson, I take the familiar practice routine of playing major scales in thirds and put a new twist on it. To improve technical fluency in difficult keys, I shift the exercise both a half-step up and down. This is a great way to get over any inhibitions about playing in tricky keys.

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

LESSON 4: Staccato Articulation Strategy – Aka: Duck, Duck, Goose

In this video lesson, I share my unique approach to creating extremely percussive short notes similar to the style used by Stan Getz on many of his famous Bossa Nova recordings. This simple, yet effective approach will definitely transform your short notes.

LESSON 5: The Art of Listening

In this video lesson, I share my thoughts about being aware of your musical surroundings at all times. The first story is about a student with no awareness that he’s playing in the wrong key with a play-along. The second story is about a pro player how he was ignoring his musical surroundings. In both cases, it was a failure to listen that hurt both performances. I discuss the importance of developing the ability to listen and play simultaneously.


approx 29 min

Module 41

The Echo Game with Lick #1 Variations

In this video lesson, we’ll play the echo game, in which you will imitate or “echo” whatever I play. I have the metronome at 160BPM and play many variations on Hip Lick #1. Each of my demonstration phrases is one measure in length. You’ll have one measure to play the echo, by ear.

The video is divided into two parts. The first part of the video is intermediate level, with all variations on the lick remaining in the same key. The second half of the video takes all of the variations for the echo and puts the lick into the cycle, playing different variations in each of the twelve keys. This is an ear-training video designed to improve your musical memory. So, by intent, there are no PDF notes for this lesson. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 2: Stop Scooping Your Notes!

I think of this video lesson like a public service announcement for all intermediate level aspiring player. In my earliest playing days, I was a guilty of this as anyone. I thought it sounded “jazzy” so scoop into my notes. Wrong! Thanks to my old teacher Joe Daley, who told me in quite harsh terms, but really cured me of doing this, I found a better way, through Sonny Stitt, to get the effect of sliding into a note while maintaining the pitch center of the note.

This video demonstrates how it sounds when scooping and then how it sounds when applying the Sonny Stitt way of using a grace note from a 1/2 step below, to slide into a note. Totally hip. This is designed to be an ear-training lesson, as well, so there are no PDF notes with this one. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.
No PDF materials for this lesson

LESSON 3: The Bad Toupee Theory – How to Blend Licks into a Solo

In this video lesson, I share what I call my “Bad Toupee Theory.” The basic idea is this: Nobody points to a guy and says, “what a great looking toupee!” They only say “look at that bad toupee on that guy!” If it’s a great looking toupee, you can’t even tell that the guy is wearing a toupee. It’s similar with licks.

You don’t want to make it obvious that you’re using licks. They need to blend into the musical surroundings. In this video, I demonstrate an obvious usage of a lick (bad toupee) and I also demonstrate a subtle way to use a lick, blending it into the development of the solo. Includes PDF lesson notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 4: Dealing with Practice Anxiety – How to Have Fun While You Practice

Recently, I’ve been hearing more and more from students of all levels who tell me that they’re constantly stressed out about practicing. They feel overwhelmed and anxious about the amount of musical material they need to master in order to move forward. I used to have these feelings, and it took me a long time to change my attitude and approach turn my practice sessions into really fun experiences. I

n this video lesson, I share my personal journey with you and give you some suggestions that, to this day really help me have fun in every practice session. BEGINNING, INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVELS.


approx 32 min

Module 39

LESSON 1: Locating the 9th of a Chord

The ninth is one of my favorite notes in a chord. To me, it always feels and sounds elegant and luxurious. 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 ninth of any chord.

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


LESSON 2: Hearing a Hidden Melody within an Eighth-Note Line

In this video lesson, I will take phrase of all eighth-notes and reveal to you the hidden melody within that line. I use a short phrase from my etude, “Broadway Street” and deconstruct the line, revealing the melody that I had in mind. From there, I rebuild the phrase, adding an enclosure, approach notes to reconstruct the line.

This lesson provides insights into the compositional process involved in creating melodic eighth-note lines.

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

LESSON 3: High Speed Articulation with Halsted Street

In this video lesson, I share my strategies for increasing the speed and smoothness of your articulation when playing fast, consecutive eighth-notes. I use a short phrase from my etude, “Halsted Street” to demonstrate many different approaches to articulation.

The video also includes some discussion of extended articulation techniques, such as the “dooden” tongue and a demonstration of integrating the “dooden” tongue with the “ah-tah,” and staccato tonguing, all while keeping the phrase in tempo. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED level. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 4: Listening Recommendation: Oscar Peterson Trio: The Sound of the Trio

This is one of my all-time favorite recordings of the legendary Oscar Peterson trio, featuring Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. This was recorded in the late 1950s in Chicago at the famous “London House,” a jazz supper club in downtown Chicago.

Artists would be “in residence” for their gig from one to three weeks at a time, playing between five and seven nights a week. This led to a wonderfully relaxed situation, where the artists could focus on the music, well-rested, without the fatigue of playing one-niters around the country.

I can hear the energy and communication present in every note of the album. You’ll even hear glasses clinking in the background. It’s like you’re right there in the room with the group. The record is also beautifully engineered by Val Valentin, for the Verve record label. A must-have for any serious collection.

approx 36 min

Module 02

LESSON 1: Interval Study – Major 7th intervals
Intervals are one of the most overlooked practice items. However, I consider them just as important as practicing scales and chords. In this video, I demonstrate my approach to practicing major 7th intervals by playing them in the cycle, both ascending and descending.
This approach is great for the ear, and it will help you to recognize the interval when you hear it in melodies. Once you get this approach under your fingers and in your ears, we’ll take the next step with intervals and apply them to many different harmonic situations. (more videos on this subject are coming in the future).
After working with this video, review many of the melodies you like to play, and look for the presence of this interval used both ascending and descending. When you do this, your ear will start to pick up on the interval, and you’ll be hearing at a deeper level.

LESSON 2: Hearing the Location of the Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th in Chords
This lesson demonstrates my system for hearing the location of a specific note in a chord. If you can already play your chords from the 1-3-5-7 ascending and 7-5-3-1 descending, this video will take you to the next level. This system has helped many of students reach a deeper level of hearing harmony, to the point where they can play a “C” and hear that note clearly in their mind’s ear as the Root, 3rd, 5th or 7th of any chord type.

LESSON 3: Transforming a Maj7 Chord into a Diminished (maj7) Chord
This is a common trick among pro players, temporarily transforming a maj7 chord into a dimMaj7 chord for added harmonic flavor.

LESSON 4: Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord
In this lesson, I discuss and demonstrate Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord, and the theory behind them.

LESSON 5: Sunrise/Sunset Neck Exercise
This lesson features a technique I call “Sunrise/Sunset” for improving your breath support and dynamics. I use the neck alone to produce a concert E, demonstrating some of the techniques I use to improve tone, dynamics, and breath control.

LESSON 6: The Butterfly Tongue
This lesson features a technique I call the “Butterfly Tongue.” The is a technique for slightly muting the note and changing the timbre while the tongue rests on the reed. Getz, Prez, and many of the old-school masters use this technique to achieve both ghosted 8th notes, as well as quickly repeated notes, similar in sound to double-tonguing, but much smoother. This is a challenging one, but well worth the effort!
LESSON 7: Road Tips – Location of Notes within Maj7 Chords – Part 2 of 3
In this lesson, I show you how to think of one note in four different locations within a major 7th chord. For example, C = Root of Cmaj7, but C = the 3rd of Abmaj7, C = the 5th of Fmaj7, and C = the 7th of Db maj7. The importance of enharmonic notes is also discussed in the video.

approx 40 min

Module 04

LESSON 1: Hearing Intervals from the Roots of the “Big 5” Chords
Demonstration of a system for training the ear to hear the intervals from the root to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th of what I call the “Big 5” chords; Maj7, dom7, mi7, mi7b5, and dim7 chords. Also includes instruction on hearing from the 7th of the chords down to the root. BEGINNING & INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 2: Major 7th Chords in Four Directions
This lesson demonstrates ways of practicing Major 7th chords in the cycle, in four directions. Essential for ALL LEVELS.

LESSON 3: Mainstream Articulation
Greg demonstrates his system for learning mainstream jazz articulation. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL with some tips at the end of the video for ADVANCED LEVEL, as well.

LESSON 4: Adding Lower Neighboring Tones to the Descending Major Scale
This lesson demonstrates a system for adding Lower Neighboring Tones to the Major Scales. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVELS.

LESSON 5: Road Tips – The C = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “C” as different degrees of major scales.

approx 30 min

Module 13

LESSON 1: Dorian Mode – New System Focuses Ear on Chord Extensions
In this video lesson, I take you though my system for practicing the Dorian scale. You may already know the scale, having learned it the traditional way, as the second mode of a major scale, going from the second note of the major scale to the ninth note. While that method does give you the right notes for Dorian, it doesn’t really train the ear to hear the upper extensions of the minor chord contained within the scale. With my system, your ear will be trained to hear the difference between the sound of the 9th, 11th and 13th. This is a really fun system, and in addition to great ear training, it’s also good workout for your technique. If you already know the Dorian scale, you should watch this video to experience the sound of the scale in a new way. If you’ve never learned the Dorain scale, this is the best way to get started! INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 2: The Pencil Trick
In my 20’s, I was transcribing many hours each day. I got tired of putting down the pencil and picking it up again to write a just few more notes. For the sake of efficiency, I just started to hold on to the pencil, even when I was playing the horn. To my surprise, it really helped my technique. Holding the pencil dramatically improved my hand position on the horn. In this lesson, I’ll take you through the process of practicing the “pencil trick,” and also share a few other crazy strategies that I’ve used to getting my fingers in a better position on the horn. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 3: Tritone Substitution Tutorial
In this music theory video, I’ll take you through from the very basic application to of the tritone sub, all the way through the relationship between altered notes on the native V7 chord and extensions of the tritone substitute. PDF extras include scans of the actual sheets I created during the filming of the video lesson. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL

LESSSON 4: Tasting Harmony – Practice Strategies
Many group members have asked me to create a video in which I demonstrate some of my practice techniques for working with the book, Tasting Harmony. In this video, I explain the concept of the book and demonstrate many different ways of working with the play-along tracks. The extras with this video include several pages from the book, some of the exercises from the video, plus the mp3 tracks. ALL LEVELS.

LESSON 5: Road Tips – The E = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “E” as different degrees of major scales.

aprox 42 min