New and Reviewed – March Edition.

Running the Changes

Steinel really has catered for everyone here with this comprehensive, yet easily accessible resource with incredible versatility. This sequential guide has been cleverly written for any instrument and would suit those with very little musical experience through to musicians keen to develop their knowledge, understanding and execution of chord playing. This book teaches the language around Jazz with practical examples, demonstrating how melodies can be modified from traditional to jazzy, technical exercises to master jazz patterns as well as more theory-based pages explaining chord functions, scales and mode families. Steinel has listed many authentic listening experiences to support each lesson and has also composed extensively to provide written musical examples of the technique being presented. Audio tracks can be accessed online with different tracks to suit a wide range of instruments.  For example, the original composition “Some Stray Horns” comes with six tracks as listed for trumpet, alto sax, trombone, guitar, vocals and a rhythm track.

Piano Chords Voicings in all styles

Harrison provides an excellent progression for pianists after studying Steinel’s Running the Changes, to then considering chord voicing in more detail. This book covers 18 classical and modern popular styles ranging from the blues and gospel to pop, ballade and smooth jazz.  For each of these styles Harrison presents a basic history, major influences and typical patterns, theoretical analysis, listening examples and the musical scores. The scores and study notes would be a great asset for late-elementary students wishing to develop the way in which they approach chordal accompaniment in a more sophisticated manner.  There are over 90 downloadable audio tracks in all styles with tempo adjustment allowing for more accessible play along. For musicians wishing to gain a solid foundation in harmonics and patterning ahead of tackling composition or improvisation, or for those just wishing to understand the nuances of various musical styles, this book is a must.

A Modern Method for Piano Scales

Ah, I hear you say “another scale book”! But don’t be fooled, this modern approach by Sifter offers so much more than the usual.  There is so much more on offer here for students already confident with the 12 major and minor keys to then study in detail the lesser-known modal, blues and bebop scales. Each of the scales is followed up with information about the use of the scale and an “improvisation corner”.  Sifter goes on to provide written examples of well-known songs using the given scale and encourages the user to try to identify the scale being used every time they listen to music.   Students who have previously been pushed to “practise their scales”, an often very repetitive and isolating experience, would surely find this book a breath of fresh air, but also a demanding challenge as they set about tackling the vast array of scales and styles.  Perhaps more significantly than simply learning the scale, the challenge here is the invitation to build on that foundation to form a greater understanding of where and how that mode is used and implementing the learning of the scale in practical terms of performance, analysis, composition and improvisation.

Whilst the other two publications provide audio tracks, Sifter goes one step further and challenges the user to create their own backing tracks.  This can be done by using a basic keyboard with a USB outlet and software with pre-recorded drumbeats such as Garageband. Alternatively, an instrument such as the YAMAHA DGX670 allows the user to record multiple tracks and then layer the desired drum loop with chords.  This then forms the backing track that can be used to for accompanying the given melody or an improvisation.  The possibilities are endless!  Hello technologically minded teenagers!

Thérèse Wahl runs a bustling home studio in Launceston, Tasmania.  She believes in making music a natural and integral part of homelife where every member of the family is involved, learning from and inspiring each other. Thérèse is a music theatre enthusiast who loves the way it brings many art forms together into one enjoyable, delicious bundle.

Written By
More from Thérèse Wahl
New and Reviewed – September Edition
Staple arranger Phillip Keveren has released a string of exciting new folios.
Read More
0 replies on “New and Reviewed – March Edition.”