Basic Arpeggio Exercise

I’ve been learning to play Larry Young’s composition Talkin’ About J.C. From the sound of the song, I’m guessing that the J.C. stands for John Coltrane.

I was having difficulty playing a solo over the fast-tempo minor blues changes, so I came up with the following arpeggio exercise:

Part 1: Practice each arpeggio in the chord changes of the song, with both hands up and down 3 octaves, swinging the 8th notes. Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th, starting with thumb on the root. For a basic G minor blues, I can break it down to 4 chords which I practice for 15 minutes each: G-, C-, A-7b5, D7b13

Part 2: Right hand plays arpeggios over the form of the song while left hand walks a bass line. Only rules are: When one chord changes to another, start on the root of the new chord with the thumb. Or occasionally when descending, with 5th finger. Try to play continuous 8th notes and connect the chords whenever possible- it’s almost always very easy to connect the chords seamlessly.

I’ve done it for the past 3 days. This exercise appears to be an excellent way for me to stay grounded and really easily and effectively outline a songs structure.

Also, I think when I took a lesson with Mark Wells he alluded to doing this, but I wasn’t advanced enough in my understanding of the keyboard to figure out what he was showing me. So thanks, Mark!

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One Response to Basic Arpeggio Exercise

  1. Bruce says:

    Once again, I get my monthly practicing inspiration!

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