Getting to Carnegie Hall

My dad was a jazz trumpet player, and he always told the Carnegie Hall joke. You know the one. A man was walking down a New York street, and came upon a street musician. He asked the musician, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician replied, “Practice, Man, Practice!”

When I first started in Jazz Band Masterclass, I thought I could just get by with listening to the tunes and singing the melody. I confess, I didn’t practice more than two or three times a week. I soon realized that jazz was different. In order to internalize the harmonies and structure of the songs I am learning, practicing has become a daily (well most days) routine.

During one of the sessions, Fred suggested that even as a vocalist, I need to go over the scales and chords associated with each composition. So I do that. As I am learning a song, I sing the notes in the chord structure along with the scales that go with the chords. It’s boring.  And tedious. But it’s as if I am training for a marathon . . I can’t just show up at the starting point on the day of the race without putting the training time beforehand.

Some days I may be able to spend 45 minutes to an hour at the piano. Other days, not so much. But I do try to do something every day. I am still rather shy about scatting, but I know that if I keep up with the tedium of it, one day it’s going to click.

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