Take out a piece of paper and write down these 3 words, in a vertical column:
Then, choose a specific concept or technique about each that you can improv upon.
For Melody, it may be melodic variation. Or perhaps you’d like to memorize 2-3 new melodies this week. You could also focus on motivic development during your improvisations.
For Harmony, ask yourself how well you know the 4 main types of triads in all 12 keys. Or, if you’re beginning to learn how to “play from chords,” you might learn the chord progression to a Beatles song. Or a jazz standard. If you’re at the advanced level, you may wish to analyze George Shearing’s use of chordal reharmonization.
Rhythm is sometimes overlooked in our practice routines. Maybe you need to keep a steadier tempo when you play. If you can already do that, you might work on playing chordal accompaniment with more rhythmic variety within a particular musical genre. Or, you can (finally!) become comfortable playing “Take Five” and soloing in 5/4 time.
These are just some ideas off the top of my head to get you started. Either choose 3 of these, or come up with your own.
Whichever three goals you choose, writing them down is the first step towards practicing them. You can become a better pianist this week – go to it!
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