“Phase 0” – Getting the baseline

The first exercise in LFCC is, not surprisingly, all the major and minor scales in 12 keys. Goal tempo is 160, as is for the entire course.

Having done all this before, I’m pretty sure I can get through this quickly. But then… at what tempo? With good time? Are there are any minor flubs that should be cleaned up. Can’t improve unless you know where you’re starting from.

So, my first log 1/7. Major keys, eighth notes, q=160.

Indeed I could do them all. But not perfectly.

It became pretty clear that Eb and E need a little work. Not a lot, but it was necessary to dial back to q=144, after which it was straightforward to bring it up to 160.

More importantly, I observed the flubs were all on the pattern F#-G#-A-B, and F-G-Ab-Bb. Aha! Getting off G# is the problem here. They were minor blips, but they were there. How did I miss this all this time?

This is what Eddie Daniels calls “removing the garbage between notes”. Can’t find the quote anywhere, but it was a long interview on how he practiced religiously while working on his MM for clarinet. Oh, and was also playing tenor in the Mel Lewis jazz orchestra at the time.

I marked these two patterns in the margins. It’s worth revisiting later to see if it sticks.

The uptake here is that in about 30 minutes or so, it was obvious where one repeat offender was, in something as simple as major scale. That’s encouraging progress. So I moved onto minor… wait, melodic minor? Ugh. Next post.