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Ask Willie

Willie Thomas | May 5, 2011

Yo, here's a place to ask me anything you like... Fire away!

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368 responses to “Ask Willie”

  1. Joseph Cannavo says:

    Willie. Would love to hear your thoughts, and hear you negotiate, the bridge to have you met miss jones. To my ears this has always been the “other Cherokee” ,that is a tune with a bridge that separates the kids from the grow ups – but one that is so underplayed. wish bird and fats had blown over these changes!

  2. Herman van Haaren says:

    Hello Willie,

    As on Autumn Leaves I find 1 answer, as I could find on your website. On the F7 the Half Diminshed chord on the b7 which is eb gives what I am after. Within this arpeggio fits perfectly the Minor Melodic scale of F#. Also the f, a and c# give the augmented flavor. Both altered and augmented flavors I happen to love! So here is 1 key for me. Great.

    Then on the Pentatonic Pairs I see clearly the movement of 4ts on the Cycle, although I am used to the Circle of 5th cadenca, as in classical European harmony. V goes down to I. But hey, why not UP?!

    Still even then the note e on your Pentatonic Pairs during A Half Diminshed and D7#9 sounds weird to me. I wonder if I should take on a system just like that if it conflicts with the Tonality Center of a tune to begin with? Maybe it conflicts too much for the moment with what I am used to, so hey, I will give it a try for sure.



  3. Herman van Haaren says:

    Hello Willie,

    I have a special interest in your Jazz Everyone Language since the approach on the Pentatonic Pairs rings a bell for me in relation with the Timeline of the Africa Bell, the mother-rhtyhm of this music which has the exact same construction as the Major Scale. When we leave out the half note steps we have five notes which is Major Pentatonic, which becomes like “clave” in rhythm. Also the line to Wynton Kelly has my interest!

    However, I loose you in the Player’s Corner Tune Time Level 1, in this particular case on Autumn Leaves. The tune is Bb (or Gminor), and instead of the Blues scale of Gminor you present Cminor blues scale. WHY? It does not sound to me, and in the video you PLAY Gminor Blues scale. Makes sense. I loose you also in the PDF for C Instrument where you present the Pentatonic Pairs and present an e note instead of an eb during A Half Diminished???? Nor A Half Diminished nor D7#9 carries a e in its sound but an eb, or WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?

    Now I have the feeling to have to double check all your information before making any practice out of what you propose. This does not drive inspiration.

    Hope you can help out here. Thank you in advance. Best, Herman

  4. Michael Sherman says:

    Say Hey Willie. Love the the site and your teaching style and method. Even though I’m a pianist I’m learning a lot. I’m realizing that my ear is the weakest link. That ‘s probably why I’ve always struggled to improvise. I know you have the ear training section in each lesson but I was wondering if you could suggest a particular lesson or how I might practice any lesson with the focus on developing the ear. The playing part is easy for me. I really want to play what I sing or hear. Should I be memorizing every example in the lesson before I move on or are they meant to be read?

    Peace & Music

    • Yo Michael …

      Sorry I’m a bit late with the response. Yes, memorize as much as possible. However, playing what you hear comes from a different place. For me, it’s a confluence of mind, hearing and training the fingers to find the notes through the internalization of the sound as it relates to your instrument via your unruly fingers. Also, the Immersion Zone in the Players Corner is a plethora of things to challenge the ear.


  5. John Quinlan says:

    Hi Willie,

    I am what they call a comeback trumpet player, who picked up the horn again after 30 years of not playing. When I did play I was mostly playing in school marching band, we didn’t have a Jazz Band program so I never really played any Jazzy songs.

    Now that I am getting my chops back and starting to hit the High C’. I’ve found some fun tunes in some of Jamey’s books i.e. Vol 54 Maiden Voyage. I have also purchased the Jazz Anyone Play and Learn Book written by you Willie Thomas. I am still working through the various lessons and listening to the CD tracks, hoping to hear and learn the harmonies and chords.

    I came across your Web site and wanted to know more about the system of pentatonic pairs. It looks like some material in Beginners corners is in your book. Is the Intermediate section similar to what your Jazz Anyone Book 2. It seems that book is out of print and no longer available. Any idea if the publishers will reprint the 2nd book again.

    I will be signing up for a paid membership once I have finished and understand the material in the Jazz Anyone book..

  6. stanley says:

    Yo Willie!

    I love your system, love working through the exercises, and I might actually be progressing!

    Here’s a question: Could you talk a bit about the relation between the pentatonic pairs and the pentatonic scale(s)? are they interchangeable? Are the pentatonic pairs a stepping stone toward the pentatonic scale, i.e., two pentatonic pairs with an added third makes a pentatonic scale?

    thank you so much for this fantastic work of pedagogy!


  7. FIDANZA Max says:

    How is it possible to concentrate so much talent in such a small hat?
    Bravo Willie

  8. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo Willie,

    Take pity…I’m a guitarist and at 73 yrs old trying to fully understand and implement your system. I’ve spent 1 1/2 yrs working thru the intermediate and am now aggressively working up at the level of the Basic 6 pack and am on Lesson #5 Rhythm changes.
    I have a good general feeling for the system…its method and sequence. It’s an “additive system” starting from the pentatonic pairs (all which must be visualized on the fretboard) and sequentially “adding” first the 3thds, embellishment of the 7ths moving into the “pairs”, connecetion with chromatics etc. All of this with the “mental visualization of the “cycle of 4ths” to track your course. My problem is understanding the “bar line” and how it is integtrated into the system. Until I can flexibly move the bar line I’m stuck with everything beginning on “1”, which is much to choppy and very unmusical.
    I would like to go thru one of the “early lessons” note by note to grasp fully what you are thinking. It is Lesson #2 Rhythm Learning Pack and the written tune is “Third’s the Word”.
    If I “strictly” visualize the tune as ONLY pentatonic pairs + 3rds (which is, I assume, how and why you wrote it) I can only see it “like this”.
    1. Bar #1: Bb : just “pairs” : Gmi7 has “B” the mi3rd (adding 3rds)
    2. Bar #2 : Cmi7 has “F” remaining bar understood
    Question: thruout the tune for the MINOR you seem to use 4 notes: R 2 4 5 and 6. What is the justification here? Generally : Minor pentatonic pairs are R2 and 45..but 6 is frequently employed.
    3. Bar #3 : BbM7 opens with “A” note: I assume that is the 3rd of the F7 so Bb7 really starts on “and of 1″ . Notes: D: F:G:A:…..”D” is the Gmi7 starting on “and of 2”..but immediately return to Bb with “F and G” and the 5 6 of Bb….G also thought of R of “G” . Really sounds like the measure is mostly “only BbMaj7”
    4. Bar #4 : Last note “B” is really the Fmi7 of Bar 5 starting on “and of 4”.
    5. Bar #5 : Bb7 last note “E” really anticipating the EbMj7 in Bar 6
    6. Bar #6 : Notes C:D:F: really anticipating the BbMj7 in Bar 7
    7. SECOND ENDING: Bar #7 : G:B:C:B: “G” referencing F7 but “interrupted line with “B” which is the 4 of “F” so really back to the Root of Bb and then “C” referencing the 5th of “F”.
    8. Bar #8 : Pickup A:B:D:C: really playing Ami early

    Bar #1: Opens with the 6th of Minor. Once again question of Minor uses: R 2 4 5 and 6: for pentatonic pairs
    That really lays out my areas of lack of understanding. Similar situations occur again and again so one need not repeat them.
    If my reading of your thoughts is correct….Please confirm or deny. If correct then I really have to somehow “hear” the bar line shifting while still keeping my place in the tune.
    Have you any ideas there. Sorry to be so “anal” here but we all learn in different ways. I have made astounding progress in finally “knowing the fretboard” and not forever getting lost. I somehow think that getting this process in “my ears” is the last stage to fully implement what your trying to teach.
    Thanks for your patience and forbearance.


  9. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo Willie..I withdraw the prior question. I have revisited and found the cycle stuff in Basic 6 Pack Lesson2. But now I think I might be able to “frame” my question much better.
    I’m looking at the Basic 6 Pack Lesson #2 with Trailin On and Lesson #2 Ear Training. Is it the case that “at this point” there is “not yet” a pentatonic pair used for the II mi7.
    Here there are just 2 pentatonic pairs to learn. The F Major pent pairs are FG and CD (12 :56) .The Gmi7 C7 just utilizes the pentatonic pairs from the V7 (C7)… {or later in the tune Db7(Abmi7Db7)}. For the Gmi7 C7 the pentatonic pairs are CD and GA only. From the standpoint of C7 that is R.9.5.13: From the standpoint of Gmi that is R.9.11.5.
    The 3rd pentatonic pair is not yet introduced intentionally because it will include a “target tone” the 3rd which will, in the beginning of the learning process, confuse the ear. For the F Major that would be 2:3 (GA)
    and for the C7 2:3 (DE)
    If this is “on target” than I can proceed with confidence that I have read your intentions correctly.

    • Yo Jason … You’ve got the idea. It’s not so complex. To understand the Pent Pair function, one must understand what creates tonality or a sense of key centers. The Free Lesson in the Player’s Corner lays this out pretty well. A note played on the upbeat that moves to another note a 4th above or 5th below, creates a sound of completion or rest, i.e. cadence. Folks also call that a 5-1 because it’s the Root and fifth of a major scale So, the Pent Pairs are merely major 2nds added to the 5-1, resulting in 5-6 1-2 if you’re starting on the 5th. If you start on the root of the ii chord,, the same Pair can be the 5-6 1-2 of the V chord and so on. Each Pent Pair works with a major, dominant or minor chord …. no tritones. The Pent Pairs serve as a GPS in every tune, how you develop them, is what the rest of my system is all about. Take a look at one of the Tunes to Know and Blow Extended series. Hope this helps.

  10. Robert Peterson says:

    Willie: One of my favorite trumpet players was Don Fagerquist who played with Les Brown. Are you aware of any writings or books which discuss Fagerquist?
    I have seen some things years ago but have forgotten titles. Also, how would you characterize his improvisations in terms of pentatonic pairs?
    Bob Peterson

  11. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo willie,
    It seems the more I understand about the pentatonic pairs the less I actually know. As a guitaist I need a way to start hearing the pairs as the GPS.
    Is there a worksheet section that “shows each of the pentatonic pairs” as II V7 I progression in C Major…moving thru the cycle of 4ths to F Major..Bb major etc. around the entire cycle.
    I’m thinking this would really help my “ear” grasp the sound. And the pentatonic pairs used would all be consistent throughout each of the 12 key changes

  12. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo W
    In the Pentatonic Pairs concept why do you “concept” the 3rd in the 2nd octave and not merely let it follow the 2nd in the first octave. Usually one thinks of the 2nd octave as giving us the “upper partials”: (i.e. 9th 11 and 13). By “concepting ” as the Pent Pairs as : 12 : 56: ….then 3…..does this in “any way” influence how you create your melodies or does it in “anyway” modify how you visualize how the GPS functions.
    Thankx for your reply…it just seems “odd” to me and I was thinking there must be some “good reason” for your doing it that way

    • Yo … Good question. The basic Major Pentatonic scale is the 1 2 3 5 6 of any major scale. This, can be grouped into 5 different modes. When it is grouped into the 2 3 5 6 1 2 mode, it create a natural melody line that doesn’t emphasize the sound of the 3rd and it becomes a great GPS in visualizing the way tonality moves through the tonal centers around the Dominant cycle which sets the system into motion. The more you work with these Pairs, the more you’ll realize how they serve as jazz vocabulary DNA. Hope this helps.

  13. Bob Sakoi says:

    Hey Willie – who were your influences on tpt? I hear Jack Sheldon and Chet Baker in your playing….

    • Yo …. Early on, Harry James caught my ear, then, I discovered Dizzy and Bebop. Fats Navarro, Miles, and Kenny Durham were favs. The biggest influence on my playing has been Charlie Parker. he was the father of us all … Bird Lives!

    • Maurizio Ricca says:

      Hy Willie, I’m new to your website… very, very interesting! Your approach is similar to what I use (but unconsciously, only by ears) to learn jazz tunes… a sort of… “Lego bricks”! Great! But you’re blowing away my knowledge, too… particularly about Giant Steps: for example, why do you relate a D7 to a G dominant scale (in fact, a G Mixolydian, i.e. C major scale starting from V degree) and not to D Mixolydian (G major scale starting from D)? What’s wrong in my analysis?
      I’m going crazy… thank you!

      • Yo … Not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but, maybe this will help. Quite often, I name and organize scales in such a way as to expose the pentatonic pairs. They don’t alway comport with the usual ways of determining or naming relationships.

  14. roberto sassoni says:

    Now i can !

  15. Chris Crider says:

    Hey Willie, Since I was here last, I see you are up in the north west part of the country. Trombonist Stan Bach is in Oregon, he’s ex Air Force stationed in W.R., GA til he got his discharge. Playing in Portland I believe. Sweet tone! I played a few gigs with Trumpeter, Ken Trimmins, one of your students from Valdosta, GA. He speaks very well of you. When I asked did he know he smiled and broke out laughing! I can only imagine. Tunes to know and blow, looking forward to it! Thanks Willie!!!

  16. roberto sassoni says:

    Dear Andrew, i can’t download the new lessons files of “Out of nowhere” extendend.
    Help me! Thanks

  17. Joel says:

    Hi Willie,
    I’ve been working on basic materials at another site. i.e. playing chord tones like maj, dom7,min, 1/2 dim7 and dim7. also major, melodic minor and harmonic minor scales. I don’t like the sound of the harmonic minor scale and want to ask you what the value of spending my time on them would be in the Jazz context. I have noticed my fingers don’t want to go there so maybe that is the value?

    • Joel says:

      I meant to say, what is the value of working on the harmonic scales. Chord tones and the other scales are clearly worth while and necessary.

      • Harmonic scale have a particular sound that is an important part of the jzz language, especially after the advent of bebop. However, some of those sounds can be found and ;earned in other ways. Working in the Diminished 3-Pack and Half-Diminished 2-Pack will help you form some of the same vocabulary that harmonic minor scales generate. It’s important to know all of your scales and chords, however, it’s more important to be able to turn them into bebop. That’s where the Pentatonic Pairs in my system, kick in.

  18. Gregory says:

    Willie –
    I’m afraid my previous question might not have been very clear. What I was trying to say is as follows:

    In Tunes to Know and Blow – LadyBird 2A – measures 7 & 8 have the Bb-C labeled as 2-3 and the Eb-F labeled as 5-6 whereas on all the other lesson pages for this tune the same notes are labeled like the rest of the ii-V7 sequences in this tune as 5-6 and 1-2. Is this a mistake?

    If I was trying to develop a rule it would be:
    Pentatonic pair numbering on ii-V7 sequences are based on the V7 scale and for the Maj7 chords they are based on the major scale.

    Am I missing something?


    • Well .. Your question comes up quite often. When the Pent Pairs sets up a dominant chord, V7, it is numbered 2-3 5-6 to correspond to the scale steps in the chod scale. When a Pent Pair sets up a Major tonic, IM7, I number the pair 5-6 1-2. Hope this helps.

      • Gregory says:

        I see the problem – in my printout of Step 2A it has the C-D and F-G in bars 7 & 8 labeled 2-3 and 5-6 whereas on 2B it is labeled like you said as 5-6 and 1-2.
        Makes perfect sense to me (now). I’ll get the latest version of these!

  19. Gregory says:

    In Tunes to Know and Blow – LadyBird 2A- measures 7 & 8 have the Bb-C labeled 2-3 and the Eb-F labeled 5-6 whereas on all the other lesson pages for this tune they are labeled like the rest of the ii-V7 sequences in this tune as 5-6 and 1-2. Is this a mistake?

  20. Gregory says:

    Here’s a dumb one – I’m embarrassed to ask. When watching Tunes to Know and blow – how do I change the key for trumpet rather than a C instrument. I’m sure I’ve done this before but can’t remember where to go to do it.

    • Yo … All of the examples in the video lesson are in Concert Key. You will have to download the Bb part from the file. This is different than the lessons in the Beginner’s and Intermediate or Pent Power Pack, where you can view your part with just a click.

  21. Joel says:

    I just ran across the youtube video teaching Emily about pent pairs. I hope this will be a regular feature. So much easier to learn by watching rather than plodding through the lessons. emily is so well prepared. She got this far in eight weeks!

  22. Alfonso Simonpietri says:

    Hello Willie,

    I certainly find the bebop in how you explain things. Thank you. Could you point me to which lessons I should study to get the notes of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Sidney Bechet. I hear them everywhere (Chromatic Drills, Maj Min Pentatonics, etc.), but if you could point to where I should be looking, I’d appreciate.

    • Yo .. As to the notes sounds of Louis and other jazz pioneers, is in all of the jazz music we hear and play. As to direction, start with Lesson 1 in the Beginner’s Corner and work forward. When you’re comfortable with that, hit the Intermediate Corner and do the same thing. In lesson 8, you will be introduced ti the Pentatonic Pairs, a basic concept in my special language system. At this point, you’ll be ready for the Tunes to Know & Blow series, Rhythm Tune Learning Pack and more advanced technique and concept building in the Pentatonic Power pack or the baic 6 Pak in the Players Corner. Enjoy

  23. Fedor says:

    Dear Willie,

    Need your advice: I need to improvise over VI – II chord progression (Em – Am in my case). I am a guitar player, but I got very tired of fast legato fusion licks, so I wanted to create a more melodic type of improvisation (thinking of Parker/Coltrane/… style). What would you suggest playing over this progression? Stepping outside of harmony is more than welcome (shifted diminished/half diminished scales & shifted melodic minor is in my vocabulary)

    Many thanks,

    • Yo … There are many possibilities for applying the Pentatonic Pairs or pentatonic related patterns to this chord sequence. When you’re laying over the II-VI chords they are both in C major. So, the C pentatonic (C D E G A C) scale is always a good place to stretch out. The A- is also the ii chord of G major. I don’t know how far you are into my system, but, the Dim 3 Pack could also provide some options. Also, Lesson 4 in the 6-Pack and lesson 6 in the Pent Power Pack all have info on minor chords. Obviously, the blues scale works on both of these chords. Hope this helps.

      Hope this helps.

  24. Bill Griggs says:

    Hey Willie,

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful site. I joined a couple of month ago and am really learning allot. I stopped playing about 30 years ago and recently started playing again for fun.
    Your system of teaching seemed hard to me until it clicked and I started to understand what you were telling us. I never had much training so most of the music terms and techniques are new to me, or so I thought… Well actually they are all things I have played before but now they have names and patterns I recognize (some of them anyways).
    Meanwhile back to the woodshed.

  25. charles austin says:

    Hello sir, first off I must say you are an amazingly well organized teacher. I can’t speak highly enough of your lessons.

    I think it would be a great addition to the site if you could add a video on how to stay physically and mentally healthy. So many players end up going long before their time.

    How did you

    1) Live so damn long!!!!

    2) Keep the motivation/inspiration to keep learning and studying.

    Thanks so much again for all your hard work.

    • Yo …. That’s an idea to consider. The longevity I attribute to a good gene pool and luck. I did my par in destroying my body through the early years, however, I managed to stop at the edge of the cliff, and buy some health with a few changes in life style and appetite. Bebop keeps me alive and loving life. Bird Lives!

  26. benny Van Acker says:

    Dear Willie,
    in a couple of weeks we will have a teacher’s staff meeting where I will talk (and hopefully convince) to my colleagues and director about your system. I talked allready to my coördinator about your system and he was very curious to hear more and invited me for a presentation. My idea was to have all the classes having the system available and use in class. So a student will build his musical education in band classes, theory classes and instrument classes and having a nice cohesion in the overall learning curve. Is there something you can advise me explaining the system ?
    Best regards,

    • Yo …. Glad you like the site. It can make a real difference in the success of your total program when students are working online at home. The beginners and Intermediate Corners are quite user friendly and with guidance, can be easily implemented into your classroom program. It is especially helpful in putting your rhythm section in place.
      The Jazz Anyone Books, correlated with the web site will save a lot of time downloading classroom materials.

      Things really get going in the Players Corner, where you will need to do some due- diligence, in setting up routines with the help of the Curriculum Overview & Learning Track. And, I’m also available to help! The Jazz Anyone series is correlated with the online lessons and will save lot of time in downloading classroom materials.

  27. Otávio Nestares says:

    Dear Willie!
    Hello from Brazil, my friend!

    I’m kind of lost on how to learn the pentatonic pair…
    Should I memorize the pentatonic pair in all scales? If yes, do you have any material with all the pentatonic pairs (major and minor)?


  28. Peter Whyte says:

    Hi Willie,
    I’ve just bought the Eb Play and Learn Book 1 on the recommendation of a friend and it looks really good. I’ve been playing for some years, and I want to start the course off correctly but I don’t understand the term ‘D’ attack. Maybe it’s because I’m in the UK or that I’m playing an alto sax rather than a trumpet.
    I’m not sure whether a ‘D’ attack means to start by touching the reed with the toungue to get a definite start to the note, or something else. I’m relating it to the comment that for legato notes and breath accents the notes are not separated from other notes (which using the toungue would seem to do). Staccato notes are to be started with a ‘D’ attack and ended with the toungue.
    If you can set me straight on this I’ll be on my way.

    Thanks, Peter

  29. Bill Griggs says:

    I saw this article on how the brain see music as language and thought folks might find it interesting. Willie has been saying that jazz ia a language all it’s own. I guess this proves it Scientifically.

  30. Joel says:

    Hi Willie,
    Would you please go to “Confused about what is meant by ”pentatonic pairs” in the Forum section and read what I wrote to George Cole and let me know if I’m on the right track or not and, if my writing is understandable.

  31. Joel says:

    I’ve been developing my playing around the circle of 4ths using pg 12 in the beginners corner. I was trying to explain it to another fellow but got stumped when I noticed how the pent pairs are numbered. On the 1st line, 5-6 represents A & C. Shouldn’t G & A be 5&6?

    • Hey Joel … I’m stumped with your question. LOL Not sure about the pg 12 reference. You’re right about A-C not being 5-6 or a pent pair. When I know where your looking, I’ll fix it.

      • Joel says:

        I had a hard time finding the spot I’m trying to show you on the web site. I printed the study folders last year and didn’t label it very well so, took some time track it down.
        The page I’m talking about is: Players corner>Free stuff>Free lesson. C study folder. I’m sure it’s a typo but when I’m struggling to understand a concept, a little thing like this can twist me up but, I’m O.K. BTW, I’m able to play around the circle of 4ths and most the time I’m not getting lost. I think there are some new brain circuits being formed. Sure makes the weak scales stand out! 18 months ago I swore I would not be able to memorize the circle but I did! I spent the whole weekend playing the three Giant Steps tonal centers, pent pairs. Good stuff Willie. Thanks

  32. Gregory says:

    Yo Willie (as you would say) ,
    Did you know Uan Rasey? That was his “catch phrase” too!
    Anyway, I’m trying to understand the Pentatonic Pairs as presented in the Lady Bird Know and Blow series. On Step 2a, the Maj chord have 5-6 of their root, the m7 chords have 5-6 of the related 7th chord (ex: bar 3, G-7 lists g – a as 5 -6 which would be 5-6 of C7), bar 5-6 list 2 – 3 and 5 -6 of the root of the Maj chord then bars 7-8 list 2-3 and 5-6 of the I chord to the ii-V in that key (Bb).
    So does that mean that the Pentatonic Pairs can be formed more than one way?
    Then, on page 2B they are all formed like the first 4 bars of Page 2A….
    Why are the examples written this way? I’m confused.
    All of them sound fine but I’m trying to understand how to arrive at them on other tunes…

    • Yo Gregory … This may help. Pent Pairs are two notes a whole step apart that are also a part of a major pentatonic scale. And yes, they can have different names (2-3, 5-6, 1-2) When the Pent Pairs are used for a II-V (D-7-G7), I number them 2-3 5-6. If it were a V7-IM7, I would use the 5-6 1-2 to name/number them. This is confusing when one chord becomes a part of a another chord that follows. There’s no real rule … Pent Pairs are my name for these gems. When they sound right, they probably are. That’s the secret.

  33. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo Willie
    Unit 1 Lesson 2 : IImi V7 I Patterns:
    Translating this exercise to the notes of scale patterns:
    Notes to Play:
    iimi7: R 9 11 and 5:ONLY
    NOT: b3 and b7 (color tones for later) mi6 is a I chord not a Dorian
    V7 : Notes: R 9 11 5 6 :
    NOT: Color tones 3 and b7
    I Maj : R 9 5 6
    NOT: 3 or 7 (Color tones) and not 4 (its on the ii V side of the sound…being the b7 of V7 and b3 of V7)
    If that is what your doing here I have to learn those “limited” scales on the fretboard.


    Like I said the “guitar” is a special “beast”

  34. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo Willie,
    I’m starting from the beginning. Basic 6 Pack..My Baby Mama Blues:I’m needing to see all the notes as part of a visual guitar pattern: Bear with me.
    Bar 2: combo of Bb pentatonic then …F:Ab is F Blues
    Bar 4: Introduces b7 (Eb) making this a F Dorian w/in
    F Pentatonic frame
    Bar 9 : Here is the V7 (C7)..little out of character from lesson: 1/2 step Eb into E the 3rd (chord tone) ending
    on Bb (b7)
    Bar 10: return to F Blues with E the leading tone back to Root “F”
    Bar 11/12…the Bb is really sounding the V7 C7 till ends on A;F.
    Just trying to understand how you flow between the F Pentatonic and F Blues across the Blues format…where and when you can venture outside the boundaries etc.

    • Yo …

      I think what may help is here looking at the F minor Blues Pentatonic (F Ab Bb C Eb F) and the F major Pentatonic (F G A C D F0 as interchangeable. Going from one to the other, ie, changing from major to minor is what the blues all about. When you throw in the b5 (Cb) you get all of the blues flavors.

  35. Jason-Mason says:

    Yo Willie,

    I have returned from “shedding” and while there I spent a modest amount of time on the Guitar Jazz Anyone…Book #1.
    Thought I had received an advert EMail that mentioned that you were incorporating your “prior books” into the existing course.
    So the question is: Is that the case? Where would it be
    located on the site?
    Now that I feel comfortable finding and playing “horn” lines on the guitar (etudes and examples) I want to start from the “beginning” again and run thru the website with this new understanding and ability. This will help me to hear the final step, as I understand it, hearing the “pentatonic pairs” thru the “cycle of 4ths” sequentially as well as jumping from V7 to any other V7 and hearing that
    Thanks for the help and the “site”. But it does pose a special challenge to “guitarists”


    • Yo …. The Beginners Corner on the JE web site has the same basic content as presented in the Jazz Anyone Book 1. The Rhythm Pack Lessons are also replications of the Jazz Anyone…? Guitar book. The Intermediate Corners is Jazz Anyone, Book 2. The The Pentatonic Power Pack is the Jazz Anyone, Book 3. Dig in a have some fun.

  36. roberto sassoni says:

    Dear Willie
    i can’t open any video of those “In the shed” !!
    Can you help me ??

  37. Richard says:

    Hi Willie, Are you doing any concerts on Orcas during the holidays. I’m going to be on San Juan Island & would love to hear any event that might be going on.
    Thanks, Richard

  38. John Seyerle says:

    Hi Willie,
    It would be great in the ear training if we could split the patterns up in order to hear one over and over easily to figure it out, then move on to the next one.

  39. Jgenuine says:

    Hello Willie, i play trumpet……i have a rough time trying to practice….what are you suggestion……and what is your opinion on buzzing on my mouthpiece to keep my chops up?

  40. Dave Okamoto says:

    New here. Where do I find the print study material for Another You? (For Bb instruments?)


  41. Gregory says:

    I thinks I’ve missed something somehow. Below the Lady Bird lessons another student asks about the Pentatonic Pairs. Your explanation went right over my head! And what is GPS – just a slang for negotiating changes or what? Sorry if I’m being thick but I don’t see where the numbers come from at all. Is there another lesson somewhere on your site that explaining Pentatonic Pairs?
    And thanks very much for making your knowledge available! What a blessing!

  42. Gregory says:

    Hey Willie,
    OR should I say YO? Anyway, I would like to work on LadyBird but can’t remember where you introduce the concept of Pentatonic Pairs. Where can I find that explanation?
    Thanks very much!

  43. Alex Cruz says:

    Hi Willie,

    When I first started using the site, all the videos loaded very fast; there were no delays with viewing the 6-Pack Lesson 1. But recently, the video just freezes up and it take too long to go through the lesson. Is there something wrong with your server? Is it due to a lot of students trying to view the video in the evening (C.S.T. 9 p.m.)?

  44. Paul says:

    Hi Willie,

    I have a slow web connection. It really takes a long time to access your site.

    Can I download the material as I need it and not have connect to your site to play-along?



  45. Bob Johnson says:

    Hi Willie!

    Good stuff here. Hey, listen, I just signed up for the free subscription cause I was at a forum (used to be a pdf link on it) that described the pentatonic pairs. Since I’m a free subscriber, is there a description somewhere on the site for me? (I have a rough idea from the vid but I guess I’m not entirely sure how you apply it to teaching/training and such.)

    You should know that I’m visually impaired. I can hardly see sheet music. But your vids look great.

  46. Richard says:

    Hi Willie,
    I was really sorry to hear about your lost trumpet. If whoever has it knows how much you have given to your students through your horn they would return it immediately.
    Thanks, Richard

  47. Mano says:

    Hi Uncle Willie,

    no reply here, just want to tell you how sorry I feel for for the loss of your trumpet. Unfortunately none musicians haven’t got the slightest idea, what an instrument can mean to somebody.

    Greetings from Germany

  48. Dave Bones says:

    Willie, I just saw your video about the missing trumpet. Your love for the horn is evident, and can see your pain, even though you always do a great job of staying positive in your approach. Thoughts and prayers for a good conscience of anyone that might find the horn. Thanks for sharing the music as always.

  49. Alan Howell says:

    Sorry to be pedantic but you have two meanings of “your” & “you’re” in the Intermediate free lesson section but spelt the same. It reads: “Hearing where you’re melody is going when you’re improvising is important.” Should be “your” & “you’re” respectively.

  50. Richard says:

    Hey Willie,
    I’m going to do the descending chromatics correctly. like in the tunes to know. Just to recap, you descend chromatically until you get to the pentatonic pair, then it’s a whole step, then on until you get to another key center, right?
    thanks, Richard

    • Close! You descend chromatically until you hit diatonic tone or target tone and you keep descending with the whole steps and chromatics until you land where you want to change the line or melody. The Pent Pairs aren’t a real consideration in this process. It takes a lot of practice and ;listening. The examples are the best teachers.

  51. David Fairweather says:

    Hey Willie, do you have anything on your site to facilitate students &/.or teachers of your method getting together in their local vicinity for mutual study? I live in Santa Monica, CA and think it might be fun and helpful to get together in person with other students or teachers familiar with your method.

  52. Ken says:

    What kind of mouthpiece do you use ?

  53. Bill Griggs says:

    Willie, I stopped playing trumpet about 30 years ago and recently started again. I never had music theory, I know you are a good musician but I have major trouble with all the chord talk. I play trumpet so I not used to chords like a piano player would be. Is there a simple chart or table that explains what some of the terms are? Even the free beginners course starts out talking to you as if you already know what a pentatonic pair is. I can read music but have mostly played by ear or imitation. Here is a sample I made. Is this course for me?

    • Yo Bill …. You still have it, dude! Actually, jI you want to start organizing and developing your playing, it starts with the vocabulary or the licks and melodies you select and play. Theory is a part that process as it applies to simper things like the Pentatonic Pairs that are 4 note melodies that work like GPS through the chords in a tune. They are also basic jazz vocabulary. If you go through the explanations of how they are formed in the Free Lesson or in lesson 8 of the Intermediate Corner, it doesn’t take much to understand enough theory to get the job done. The Players Resource also has a lot of helpful info about the process. Good luck!

      • Bill Griggs says:

        Thanks Willie, I really like listening to you play. I will ask the wife for your course for my 25th anniversary present. I would really like to be able to play the sounds I hear in my head and know what to call them.

  54. Seth Dantzie says:

    Hi Willie, i notice a payment can be taken every month, does that mean when the figure for the lifetime membership arrives you stop taking payments and i continue to be a full member? or do one still have to continue payments?

    • Seth, if you sign up for the monthly membership plan we’ll continue to charge you each month until you cancel… even after you reach the lifetime membership price. If you think you want to be a member for that long (over 18 months) you’re better off signing up for the lifetime membership from the start. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  55. ignacio jimenez says:

    Can you install English subtitles on the videos?.
    This would be a great help for people who can read English but speak and understand English, is more complicated.
    The automated captions “you tube” is great.
    Thank you very much.

  56. Gregory says:

    The first recording on your About Willie page you made with a couple of guys I played a lot with here in Las Vegas – Jimmie Guinn and Tom Montgomery. Great players that I hadn’t thought about in some time and you sounded GREAT on that cut!
    One of the trumpet faculty at the Aebersold Camp mentioned that he was learning a lot by studying online with you. What is your availability and what would it cost for me to do that?

    • Wow … Lot’s of good memories with Tom, Jimmy and Carl Fontana who was also on the Belletto group. Carl ended up in Vegas as a result of our job there when the band broke up. As to the lessons, I don’t really do that except for a few people like Ansyn that was helping me with a some school project. If you’re not a member on my web site, I would suggest that you check it out while you’re at camp. Tell Ansyn to spend a little time with you going over some of the particulars … tell him I’ll take it off his bill. LOL Have a great week.

  57. Ditto on the finger fatigue! And then I got to think up an answer. 😀

  58. David Ward says:

    … could this page possibly display with the newest comments at the top?
    Thanks, David.

  59. Yo Wayne …

    There is no contract. It’s on a month by mont basis. Just can cancel your membership when you’ve learned everything on the website …LOL. Join before June 1, when our membership goes to $20 per month.

  60. wayne jones says:

    Willie if sign up for the $15.00 dollar a month plan, how long is the contract for? can I cancel at any time.

  61. elvina jones says:

    Thanks Willie – I hear ya –

    Also, thank you so much for all the great vocabulary you offer in each lesson . I must have a hundred pounds of books about learning jazz and most are sooooo intellectualized with very little vocabulary to hear and emulate. You are unique! …and your materials so valuable – so happy I found you when I was looking for information about pentatonic scales on YouTube –

  62. Yo Elvina … That’s a good question and my first response is, to use it carefully. It’s like any other time you play the 4th in a diatonic melody, you get on and off of it very quickly. With the paris, on the 4th and 5th, however, they are very useful when the tune moves up a 4th harmonically like in the the blues, rhythm tunes in the A section and many more.

  63. elvina jones says:

    Hi Willie – hope you’re having a good night –

    How do you use the 3 pentatonic scales in any major key?

    I can understand how to use the pentatonic pairs built from the tonic pentatonic scale over the ii – V – I of any tonal center i.e. 2-3, 5-6, 1-2 –

    When and how do we use pentatonic pairs built from the 4th or 5th scale degree of any major scale?

    Thank you Uncle Willie 🙂

  64. Yo Ray …. At one time, I did have some issues with my left hand holding the trumpet. This was way back when I was playing many hours a day. I alway rest my elbow on something when I play now. My right hand is still good to go. Hope it clears up soon.


  65. Ray Leslie says:

    Hi Willie,

    Have you ever had any wrist/hand pain as a result of playing? I’m currently battling some myself.


  66. Colin says:

    Hi Willie, I am having trouble with my scoops! (and doits)

    I dont seem to be able to get the smooth gliss that my betters seem to be able to achieve say going from middle C to C above the stave. I know that you need to half valve and blow hard, but on the way up I seem to have problems where the tone goes over the intruments harmonics and I get a ‘step’ in the gliss. Anything I need to look out for here for a smooth gliss ?

  67. Ronald DuPree says:

    Uncle Willie, I know the value and benefits of transcribing from the old cats, but when I first started transcribing years ago, i always had trouble trying to move what I learned into another environment. For example, I always asked myself how would I apply a blues lick to a ballad, and vice versa. I was self-taught for the most part, and the private lessons that I received didn’t seem to help much. So basically, I just picked up small fragments here and there and worked with those. But my question is, do you advocate transcribing a whole piece, rather than just working on small fragments like I do. Is one system better than the other. Thanks, Uncle Willie!!!

    • Yo Ronald …
      Transcribing at some point in time is a must for any serious musician. When you hear something you like, transcribe it on the page or in your head. Eventually, I would recommend transcribing what you like and want to use, bits and pieces are fine.

  68. Yo Roberto … If I had transcriptions of the ear traing, you would be most welcome to use them. However, I improvise these examples like I would actually play. The patterns at the end of Lesson 3 are primarily based on the b7 setups with the appropriate diminished scales. However, I do use some scale and chordal vocabulary from the minor keys this exercise goes through..

  69. roberto sassoni says:

    Hello Willie
    can i have a transcription of your beautifull “ear training” at the end of the 3° lesson of “diminished vocabolary” ?
    Are you playng only diminished scales in that tracks ?
    Thank you

  70. brian de Lima says:

    Hi Willie
    Just wondering, if the cats like bud , bird , prez, Tatum, Barry Harris, used oral traditions and “Aural ” learning from lifting and/or attending gigs, jam sessions, wouldn’t that, plus a strong classical background in harmony yield more favorable results to understanding the music’s rhetoric and syntax ? I would think this was the way they developed the language , so why not go in that direction
    vs institutionalized and formulated pedagogy?

    • Well, let’s put it this way, yes, you’re correct about the pedagogical aspects … and, when you find a cool club, that doesn’t allow smoking and the cats are playing Ornithology and the tunes we all learned from, I’m there Dude. Unfortunately, I’ll probably be dead and in bebop heaven.

  71. Ronald DuPree says:

    Willie Thomas (aka) JAZZ PROPHET!!!!!!
    Been reviewing the Six Pack material again. Such good material and even your simplest ideas are hip and swing to the highest level. That by itself gives me the confidence that I can improve in this music.If it was up to me, you’d get the Pulitzer Prize for teaching, explaining, and illustrating jazz that makes it accessible to use mere jazz mortals. Thanks for everything.

  72. David Sherman says:


    Thanks for such a great resource. I’m already using pentatonic pairs in my improvisation. I have a question that is unrelated to jazz theory. I read in your blog that you had played with trombonist Willie Wilson in your early career. Willie died very young after making only one recording. I have a website where I have space dedicated to Willie Wison. Do you have any rememberences of him that you could share that I might be able to use in this dedication.

    • Hi David Yes, I remember “Silly Willie” Wilson as he was often called by his friends in those days. He wasn’t stationed at Ft McPherson during most of the time I was there. I think he might have finally been transfered there at the end of his draft time. I remember jamming with him at an all black VFW club when he would come to Atlanta on occasional weekends. He was a killer player and everyone always tried to get him into the HQ band in Atlanta when Wynton was there. He might have finally gotten there while Phineas Newborn was there. That was about when I left. Willie was a really a nice, somewhat shy,but funny as hell super soul R.I.P Brother Wilson.

  73. Hi Steve … Well, in all of my years in music, I’ve never done the cruise ship shuffle. There are agencies that book player for those cruises, I’m sure. You might contact one of the cruise lines for info. The American Federation of Music, our union, would also be another possible source. I would hit the Google link with some pertinent questions! Good luck!

  74. Steve Vetter says:

    Hello Uncle Willie. I must tell you that you are one unique individual and I happen to love that about you. Very nice player I might add.
    My question is this………I have been playing guitar for a good 30-35 years and still don’t consider myself a jazz guitarist. I would like to know if you have any experience or advice regarding working in the cruise ship field. I can read a little and have done about a year of college study in music but I’m a little intimidated by the “Big Band Chart” reading type of gig’s. What advice could you share with me here? You seem to be well rounded musician and I’m guessing that you have been exposed to almost all dimensions of the working musician. I really want to give this a shot and maybe start a new life as a full-time musician.
    I have gigged in coffee houses with the jazz trio/ quartet lineup but not in any truly high pressure situations and I have always been a working man that loves to play but not a working musician.
    Any info or insights from you would be greatly appreciated. Thank you sir.
    Steve Vetter (up here in, Vancouver – Western Canada just above Seattle)

  75. Ronald DuPree says:

    Uncle Willie, I’ve been working with your system a little over a month now. I like the way you lay everything out, and at least now I can see the forest instead of just looking at the trees. However, I can say that I am improving, slowly but surely. I don’t know for sure if it’s the system I’m working with, or if it’s due to the fact that I’ve been practicing for about an hour a day every day. I’ve also found hearing the changes clearly to a piece helps me put the pent. pairs in place and come up with a half-way decent solo. Anyway, thanks for everything. And for me THE SHED IS WHERE IT’S AT!!!!

  76. david jackson says:

    Still looking at the Making Music series Trailin On level 2. The 16th note runs you do at the top of the scales sound terrific. You call it Be-O Be-O BE. There are two phrases one sounds like an embellishment off the beat and the other running down the bebop scale 8,7,b7,6. But I can’t quite figure it out. What exactly are those two runs?

    • Well David … not trying to be ambiguous or plead ignorance, but, unless I took my pencil and sat down with some manuscript paper, which you can do, i couldn’t tell you, because they are not planned per se. There is a particular succession of half notes and wholes in every scale, and their arrangement depends on what your target note is or just how it sounds with the harmony. Everything fits somewhere. The bebop scale is a dominant scale (Mixolydian) with on extra chromatic at the to, that where it starts. Listening to Bird helps you get the sound of how these things work. Once you get it you can hear it play it, but, you can’t totally put it into a system.

  77. Yo … Good question. The Pentatonic Pairs provide a wide range of vocabulary potential in the Modal or one key tunes. Here’s a link to the Pentatonic Power Pack that’s lays it all out in that Unit.

  78. mark koch says:

    Hello Willie. I am classical pianist but lately i become fascinated with jazz. I find your approach very clear, and working for improvisation straight away. I use your approach playing right hand. I imitate your trumpet:-) Every thing is clear when you can join melody with pairs. But – what if you have no pairs to join or just one sound is the same in key changes? Do you just play a good music or you have system like pairs? Best wishes from Poland and Scotland. Marek

  79. Richard says:

    Hi Uncle Willie,
    I was having problems in really incorporating this approach into my real time improvisation. I was kind of doing the lessons, but then when it came time to play, kind of kept reverting back to old habits. What I’ve been doing lately is going to Abersold real book tunes, & concentrating on getting that chain of melodies started up. Also I’ve been finding that playing allot be ear I have been getting locked in better to the penatonic pair setups
    almost more effectively than by looking at the chords.

    • You’re starting to discover the real truth in the music. It’s about hearing it and playing it. The chords and scales are only guide posts. Hearing those Pent Pairs moving in all the tunes, is the goal Then learning to develop and layer those Pent pairs until they disolve into the bebop is the quest.

  80. david jackson says:

    Willie, I am looking at the Making Music series and have a question about chord tones. This adds some different vocabulary in addition to the pentatonic pairs which are the basis of your system. My question is when I play 1357 up and down it just sounds like arpeggios- there is no jazz in it. When you use chord tones do you use any specific patterns to make it sound good.

    • Ronald DuPree says:

      To David, this may help a little. Instead of playing the chord tones always beginning on 1, play the chord beginning on different tones. (ie, 5317, 3175, 1735, etc). Also you could use diferent rhythmic values for each note to make it sound like a song. (Bird used arpeggios to great effect in many of his songs. To begin, you could use the rhythm drills from Unit 1, Lesson 1 as a starting point. Hope this helps.

  81. Wendell Gault says:

    How do I change the card I’m using for payment? I haven’t been able to find any links on the site to do this. Thanks.

  82. Yo Ronald … In Progressive jazz or “bebop” it is quite common to end phrases on notes re not main cord tones. they might be the 9th, 11, or even altered notes like a b5. This is one of the things that gave this form of jazz unusual sounds that were called “hip”.

  83. Ronald DuPree says:

    Mr. Willie Thomas, thanks for all that you do. I am learning so much from these lessons. But one quick question, I noticed that in examples 8.1-8.4 in the Intermmediate corner, many of the examples ended on non-chord tones. I know that most ideas usually resolve to a chord tone, but is ending on a non-chord tone common in jazz? Thanks,

  84. Yo … thanks Johannes … and a great big Ho-Ho-Ho- to you and yours. All is good!

  85. Johannes Raber says:

    Merry Christmas, Willie, and a peaceful and happy new year. I am one for your subscribers from January on.

    Best regards from Germany!

  86. Ronald DuPree says:

    Uncle Willie, I have a small dilemma that maybe you can solve. As of my skill level, I in the intermediate range, but I still have some work to do in the beginner’s range also. I know my major, minor, dominant7 scales and chords, but if I want to apply your system to Satin Doll (or any other song from Vol. 54, what type of practice patterns should I use. Or better yet, is there a specific lesson plan that I should go to first. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Ronald … I think you’ll be fine if you just keep working between the Beginner and Intermediate Corner. You’re going to pick up a lot of vocabulary ideas from this work. Lesson 8 in the Intermediate Corner presents the basic concepts for developing jazz vocabulary with the Pentatonic Pairs. There’s a special lesson on the Satin Doll changes in Unit 5 of the Pentatonic Power pack, Lesson 6 in the 6-Pack also features Satin Doll changes.
      And if that’s not enough Satin Doll, check out the Making Music and Tune Time for more.

  87. Hector Guerra says:

    I would like to know how I Can download some of your jazz etudes lessons. and the Background music. Please let me know the cost.

  88. Sam Sternfield says:

    Hey Uncle Willie,
    When deciding the tonal center, is there a difference between tonal centers for the chords and the chord progression? In the 2-5-1 progression in C major, does the tonal center go from D to G to C…..or is it simply C throughout……Then when applying pentatonic pairs in the 2-5-1 would the C major pentatonics apply throughout or would it change with the moving tonal centers….

    • Yo Sam …. There are 12 tonal centers. One for each nbote in a chromatic scale. When you divide all 12 notes by ascending 4ths or descending 5ths, you create a series of tonal centers. When you form a major scale on any one of the 12 tonal centers, the 2nd, 5th and Root are all in the same key and are called a II-V-I i that key. When chords are formed on those scale tones, II-minor chord, V dominant chord -I major. chord. The II, the V and the I become the roots or tonal centers for each chord. So, it becomes a secondary relationship. That’s the way that works. Hope that helps!

  89. Tariq abdus-Salaam says:

    Willie,thanks for the free beginners lesson,style and articulation. All I have to do now,is figure out how to apply it to the Guitar. The duration of the life of the notes are different than on breath instruments. I work with a program called Guitar Pro, so it shouldn’t be to difficult to get the hang of it,thanks again!

  90. Wendell Gault says:

    Oops! I think I meant lesson 3, page 3 – “pentatonic pairs around circle of dominant 7ths.” Says “track 1” but ???

  91. Wendell Gault says:

    Hey Willie,

    I appreciate the material you’ve made available and the work that went into it. But I’m confused about what music tracks go with what exercise. I’ve figured out that the track to unit 1, lesson one of the Basic Jazz Language 6-pack is actually track 4 (not track 3 as stated) of the 17 recorded tracks. Up to lesson 2, it’s the next number track after the stated track that is the correct one. But this system breaks down on lesson 3. None of the 17 tracks sounded like they went with Unit 1, lesson 3 – Embellishments, which states “track 1.” You’ve probably already answered this for someone else, but there are too many questions and answers to plow through.

  92. Pete Rabot says:

    Willie, I really like your approach.
    At the end of the FREE LESSON in the players corner, “EAR TRAINING” LISTEN, IMITATE. Are you playing around the circle in a methodical manner?

    • Yo Peter … Playing around the circle of 4ths is exact;y what I’m doing. I’m using simple vocabulary based on the Pentatonic Pairs I introduce in the FREE Lesson. Playing sequentially over the Dominant 7th (V7)a 4th apart is “playing in a methodical manner”. I do throw a couple of 3ds and 7ths into the mix for flavor, you’ll get to those in Lesson 1.

  93. Hey … My guess is that it was a metaphor that she used to describe playing long sustained church chords while they weren’t cooking to get their attention.. Just a guess,

  94. Larry Siden says:

    Hey Willie. This is sort of an oddball question: I was reading an article about Mary Lou Williams. She said that when she wasn’t happy with her rhythm section or thought they weren’t together, she’d start playing “chimes”. I tried to Google “piano chimes” and variations but found nothing but YouTube videos of sentimental Christmas music and I know that’s not what she meant. Is “chimes” a common term used by jazz piano players? Was that simply her way of saying that she played a few sustained chord tones in the upper registers with the right hand? I’m wondering if that’s something I should know about for my guitar playing.

  95. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willie
    I’m speaking up for the Disenfranchised….those of us who must “viualize” before we can “hear”.
    As I understand it this course is based on 2 distinct concepts: (“broadly based”)
    1. melodic pairs as GPS…… (I’ve got that well understood now…thanks to your replies)
    2. the second I’ll just call a system of “Layering”. I’ll explain and please, you correct my thinking as it occurs.

    The most fundamental Pent Pairs are 1.2. (R9) and 5.6 (5/613)
    When you talk about “HEARING the melodic pairs” these 2 are MORE FUNDAMENTAL to your system of “additive color.” If correct than even prior to “visuals” of the Major pentatonic which also includes 2.3. (9.3rd) we must be able to hear this Dual Pentatonic pair “scale” (loosely noted here)
    SCALE required:
    R .9 5. 6. R…etc…for keyboard or guitarist it has to be worked through in all positions.
    1. Then add the 2.3 and we have the Major pentatonic scale
    2. Add (to the original “scale”) the 3 and 5th and we have “guide tone color.
    I think you’ll get my point without all the other “additions of color like leading tones or changes to 6.9 in Blues (Major/Minor)
    3. This appears to me as to how “your system” functions…….but this applies only to the Major II V7 I modality….would this be accurate?

    You have suggested that I should, with my understanding of the Pentatonic pairs GPS , go to the Basic 6 Pack. There is too much shedding to do with in the Intermediate….lessons 10-12 yet. I don’t feel ready yet, there is much of the prerequisite “comfort” not yet attained. But to try to understand what happens after this is “grasped”, can you give me preview “glimpse” into the situations of the MINOR tonalities with its b9.#9/b13…..b5/#11. You mentioned that there are really 5 Pentatonic Pairs and I assume that the additional 2 Pairs will function for Half Dim and Dim and various and sundry other “shades of the Dom 7. My theory and understanding of Chord/scale relationship is quite strong but not as it relates to your Pentatonic Pairs system.

    This course with its incumbent “hard work” is exploding the fretboard for me. Can’t thank you


    • Your getting there. The proper order in considering these layers is this; The first layer is hearing and seeing the 5.6.-1 2. as the GPS that establishes the tonality of a minor, dominant or major chord. When you can find and play this combo in any tune, you know how to get home.

      Adding the 3rd to any set adds color and quality. Embellishing and connecting these Pentatonic Pairs should be the next step. The 2.3. addition makes it more difficult to hear and see where home base is if you add this too quickly. This should be used to help you extend your melody lines with longer approaches to your target tones.
      Some of this will become more clear as you work with the Chromatic Drills.

      The system in the first 2 layers applies to the IIm7-V7-IM7. However, this same construct is used to build vocabulary for the MINOR tonalities with its b9.#9/b13…..b5/#11 and tri tone subs. That will come when you see how the 5.6.-1.2. and the b7 set up (6-pack-Lesson 6 ) is used on the diminished ladder. That’s enough for now.

      Now, it’s time to get into the shed and learn how to play all of this stuff!

  96. Yo Richard … You nailed it dude. This will be a great reference for other peeps with “visual needs”. Thanks. The shed is where it happens!

  97. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willie
    For those with a “visual” instrument. I think this is the most concise and mathematical way of explaining your system.
    ANY 2 note pair can be seen as “someone else’s” 2 note pair on the cycle a 4th or 5th away
    Two note pairs are 1.2….23…56…
    The 1.2 of chord X7 is the 5.6 of Z7 a 4th away
    The 2.3 of chord X7 is the 5.6 of Y7 a 5th away
    The 5.6 of chord X7 can be either a 1.2 or 2.3 of some
    other chord either a 4th or a 5th away DEPENDING
    If the 5.6 of chord X7 is seen as the 1.2 of a chord it is a Y7 a 5th away
    If the 5.6 of chord X7 is seen as the 2.3 of chord it is a Z7 a 4th away.
    That’s why the pentatonic pairs function as the GPS
    Now its time for “shedding” ..visualizing the cross functionality on the guitar will take considerable time
    but now there’s a “map” for me
    Thanks so much

  98. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willie
    You are a patient man. I’m 71 and I wish you could teach me that as well as “pentatonic pairs”…if this next analysis is as perfect…I’ll proceed to Pentatonic Power Pack as requested.
    Looking at the simplest of the BLUES FORMS: I7 IV7 V7
    We must distinquish DIRECTION: Cycle of 4th: Cycle 5th
    F Blues
    I-IV and V7-I utilize the cycle of 4ths (clockwise)
    When F7 goes to Bb7 the “F.G (Root and 9) of F Dual Fx
    as the 5.6/13 of Bb7.
    When C7 goes to F7 the notes C.D (Root .9) of C7 “Pivot” to the 5:13 of the F7
    IV7 returns to I7 and when I7 goes up to V7-utilize cycle of 5th (counterclockwise)
    Unlike before NOW
    B7 it is the 9th and 3rd..C D (not R:2) which “pivots” to 5th and 13th of F7
    F7 it is the 9th and 3rd (G:A) which “pivots to 5th and 13th of the C7
    Is this why you introduce the 3rd of the Dominant early on?
    Last motion is V7 going down to IV7….it seems you use
    4th/11 : 5th of C7 ( F:G) which “pivots” to the 5:13/6 of
    Question: (Reference 9.1 Chaining Pent Pairs in Blues Form)
    Each “transition” to new chord in this example starts on
    Upbeat of Beat 3 and “anticipates” the chord change on the upbeat of Beat 4. Do you hear the “pivot” notes
    from the perspective of the “chords left” or the “destination chord”. This is a generic teaching example. Further examples are not this clear. Please explain
    When and where the transition notes (R:2/2:3 etc) are
    applicable for use in the 4 Beat Bar? For me if I were to use them to early I’d hear the change at Beat 3 of old Bar rather than beat 1 of the next bar (dropping 2 beats)
    Question of keeping proper time. My outside guess is that is what the Bass player is for…but my experience gigging is usually just in a duo situation (guitar and horn)
    Thanxs and now off to Pentatonic power Pack

    • Yo Richard … Direction is a consideration only as you began to navigate the system. The idea of what beat the chords fall on is related to that sense of gravity needed in establishing tonality. You can’t micro manage your melody lines as you improvise. You must learn to move in and out of the harmonic matrix like a “little mouse” darting from corner to corner. As long as you grab a little piece of each chord and play with good time, which has to do with your eight not feel, you’re cool. Your listeners will be happy and so will you whan you play with creative freedom. Actually, 3rds and 7th are more about color than function.

  99. Perfect analysis. I coined the term Pentatonic Pair as a way to describe the whole steps formed on the 2 3 – 5 6 – 1 2 of any Major Pentatonic Scale. There are 3 Major Pentaronics in every Major scale. When they are viewed on a circle of ascending 4ths, a melody chain is formed through the tonal centers or keys. Sounds like you’re ready for the Pentatonic Power Pack and the 6-Pack in the Player’s Corner.

  100. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willy,
    At last a Concise question:
    Key C Maj ..II V7 I progression:
    The MUST Pentatonic pair for IIm is DE
    The MUST pentatonic pair for V7 is GA
    The MUST pentatonic pair for CMj is CD
    Really just the Root and 2nd (9th) of each chord
    Each Pair can sound anywhere within the measure but . to learn to hear it …best to sound it at beginning of measure. Correct.
    The Blues form there are 2 Pentatonic pairs available:
    (9.1 Dev Pent Pairs) Either one or both can be played
    They have equal status . Each is just an alternate path to access the next chord


  101. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willie,
    I have so many questions I do not know where to start. I will try to separate my thoughts out so others might find them useful. My thoughts: And my actions: I’ve perused the entire course (My personal strong points Comping and rhythm, strong theory basis of ALL scalar forms/modes in Major, Melodic Minor and less so in Harmonic Minor) but an “infantile” ability to “solo with fluid lines ” between harmonic changes. That is exactly what your course is attempting to teach thru the pentatonic pairs. As you suggested I’m starting : Intermediate Lesson 7 and 8 …my current concentration. I’m looking for the”simplest” format to understand How to use pentatonic pairs and am looking at the IIm V7 I and Blues format. My later questions will address these, but before going there in “separate later questions” :
    I’d like to have you comment on my “observations” , if you would be so kind. This would probably only
    pertain to guitarists and I’m not sure how many guitarists would even attempt to maneuver this course.
    PERTAINING to the GUITAR 1. Playing each musical example on guitar requires playing everything in 5-7 positions each with their own specific and different fingerings, thereby making the process horribly slow and tedious, sometimes “almost” undoable (like 16th notes phrases moving across strings and between positions).
    2. Difference between learning on an actual “horn” ( single note) and guitar (polyphonic and tuned
    inconsistantly in usual 4ths but also 3rds) …a horn requires just “hearing” and “duplicating” (w/
    appropriate embouchure) while the guitar must be visually learned, and in “multiple” superimposed
    visions ( unlike the consistant keyboard) BEFORE one can actually sequence a series of notes that one
    might “easily sing by ear”. The learning process and the speed of learning seems TOTALLY different,
    almost diametrically opposed, unless , of course your are super talented with perfect pitch.
    3. A “horns” melodies are closer to “vocalizing” and sound so much richer with variety and timing
    differences that make them “standout” musical instrument. While the guitar in most peoples hands,
    merely strings a “sequence of notes that fits either ” inside” or “outside” the harmonic scale indicated by the chord but has much less melodic “pizzaz”/memorability and singability. It’s just seems to me so much harder to create a “line” by ear on guitar.
    4. However, my “slogging through” your course has made the most profound change in viewpoint. I must
    now look at the guitar fretboard as “pieces of scales”/pentatonic pairs. I must “separate out specific note PAIRS” within the scale forms.”
    5. This view changes “melodic linear contour” . For me (and for many guitarists) we are like a “short distance runner”running on a “square track” straight ahead till he coming to the next turn (harmonic change) ….again straight ahead till the next turn ….just running the notes up and then down the appropriate scale. The Notes “fit” but its “not music”. I hope this course will change that to the horn player who is like someone running in a “maze” changing direction in “short quick bursts constantly. He is in “micro” control of melodic contour. He creates his own way within the maze and somehow comes out the exit ( end of the tune). The connection between what he hears and what he plays is a very short line. There has been a profound change in “outlook”. An ability to know where notes are as never before, and line contour and note inflection have made remarkable progress in a very short time, but with great effort.
    Thanks so very much.
    This is enough to digest for now. Thanks again for taking the time and having the patience. I’ll be back with real questions after your thoughts.

    • Well … Let me start with this idea … musical instruments were invented to make music; wind, string, keyboard, racks with metal strips, theremins and even the percussion instruments were created to make music. Each group of instruments has it’s own physical properties for making this music. Guitars and keyboards have the unique luxury of playing several notes at the same time, however, this opportunity comes with a price that requires special consideration and symmetric orientation. Certain systems are involved in playing melodies on all instruments and one must calculate the best individual approach.

      Learning to play by ear may be the best way to do this, as it seems to be the most natural. I have always been an ear player, even though I’m pretty well versed in music theory. Ultimately, to improvise smoothly through a tune or a set of chord changes, you have to be able to play what you hear. Your fingers have to respond to and find the notes you’re creating in your mind. This is an individual quest. I would assume, that on the guitar you would have to internalize the fret board in such a way as to transfer that image instantaneously to your fingers …. not to mention the coordination needed to fret, pick the notes and swing.

      The Pentatonic Pairs would seem to be a perfect venue for this process, as they form a fingerboard matrix that serves as a GPS system for moving the tonal centers as basic melody chains through the chord changes. Possibly becoming a constant reference in developing, adding color tones and connection and embellishments. From there, it’s a matter of conditioning and internlizing these patterns. Shed Time!

  102. Anders …. Absolutely! If you’re trying to develop your right hand chops for improvisation, it’s perfect for all instruments, including the piano. There’s also a lot to learn and play on chord voicings and accenting patters with the entire rhythm section. There are 24 Lessons in the Rhythm Pack correlated with the Beginners and Intermediate Corner. So jump on in and grab a fist full of bebop!

  103. Anders Wihk says:

    YoYo! Would you recommend your program for pianoplayers?

  104. Richard J Kosch says:

    Yo Willie
    Thanks so much for the time and answer. I have been looking for guide tone and see none. The beginning of my confusion.
    If I understand your methodology…that is the whole point of your system. The chains in the initial learning don’t have guide tone because this allows them with “additional” tones added later to then commit the harmony to : Major, minor or Dominant. Later with the addition of other tone…like the 3rd for a dominant do we then begin to specify the chord quality.
    The first 2 pentatonic pairs are just “signposts” that help us keep place within the “cycle”?
    Am I seeing things correctly now?

    Thanx greatly

    • Yo … You are totally on it , Dude. This is why the Pentatonic pairs are so cool. They are the GPS for the diatonic galaxy! So, explore the harmonic Universe now in your Pentatonic Space craft. You’re going to love the Diminished 3 Pack. Cruise on!

  105. Richard J Kosch says:

    Hi Willie
    I apologize for the detailed list of questions, but am having a hard time getting this clear. Instrument is guitar so my hearing is at the 3rd grade level but “brain” is to far ahead of my ears. Here goes. Be patient and hear me out. I worked thru Basic 6 Pack lessons 1 2 and have begun 3.
    Lesson 1 : F Maj Scale has 3 (THREE) Pentatonic Pairs: [GA/23] [CD/56] and [FG/R 2] . The FG is a 3rd Pair.
    This is explained Video Lesson 1 : 2: 18min
    The Dominant of the F Maj scale is C7 : Its notes are derived (SOURCE) from the F Maj : C D E F G A Bb C When numbered from the context of a C7 Blues this becomes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    Lesson 1 Video references ONLY DOMINANT 7th moving thru the complete (12 Keys) “Cyclical of 4ths” and how to do it using the Pent Pairs…….but

    Simple Blues: Moves differently : I7 to IV7 moves cycle of 5ths: IV7 to I7 cycle of 4ths: I7 to V7 not sure how to describe this “jump” and :V7 to I7 is the cycle of 5ths… You describe a Blues Key of F7 : As you reference the chains you “outline 3 Pent Pairs: [FG/ I7]:[CD /V7] : [FG/IV7]

    Question #1
    Movement differs between the 2 above song forms: How does that difference modify which “chain” is functional in the transition between Dominants? You make that quite clear in Lesson 2 with the Progression : iim V7 I Maj. , butNOT here

    Question 2:
    Teach Video Lesson 1: PANEL @ 7:40min …….”Pent Pair + 3rd ”
    Dominant HERE is “C7” … C7 ‘s SOURCE: G Maj Scale : But you do not utilize that SOURCE scale
    (G Maj) but define Pentatonic Pairs from the aspect of the C7 : [GA/56]..[CD/12] and you add the “E” as “new vocabulary” but the “E” is just half of the 3rd Pentatonic pair : [DE/23] already there
    My confusion here is : Why make a separate case for the “E” if there are “3” pentatonic pairs from the C 7 (The only difference I can fathom : Is previously we made reference to 3 Pent Pairs but within the MAJOR scale context and here we make reference to the DOMINANT context)
    1. The “E” is a Guide tone a “critical” sound for definition but why must we “ADD” it, when it is there already.

    Question 3….which is still really part of the above confusion
    1. How do we “retrive” or define Pentatonic Pairs ? Does it depent on CONTEXT/ Song form
    2. In Diatonic Harmony (Lesson 2) the Major scale of the : iim V7 I Maj….Only “3” Pentatonic Pairs define ALL of the 3 chords: 3. Blues Form: It seems you look to EACH SEPARATE Dominant chord to define the Pent Pairs. Is this correct.
    If so then would there be different number of “chain” between the 3 distinct Dom chords?

    Thanks and hope you can clarify. Even without total clarification I’m getting great insight into thinking differently. I know all these scales (All Majors and all their modes : All Mel Minor and all there modes from anywhere on the neck.) but I’ve never seen how any of them overlay “within” the framework of the Pentatonic Scales.The real simple and easy to hear Scales.
    The Pentatonics are the telescopic core from which to see “outside” into the “complex scales.. I’ve been on the “outside” and been trying to look “in”. This has really opened my eyes and for the first time my ears.

    Thank you for the course and in advance for your patience to “weeding” through my questions.

    • Yo Richard …

      I’ll try to bring a little clarification. Your questions are similar to many who have never realized there is an easier way. Playing music is the real challenging. These Pentatonic Paris serve as a GPS system to help you find and keep your place in the music. Once you understand the concept, it beomes a matter of how skillful you become embellishing and connecting these pairs with chromatics, then using them as set ups to conquer the altered vocabulary with the diminished ladder..

      I’ve inserted my answers into your questions below:

      Lesson 1 : F Maj Scale has 3 (THREE) Pentatonic Pairs: [GA/23] [CD/56] and [FG/R 2] . The FG is a 3rd Pair.
      This is explained Video Lesson 1 : 2: 18min
      The Dominant of the F Maj scale is C7 : Its notes are derived (SOURCE) from the F Maj : C D E F G A Bb C When numbered from the context of a C7 Blues this becomes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
      Lesson 1 Video references ONLY DOMINANT 7th moving thru the complete (12 Keys) “Cyclical of 4ths” and how to do it using the Pent Pairs…….but

      Simple Blues: Moves differently : I7 to IV7 moves cycle of 5ths: IV7 to I7 cycle of 4ths: I7 to V7 not sure how to describe this “jump” and :V7 to I7 is the cycle of 5ths… You describe a Blues Key of F7 : As you reference the chains you “outline 3 Pent Pairs: [FG/ I7]:[CD /V7] : [FG/IV7]

      Question #1
      Movement differs between the 2 above song forms: How does that difference modify which “chain” is functional in the transition between Dominants? You make that quite clear in Lesson 2 with the Progression : iim V7 I Maj. , butNOT here

      1-Answer …. Actually, the dominant cycle isn’t really a song form. It’s a system that gives the sound of the V7 a feeling of perpetual motion when it moves up a 4th or down a 5th.. That b7 just keeps leading you on though the cycle. The Blues is a song form, based on that movement. What makes the traditional blues form so compelling is that all 3 chords are V7 chords that always sound like the are moving and contain the minor blues scale. They move up a 4th and back to the tonic, however, in the 9th measure, the V7 on the 5th jumps across the tonic to the V7 on the 4th, then back to Tonic. Is as simple as that. Your ear keeps telling you that home base is in the middle.

      Question 2:
      Teach Video Lesson 1: PANEL @ 7:40min …….”Pent Pair + 3rd ”
      Dominant HERE is “C7” … C7 ‘s SOURCE: G Maj Scale : But you do not utilize that SOURCE scale
      (G Maj) but define Pentatonic Pairs from the aspect of the C7 : [GA/56]..[CD/12] and you add the “E” as “new vocabulary” but the “E” is just half of the 3rd Pentatonic pair : [DE/23] already there
      My confusion here is : Why make a separate case for the “E” if there are “3” pentatonic pairs from the C 7 (The only difference I can fathom : Is previously we made reference to 3 Pent Pairs but within the MAJOR scale context and here we make reference to the DOMINANT context)
      1. The “E” is a Guide tone a “critical” sound for definition but why must we “ADD” it, when it is there already.

      2-Answer … Basically, there are no 3rds in a Pentatonic Pair until you add them. This makes them work with a Major, Minor or Dominant chord. The 3rds are added as you need them for color.

      Question 3….which is still really part of the above confusion
      1. How do we “retrive” or define Pentatonic Pairs ? Does it depent on CONTEXT/ Song form

      3 -Answer …. A Pentatonic Pair is a term I coined for any set of whole steps formed in the Pentatonic scale. When these pairs are organized symmetrically on the roots of a Major, Minor or Domnant 7th chord they form this magic melody chain that moves systematically through the keys and defines the harmonies.
      As you will discover, there are 5 sets of Pentatonic Pairs in every major scale. 3 of them define the IIm7/V7/IM7. Check Lesson 8, Intermediate Corner where the pairs are first introduced in on key!

      3. Blues Form: It seems you look to EACH SEPARATE Dominant chord to define the Pent Pairs. Is this correct.

      3.-B .. Answer… That’s correct, however, the 3 together also defines the blues form. That’s a bit abstract, but, true.

      If so then would there be different number of “chain” between the 3 distinct Dom chords?

      Answer – No! One chain fits all.

  106. alex gordon says:

    Hi Willie
    I am a trumpeter in rural Herefordshire, England. May I say I have enjoyed having a free 10 day introduction and will be signing up and that you are, to me, like an angel with a cycle of fifths halo!
    I am trying to find a way to make sense of diminished scales. I have, in the past looked at them as whole tone,half tone scales but have found this a little limiting. I like the idea you have put across in lesson one of the diminished 3 pack that you can learn a scale (although the scale has too many notes for me to make sense of in terms of altered notes) and then relate it to the 4 degrees of the dim arpeggio. So what i am finding most useful is to look at the dom chord, take the b seven note and then form the scale from the blues scales of this and the tritone. Is this a sound approach? Thanks

    • Yo Alex … That works. Once you take the diminished scale out of the symmetric category and mix i with that dominant, you’re in the altered tone world, When you play a diminished scale (whole step first) off of the b7 fo a dominant, you hit the b9, #9 and b11. So, when you move that up and sown the diminished ladder you cover the gambit of altered sounds, Same with using the blues scale notes, The b7 set up in lesson 6 of the 6 pack is helpful.

      • Herman van Haaren says:

        Where is the so called “Altered Scale” on this website, which is constructed of 7 notes?
        Untill this day I never saw anyone use the term of a b11 on common jazz theory.
        b9, #9, #11, b13 Yes! b11???

        A Diminished Scale is a 8 note scale of consequently one note followed by a half step, followed by a whole step, and so on giving a symmetry. As also a Whole Tone scale gives a symmetry.

        In the Tonality of C the Dominant Chord is G7 and the belonging Diminished Scale is: g / as / bes / b / c# / d / e / f / to reach g again a octave higher. Now, when I put this scale starting on the b7 of G7 which is f, and starting from f with a whole step, then I get 3 altered notes on the Dominant 7 chord. They are the ab (b9 of G7), the bb or b flat (#9 of G7) and the c# or db (#11 or Tritonus of G7).

        Maximum altered notes in a Dominant 7 chord is 4. The so called “Altered Scale” has all of them. In the Major Tonality of C, and so on the Dominant 7 chord G7, the altered scale is constructed of the Minor Melodic scale a half step higher, so Ab Melodic Minor, giving of G7 the b9, the #9, the #11 and the b13.

        Can I find anything on this on this website? Thank you in advance. Be well, Herman

  107. Well … Hopefully, they will be posted soon. My web manager has been very busy and hasn;t had the opportunity to get them online. Stay tuned

  108. james suitte says:

    Hi Willie,
    Where can I find the 167 etudes recorded?
    Thanks in advance, James Suitte

  109. david jackson says:

    Could you check out a question I posted on Tune Time Level 1 about Autumn Leaves. My fault for posting in the wrong place.

  110. jt says:

    willie i found some combo charts on your site now i cant locate them i think they were full page charts or more than the practice charts in click and play etc. maybe i,m mistaken if not where do i locate them thanks

    • Yo … jt …. There are full band arrangements for practice routines on the Classroom Jazz page.
      The New and the Old

      The Full band arrangments and Teacher Worksheets for building classroom routines are now available on the archive page HERE. Here is a list of the new materials for you to check out:

      There is a combo chart for 4 horns at the end of every Beginner and Intermediate Lesson … 24 in all.

  111. Yo Erskine … There is a system using the pentaonic Pairs. It is introduced in the Intermediate Corner, Lesson 8. Check it out, it’s Tree. If you need more help ley me know.

  112. Erskine Gordon says:

    Hi Willie,
    I am trying to use the pentatonic pairs but I seem to be missing something. When you are using the pentatonic pairs, example ( G,A, D,E) are you playing them at random or is there a pattern that you use in the pentatonic pairs when you play music?

    Thanks Willie

  113. BOB CARTER says:


    • Yo Bob …. When I say “.play the roots and 5ths of Tonal Center around the Circle of 4ths/5ths “, I’m referring to playing from the 5th of the dominant chord to the Tonal Center or the root (I). The confusion is that is the interval of a 4th going up and a 5th coming down. Hope that clears things up!

  114. Yo Sergej …. That’s a good question. The entire Toot & Tell vide Overview is missing. I think the download may have gone South with eh video. I’ll have my web master check it out. QWe lost our theme a few weeks back and everything ended up everywhere. Thanks for the heads up!

  115. Sergej van der Vreede says:

    Hi Willie,

    In your Toot and Tell with Mark Prather (Another You), you mention there’s a download of the rhythm matrix. I have’nt been able to find it on the site.

    Could you tell me where to find it?

  116. Yo Al …

    Yo Al ….Tere’s a good example of the Pentatonic Pairs with a II-V-I. Check out Lesson 8.3 in the Intermediate Corner … it’s free.

  117. al theodore says:

    hey Willie. looking over the pentatonic pairs and really intrigued by the lesson, but having a hard time understanding. but feel it could really open up my playing.

    Could you possibly elaborate what you mean by pentatonic pairs on something i’m more familiar with?

    Say a 2-5-1 in C for trumpet

    Any help would be appreciated

  118. Larry Siden says:

    Hey Willie, I started playing “All the Things You Are” from the Real Book w/ my son, and realized that I easily get lost over all the minor ii-V’s. Did I miss something in one of the lessons. I’ve been working through Lesson 6 of the Six-Pack. Except for the Dorian lesson, it all sounds pretty major-y. Will I find it when I go on the the diminished and half-diminished material?

  119. Hey Peter … Glad you’re enjoying the site. Consider yourself lucky you can still hit a high Bb …. I’m 81 and I have to wait for a full moon to play that high anymore. LOL.

  120. Peter Molignano says:

    Hi Willie,

    Your lessons are a lot of fun, especially when I play the backup group nice and loud.
    Lesson 5.2 drove me nuts – seems I found the problem: measure 9 you added a high Bb right off the 1/8rest letting me think I missed something for about 15 times until I caught it. It sounded so much more complicated until I realized the three other notes fall in place on the money, just that extra high Bb — made me pay attention.
    Thanks. Nonetheless, I’m still all thumbs on my trumpet. I’m hoping it’s just the hot weather as my trumpets are all temperamental that way. ciao.

  121. James Flournoy says:

    Hey Willie, Great web site! I wish I’d found it years ago. I might be putting the cart before the horse here, but I’m on lesson 1 working on My Baby-Mama Blues and I’m trying to analyze the transitions from pentatonic pairs to the blues scale and so forth. Is there a rule of thumb that dictates which to play when improvising similar changes? Thanks!

    • Yo James … Glad you’re enjoying the bebop. No, there’s no rules about when you play anything that fits the music at the moment it’s being played. You’re intuition is you’re best guide. Listening to how others, especially Charlie Parker (Bird) takes you through the gamut of emotions in every solo with his sense of when to play what.

  122. frank silvestrini says:

    Hi Willie, great site! I was wondering about the free lesson. It covers quite a bit of stuff, and so I was thinking that perhaps its broken down in subsequent lessons? Clicking on Curriculum it appears its identical no matter what corner we go to, and that’s got me wondering as well?? It looks good, but its hard to really tell what I will get when if join. I was thinking the curriculums would be different for the different “corners”. etc…
    Also, the lesson takes us breifly through the blues pentatonic, but goes then to the pairs. (major pent) Your playing example seems to hover around the Bb Maj pent for the entire blues progression instead of following the pairs for each chord like we did briefly with the blues pent.
    Sorry if i’ve just missed something here. looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

  123. Kevin Brady says:

    Hi Willie…I’m new to all this and just picked up a trumpet at the pawn shop. I am starting on lesson 1 and I’m new to reading too…its a B flat on the staff yet it sounds like a C when you play it? Is that right? Sorry man I was too embarrassed to even ask you that on the page! Thanks

    • Yo Kevin … Asking is good …. you’re correct about the trumpet calling and reading the Bb concert as a C. They both sound the same, however, the trumpet is a transposing instrument that reads its music a whole step above where it sounds in concert pitch.

  124. Larry Siden says:

    Willie, I’m really glad I signed up for this site. Like one respondent already said, it’s the high-school band class I never had!

    Hope you don’t mind me asking something that’s been puzzling me. In Lesson 3 of the Six Pack, the chart melodies call for (and you play on your horn) natural lead tones in the little melodic “circling” embellishments over dominant 7th chords. For example, the last measure of Lesson 3 page 4 calls for a melodic turn-around over a C7 that includes a B-natural as a passing tone. It sounds good, but this is new to me because I was always told (or read) that a B-natural would be an “avoid tone” over a C7 because it clashes with the B-flat in C7. If I play those lead-tones over ii7 and V7 chords (for example, the F# over a G-7 and the B-nat over C7), am I still playing the changes? I don’t want to spoil the harmony if someone else in the band needs to hear that flat 7. Or is this strictly a thing that I should do only in a solo and not in a fill over a singer, for example. Just asking, because I don’t yet have the playing experience that others do.

    • Yo Larry … Yes, leading tones (LT) are common in all types of melodies. They create tension and actually enhance the scale or chord tones they approach. You can use them any time you are improvising even behind a singer. The trick is to not stay on the LT for too long before it resolves. Take a look at the Chromatic Drills … they out this concept to work.

  125. Charles Hines Jr. says:

    Hey Willie, great site you have. I am a comeback player (Trumpet) and just getting into Jazz after recently retiring from the Army. I look forward to starting these lessons with you. Will start at the beginner level. what about learning Jazz and Blues scales?
    Thanks — Chuck

    • Yo Charles … There is enough information on the scales and chords you’ll need to play the lessons. If you want a little more theory check out the Player’s Resource in the Players Corner menu. Good luck with your work.

  126. Yo … I feel most certain that God created Pentatonic Pairs on the 7th day. …. early in the morning …. down by the Riverside …. right after He created triplets!

  127. Dewey k. Sanders says:

    I am really impressed with the material. I started learning to play the horn last year this time and enrolled in a theory course. For the past six months while on a temporary assignment I happened upon an ole Timer who taught me a few tricks.

    I miss the time we spent together and really wished my lessons with him could have continued. My question to you is where do I start? Im 41 years old and after a year, get a little fustrated because it still hasn’t come together yet. I want to get the most out of your material.

    • Well… I’m 81 years old, and it still hasn’t all come together for me yet, and probably never will. That’s kind of the way it goes with something as profound as jazz music. However, if you’ve got regularl time to spend every day and keep at it with some basic routines, you’ll keep getting better.
      If you started in Lesson 1 of the Beginners Corner and just kept playing, you have probably come to some point where you’ve slowed down and had to do some work in the shed on technique, finding patterns and perfecting the way you play them. A lot of time spent listening to great jazz players you like will also feed the beast. When you get into Lesson 8 in the Intermediate Corner, you are starting to really deal with the music and the Immersion Zone, Chromatic Drills and The Vocabulary Workouts will be helpful. Tune Time and Making Music are also ways to start learning how to put tunes together.

      The Pentatonic Power Pack and the 6-Pack will eventually keep your attention and eventually the Diminished and Half Diminished sections will top off your quest. If you check out the Curriculum Overview and Learning Track when you have finished the Intermediate Corner, it will lead the way. Good Luck!

      • Dewey k. Sanders says:

        81??? Wow, quite impressed…. The gentleman I was taking lessons from is named Marty Oberlander. He played in some pretty serious bands in his time. What’s amazing is he is in his mid to late 70’s… And sounds better than anyone I ever heard in person. He loved diminished scales…Thinking about him makes question rather it was the music or his stories of jazz in the 50’s and 60’s I loved most.

  128. Larry Siden says:

    Mr. Thomas, thanks for this wonderful site and material. I’m thinking about becoming a subscriber once I get through the intermediate lesson.

    What I don’t yet grasp about the pentatonic pairs as you apply them over ii-V-I changes is that the 7th degree tone of each dominant (V) chord is conspicuously missing. In fact, I can’t seem to find the 7th degree of the ii chord either, in the examples given.

    So using this pentatonic-pair vocabulary for coming up with a melody over, say, two or four bars of Gm-C7-Fmaj7, I would be missing the half-step movement of F-natural to E-natural that is so stereotypical over the Gm-C7 change, and then the B-flat to A-natural half-step movement over the C7-Fmaj7 change.

    There’s nothing that says those notes have to be in every ii-V or ii-V-I line, but some books I’ve read and video instructions I’ve watched have emphasized the 3rd and 7th of each ii and V in a ii-V pair as “guide tones” that a novice like me can use as guide posts in a solo.

    Perhaps I’m missing the point – that a player with your experience uses these pentatonic-pairs in your solos to produce a “cooler”, “hybrid-sounding”, lines without the strong tonicicity produced by, say, F-natural to E-natural over a Gm-C7 change which is no longer needed for a modern sound? Just wondering.

    Best regards and thank you for the great work!

    • Yo Larry … Many players, including myself were trained to play the entire lick or patterns every time we heard and learned new vocabulary. We also applied our chord/scale knowledge to every lick trying to give it an ID. The Pentatonic Pairs are a synthesis of all these licks or patterns. These little 2 note melody chains are lurking in every bebop lick.. The 3rds and 7ths are additions, as well as the chromatics that connect and embellish every pattern when it becomes a “lick”. The Pent Pairs are my GPS system for finding my way through the basic harmonic intent of most tunes. Once you hear these Pent Pairs in the changes, you can play anything very quickly. Most of my curriculum is directed at developing these Pent Pairs with chromatic embellishments, connections and the other tricks related to hearing, finding, and connecting those two little melody notes. And yes, when you use just the Pent Pairs the way Woody Shaw did, it sounds very “Cool”. Hope this helps. Pentatonic Pairs is a name I gave these whole steps because of their unique relationship to the Pentatonic scale. .. (1)-2-3 5-6 1-2

      • Larry Siden says:

        “The Pent Pairs are my GPS system”

        I like that! (You could expand that to “G-d is my copilot … and the pent pairs are my GPS system!”) lol! Now it makes sense: the pent-pairs aren’t suggested as a formula to produce a ready-made solo but as guideposts to find your way through the solo. You still have to connect them to make an interesting melody.

        I’m going to sign up once I get through the free Intermediate lesson. It’s embarrassing how much I work I need to do do I can just put down a line with a tight triplet/swing feel, but man it feels so good when I get it right. This is it! Looking fwd to many days of fruitful practice.

  129. Joel says:

    Hi Willie,
    Good job with the intermediate corner. It’s really helped me grasp the pentatonic pairs concept. I noticed that in some of my usual things I play, there are pentatonic pairs. I just didn’t know what I was playing or why, other than it sounded good to me. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    Quick question. Intermediate corner 8.9, Special open track #3. Is this from one of Jamie Aebersold’s play alongs? If so, which one. I really like the sound and would like to play it in a more extended setting.

    • Yo Joel … That light bulb clicks right on worth the pentatonic pairs once you discover how the are folded into so much of the traditional jazz language. Once you can hear, find and play these little melodies, you can play anything. The next step is developing these Pairs. If you haven’t already, start some work with the Chromaric drills that embellish and connect these pairs. The no. 3 open track is from a play along in some of my earlier materials. It’s only one track and that’s it!

  130. Hi Chris … I really don’t have a book to refer you to, however, we are in the process of putting a set of rhythm lessons online to correspond with the Beginner Corner lessons. We have 6 lessons posted now and are working on them every week. By summer’s end, we hope to have 12 Lessons for the Beginner’s Corner and 12 Lessons for the Intermediate Corner.

  131. chris crider says:

    Hey Willie,
    Do you have a book listing anywhere! I have 20+ guitar students and would like to get some material for them. Some are ready to come here to the site!!! Thanks.

  132. joseph handy says:

    Hey man. Love the site! I’m really excited about learning your method. ButI do have one issue to ask about. I have an iPad and I would like to use it for my lessons as well. Is there a way that you can make the play along track compatible for Mac users? Thanks

  133. Finlay Welsh says:

    Willie, I thought I was going crazy – and maybe i am – but I reckon there’s a typo on Bb sheet page 4 Lesson 1 ”Major Pentatonic Pairs with thirds”. The key signature for the G Blues is written as 2 sharps. Couldn’t see where that C# came in. Or am I going crazy?

  134. Finlay Welsh says:

    Hi Willie,
    Just started your online lessons and am loving the concept – not to mention the sheer enjoyment I get just watching you explain them! Is there a way for me to use the Aebersold coupon in the UK? Do you know of an online store here which will accept it? I don’t want to have to buy all the way from the States.

  135. Howard Brown says:

    I’ve met Dave and heard him play many times, but I don’t know him well. His bass player, Rich Syracuse, is a very good friend. I’m loving your dimished concept across the entire ii-7(b5) V7alt!!

  136. Yo Howard … Join the club. Rhythm changes are the Zen of bebop … always leading you toward an unachievable perfection unless you’re Bird or other exalted players. However, I love the the challenge. Have you checked out the Rhythm stuff in the Immersion zone.

    • Howard Brown says:

      The Zen of Bebop! Well put, Deceptively simple and infinitely complex. I just glanced at the immersion zone. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the pentatonic pairs concept. I saw some videos of you with Nick Brignola. Nick was a friend of mine as I live in upstate NY. I actually played a wedding with him once. We played double tenors. Nick told me his tenor was a gift from Stan Getz. A great loss to the jazz world. I found your life story very interesting. A true jazz saga!

  137. Howard Brown says:

    Thanks, Willie. I’ve been playing rhythm changes for 30 years and no matter how proficient I get at them they are always a challenge.

  138. Howard Brown says:

    Hi Willie,
    Really enjoying your playing and approach. The chord progression you posted for Rhythm Changes shows a recurring I Vi ii V and not the usual IV #IV diminshed in the 2nd 4 bars of the A sections. Is this how you concieve it? I tend to outline all the chords and would like to get away from that sound and get to lines like yours that seem to play through the changes without outlining them. I’m interested in what changes you’re thinking of on the A sections. Thanks, Howard

    • Yo Howard …. I also use the IV chord followed by a diminished chord or another dominant on the b7. However, the melody also works with the I-VI-II-V-I cycle being repeated through the entire A section. Going to the IV chord started a little later with Bird and other beboppers, however, they didn’t use it every time.

      The exercise in Lesson 5 on page 6 will start helping you play lines thought the changes. Working with the chromatic drills will also help you start connecting everything with a linear approach. The bebop scale actually incorporates the diatonic sound with the chromatics and allows you to thread your way through any set of changes. That’s the hallmark of bebop. Bird Lives!

  139. DLNovak says:

    My mistake – when I read the notation in Beginners Corner, Lesson 3 – Style -Let’s Play; exercises 1-5, as written, it does not match the sound track – I’ll listen again-
    I see no pick up notes in these examples. I’m sure I’m missing something.

    • So ….. There are 2 sound tracks in lesson 3 on the “Let’s Play” page 2. The first, is a spoof to let you hear how not to play it … with the boooos and yeahs! The 2nd track is the one you play with. A little tricky I agree!

  140. Yo …. There are no measures missing. Each Pattern in the 4 measure phrase in complete. In the final measure of each 4 measure phrase, there are pick ups back to the repeat sign except in Ex. 5 You can see that each Exercise starts with a pick up. My music writing program doesn’t know how to put a clef sign at the beginning of each line. So, I have to put an extra measure there to make things work out. It’s not a problem once you see how this works. You just need a little creativity! Hope that works for you!

  141. DLNovak says:

    Hello Willie –
    On lesson “3 Style – Let’s play” – the instructions indicate;
    4.Repeat each 4 measure phrase 3 times. Each exercise below is one complete 12 bar Blues Chorus.
    Are there some measures missing? I count two measures of rests after each phrase – its that correct?
    Love your sound – and your sound advice –

  142. Willie,
    In Intermediate Corner Lesson 8 (for Bb Tenor) the Tonic is C, right? If so, why is the key signature two sharps or the key of D? I’m not a beginner so I’ve skipped around some and perhaps missed some important info. Thanks for all your efforts.

  143. Allen Keller says:

    I looked at your free lesson and I had some difficulty with repeating the vocabulary. I need some ear training obviously. I am 75 years of age and play regularly in two groups, both big band setups. I play lead in one group and 2nd in the other. While I am able to play a passable improvised solo if the key is not too difficult, I would like to be able to play in more different keys and with more confidence. I have a good trumpet sound and a consistent range to D and E above the staff which is adequate for the charts we play. The question is will this course help me to be a more proficient and inovative improvisor? Please let me know your thoughts i.e. can you teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks Al Keller

  144. marc says:

    Dear Willie,

    I can’t wait to see you cover augmented patterns, as well as the melodic minor. Any chance on that?

    • Yo Marc … Actually, the melodic minor stuff can all be handled with with the concepts introduced in the Diminished 3-Pack when you understand how to move the b7 Pent Pair set ups up those minor 3rds on the diminished ladder. As to the Augmented stuff, they are pretty much alterations within the dominant harmonies. There are lots of symmetric pattern that everyone has in their lick books. There is no real system like the pentatonic pairs.

  145. Hi Willie Oops!!! I went back to square 1 with your 1st 6 pack vid and now I’m back on track. Ignore my previous request… I’m on now!!!! Thanks for being there for us……..

    • Yo sunfree … Glad you like the site. One of the things I would suggest as to fast-track progress, is to live with those chromatic drills. They will help you develop those lines between the pentatonic pairs as well as getting your fingers under control. A lot of the problems are in the 10 digits that we think we own!

  146. Hi Willie……Thanks for your greatness/sharing..I,m so glad that I found you..Keep your Good Health for your and our continuance, is Esssential….I’m an experienced player who’s remodeling after your fashion. What is your recommened approach for fast track/direct learning of your prescribed method?

  147. No …. I occasionally use my 1st valve slide for the C3-D if I’m holding a note for a long time. But I’ve pretty well learned to compensate for everything with my chops.

  148. Charles says:

    Hi Willie,

    I’m really enjoy your website, i have playing jazz guitar since a while and now i’m playing trumpet, and your website keep me busy every day when i have time to practice.
    But i have a question about the 3rd valve slide. I’m using this valve slide for the D but do i need to use it for C#/Db ? Do i need to use other valve slide with other notes?
    Thanks for your answer
    Best regards Charles

    (sorry for my english i’m french, but not so bad for a french guy 😉 )

  149. Hi Yuval …. Well, if you’re interested in developing your solo chops and expanding your basic vocabulary concept as related to most jazz genres, you won’t find a more comprehensive resource. The Jazz Everyone system is basic to the jazz language itself and the curriculum is extensive enough to take you there .. if there is where you want to be. I would say check out the Giant Steps Revealed Free lesson. It’s a good example of how practical this system really is. There’s a lot of information on the web site .. it’s a complete curriculum for learning jazz vocabulary. As to special info on developing bass lines etc, there are other sources that might be more helpful.

  150. Yuval Kogman says:

    I’m considering getting a membership but would first like to hear your thoughts on how this applies to bass and accompaniment in general.

  151. miles Davis says:

    Hey Willie, Just checking out the site and saw that there is a “forum”, but I can’t seem to access it. I assumed it was a place where members would go to interact on all things Jazz….

    • I’ll jump in on this one Miles Davis. Wait, is this some kind of April fools joke? Anyways, yes the forums are in need of repair. We do have a whole community section that is kind of “buggy” at the moment. We’re working on it and hopefully it will be back up soon.

  152. Jim Williams says:

    If I can find the tapes, I’ll send you a recording of me playing some of his stuff.

  153. Jim Williams says:

    I knew Rich pretty well–I studied with his TubaJazz co-founder, Harvey Phillips. FWIW, I can play Rich’s parts on the tubajazz stuff thanks to Harvey Phillips. Did you ever meet Harvey? Though he didn’t improvise much, he was a great tuba player & my friend and mentor for many years.

  154. Sweet ….

    Don’t know if you remember Rich Matteson or not. He was a killer tuba jazz. He was a good friend of mine. He taught at North Texas for many years.

    Enjoy …

  155. Yo Jim … As I recall, we have several, however with 2250+ members I couldn’t reacll their names. But, if you want to play some bebop, you’re at the right place.

    • Jim Williams says:

      That’s where I am, Willie! When I hit age 60, I decided to sign up for your course and for an Aebersold week-long session, since I am not far from Louisville. I’ve got 20 years to get better at this stuff! I’ve been at it on a hit-and-miss basis for a while now. Just signed up via paypal, and will start in as soon as Easter gigs are behind me.

  156. Jim Williams says:

    Hello, Willie!
    Just discovered the site & liked lesson 1. Am gonna sign up shortly! Are there any other euphonium players on here that you know about?
    Jim Williams

  157. Hey John … It’s actually a stencil brand … not sure where it was made I bought it on Ebay for a friend, who decided he didn’t want to play after all. MostValve T-bones I’ve played are stuffy and don’t play to well. I’ve treid a lot of them. never bothered to get one. The bass trumpet is fun. I owned a couple of music stores in my last life and always had one in stock. They are fun, but, they alwasy messed with my chops.

  158. John Rauch says:

    Hey Willie, as a valve trombonist I am curious as to the make and model of the one you have on your wall in some of the videos….also, is it a fairly free-blowing horn? (As opposed to say my King 2b which seems stuffy – I also have a Bach Bass Trumpet which is incredibly ‘free-blowing’).
    Thanks much.

  159. marc says:

    hey Willie! Love this system, I am glad that someone of your level and history took an effort to compile all this knowledge and put a lot of style between the lines, too!

    I am now studying the half diminished lesson 2. On the Pdf chart it says ”G7(D half diminished)”
    G7 is the actual V chord there. so shouldn’t it say
    ”G7(B half diminished)” or ”G7(F half diminished)” if you want a tritone substitution?
    The way I understand it is: take the root of the V7 chord, go up a maj3rd and play a half diminished chord. Or go down a maj2nd and play a half diminished chord if you want the tritone sub. At least that’s what my strings tell my ears, and then the ears told me.

  160. John Sikora says:

    I discovered that a real simple way to improvise is to know the major and minor pent. scales of the key to include the major and minor blues scale. So between the 4 scales you can pretty much improvise of any song to include rock and roll, etc.. I notice that you can play the chords, etc. as noted in songs but the above way seems to be very simple but effective. THXXXX

    • Yo John … That’s basically what my system is all about, just another way of looking at it. When you combine the major, minor pentatonic scales and chords, you pretty much cover basic melody making. It’s when you want to go beyond that and add some color and tension to your playing, you have to know how to build and play off of those pentatonic scales with the chromatics, which include the diminished scales.

  161. Actually Joel, it isn’t, it’s called a Major scale with a flat 7th … it’s usually about how you look at things. A mixolydian scale stands on its own in that conext. A dominant scale is a scale that starts on the 5th scale step, that’s why they call it Dominant scale … also because it dominates the tonality … without V there ain’t no I … and that’s notalways true … so the bottom line is don’t get too invested in what to call things. It’s more about how they sound, feel, where they fit and can you play them … and if you do .. is your sound lame or great and is your rhythm cooking. Lot’s to consider. But all in all it’s just music some of it just sounds better!

  162. Joel says:

    In testing myself by writing an explanation of extended dominant scales, another question showed up. First, please read my explanation of how to form an extended dominant scale just to make sure I have it down.
    “Start with a dominant scale, (major scale with the 7th scale step lowered 1/2 step) copy the 5th, 6th & 7th steps in front of the original root. The new scale root is the old 5th.” This new scale is also a mode of the original scale called Mixolydian. (thanks for pointed that info out Willie. That’s when it started clicking for me!)
    The 1-2 & 4-5 of the newly formed extended dominant scale are the pentatonic pairs which are a part of the jazz language that can be used along with other parts of the language like “approach, rhythm, playing around the dominant 7th chord, playing off the melody. That’s all I know but, it’s probably enough for a life time of improvisation!
    The question that came up is, If dominant = the 5th scale step, why is a major scale with a lowered 7th called a dominant scale?

  163. Joel says:

    Hi Willie,
    I recently bought a device called “Harmonizer” described as a musical slide rule from a site called It has been an invaluable aid in understanding and visualizing what I’ve learned from the Jazz Everyone site. I’m sure the other learners here can benefit from this product.
    Thanks for answering all my lame questions. My understanding has increased 100% and I’m now getting it under my fingers.
    By the way, I watched your video’s in the teachers corner with Gary Smulyan until the wee hours of the morning! I would never have an opportunity to listen to a couple Jazz masters talk about how they do what they do! Great idea and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  164. Joel says:

    Thanks for getting back to me. I’m just trying to fill in the blanks & making sure I’m not missing something. Getting back to the circle of fourths. Is it common for jazz players to play on chords found on the corners of the square you spoke about? After a learner is able to play around the circle would it be a good idea to look at a triangle, for example and jam on those three chords? Is this sort of the idea or is there something special about the square?

    • Hi Joel …. What makes these geometrics special is the fat that they exist. I use them like GPS, to keep my place. Like the triangle is Giant Steps … Check out the GS free lesson. The square will take on a new meaning when you see that its’ where all of the diminished action takes place. It helps me visualize the Diminished Ladder I refer to in The Diminished 3-Pack. Are you a full member with access to all of the materials?

  165. Joel says:

    Looking at the free lesson, pg 5 in the players corner and wondering why or what the significance is to start with the Fmaj scale to develop the C Dominant 7th scale? Couldn’t I get there by just lowering the 7th of any maj scale a half step?

    • Yes Joel …. The significance of starting with the F major scale is that the C7 is a natural scale formed in the F major scale. It’s also called the Mixolydain scale, onr of the 7 modal scale formed in every major scale. And, yes you can lower the 7th scale step of any major scale and arrive at the same point. However, there are certain considerations in knowing which model scalse are a part of every major scale.

  166. Joel says:

    I noticed that the circle of 5th/4ths in the Jazz-everyone curriculum is in reverse from all the others I’ve seen. Is there any reason or significance for this?

    • Hi Joel … Well, it’s all a matter of perspective.. If you stepped through the circle as I view it, turned around and took a peek, it would go around in reverse. My reason for going through the 4ths clock-wise is just something that worked best for me. I’m used to the hands moving to the right. I use the circle as a matrix in tracking chord changes. I see all of those relationships in my mind, like the blues being a series of tonal centers moving around a central tonal center anywhere I want be on the circle. I’m totally fluent in all keys. I see diminished patterns at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. … then at 1, 4, 7 and 10 o’clock and the other one at 2, 5, 8, 11 o’clock. Each one forming a square in the circle. I see all of the tri-tones as dividing the circle in half. … and so on … once you establish these relationships and get the pentatonic pairs under your fingers through these various geometric configurations, you can hear, track and play anything. So, it’s a matter of preference. Hope that helps.

  167. steve says:

    Since I’m playing guitar, how do I approach “breath accents”, “legato” and “house top” articulations? And what’s the difference between “house top” and “staccato” articulations?

    • Yo Steve …. Articulation on the guitar should be consider the same way it is on a wind instrument. Breath accents are usually played with real energy and a longer sound, House tops are shorter than breath accents, but, need real energy and staccato notes need to be crisp and really short. You have to figure out how your picking fingers accomplish this. I do it with the air and my tongue.

  168. Hey James … That’s a good question. I use it a lot. My rule, if there is one, is when it makes playing certain patterns easier I use it. One example would be whevever I outline a C chord of any type, it’s automatic. I use the 3rd valve for the A quite often. You just have to establish those patterns over a period of time from use. Dizzy Gillespie uses it all of the time.

  169. james suitte says:

    Hi Willie, When to use & when not to use the third valve for “e” above middle “c” on trumpet ?

  170. Yes Gregory … After the FREE Lesson … check out the Curriculum Overview and Learning Tracks, you’ll find it in the right margin in the red box. This outlines the menu or road map for the entire course. It starts with 1.1 in the 6-Pack. If you need some help, I’m here. Not sure about the summer yet. It’s a long trip to Louisville from here… and that traveling doesn’t get any easier.

  171. CARL says:

    Hey Willie, I’m in the shed I wanna get really sick in Dec and jan with your system. I’ve watched it and played throu the course a few times. I’m really changing and growing, I think I’m unorganized from the course I wanna lay into the pairs for everthing what method should I use to shed with? I feel like I’m jumping all over the place.

    • Hey Carl … Actually, the system does go from one thing to another. If you checkout the Curriculum Overview and leaning Track you’ll see that there is a lot of material integrated into each learning phases. As the pent pairs. If you know how the are formed on the 2-3 5-6 1-2 scale steps of any m,ajor pentatonic scale, you can figure out where they belong in every tune. That chain of pentatonic pais works with a II-V-I chord sequence. If you check out the Tune Time stuff, every tune has a set-up for the pent pairs in that tune. Hope this helps. So get in that shed and “sic it up” dude! Cool!

  172. Gregory says:

    You were right – trumpet it is. And, I’m a professional player in Las Vegas but more as a lead and sectional guy. I have been attending the Aebersold Camps for a few years now because I think it will make me a better lead player…
    Anyway, after the Free Lesson would the next step be the Player’s Corner starting at the top (Basic Jazz Language 6-pack)? Is the Beginner’s Corner an online version of your book?
    By the way, are you going to be at the Aebersold Camp(s) this summer? If so, which week(s)?

  173. So Greg …

    You’ve got your Sherlock hat on, dude. Yes, the FREE Lesson pg 5 No. 3 example should say D Dominant. That’s a mistake, I’ll try and fix that. You must be a Bb Instrument person. maybe trumpet?

    On pg 10 .. the repeated root-9 example on the bottom of the page is a melody chain that can be developed through all of the chord changes once you understand the system. Like a VI-II-V-I

    Pg 12 … No Greg, you didn’t miss the point, it just hasn’t arrive yet for you on the pentatonic pairs as a system it. It usually take some time to get it These melody patterns are the DNA in a great deal of jazz vocabulary. They are your GPS in finding something to play and build on through the tonal centers. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll hopefully discover that the 5-6-1-2-1 works on a minor, dominant or major chord. That’s big. Once you you own these patterns in every key, have the information, some chops and a bit of creativity, you can really say and play something musical. Hope this helps.

  174. Gregory says:

    Met you at the Aebersold – glad to see you got your site up and running!
    Anyway, on page 5 of the Free Lesson, #3 it shows the C Dominant scale starting on D with a key sig. of 1 # – doesn’t C Dominant refer back to the F major scale (1 b)?

    Then on pg. 10 of the free lesson it shows 4 bars at the bottom of the page and refers to Pentatonic Pairs, but to me it looks like Root – Ninth, Root – Ninth, Root – Ninth, Root – Ninth . What is the point to that example?

    Also, on page 12, it shows a cycle exercise which is 5-6-1-2-1 etc. Again, what is the point? I must be missing something…

    Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  175. Hey Emily … You may also want to dip into the Immersion Zone, Level I Blues in Bb and F. See how that goes. It’s just listening to me and trying to imitated what I ply. That really puts things on the track.

  176. Hi Emily … I would take a look at the Free Lesson in the Player’s Corner. Do the best you can with the music concepts i.e. basic music theory. That will fall into place as you go along. You’ll get the idea about tonal centers/key centers being an important part of making music and how notes a 4th/5th apart move in a systemic way through the dominant chords. We have a Players Resource under the Player Corner pull down menu that outlines a lot of basic theory.

    Now comes the fun. Start playing these patterns on the root and 5th around the cycle in all keys. Follow the lesson suggestions and start using them with rhythms for improv. Then add the 5-6 1-2 or Pentatonic Pairs to the mix. Just keep playing those with me in the video until you own them. Let me know how that goes. If you’re just getting started, that’s a big bite.

    Cool … Uncle Willie

  177. Emily Hurley says:

    Hey Willie, what would you suggest as a first year jazz alto sax player? I’ve done some of the beginner things and I want more of a challenge.

  178. Sjp says:

    Mr. Thomas

    I am a music teacher at Walker West Music academy in Minnesota and would like to know if you would come teach a master class to my students. I am so glad to see your website is thriving as I first saw your website in it’s pilot stage. You are an inspiration to me!


  179. Hey Willie
    I haven’t played trumpet since college and don’t have much of a lip left. Any exercises or suggestions besides your beginner’s corner? I’m talking out of shape.
    Thanks for the great site.

  180. Hajo says:

    Hi Willie
    This is hajo from Germany
    I locked in this afternoon after I watched some Videos
    from your method Learning Jazz
    Unfortenatly I can’t install the Flash Player because of
    restrictions by Apple
    Is the an other way listening the examples on the lessons
    Thanks for help

  181. Hello Willie,
    Until you volunteered your age in the intro video, I felt that a sharp experienced man was addressing me. period.

    If there is one thing that keeps you/maintains this sharpness, what would it be?

    If I can be 1/2 as sharp as you are at 80, I’ll be happenin’.

    Thanks for any longevity advice you can share.


    • Hey Robert …

      I guess it’s partly in the genes and staying out of the heavy traffic areas. Actually, I’m blessed with a good body that swims several days a week, doesn’t drink or smoke any more … and loves life. I have really been having fun with my web site. Hope you are enjoying it too.

  182. Yo Richard … Not to despair! It takes years to start really turning vocabulary upside down and sideways like Charlie Parker. If you listen to Bird as much as I do, you’ll realize that he plays a lot of the same things in different ways every time he plays. This will happen to you as you keep getting those pairs with chromatics in you ear and under you fingers. The fingers are the culprits … they have to be trained forever it seems.

  183. Richard says:

    Hi Willie,
    I’ve been working away, concentrating on the various versions of pentatonic pairs with different connections. I run into difficulties in trying to make it my own, or doing different combinations of patterns other than the ones you’ve written out. I have to keep going back to lessons 5 & 6 in the 6 pack to really try my own versions of combinations. Are there good approaches to doing may own combinations? Thanks, Richard Walker

  184. Hey Joel …. You nailed it. The Pentatonic Pairs go up or down …. just like the mouse in Hickory-Dickory-Dock.

    Cool ////

  185. Joel says:

    Hi Willie,
    In the Players corner-Free lesson, I’m wondering if I understand the concept of dividing the 12 notes equally sentance.(pg 2) I tried moving up 4 steps and then, from that point, down 5 steps and noticed the two notes formed a pentatonic pair found on your chart labeled “Pentatonic pairs around the circle of fourths” (pg11) Example: starting on C…up a fourth is F and down a fifth is Bb. which makes the Bb-C pentatonic pair. I also noticed the fourth up from C (F) is the next progression in the circle of fourths.Duh!
    This has to be the significance of page 2? Just makes too much sense not to be.

  186. doug says:

    Hi Willie, mannnn u are so awesome. Thanx for your guidence. My question is about playing out. Can you pleeeeeeze make it 3rd grade simple for me. If I had a student who was soloing with only major notes and always starting at the root, I might tell him/her to practice his scales starting a third down from the root tone to give the relative minor scale. (That is a formula for playing the minor tones) Can you (in the same way) describe the formula for playing outside the chord structure. I can identify it when others play it but I can’t hear my trumpet voice doing it. which lesson speaks to this. I’m not ready for the complex but the simple explanation will start me in the right direction. Thanx ever so much.

    • Yo Doug … Playing outside is a metaphor for a lot of things …starting with taking your horn into your back yard (if you have one) and stretching out. Seriously,, I approach this through playing certain things in the upper structure of a chord. Lesson 6 in the 6 Pack sets this in place. When you learn to play the diminished scales off of certain notes gives you will hear the sound that you are looking for. If you go to the Players Corner and click on Making Music you will also find some good information in the Level III in clips of the tunes I play. Check that out.

  187. aslan levi says:

    hello willie. i am a guitarist at intermediate level in jazz. I just discovered your site andhope to develop my understanding and appreciation of jazz concepts. Your system and teaching method is inspiring and exciting bu the material requires a lot of practise time, hope i can gather the strenght to get through at least some of it. Do you have special advise for people that play instruments other than the trumpet, like on where to begin, or how to prioritize the material etc. to get the most out of it ? Thanks for this great opportunity to study jazz. Aslan

    • Yo Aslan … Glad you found the site. Yes, it take a lot of time to become a really good player. However, steady application of certain things on a regular basis will get you there. The Learning Tracks can help you organize whatever time you have in an effective way. It starts with the free lesson then 1.1 is next just practice everything that is outlined until you can play it. Work through the 6-pack and keep going!

  188. ansyn says:

    Uncle Willie-
    I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with you at the Aebersold Workshops. I am practicing constantly from the website and have noticed alot of improvement since July! FYI- I can not access Gb7 in Level 2 of the Immersion Zone. Will it be up soon? Ansyn

  189. Don says:

    Thanks Willie. I enjoy trying to figure out what’s going on, if I can. By the way, I’m already noticing some improvement in my playing from steadily working on the six-pack and follow-on exercises. It seems a little easier to play through the changes on tunes, especially ones I may not be especially familiar with. Thanks for all the time you put in to pull this together! Don

  190. Don says:

    Hi Willie… I’m really enjoying working on your Chromatic Drill series. On chromatic drill #2, I noticed when you ascend you do 4 note embellishments around each chord tone (5, b7, 1, 3, 5), but descending you leave out a few (you do the 3, 1, 5, 1). Is there a reason you skipped a few, or did you just like the way the line sounded with a couple of them omitted? Thanks!! Don

    • Yo Don …. You are working carefully to notice these differences. Yes, I do vary the pattern a bit when I descend. I’m sure there is a rule somewhere that applies. The rule i apply, is what it sounds like to me. These slight variations make a big difference in the nuance of sound that occurs when you shift those patterns just a bit. If you get those descending examples in your ear, you”ll start to know when to alter the patterns.

  191. Joel says:

    Blues Harmonies lesson 1 (free) #5
    “Blues harmonies are called dominant 7th chords. Three of these are used in the basic blues form. The diagram shows these chords formed on the 1st (I), 4th (IV) and 5th (V) scale steps of a major scale. ”

    I’m not getting this at all! Why would a guy playing a single note instrument care about chords? I’m wondering why the trumpet playing this exercise does not follow the written music?

    • Hey Joel .. You’ve asked the premier question, why didn’t I follow the music”, well, I was improvising using the notes in those chords as guides (GPS) to find and create melodies that fit and sound good with those chord tones. That why they call it improvisation. You use these chords the piano or guitar are playing with the bass outlining important notes as your canvas to paint a musical picture with your horn. Hey its fun. The things you play are called vocabulary (jazz Licks) that others have created to fit those chords. Jazz Is a language, you have to use the chords and scale ;ile the alphabet to created your solos. It’s fun, that’s why I do it. Does this make sense yet?

      • Hey Joel … One more thought. You may enjoy playing through the exercises in the Beginners Corner. It actually start with some very simple vocabulary with a focus on playing with correct jazz style as well as starting the improvisation process. It moves along pretty quick and there’s a lot of good stuff to play that helps with technique and also presents some basic theory concepts. Thought I would mention that if you hadn’t looked at the Beginner’s Corner. It’s pretty cool.

      • Joel says:

        Hi Willie,
        I just read my question asked back in August! Clueless such a short time ago but it’s sinking in a step at a time.

  192. Hi Willie, I am really loving the course, I am getting through the changes getting “outside” and I am really enjoying making the vocabulary work. Would you mind giving me a quick clarification on the melodic minor scales used in Level 2 Watermelon Man. Regard Graeme

    • Yo Graeme … You can really get into the weeds trying to explain why some of these scales/sounds are formed and used. The Melodic Minor is just one of the basic minor scales with a #7. There are many derivations on how this came to be. In jazz it’s all about the color. Some of the be-boppers were all about unusual sounds in the scale that created tension, like the b5/#4 (tri-tone) When someone like Bird played one of those “killer” notes in a tune, it became law! Everyone else since put in it their solos. I think this is one of those sounds, even those it does have a name. Jamey Aebersold has a name for everything. Hope that helps.

      • Hi Willie thanks for your prompt response, I was just trying to clarify the minor scales used, I will research their names. When you were explaining the minor scale use in level 2 Watermelon Man I believe you were using the F Dorian and F Mel Min over the 1chord? And the point of interest ie Chords 5 4 5 4 would you have been using the FMel Min Scale as both C7 And Bb7 contained in that scale? I know there are many options but were these the minors you were referring to in Level 2. Thanks again Willie. Regards Graeme

        • Yo … I think what you’re referring to is this: I use the melodic minor with #7 over that F- I chord a lot. I also use a regular Dominant C7 over the V cord, that’s actually an altered chord in F minor. The E natural is the #7 in the Minor I chord and the #3 in the C7 Dominant chord. I might be a little ambiguous in tossing those terms around in my lesson speil.

          • Thanks Uncle Willie, after reviewing the lesson and your explanation it that makes sense to me. These #7s in the mel min scales provide some more unusual colour. Fantastic! Regards Graeme.

  193. Miles is a great role model .. The way you learn to play like someone is by listening to them for hours and hours as often as possible. Read the books about him, google information about his life. You have to become Miles in your heart and mind .. at least long enough to play like him.

  194. DONALD says:

    I am interested in playing like miles davis can you give me some pointers on how to play more like him. in his style of music and tone.

  195. Hi Richard. Hey those descending Diminished scales are tricky. It takes time to get them in your ear. There are some variations that work and make it even more difficult. Just keep listening carefully as you play them. Playing them slowly through the chords can also help. I’m on Orcas Island and in the phone book The weather has been great .. just get to Anacortes early to catch the ferry!

    • Richard says:

      Thank you for that quick reply Willie.I’m taking my flute with me and allot of you lesson/ drills with me to work on. If there’s a way for my wife and I to get over to Orcas, I will try to look up your phone. I’m taking a semester off this Fall to
      shed on you lessons, mainly on baritone.
      Thanks, Richard

  196. Richard says:

    I’m working on chromatic drill number 3 and am having a hard time hearing how it descends. I also keep reverting back to chromatic drill #1 or 2 which is allot like it.
    By the way my wife and I are taking a road trip from Los Angeles up to San Juan Island, pretty close to your neck of the woods.

  197. Yo …

    When I learn a new tune harmonically, I always figure out what key I’m in and then look for the things I already know, like, where are the measures with the II-V I in that key. Next I see if or where other II-V-Is are that move and how (what interval) they move. The alterations. i.e. the b5, b9 and #9, etc. are just colors that you’ll learn to hear using the diminished tricks in the 3-Pack. I’ve learned hear pretty much where all of this stuff is very quickly, including the blues scales that work. I just organize them in my mind, and I’m there. I never play from chord to chord. Tonal centers and the pentatonic pairs can help you keep your place and track the chords. Hope this helps!

  198. Hello Uncle Willie!
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your great approach to Jazz with us. As a trombonist I have to admit that some of your ideas are quite difficult to play on the trombone. I first had to find my own concept to your concept, but now this site helps me a lot.
    Anyway, I have one question: Whenever I play a new tune I first memorize the song. I usually have no troubles with the head but memorizing the changes is a lot more difficult for me…Can you tell me, what helps you learning chord progressions?
    Greetings from Austria (NOT australia 😉 )

  199. Wojtek says:

    Hello Uncle Willie!
    The site is great, it really is helping me a lot with pushing my playing forward. I was wondering if You could maybe in the future do a lesson on utilising augmented chords and vocabulary, and how to use it in relation with dominant chords (f.e. in II V ! situation)
    greetings from Poland 🙂

    • Yo … Glad you like the site. I may do something on the augmented vocabulary sometime along the line. So many of the augmented licks are based on the whole tone scale and are symmetric in nature. There really isn’t a sspecial system for playing these. They can be pretty much be played over any dominant 7th (V7) or as a part of the diminished whole tome scale. Jamey Aebersold has a lot of info on that in his various materials.

  200. Yo Maxime … There are a number of ideas about how to use the tongue when you play jazz. Myself, I probably use my tongue to play pretty much the way I use it to sing or scat jazz syllables. I’ve also developed some ability to use and control the “doodle-tongue” … it’s like a double tongue, but instead of the Tu-Ku-Tu-Ku syllables, it becomes a Tu-tul-Tu-tul kind of tongue the tul syllable is popped with air at the back of the tongue. It’s not that easy to explain … and not necessarily that easy to use for many. Clark Terry is the master of the Doodle-tongue. You might want to send Charlie Porter and Justin Kisor, both members and in the Teachers Corner about their suggestions.

  201. Maxime says:

    hey Willie,

    Could you explain me or send me information about the attack with the tongue, i don’t really know how to place my tongue… and I don’t want to practice with bad habits…


  202. Hi Matt … I think what you’re looking at on the Overview for Dim 3 Pack Ladder are on the PDF downloads in Lesson 3 of the Diminished 3 Pack. Take a look..

  203. Matt Riley says:

    Hi Willie,

    I’m looking at the Diminished 3-pack Overview video.

    I can not find the pdf’s that you show in that overview video with the ladder, etc. Can you tell me where they are at? I found the pdfs for lesson 1, 2, and 3, but they dont contain those.

  204. Chris says:

    Thank you for your kind words at my performance yesterday during the Aebersold workshop. This is a great site it will certainly get some use and I will be sending my students here as well! Chris

    • Hi Chris … It was nice meeting and hearing you play. That was a nice session I visited with you on Wednesday. For sure sure, you’re making some big strides on the bebop trail.. I’m sure you had 2 great weeks at the camp. I certainly enjoyed my visit. Hope you get some good info from my web site. Check it out and pass it on.

      Hugs … Uncle Willie

  205. Hey Willie,

    I am down here in Seattle. I get up to the island a couple times a year. I would love to meet you. I take lessons from Bruse Staelens.

  206. Yo Willie,
    I noticed that you use a megatone mouthpiece. Would you mind sharing a little about your equipment such as mouthpiece, Dizzy Horn, and Flugel Horn? Thanks

    • Yo Cleve … Actually, I play a 1CW Dennis Wick mouthpiece with his tone booster. My horn is a proto model of the new generation Besson Meha I received for being on their evaluation team for that instrument … they knew I liked the tilt bell. My Flugel is also a vintage Besson Brevette. They were all made by Zig Kanstul, CA. I’m not a big equipment freak.

  207. Bobby says:

    Willie, i can’t express how grateful to you i am for sharing these great MUSICAL concepts w/ us. throughout the many years of playing,i have amassed enough books on jazz improv. to start my own store,and they all deal w/ the same things ie: scales and chords,which are important to have a working knowledge of harmony, but within the first few seconds of your giant steps video you nail the true essence of creating a MUSICAL line thru the changes!! May our creator bless you w/ many more years so that you may continue to bless us w/ your wonderful concepts of teaching,and sharing in this art form called JAZZ…Bobby

  208. Yo willie,
    Wow! Lots of material to absorb. Have put on the breaks and slowed down so that I can grasp all that you are saying. I play with a 70’s rock band on Tuesday nights and already I can see a difference. I always felt out of the loop trying to improvise with the group. Tuesday nights performance rocked because I started applying some of the ideas that you have been showing in the first lesson. Our next performance will be a set of old Elvis tunes so a lot of the patterns you are showing will work and did work at rehearsal the other night. Thank you for sharing this knowledge with the world……Cleveland

  209. Yo Willie,
    Andrew got my problem fixed and I was able to open all of the lessons. Have downloaded all of the printed material. So now for this long weekend it is going to be a long Wood Shed experience. Should be a great workout. Thanks for all of your help and patience. Have a great 4th of July. Cleveland

  210. Hey Glenn … Glad you’re still at it. I hope you’re digging into the materials on my web site. I’ve come a long way since KU and Ron Mc Ciurdy.. Glad I still have the energy and health to keep it alive!

  211. Glenn says:

    Hi Wliile, The first time I met you and benefited from your method was back at KU in 1980 with Ron McCurdy and the gang. I was a freshman then and am so glad to see you you are still inspiring musicians to play jazz. Thanks so much for your voice, passion and spirit!

  212. Jonas Olsson says:

    Yo Willie!
    I’ve been working my way through the 6pack and I’m starting to get some good results. I’ve noticed that you havent provided any patterns for descending lines using the pent pairs yet and I wonder if this will come later in the other lessons? I meen I would like to play both ascending and descending lines.

  213. Hi Richard … Glad you like the concepts .. they really do work. This concept is the basis for the Making Music book 3 now available through Alfred Music. However, book 4 which is the real meat, diminished and half diminished 3-Pack and 2 Pack, were never published. And, the additional materials, chromatic drills, Making Music, Vocabulary Workouts, Tune time and the immersion zone really put these concepts within reach of anyone that wants to spend the time learning to play. There are no shortcuts … you can’t escape the “shed”. Hang in there … Willie T

  214. richard says:

    Mr. Thomas,
    Your concepts are pretty great. I was wondering if I should buy your book “Making Music” or just stick with the lessons. Is there any difference beween the book and the material presented on the website?
    Richard Smith

  215. Yo James … I suggest that you use our new Curriculum Overview and Learning Track. The learning track outlines a menu of things to practice at 3 levels. There are 3 lessons in Level I, 3 lessons in Level II and 5 lessons in Level III. Each lesson is a 30 minute video you need to watch several times, then go to the other Curriculum areas which vary in time. The extended dominants are about 4 minutes each, blues about 4 minutes each, etc., so you can adjust the Curriculum areas you study according to the time you have available. The idea is following the Learning Track outline through the various levels of Curriculum. Hope that helps.

  216. James Steele says:

    Hey Willie, could you please advise me on a practise programme that fits in a bit of everything in the players corner and lasts about 2 hours? Many thanks, James.

  217. Hey … I’m not so sure I have a good answer for that one. There aren’t a lot of things on my site to improve the old reading skills. There should be some download materials for that online. If you’re looking for some jazz etudes, Charlie Porter, one of our teachers, might be able to help you out. There is a link to his web site on his page. Ask him to help you.

  218. Nick Roach says:

    What are some good ways to work on sight-reading if you’re short on money and/or material?


    • Nick, This might help with sight reading. Most music schools throw-away a lot of printed music everyday. Go hang out at your local music school and stay by the copy machine, one that is accessed by a lot of students or faculty. Start collecting any old piece of music, any clef, for any instrument or voice. Read through it once then put it on the bottom of the pile. Collect stuff from practice rooms, music libraries, everywhere. There is tons of free public domain printed music on the internet, especially Bach, etc. Do the same with that, read it once then put in on the bottom of the pile. You might see the same piece 6 months or even a year later. That’s the point. It has to be new to your eyes. Start doing this and you’ll be reading fly specs in no time.

  219. Hi Abe … There could be a lot of reasons for that.. It’s probably something to do with the way you’re using your air … or maybe not using enough air.. The air is turned into sound by the lips and if there isn’t enough air you sometimes compensate by using too much pressure and trying to squeeze out the sound. Long tones and lip slurs are alway helpful when building endurance.

  220. Abe says:

    Hey, Willie! I am currently going through the lessons, and my chops go dead quickly as I play through etitudes, and things in that nature. I am not really a high player for the trumpet, but is there a way so that I can play higher and also so that they last longer? Thanks.
    – Abe

  221. Dave Ruddick says:

    Hi Willie, I see on the curriculum overview page you’ve listed ‘vocabulary exercises (23 videos)’ but I can’t find it anywhere. Is it coming soon? If not where can I find it on the site?

    • Dave, good call. We’re working on it as I write, and they should be up in a matter of days. You’re gonna love it!

    • Hi Dave …. It’s in the players Corner menu as Vocabulary Workout. Check it out.

      • Mike Swickis says:

        Willie. Still a bit confused after the diminished scale lesson. You introduced the pentatonic pairs idea and I am not sure what that is. Its not part of the 1/2 whole scale, so its a lick to get into the 1/2 whole idea? Also, I understand the b7 starting point for each dom7 in the scale but I am not sure how you are getting all the licks you played. Is there a simpler way to explain this? I’d sure appreciate your help!

        • Yo Mike … Well, I’m not sure there is a really simple way to explain this, as it’s at least a 2 step process. The Pentatonic Pair concepts introduced and developed in the 6-Pack and the Pentatonic Power Pack (Lesson 8) are key. When you understand that system, you will see how these simple Pent Pair melodies played on the steps of a diminished chord (dim ladder), sets up this vocabulary chain you hear me play. That’s what’s behind those sounds. They work over the altered II-V in major or minor keys. The Pent Pair set up to the b7 in a dominant is like your GPS that puts you in the right place to start a lot of traditional licks. Take a look at lesson 6 in the 6-pack. Once you get that everything fall into place.

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