Practice Material - Shapes and Patterns of Music

This is a project I've been working on for a long time. I'm offering it up as new practice material while isolated due to Coronavirus Lockdown. It's about 1/3 complete but it's a LOT of practice work.

I came up with the idea about 35 years ago, then put it out in a very rough form with intentions of someday making it more user friendly. In the past few years, I add to it it when I feel like messing with it. It's great practice material and is very challenging. I thought I'd add it to the mix here at VW for folks looking for something different to work on while held up at home.

The objective of this book is to offer so many patterns that they become non-patterns in an endless array of challenges that use a music formula that outlines how music fits together with itself. This way, the studier can learn to learn and apply virtuosity to their own musical makeup rather than playing prefab licks. Kind of like playing with blocks as a kid. If you give a child a bunch of blocks and show them how they can stack and work together instead of giving them specific instructions on how to build a particular structure, the child will be more free to build new creations. If you show the child that the blocks only work one way, you can stifle the actual growth of individuality.

There are so many ways to look at music but when you examine music from the perspective of inside its own design, it becomes vast. I hope it challenges you and offers energy while locked down.

Access: Anonymous


"When you begin to teach jazz, the most dangerous thing is that you tend to teach style...I had eleven piano students, and I would say eight of them didn't’t even want to know about chords or anything - they didn't’ even want to do anything that anybody had ever done, because they didn't’t want to be imitators. Well, of course, this is pretty naive, but nevertheless it does bring to light the fact that if you’re going to try to teach must abstract the principles of music which have nothing to do with style, and this is exceedingly difficult. So there, the teaching of jazz is a very touchy point. It ends up where the jazz player, ultimately, if he’s going to be a serious jazz player, teaches himself." Bill Evans