Chart Reading

B+W at Piano

The ability to read charts is a skill every musician should have…

…and a great number of the gigs available to a bass player require it. When you take music lessons with me, chart reading will be incorporated into our study. If you choose to focus intently on chart reading and sight-reading, we can block out large sections of our meeting time to really focus on these skills. However, most of our chart reading study will integrate with the rest of our music study.

When you take music lessons with me, we will be performing a great deal of song analysis, which requires you, the student, to analyze a number of pieces of music. Most of the music we study will be jazz standards, and all of these jazz standards are written out in chart form. As a result of this close analysis of jazz charts, you will naturally develop the skill of reading through charts. I will require you to learn a number of jazz tunes from beginning to end. This means that you will be able to play the melody or “head” of the tune on your instrument, and perform both solos and walking bass lines over the chords changes. As you do this type of analysis from jazz charts, you will have to work on your sight reading of notes and rhythms, and learn to negotiate repeats, first and second endings, codas, fermatas, and other symbols and guides that are typically found in a pop or jazz chord chart.

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