Bruce Mishkit graduated from California State University in Hayward with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance with a major in Classical Flute.
Continuing his education, Bruce has studied privately with flutist Lloyd Gowen, jazz saxophonists Joe Henderson and Hal Stein, and pianists Don Hass and Mark Levine.
Excerpt from Bruce Mishkit's Lesson:
Contrary to what I’ve read in many books on improvisation, when I play over a Dm7–G7–Cmaj7 progression, I’m not thinking “Dorian” for the Dm7, “Mixolydian” for the G7, and “Ionian” for the Cmaj7. All those chords are found in the key of C, so why not play the C major scale through the entire progression? Now, just because all three chords are found in the key of C and I’m playing a C major scale over those changes it doesn’t mean that every note in the scale will have the same degree of consonance or dissonance when played against each chord. Every note has its own sound or feel when played against a particular chord.
For instance, the fourth step of a major scale played against a major 7th chord is not a strong resting point; the note wants to resolve down to the third or up to the fifth. The tonic of a major 7th chord is not a strong melody note either, especially when it’s played in the higher register. The tonic wants to resolve down to the seventh; just ask a vocalist who is trying to sing the root of major chord while the pianist is voicing the seventh right next to that note. The fourth degree of a dominant 7th chord, as well as the sixth degree of a minor 7th chord, are also what some people would refer to as “avoid tones.” I prefer to call them “tender tones;” they need to be handled gently, not necessarily avoided.
When a jazz musician
plays through a set of chord changes, there are many options at his or
her disposal. Depending on the type of tune being played and the
feeling the player wants to project, he can pick and choose the colors
(sounds, tones) he wants to use, much like a visual artist chooses
different colors and textures for a painting. Having choices is what
it’s all about. Without choices, a musician doesn’t have the
flexibility to develop a personal sound.
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