One easy and wonderfully effective way for both instrumentalists and vocalists to improve is through long tones. This discipline is as important as learning scales as it develops a clear, strong sound. Try even 4-5 minutes a day. Of course, the more the merrier.
Long tones with others is somehow easier and more fun. Click here for more on long tones.
Each Major scale has seven notes in it. In C Major you play C up to the next C, an octave.
If you use the exact same notes, but start on D and end on D, you will get a different scale, and different type of sound. Starting and ending on D is called the Dorian mode. It is also a minor scale.
Each note you start on within the major scale will give you a different quality and sound. These are called modes. There are many more modes, but only seven derived from the Major scale.
Dorian Phrygian Lydian
Mixolydian Aeolian Locrian
FOR PIANISTS: Here is a practical exercise for pianists those with access to a piano which I hope will be fun:
Do this with each note of the scale.
Have a friend sustain a note on a bowed or wind instrument
It is very important to listen to music that you want to learn. Take time to choose a recording of great musicians doing what they do best. And listen to that recording many times, let it soak in. That's what all of us have done for many years, and it never gets old! The more you listen, the more you internalize the melodies, harmonies and rhythms. If you don't know what to listen to, you can check out the list below or listen to KXJZ (90.9 FM) after 7 PM weekdays.
Also, KVMR -FM, Nevada City at 89.5 offers the Jazz Workshop every Thursday from 8 - 10 p.m.