It has been a cool process, which has overall changed the way I approach the instrument itself.First of all, it has made me double down on my own personal musicianship, singing roots, melodies, etc.And secondly, it has forced me to really develop an idea to overcome the challenge of what it means to learn an instrument.
The big thing I’ve come up with that has helped me, is that, at least for jazz, you really want to know the thing inside and out, and not just where the letters are, but how the intervals are laid out. Once you have the intervals laid out on the instrument, then you can choose to play your stuff in three ways:
1. As the instrument lays out it’s intervals. For example on the Stradella bass, P4ths are one column away, M2nds are two columns, M6ths, etc. Its different on the other bass systems. And the Stradella has two factors, which is the melody (bass notes) aspect, and the harmony aspect (the chords). You need to be able to locate and move like that. All kinds of things, anythings. Example: take the same chord shape and move it through any of those intervals I laid out above.
Here is a sheet music download of what I have in mind. Intervals in the stradella LH – P5-M2-M3
2. Chromatically: find your way into moving chromatically through your instrument. This is super important because, as harmonies get more complex, they generally get more chromatic, and or involve more chromaticism.
3. Diatonically: meaning moving through a scale. In jazz this could be any scale, Lydian, whatever. For most non-serious jazz players, the Major scale (Ionian mode) is a really really really good place to start. I’ve used this video to give me a nice melody and challenge for moving stuff through the two systems of the accordion!