Truefire - Robbie Calvo's Power Phrasing (2014)
Charles Limb, an otolaryngological surgeon at Johns Hopkins (also a musician), worked with a team of researchers to analyze and map what was happening in the brains of musicians as they played. The study determined that “musicians who are engaged with other musicians in spontaneous improvisation show robust activation in the same brain areas traditionally associated with spoken language and syntax.” Many TrueFire educators compare music to language in a figurative sense. According to Doctor Limb’s recent findings, music is indeed a language both literally and scientifically. We build vocabularies of licks and then string those licks together to form ‘sentences,’ which in turn we solo and improvise with to tell our stories. Harmony and theory guides our musical expressions very similarly to the way that grammar guides our speech.
But what about diction? With speech, diction refers to ”the art of speaking so that each word is clearly heard and understood to its fullest complexity and extremity. Diction concerns pronunciation and tone, rather than word choice and style.” As musicians, our ‘diction’ is phrasing — the way we present, time and articulate the notes that we play when we’re telling our stories.
Strip all the blazing techniques and fancy fretwork away and the real distinction between a mediocre player and the player whose solos make the hair on your arm stand up is the player’s phrasing. Phrasing is what transforms your solos from black and white to cinematic color.
When’s the last time you practiced your phrasing? Exactly. It’s the single one aspect of our playing that the vast majority of us simply ignore. This is largely due to the fact that there’s simply not a lot of study programs available today that focus solely on the art of phrasing. That’s precisely why we asked Robbie Calvo to dig deep into the topic and provide you with a clear, practical and expeditious way for you to majorly color-up your phrasing.
“Many of my TrueFire courses have guided you towards sweet notes, tonal centers and musical expressions for the fingertips. It’s now time to add your soul to the mix with Power Phrasing to create expressive personal statements that embody the essence of who you are.”
Robbie leaves no stone unturned as he guides your quest for Power Phrasing: Why Is Phrasing So Important, Melodic & Rhythmic Displacement, Rhythmic Feel, Downbeats & Upbeats, Combining Start Points, Leaving Air and Space, Playing Between Vocal Phrases, Lead Fills, 16th Note Phrases, Comping/Phrasing, Triplet Shuffle, Slow Blues Shuffle, Developing Phrases, The Four Elements, Combining Rhythmic Feels, Sustained Phrases, Call & Response Phrases, Phrasing An 8-Bar Solo, Singing Your Own Phrases, The Power of Silence, 16 Note Shuffle, Swing 16ths, Dynamics, Ornamentation, Legato, Staccato and many more tools of the phrasing trade.
No boring theory or tedious exercise here — you will play and ‘phrase’ your way through a wide and engaging range of playalongs that Robbie has prepared for you in Power Phrasing. You will also glean a broad perspective and deep knowledge base of rhythm concepts — this alone will take greatly enhance your musicality.
Give your scale, licks, harmony, theory and chord studies a rest for the next month to hone your Power Phrasing chops. Technicolor solos and improvisations are just a click away…