Technique: Mapping out the fingerboard

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Exercises to train your brain and fingers, to help you become a more fluent performer and improviser

Incorporating fingerboard-mapping exercises into your daily practice will help you to understand and visualise chords more quickly, so that you can anticipate harmonies in any music. As you begin to see chord shapes, patterns and larger harmonic structures more clearly, you will be able to learn music more quickly, from jazz to Bach; and when you improvise, your hand will know what to do the moment you read a chord on a chart. You will be better able to voice-lead smoothly between chords, which will improve your confidence and fluidity. To develop this skill, I have created a system of ‘Jaytudes’ (Jason etudes) that has been extremely beneficial for my own and my students’ playing. I encourage you to come up with your own personalised etudes too…

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