How are jazz guitarists and musicians like us supposed to create and control pianistic harmony and improvise melodic, lyrical ideas that transcend playing scales, regurgitating memorized riffs, sweeping through arpeggios, and outlining changes with chord tones when the only approaches being taught in jazz guitar and improvisation are drop chords, scales, riffs, arpeggios, and outlining changes with chord tones?
That is the question...
"Jordan Klemons is a great guitarist with unlimited potential. His prodigious technique is never an end in itself but instead the means to musical expression. He is a musician who looks to the past for inspiration and influence yet has a modern conception; he is someone to look out and listen for!"
We are an online group made of thousands of diverse, international musicians. Our members range from beginners all the way up to advanced gigging and teaching professionals. While most are guitar players, we do have a handful of members who play other instruments. The one thing that we all share in common is the desire to free ourselves from being stuck sounding like we're running scales, modes, chord tones, and riffs when improvising. We seek to learn to freely improvise lyrical, melodic phrases that are respectful of the chords without being imprisoned by them, and to understand how to develop lush, colorful, moving harmony beyond the bounds of drop chords.
"The most remarkable thing about working on Jordan's method is that my hearing improved. Immensely. That translated directly to my playing in jazz, but also in jamming in other genres and simply picking out familiar melodies. If you're interested but not sure whether this is for you, I say give it a solid month of effort and you will be very glad you did."
It's a great question. In just a minute I will link you to a short demo video so you can actually hear melodic triads in action and what they do. But the basic idea is built on the belief that all great melody is made up of resolution notes and tension notes. This is true of melody regardless of genre (bebop, modern jazz, gypsy jazz, pop, blues, rock, classical, etc). If the music is tonal, it's using melodic tension and resolution.
The triad is the perfect starting point for playing music as it naturally and organically creates an organized set of the most stable and resolved notes which we can then manipulate to create drama and tension in our melodies and harmonies. Once you watch the demo video below and hear melodic triads in use, I'll be able to walk you through what you're hearing and how you can use triads to improvise melody by taking advantage of melodic tension and resolution.
"The melodic triads approach made me realize that I was interacting with music much like a photographer looking through the lens of a camera. My perception of music had been incomplete, with parts of it out of focus. Jordan's ideas have felt as if my ears are suddenly adjusting the focus on the camera lens and my musical self is seeing clarity where there had been a sort of fuzzy concept. Elements of my improvisations that had relied on memorized patterns or ideas are now able to be approached with intention and personal choice. I highly recommend engaging and experiencing the melodic triads approach, regardless of your musical background or experience. There is something here for everyone."
The bulk of this method came from a year I spent studying and playing with the brilliant vibraphonist, Stefon Harris. He opened my mind to the potential and power hiding within simple triads and to the depth possible when we understand the relationship between harmony and melody.
After studying with him at the piano for about a year, I began feeling frustrated. It seemed so unfair that I could build all of these incredible, lush, and complex harmonies on the piano using triads and very simple harmonic techniques... but I couldn't access any of these sounds on the fretboard. And the only conversations about harmony on the guitar that I was hearing were either about whether we should use drop 2 voicings or drop 3, basic shell voicings, or running chord scales. I felt that there had to be a way to bridge the divide between the way I was starting to see harmony on the piano vs the conventional approach to harmony that was being taught for the guitar.
So I decided to do something about it. I spent the next year dreaming up ways of translating all of these piano ideas onto the fretboard and the Melodic Triad Approach for the guitar began taking shape.
As I started making sense of how to achieve Bill Evans-style pianistic harmony on the fretboard, I then began exploring how to translate the melodic elements over as well... relaxing the limitations and generic quality of the chord-scale theory and chord tone running approaches to improvisation. Eventually I started mixing in elements and ideas from my other teachers (John Scofield, Peter Bernstein, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Shepik, and others) and my own approach started to form. At first, it was just a road map that I used. A "scientific method" that I followed during my own practice time. Having had to stop playing music for two years due to medical issues, I was forced to relearn to play the guitar. As I began to understand what this system was capable of and see how quickly and effectively the Melodic Triad Approach helped me get back to making music, I then started using it as a teaching tool when working with my private students.
As I began sharing more of my ideas with other, I was constantly being asked if there were books or DVDs I could recommend where musicians could go to learn more about the way I use triads. Since I didn't learn these ideas from a book, I had no resources to recommend. So instead, I decided to start this online study group.
"A couple of years ago I discovered a video on youtube of Jordan playing his version of 'Body and Soul' - in his way of playing he highlighted some beautiful sounds that enchanted me! He seemed to have more than 12 notes available... it was amazing! Some time later I began to study his approach to the melodic triads in the study group and SBAM! I discovered sounds that I did not imagine I could handle. The way in which the topics are proposed is very organic and never boring! Forget the classic approach to the study of scales, arpeggios, and triads (often you end up doing only gymnastics). With the modality proposed in the course you just need a few notions to immediately start to get into the heart of the topic in a simple and rational way! In a short time I started improvising with a taste that I did not think I had! My ear has improved - I notice and recognize the use of melodic triads in the records that I hear! In short: I have acquired greater awareness and mastery of harmony and the concept of tension and resolution! I will never stop thanking you.”
There's a famous quote that says that, "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." I could talk and write about melodic triads forever, but the quickest way to learn about a musical concept is always to start with experiencing it through listening.
Check out this short demo video to hear what is so unique about melodic triads. Yes, we're using the same 12 pitches of western music, but there are some unique features available to us using the melodic triad approach that are easier to understand experientially through listening BEFORE I try and explain the theory.
There are three different plans you can sign up for within The Melodic Triads Study Group. Below you will find the info about each one so you can get an idea of what you'll get out of each.
The study group is built around an ongoing monthly format, with new material each month. It's designed to allow you to jump in at any point and to work at whatever pace you feel comfortable with. You can easily unsubscribe from our group at anytime... no questions asked, no need to reach out and request cancellation. When you join, you will receive easy-to-follow instructions to cancel your membership.
-Free Monthly Video Lessons
-One Monthly Open Office Hours
-Facebook Group Community
5 Steps To Melodic Improvisation
($47 course - 50% OFF)
-Current Month PDF Guide ($7)
-Past Months' PDF Guides ($9)
-Private Skype Lessons
THE STANDARD LEVEL PLUS...
-Intro To Melodic Triads:
5 Steps To Melodic Improvisation
($47 value - FREE)
-The Tonality Vault
With Access To All Current & Past Monthly Videos Including Bonus Lessons & PDF Books
A Private Melodic Triad Mastermind Group
-Two Monthly Open Office Hours
(Available Live & Archived)
-Two Monthly Group Classes
(Available Live & Archived)
-Discounted Bootcamp Programs
-Discounted Skype Lessons
(Up to $35 OFF)
THE PREMIUM LEVEL PLUS...
-All Bootcamp Programs
-Coaching & Weekly Feedback
On Your Playing
-Regular Private Skype Lessons
***Due to the significant one-on-one attention I give the members of this level of the study group, the availability to join is highly limited. If interested, click the button below to learn more and to join the waiting list.***
We all have busy lives, and you might not be looking to get involved with a study group that updates its materials every month. It is possible to get started without taking part monthly. If would prefer to simply purchase our course, The Overview: 5 Steps To Melodic Improvisation, click the link below. Just remember that one of the perks of joining the study group Premium Membership is you get this course for free. You aren't required to keep up with the monthly pace if you want to work slower, you can take time off whenever you want, and you can unsubscribe at anytime. Not only will you be able to maintain access to this intro course for the length of your membership, but you'll also get to enjoy the rest of our resources as well.
"You have "doors" for me. And I need to go through them... I really believe that you are helping profoundly to assist in unlocking music for us."
"Melodic triads is an amazing approach for me to really dig into the jazz field. I was a scale runner before I studied this concept. But once I learned the melodic triad concept my solo playing sounds more musical and less robotic. Also I think it is the best way to learn the Bill Evans and Jim Hall style of playing. It's really unique and helps me understand music more like a pianist. I highly recommend the melodic triad concept for people who want to study jazz guitar."
"Technical stuff such as sequences, scale practice, shape systems... there are so many books out there. But I really like that [Jordan] puts it on a much more phenomenological area of expertise, so you get to understand what sound means, emotionally. To me that's much better than all of these books and methods you find all over the internet. This is much more personal and to the core of what music is. [Jordan] really helped me open up a new world, and we're continuing to explore that. I can highly recommend Jordan."
"After years of studying with many of the jazz legends of our time, Jordan has taken all the knowledge he has acquired, reduced it to its essence, and developed it into his own personal system of approaching improvisation. I find his method absolutely refreshing and so much closer to how the great improvisers are thinking and practicing than the traditional chord/scale, university approach to teaching improvisation. It's given me a whole new and fresh outlook on how to hear things and what to practice. So many free resources here to take advantage of with the option to subscribe if you want to go even deeper into his world. Highly recommend checking his stuff out."
"The traditional scalar, drop chord approaches to jazz guitar are practical, worthwhile, and recommended... but can leave the student on the outside looking for a way in. Jordan's Melodic Triad approach to jazz guitar provides a direct line inside, revealing the beauty of melodic tension and release, voice leading, and pianistic chord voicing. I have explored a big library of books, checked out lots of things online, and had the privilege of studying with some great teachers and musicians. In my experience, the Melodic Triad approach is unique in how it gets inside and what it reveals."
"You can often hear the words 'thrilling', 'dramatic', 'sweet' or 'sparkling' when non-musicians talk about music, but have you ever read these words in a theory book? Don't get me wrong, I've learned from many different books, and in that sense I understand music, (or at least I understand the changes). But at the end of the day, when I ask myself "What's the essence of this tune? What was the thing that caught my ear in the first place and made me play this song not another one, and how could I own that thing?" I often find myself unable to answer. After diving into Jordan's approach I realized that to get the answer I have to have an intimate relationship with the notes and oh boy, I have got to be a good listener. I have to own it, just like a painter owns the colours that he uses. I'm definitely encouraging you to start digging into the melodic triads because soon enough you'll be sounding 'sweet', 'sparkling' or anything you want."
"I can't tell you how much [The Melodic Triads Study Group] changed my guitar playing within the first month. To me the blues was just playing up and down the pentatonic scale with a few blues licks. When I applied this triad concept over the jazz blues... it blew me away and totally changed my way of thinking about the blues. Thanks a lot, Jordan, for sharing your musical knowledge with us and guiding us towards the right direction."
Our Standard Membership level is run using an email list. You don't need to purchase anything or create a login account or password. You simply sign up for our Melodic Triad Study Group Standard Membership email list below, and you're part of the community!
I will send you links every month to watch our free monthly study videos, links to join our free live open office hours session each month so you can ask me questions and get help with anything that's confusing you, the 50% discount code for our course The Overview - 5 Steps To Melodic Improvisation (which is optional and you can skip it and jump directly into our free monthly materials if you want), and other occasional specials, discounts, and related materials.
Signup below to get started...
PS - Double and triple check your email. One typo, and you won't receive any emails from me.