Putting chops in your fingers also puts chops in your mind- playing music that's unfamiliar causes the player to hunt for the notes and in that process, it teaches where the notes are on the instrument, on command, and that's invaluable. Ever hear or read a musician say "Learn everything, then forget it and just play"?Another pedagogy question with a little (probably too much) background:
I've been working on tons of TrueFire lessons since being off work with my hip replacement (I've got five more weeks before I return to work). One of the things I've been working on is learning songs from Frank Vignola's Jazz Guitar Fakebook series.
I first learn the rhythm changes, beginning with Frank's suggested comping approaches, but eventually learning the songs well enough that I can grab the appropriate chords in any position, up and down the neck. There's obvious benefit to this approach: I'm learning new chord shapes and extensions, and I'm able to use those ideas in other tunes.
After mastering the rhythm (I'm up to six whole standards), I then learn his melodic suggestions as presented in his Jazz Guitar Fakebook: Soloing Editions. As well as getting the licks under my belt, I also listen to his explanations. I've learned four of his melodies so far, and I'm currently about halfway through his rendition of Blue Bossa.
These solos are TONS of fun to play, and I'm not really looking for an excuse to change my approach whatsoever, but I am curious to hear from some of you guys and gals with jazz chops. Am I really getting anything from learning these melodies note-for-note that will eventually translate into a more generalized ability to solo over jazz changes?
Will learning 30 or 50 of Frank's suggested melodies eventually just put chops in my fingers, in the same way that learning a hundred blues leads has led me to be a somewhat competent blues soloist?