Random Roots comes with a number of built-in exercises. Some of them are set to be used as is; some of them are meant simply to give you ideas in creating your own. You can see them in the app by tapping on the Exercises tap. There’s one generic Sample Exercise and five folders full of other exercises:
This is the most important, foundational work you can do in Random Roots. It’s also pretty dry.
It’s very simple: each scale degree is one particular sound relative to the root. Suppose you choose the major 3rd exercise.
Every time there is a countoff leading to the next key, you get to hear the app play the root of the next key.
During that countoff, you simultaneously do two things:
Listen to the new root and construct in your head the sound of the major third of that key.
Look at the root name (for example, D) on the screen and determine the major third (F#) of that key.Then determine how to play F# on your instrument.
In the Scale Degrees folder you’ll see four exercises: major 3rd, minor 3rd, major 6th, minor 6th. Those are just four out of the 11 possibilities—12 if you include the (trivial) tonic, which is simply the note you see on the screen. I didn’t include them all, so as not to overwhelm, but you should work on them all. You can either duplicate & rename the existing ones to fill in the rest, or download them all using the Browse & Download Exercises function.
- tonic (the root itself)
- minor third
- minor seventh
- major second
- major sixth
- perfect fourth
- tritone (diminished fifth)
- minor second
- major seventh
- minor sixth
Don’t tackle them all at once, but don’t wait until you’ve completely mastered one before you go on to the next. Best is to introduce them one at a time (one per week… or per month… or per day, depending on your level) and focus on the new one, while still practicing the other ones in your repertoire.
Simple Song Phrases
Jazz Song Phrases
Same idea as the Simple Song Phrases folder, but for simple jazz songs. Perhaps you’ll want to pick from this one instead when your neighbors are listening.
Just kidding, of course! Part of what makes Random Roots so useful is that it identifies for us, without drama or judgment, the gaps in our ability that have been holding us back… and lets us finally fill them. It’s a humbling process but also an extremely liberating one. Let your neighbors hear you. The embarrassment today will be long forgotten after they hear what you sound like in a few months!
To learn about more posts like this and new features of the Random Roots app, subscribe: