there were some threads over here recently asking about how to maximize the effectiveness of your practice,what to work on,etc....

i figured i'd post this for people dealing with how to come up with a way of working on things that will actally produce tangible results in terms of being able to play/sound the way you want.....

instead of a vaguely defined approach to playing jazz piano(or any other style) based on learning about the mechanics(chords/scales and their interrelationship,voicings,melodic concepts,etc)and then,after developing a familarity with things and some degree of ability,trying to infer a way to sound like the influences you're into from that,try basing your approach from the outset on the elements that the players in question are using....

then with the help of either a teacher who can explain what the player's'actually doing or books/cds//videos that demonstrate the method involved,figure out exactly what out of all the things you could practice the aspects of what this player is using as they relate to the theoretical/technical aspects of things and base your approach on this".....
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this wil eliminate the scenario of overpracticing things which are actually counterproductive to the end result/goal(although depending on your technical level of skill,they could be a means to an end in that sense)when your practice time could be better spent working on things with this underlying idea as your focus...

for ex.,you're listening to mccoy,hh,chick,etc..and want to play things like they do but are under the mistaken impression that practicing standard a-b voicings and basic diatonic/bop lines in all keys as explained in a given "standard jazz method" or online will lead you to be able to do this....right away i'd suggest replacing what you're practicing with a methodology based on the actual harmonic/melodic elements of the style these guys and others based on the approach in question are using.......not continuing to work on the stuff you are with the underlying premise being that it will lead you to be able to "work up to" dealing with what's actually involved in how you really want to sound......

(more about this to come)
not that working on "standard a-b voicings and basic diatonic/bop lines in all keys"(or any other approach to understanding and familiarizing yourself with the basics) is a useless waste of time...up to a certain point something like this(especially as applies to its' use within the overall concept you want to internalize)is good get to play a certain way you have to really absorb what's involved,both by listening and studying...then break things down into exercises/routines.....
the focus here in the title of the thread on "conception/execution" is meant to get acros the idea of figuring out how to technically execute what your concept(here used in the sense of internalizing the elements of your chosen influences' style)......not only dealing with the transcription process in all its' facets is involved,but identifying the difference between what you're practicing and what you're listening to(sometimes this is simply a matter of changing some notes/inversions re-harmonic concepts).....
related to these ideas about how to approach things is the concept of studying things over a root pedal(you can expand this to include whatever lh voicing possibilities you want),for ex.practicing all your rh voicings for minor chords over the same root,then moving to the dom voicings you're learning ,etc....

this might help to both visualize and internalize a variety of voicing shapes in each key.....
it works especially well if you're into practicing various rh "shapes" over the root for a given chord type-be they inversions of basic chords/quartal structures superimposed over the root or cluster-type voicings derived from the pentatonic scale-i.e. using the a maj. pentatonic over f# for an f#min11 voicing concept like this-
f#/bc#ef#-c#ef#a-ef#ab,etc....voice the rh around middle can add the consecutive note from the pentatonic scale to each 4 note voicing for a 5-note rh voicing(the first one would be bc#ef#a......

using this method as opposed to playing one voicing around the cycle(or in conjunction with it)might help to see how a variety of seemingly unrelated structures used as different options for each chord type are related and allow you to more quickly recall and use the options available(esp. if you focus on practicing in the keys/cadences you'll actually use most of the time........
f# /bc#ef# / c#ef#a / ef#ab might be easier to read re-above.........
bill dobbin's book "a creative approach to jazz piano harmony" outlines a very systematic approach for this exact concept (voicings over bass notes), it easily has 10-20 years of harmonic study inside. i can't recommend it enough.
the best way to get inside someone's conception is to transcribe their playing and then use the method outlined in dobbin's book to absorb it. also setting weekly goals will really help keep you focused on the elements you are trying to absorb.  
by far the most important thing is to remember that a really focused practice structure only comes from trying to play the music that you love as best you can. in the beginning you should really just try to be open to as many influences as possible, and once you find your path try and see where it takes you. and be patient, you can't expect to master any particular style over night, focus and determination will pay off over time, but you have to develop a concept of where you want to go.
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