Often when I’m home improvising over a tune, I’ll stumble upon a simple melody and wonder whether or not I can play it through the keys. I might be able hear the melody clearly in my mind, can sing it easily and can play it in one or two keys without too much effort but on closer inspection, I discover that I have a hard time playing it through all the keys. At this point in my practice, I feel I’ve found a sort of dualism between what I can hear (honest self expression?) and what I can play (the mechanics of expression) and so I take a bit of time to play the melody through the keys. It seems that if you’re trying to play from your minds ear when you improvise and you hear a distinct melody but can’t play it on your instrument, you may be missing an opportunity to connect with something meaningful and honest. Could playing exactly what you hear in your mind constitute “finding your voice” on your instrument? At the very least you’ll have discovered something fun to work on for the next few minutes… Lesson 44 is one such melody; a fairly mundane line which I heard and probably absorbed from someone else and yet very clear in terms of its melodic and harmonic content.
I recommend singing the melody first in a key that’s comfortable for your range. This will really speed up the internalization process and help make the melody part of your inner voice.
One variation rhythmic variation is to play this melody in all triplets, starting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd triplet of any given beat in the bar.
You can also use the mp3 below to practice singing along with the melody to get it in your ear, or if you suffer from RSI or the like, you can sing along while reading the music or visualizing the fingerings on your instrument and practice without further injury.