Making Modal Melodies

Live Guitar Course: Learn to understand and make music with modes.

If you’ve taken any courses on modes, you’ve probably noticed that most of the time, the primary focus is on improvisation. You learn a lot of scale patterns, study chord progressions, confuse yourself with a bit of music theory and the cycle goes round and round. This course, by contrast, is focused on songwriting. We’re going to use songwriting and arranging to explore many melody possibilities using the modes. We’re also going to use modes to enhance our creativity while songwriting. There are two courses on JamPlay that I’ve created before arriving at the material in this course. They are both live archived courses and they are Fretboard Roadmap and Modes Made Easy. Both of these courses focus primarily on improvisation and patterns. These two journeys are fantastic ways to start hearing and implementing modal sounds and the knowledge contained in them will be helpful in getting the most out of this course. I’ll be reviewing key concepts from each course though so don’t feel like you can’t come, hang out and learn if you haven’t taken or fully absorbed those just yet. What makes Making Modal Melodies a great next step is that we make an important transition: we go from reacting to music that we hear to creating music. After we spend some time all getting on the same page modally, we’ll creatively pair modes together, work with scale tones and tap into our inner meanderings to make some modal music that is uniquely you!

Making Modal Melodies

Course Complete

Course available for instant access with guided practice, tabs, and JamTracks where needed.

  • The Basics of Modes
  • Use Modes to Improve Your Playing
  • Learn to Craft and Make Melodies
  • Play for the Listener
  • Play Melodically Instead of Mechanically
Begin the Course

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Making Modal Melodies Guitar Course

About our Live Courses

We have upgraded, revamped, and organized in-studio, live weekly workshops broadcasted in 1080p. These focused, task-based workshops include full tablature, interactivity with the instruction, and even homework each week.

Guided Practice

Download guided practice videos to accompany your practice routine. Keep them for life regardless of your membership status. Just a simple, effective and purpose-driven way to learn the material.

Filmed in 4k

In 2016 and 2017, we completely re-engineered our recording studio with top of the line gear, including a full suite of 4k cameras complimented by a new audio outfit. The result is beautiful live streams!

Tabs & Tracks

Each live course is equipped with full tablature and even backing tracks. Our live lessons are focused, planned, and even provide homework on how to improve and look forward to the next week.

Interact Live

Our staff fields questions from the audience throughout each section, and opens for questions throughout each course. You also have the ability to call in live with your own video stream!

Our live platform has been a major focus over the past 18 months, and we are very excited to fully unleash it's capability! Attend any of these courses with a full JamPlay subscription and get the benefit of full interaction with our instructors in a focused, planned course. We even have the ability to field your questions with live video call in!

Full Course Schedule

And of course, we keep everything, so if you miss a week you can always watch our archive of live courses. Tabs, backing tracks, and a full course PDF are provided for students, along with homework for each week! Interact with other students along with the teacher and get the instruction you need to advance your playing.

Date Topic

Week 1

05/09/2018 at 8pm

Classifying Modes and Key Tones

Let’s all get on the same page. We’re going to cover, and in some cases review, the fundamental sound of each mode and then we’re going to discuss each mode’s key tones. We’re going to get the sound of each mode in our heads so that as we dissect them further we’ll be able to use what our ears are familiar with to make the music happen.

Week 2

05/16/2018 at 8pm

Dividing The Modes

Each mode can be classified as basically major or basically minor, but we’re going to take it one step further. We will be dividing the scales in half using 4 note scales called “tetrachords” to further dig into use cases for each mode. Understanding half scales will help us better use our modes in different settings. It’ll also help us pair different modes together in easy ways.

Week 3

05/23/2018 at 7pm

Chord Progressions and Structure

We’re going to pour through many modal progressions in this session and continue our discussion of song form, flow and structure. Most songs have sections that borrow from different modes, and we’re going to put legs to this in our own creations.

Week 4

05/30/2018 at 7pm

Leading the Listener

No matter what or how you are writing, a good melody must do the job of leading the listener. This means using rhythm and note choices together to provide intentional movement and resting points that create interest and variety but also channel emotions. Using recording, we’ll put several ideas down and analyze their effectiveness. We’ll also discuss the importance of leading the listener “home.”

Week 5

06/13/2018 at 8pm

Dorian and Mixolydian Medley

Using the first of our rhythm grooves along with a couple more pre-recorded elements, we’re going to get a chance to develop and record a melody that goes in and out of both Dorian and Mixolydian modes. This is going to be a bluesy one! It’ll be fun to see and hear how the tetrachord concept is implemented here. I’ll show my stream of consciousness over this track and then, of course, you’ll have a chance as well!

Week 6

06/20/2018 at 8pm

Ionian and Lydian Medley

This modal combination is going to sound smooth and freeing as we artistically move between the Ionian and Lydian mode. We’ll highlight the technique of a temporary modal shift over certain sections of the song. We don’t even need to change keys and our melody will help lead the listener into some blissful passages.

Week 7

06/27/2018 at 8pm

Dorian and Aeolian Medley

These modes really play nicely with one another and in all likelihood, you’ve heard many songs that go in and out of these two modes. Making seamless transitions takes a good ear for melody, but also a strategic chord structure. We’ll also experience the role that song form plays in making room for modal movement.

Week 8

07/11/2018 at 8pm

Phrygian and Aeolian Medley and Locrian Too

These are the trickiest of modes to play nicely with. Using the same structure as the previous three weeks, we’ll create a melody that weaves its way through these mysterious sounding modes.

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