Some of you may have taken The Blues in all 12 Keys Challenge. This time we are doing another important one: The Rhythm Changes in all 12 Keys Challenge.

Along with the blues, rhythm changes is another one of the most important forms in jazz music. In case you didn’t know, the rhythm changes form is based off of the George Gershwin composition I Got Rhythm, hence “rhythm changes”. Many of Charlie Parker’s tunes are what we call “contrafacts” (new melodies that were written over the chord changes of existing tunes) of I Got Rhythm. Some examples are Anthropology, Moose The Mooche, Dexterity, and Steeplechase.

Rhythm Changes heavily addresses the important chord progression I-VI-ii-V-I which is found in many jazz standards. The bridge features a series of dominant 7th chords cycling in 4ths, another important progression to master.

As I mentioned in the blues challenge: I believe the most important thing a teacher can do is to give students guidance and direction through structured practice routines, not just pile on a heaps of new information.

So today I want to give you a 7 day challenge. The goal is to practice rhythm changes in all 12 keys by the end of the week. I truly believe this will be a week of practicing that you won’t regret!

Practicing in all 12 keys helps you internalize information and break down barriers on your instrument. It’s one of the best forms of practicing I can suggest!

How the challenge works:

Pretty simple. You are going to practice a few keys of rhythm changes everyday, and use a metronome, a play-along, or even a friend to practice with. Practice improvising over the form, and if you are a piano or guitar player, practice comping as well.

Each day links to a few keys of rhythm changes where you can find the chord charts for C, Bb and Eb instruments as well as a play-along. You can also download our Rhythm Changes in all 12 Keys play-along album to practice with.

We’ll use the Circle of 4ths (C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-B-E-A-D-G) to go through the different keys.

So here we go! Are you ready to take the challenge? Dedicate yourself this week to taking this rhythm changes in all 12 keys challenge. I guarantee that you will feel like you made some progress in your playing this week.

Day 1

  1. Practice C Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice F Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 2

  1. Practice Bb Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice Eb Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 3

  1. Practice Ab Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice Db Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 4

  1. Practice Gb Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice B Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 5

  1. Practice E Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice A Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 6

  1. Practice D Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.
  2. Practice G Rhythm Changes for 15-30 min.

Day 7

  1. Review all 12 keys of rhythm changes. Practice improvising a minimum of 4 choruses for each key.

If you’d like to download the Rhythm Changes in all 12 keys play-along album, you can check it out here:

30 Stepsto Better Jazz Playing

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