Didier Lockwood’s tip for playing out

Didier Lockwood

I had the great luck to be the student of Didier Lockwoodfor 2 years! It greatly influenced my way of playing jazz violin, and also my teaching pedagogy. Today,I miss Didier Lockwood a lot, it is a great loss for the world of jazz and the world of violin. He was very generous with me, I even had the chance to have him as a special guest on THE SONG “LA FEUILLE” ON MY ALBUM INSPIRATIONS! I in turn want to pass on some musical knowledge that he taught to me!

In this video, I decided to share with you a tip from Didier Lockwood on “playing out.”

It’s really a violinist’s trick, using very practical schematic fingerings! But I think this trick can also be useful for guitarists. It’s not the only way to play out, but in any case it’s a fairly easy way to start doing it on the violin. Below the video, you will find the written explanations of this technique by Didier Lockwood as well as a little souvenir video of a concert I was able to do with him!




Didier Lockwood’s trick for playing out

It’s just a matter of playing a phrase or series of notes, shifting your left hand up or down a semitone, then back to the basic position, and voila! It’s like transposing up a semitone and then back to the base key. You can transpose a phrase or a series of notes. The effect is even more interesting if you manage to transpose the series of notes but play them in a different order!

Example: I play a phrase in E major, I shift my hand a semitone towards F major, and then I go back to E again…



Memorize the visual diagram of the fingers

When shifting a semitone, it is important to memorize the placement of the fingers and the gap between them as a visual pattern. Thus, we can move the hand with the same finger gaps, but change the order of the fingers, so as not to repeat the exact same phrase! The effect is more interesting because you can’t identify what’s going on, but the feedback in the key makes it sound great!



To use this system, it can be very wise to use pentatonics! Obviously, Didier Lockwood also used pentatonics a lot in his playing. If you don’t know what it is, I refer you to myVIDEO ON PENTATONICS AT THIS LINK.

If we practiced the pentatonicsin all directions, it is then easier to transpose the phrase by a semitone by changing the order of the fingers. The pentatonic scales are a great help for playing out, but you can use them in a lot of different ways in jazz, and it still sounds good.Practicing pentatonic scales, opens up a lot of future possibilities in your playing!


Return to the original key

If you want it to sound good, the return of the transposition must be done well, at the right time. For this, it is very important to have afull awareness of harmony and to hear every chord clearly in your head, as if harmony were a melody! It is therefore necessary to go through in-depth knowledge of the chord progressions, working in particular on thearpeggios of the changes. Hearing the arpeggios in your head and being able to sing them into the chord chart sequence will, in my opinion, allow you to get out of harmony and back into it more adequately. If you try to play out without knowing the harmony of a song, you might get lost and it will sound like it!!! If you know the harmony and play out appropriately, the effect will be intriguing and successful!


Start with simple chords

The ideal way to start working on this trick is therefore to start on songs with very few chords, or even to work on a single chord!

Examples of songs with few chords:

– Impression

– So what

– All songs that use Rhythm changes (OLEO, I GOT RHYTHM)

– All Blues in minor or major

If you think of more, feel free to add them in the comments!


Souvenir video with Didier Lockwood!


Here is a little video of a memory of a little concert that I had the honor to do with Didier Lockwood as a guest at the Puces de Saint-Ouen festival in 2011! It’s old! Nostalgia for me…



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