Unlocking your full musical potential by being present while you play

By Michael Lake | August 31, 2020 |

Last night, I watched a video of pianist Kenny Werner speak at Google about his Effortless Mastery method. In my next life, I want to work for Google. You’ve got to give Google credit for being open to interesting ideas that stretch the minds of its people. This one was on creativity. Kenny demonstrated to…

The Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano free eBook by Richie Beirach

By Michael Lake | August 29, 2020 |

Richie and I created an eBook that highlights the ten most essential modern jazz piano players from Art Tatum to Cecil Taylor. Richie went to great lengths to explain that these are not simply his favorite players, but instead are the ones who paved a new path forward in the evolution of jazz piano. These…

Why the time to build your online audience is RIGHT NOW

By Michael Lake | August 29, 2020 |

At some point in the future, I want to create a product/service that helps musicians with their internet presence and marketing needs. As I look around, so many musicians desperately need help with this important element of their professional lives. Twenty years ago, we all thought, “I need a web site!” So we built one…

The one best way to improve your ear/instrument connection

By Michael Lake | August 27, 2020 |

Last night I was asked for the one absolute best way to connect one’s ear to the instrument in order to improve jazz improvisation. Let’s think about that. Can you imagine a tone right now? Maybe it’s in your imagination or maybe it’s something you hear from a motor or alarm or something external. Now,…

Celebrating One Hundred Years of Bird free ebook

By Michael Lake | August 26, 2020 |

I recorded a conversation yesterday with Richie Beirach and published the result into an eBook paying tribute to Charlie Parker. After all, Bird’s 100th birthday was very recent Richie was his usual candid and insightful self, offering up a rich serving of perspective on Bird’s music, influence, and legacy. If you have been following the…

What made Miles Davis a great band leader?

By Michael Lake | August 23, 2020 |

Dave Liebman and I are finishing a book called The Art of Skill. The book contains Dave’s advice on becoming a better jazz player, biographical reflections, and thoughts on how one goes about finding their own unique musical voice. The book consists of edited conversations between Dave and me, updated articles and talks by Dave,…

Playing tunes in 12 keys?

By Michael Lake | August 22, 2020 |

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of playing tunes in alternative keys as a method for learning to improvise. I am on an email distribution involving dozens of well-known jazz masters and the other day we all received an email written by one of those musicians who is also a top jazz…

New thinking about books

By Michael Lake | August 8, 2020 |

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – de Saint-Exupéry Richie Beirach and I published our first soft cover book last week titled A Framework for Jazz Mastery. In that first week we sold far more than we anticipated. Thank you! We…

How to use Jazz Patterns for Ear

By Michael Lake | June 30, 2020 |

Ever since the Jazz Master Summit, a lot more people are using Jazz Patterns for Ear. Because it is such a different book, people have been asking a lot of questions regarding how it works. This book/method is the polar opposite of any pattern book you’ve seen. The patterns are NOT designed to be memorized…

Feedback on the Jazz Master Summit composition challenge

By Michael Lake | June 30, 2020 |

I’ve received a few emails since announcing the winner of the Billy Strayhorn composition challenge asking about the selection criteria and why personalized feedback wasn’t provided. It’s understandable that people would like some closure to the competition other than simply knowing who won. “Why didn’t I win?” “What was the criteria for choosing the winner?”…