How I create my video lessons

By Michael Lake | January 23, 2021 |

Someone asked me recently about the technology I use to create my video lessons. He was reacting to the recent lesson from my online course Improvisation Savvy that I shared publicly. As I wrote in my response, which I’ll post below, I have always believed in putting forth the highest possible quality in everything I…

Hearing and improving your time and rhythm

By Michael Lake | January 20, 2021 |

A jazz musician’s sense of time is one of if not the most important defining aspect of his or her playing. As a soloist, you can play “wrong” notes with a good time feel, and it will sound much better than “right” notes with a poor sense of time. What do I mean by a…

Bobby Shew on proper breathing for brass players

By Michael Lake | January 17, 2021 |

Bobby Shew is a well-known trumpet great. What people may not know is that he is also a world-class teacher. I had an opportunity to sit down with Bobby and ask him questions for close to three hours. We covered a lot of topics, but the nearest and dearest to his heart was on his…

Great artistic success with great material gain

By Michael Lake | January 16, 2021 |

Rarely does great artistic success lead to great material gain. Much more often, these two are at great odds against each other. Richie Beirach and I thought it would be interesting to write something about this¬†important topic. Will it turn into a book? I don’t know but I think that’s what we’re aiming for. The…

Audio equipment for sale

By Michael Lake | January 15, 2021 |

  After nearly 30 years of collecting quality audio gear to create music, I am selling a good portion of it. So much of the gear can now be found in the computer in the form of plugins that I no longer need floor to ceiling racks of knobs and flashing lights to adorn my…

An unusual testimonial on the Art of Skill

By Michael Lake | January 13, 2021 |

The Art of Skill – the book Dave Liebman and I put together – is selling well. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. I’m in the middle of recording the book for an audiobook version. It’s a ton of work but I think there are a good amount of people who like to listen…

A simple test and training of your jazz ear

By Michael Lake | January 5, 2021 |

If you watched my masterclass entitled, The Magic of Deep Listening, you heard me describe something I like to do when I hear a non-musical tone out in the real world (airplane engine, train horn, animal, etc.) I sing that tone and play around with it. Here’s a simple thing you can do with that…

Join me in making this your best year yet

By Michael Lake | January 1, 2021 |

As we all bid good riddance to 2020, I look forward to 2021 and the success I can help you and others achieve – in playing or in something else. It’s been exactly one year since I left corporate life in order to pursue a career building an organization and community that will help musicians…

Good advice from three jazz masters on finding one’s musical voice

By Michael Lake | September 20, 2020 |

One of my favorite things to ask great players is where players can discover their musical voice. One that reflects who they are within their technical abilities. This is a very abstract and philosophical topic, but one at the heart of playing jazz. Jazz improvisation is a deeply personal art. As you play, you are…

Steve Swallow and Dave Liebman on finding one’s musical personality

By Michael Lake | September 15, 2020 |

I had the thrill of interviewing bassist Steve Swallow last week for the next Jazz Master Summit. As I expected, Steve was a wealth of information about everything from bass pickups to zen. Later in the conversation, I asked Steve a question that I frequently ask myself and others. In fact, Dave Liebman and I…