Finding meaning for your jazz playing

I just read Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search For Meaning. It’s been on my reading list for a long time so my recent sojourn to the northern Arizona flower-covered mountains gave me the opportunity to finally read it. In essence, the book is Frankl’s horrifying account of his life in Nazi concentration camps and what…

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Warm up your ear for improvisation

We are all pretty good at warming up our bodies to play our instruments. Brass players require a little extra as we limber up the vibrating mechanism called our lips. For that, we play long tones, lip slurs, tonguing, etc. While each instrument has different needs for warming up physically, each one of us can…

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Memorization and jazz improvisation

I received an email this morning from a classical pianist eager to improve her jazz skills. Her question involves memorization, which she considers her ‘weakest area’. She asked, “How do I train my brain to play without music?” I’m turning my answer into a post because this is such a common question. She is certainly…

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Don’t blame the tool if you use it for the wrong task

There are lots of ‘tools’ available to someone learning to become a better jazz player. Recordings of great players Method books Scales A pitch tuner Transcribing Harmonic knowledge Patterns Band in a Box A metronome A keyboard (for non-piano players) A recording device Jam sessions A teacher Are they good or bad? It depends on…

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An important musical lesson Sheila Jordan can teach us all

I’m producing video marketing for my Jazz Master Savvy product and I was reminded of a priceless clip from my interview with the great singer Sheila Jordan. In fact, I put her clip into one of my ads as an example of some of the gems from my library of interviews and other conversations. Here’s…

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Left versus right brain in the process of learning to improvise

The left and right hemispheres of your brain have a complex relationship, and that relationship facilitates how you function in every aspect of your life including how well you play jazz. I like to talk about the roles each hemisphere plays in creating art, specifically jazz improvisation. Think of the left side as the analytical…

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What you’re missing in most online teaching of jazz

I’m building a new way to distribute all of my content online, and currently focused on how best to describe its value and how it’s different from everything else out there.So I’ve been thinking…There’s no shortage right now of diverse online jazz learning resources, from single source musicians to large sites featuring great players. But…

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How to develop your most authentic and best jazz playing

I received an email yesterday from a well-known jazz musician who after watching someone on Youtube “teaching jazz’ on the piano using root position chords on ii-V-I’s asked me…”Is it true that the more stupid and simplistic the delivery is, the more popular it is?” This video had over a quarter-million views, by the way.As Dr.…

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