How to get started with jazz improvisation

I received an email this morning from an enthusiastic sax player struggling to get better at playing jazz. He has started working with my book Jazz Patterns for Ear and wrote, “After playing the exercises in the book, I played a standard tune and immediately felt closer to the things I was playing”.

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How well do you TRULY know these standard tunes?

You show up at a jam session and Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, and Bye Bye Blackbird are called in their standard keys. You know the melody for each of those tunes and make your way pretty well through your soloing. Looking back, however, how well did you know those tunes?

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Hearing and improving your time and rhythm

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.

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A simple test and training of your jazz ear

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.

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Michael Lake

Jazz trombone, writer, multimedia artist, marketer

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Just tell me the buttons to push

My recently turned 18-year old son is a passionate photographer. He’s got himself a little business where people pay him for senior photos, family portraits, sport team pictures, and other personal moments.

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About the movie Whiplash and jazz education

A couple weeks ago I sent Richie Beirach a YouTube clip from the movie Whiplash as a bit of levity. It was the scene where the teacher in the film Fletcher berates that poor trombone player for being out of tune. Spoiler alert:

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About a metronome

I originally meant to write this as a reply to a comment Richie Beirach wrote on my blog. But as I started writing, I realized that this could be the springboard for something much more important.

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