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October 14, 2019
Welcome to episode 189 of the LJS Podcast where today I have on special guest pianist and educator Brett Pontecorvo to talk about making time to practice and setting up a masterplan to achieve your musical goals. Not having time to practice is a common complaint, but this episode crushes that limiting belief and shows you a path to achieve more in your musical life. Listen to episode 189 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I get emails from subscribers of Learn Jazz Standards all the time, saying that: I really want to become a better jazz musician. I really want to reach my goals. I want to reach the potential that I know I have as a musician, but I just simply don't have time to practice and I don't have time to practice the amount that I think I need to practice. Well, in today's episode, I have a returning guest, Brett Pontecorvo, who is a brilliant musical mind and a brilliant teacher, to show us that yes, indeed, we do have time, how to start prioritizing our practice and to find the spaces where we can thrive and grow as a musician. This is a powerhouse episode. It's one of those episodes that is the real deal. This is the real stuff that is going to help you improve. It's not the fancy tricks, licks and all those things. It's all about this. In this episode: 1. Establish your vision and get specific 2. Write down all of your daily activities and quit the ones that don't align with your vision 3. Set up a calendar 4. Establish your reflection questions Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Brett's LiveKeyboardist LJS 63: How to Become an Expert Sight Reader (feat. Brett Pontecorvo) LJS 109: Pro Tips on Proper Music Notation, Formatting and Phrasing (feat. Brett Pontecorvo)
October 7, 2019
Welcome to episode 188 of the LJS Podcast where today I have on special guest jazz pianist Keelan Dimick to discuss the transformational moments in his musical development. Keelan is a jazz piano phenom and he opens up and shares his journey as a musician and the key points in his development. Listen to episode 188 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Learn Jazz Standards community, do I have a treat for you today! On the podcast, I have my good friend and phenomenal jazz pianist Keelan Dimick on the show and we are going to just dive in deep and have an inside look on his development as a musician, how he became so absolutely awesome. And this is a great episode, a really fun conversation. I personally had a great time and I know you're going to dig in through so many lessons packed inside this conversation today. In this episode: 1. Keelan shares key points of growth when he first started playing piano. 2. Keelan talks about the power of finding a mentor 3. Keelan talks about the big wakeup call he had when he went to music school 4. Keelan's philosophy on the power of learning jazz by ear Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Keelan Dimick's website
September 30, 2019
Welcome to episode 187 of the LJS Podcast where we conclude "Jazz Blues Month!" In this episode, I cover my philosophy on mastering musical material, and it especially applies to a jazz blues. No, it's not a bunch of fancy licks, short cuts, and hacks. It's real process. I dig into that and how you can start taking action. Listen to episode 187 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes For the first time in the Learn Jazz Standards podcast history, I am re-recording an episode. This episode. This is not the original version of the episode that I had planned and there's a few reasons for that, I'll go over a little bit later. But I wanted to be sure to make this episode special. And I wanted to do it the right way to conclude "Jazz Blues Month!" here on the podcast, so I'm going to dive in today on the secret sauce for mastering a jazz blues. This is really what it comes down for me, not just for the jazz blues, but with all the stuff that I do for becoming a better jazz musician. But it's really going to tie together for jazz blues and we are going to close this thing up right. In this episode: 1. Find a Community 2. Find a Mentor 3. Have a Process (THIS IS THE KEY) Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Jazz Blues Accelerator Course
September 23, 2019
Welcome to episode 186 of the LJS Podcast where we continue onto week 3 of "Jazz Blues Month!" In this episode, I cover the 2nd strategy of this series which is understanding the 3 pillars of jazz blues language. Not only do we discuss what they are, I tell you what to practice and a few tools that can help for each. Listen to episode 186 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes We're on week 3 of "Jazz Blues Month" here on the LJS podcast but we are diving in deep to jazz blues and ultimately learning how to master it to become a great jazz blues improvisers because if we know how to play the jazz blues inside and out, we have an unfair advantage at playing all other jazz standards. So, in today's episode, I want to be talking about the 3 pillars of jazz blues language that you need to know, that you need to dive deep in, in order to proficiently improvise over a jazz blues and take killer jazz blues solos. In this episode: 1. Blues language 2. Playing the chord changes 3. Bebop language Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Jazz Blues Accelerator Course LJS 184: 3 Reasons You NEED to Master a Jazz Blues LJS 185: [Strategy #1] Mapping Out a Jazz Blues for Improv Success
September 16, 2019
Welcome to episode 185 of the LJS Podcast where we continue "Jazz Blues Month!" In this episode, I cover the first of 3 strategies I'll be covering on crushing it on a jazz blues. Strategy #1 is "Mapping", and I go over 3 phases of mapping over a jazz blues. After mapping, the mystery of what notes to play will be completely solved. Listen to episode 185 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes We are continuing Jazz Blues Month here on the LJS podcast where we are diving in deep to the jazz blues, the importance of it and of course, how to improvise over it and master the jazz blues. In week 1, last week of the podcast, I gave you 3 reasons why you need to master the jazz blues, how important this is and how powerful this is and how it can give you an unfair advantage in your jazz playing if you are highly proficient at it. And in this week, we are starting our first of 3 strategies we are going over here. We are talking about how to map out a jazz blues for improv success and how important I believe this is in the several different phases of the mapping process that will start to unlock this important chord form in jazz. In this episode: 1. Mapping and why it's so important 2. A Basic Jazz Blues Form run-through 3. Phase 1: Chord Tone Mapping 4. Phase 2: Guide Tone Mapping 5. Phase 3: Scale Mapping 6. How to take Mapping to the next level on a jazz blues Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Jazz Blues Accelerator Course LJS 184: 3 Reasons You NEED to Master a Jazz Blues
September 9, 2019
Welcome to episode 184 of the LJS Podcast where today we kick off "Jazz Blues Month!" In this episode, I discuss 3 reasons why you need to master the jazz blues. If you go deep into understanding and navigating a jazz blues it will unlock countless secrets for becoming a great jazz improviser. Here's why! Listen to episode 184 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes We are starting "Jazz Blues Month" here on the LJS podcast, but we are going to be digging in deep into a jazz blues strategies for learning, strategies for improvising over it and strategies for mastering it. But I cannot think of a better way to start than to try to impress upon you the importance of mastering a jazz blues — getting this song form under your belt, being able to play it backwards, forwards, sideways, up, down. Because if you know a jazz blues, it is going to make jazz, in general, so much easier. So, in today's episode, we are going to be digging into 3 reasons why you absolutely need to master a jazz blues. But first, a story of the first jazz standard I ever learned. In this episode: 1. A story about the first jazz standard I learned 2. Reason #1: If you want to understand the tradition of jazz, you need to understand the blues 3. Reason #2: A jazz blues contains most of the crucial harmonic movements in jazz 4. Reason #3: The jazz blues is the perfect platform for developing improv skills Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Jazz Blues Accelerator Course
September 2, 2019
Welcome to episode 183 of the LJS Podcast where today we listen to two solos I've recorded in the past. We'll listen to one that I'm proud of and checks off the boxes of a good jazz solo, and we'll also listen to one I'm not so proud of. I analyze what made the good one good, and the bad one bad. Listen to episode 183 Enjoy listening to this podcast?If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I talk a lot about in this podcast analyzing your own jazz playing, listening back to recordings of yourself and analyzing and digging in to what you can work on and what you can do better. One thing to do is to listen to a jazz solo you play that you really are proud of, one that you really think defines what you are going after musically, and also listening to one that you feel a little bit disappointed with, maybe even slightly embarrassed to show to others. And that's exactly what I'm going to do in today's episode. I'm going to show you a jazz solo that I'm proud of and a jazz solo I kind of don't want anyone to listen to. In this episode: 1. My 3 elements of what makes a good jazz solo 2. My "good" jazz solo with a vocal, bass, guitar trio 3. My "bad" jazz solo over my original composition 4. 3 things I could do to improve my solo and make it better Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links LJS 178: Becoming Your Own Jazz Teacher by Recording Yourself (feat. Jens Larsen) LJS 141: What I Think About When I Take a Jazz Solo LJS 136: I Critique My Jazz Playing from 7 Years Ago
August 26, 2019
Welcome to episode 182 of the LJS Podcast where today I have special guest Adam Levy on the show to talk about diminished harmony and how to start improvising over diminished 7th chords. If you've ever felt confused by diminished chords and how to approach them, consider this a must listen episode. Listen to episode 182 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Have you ever been improvising over a jazz standard and everything was going fine but then suddenly you ran into a big bad scary diminished 7th chord and you just didn't know what to do? Well, I'll be the first to raise my hand and say, yes, diminished chords have often confused me when it comes to improvising. And sometimes I felt very limited with my knowledge and ability of how to improvise over them and what context they were playing. On today's episode, I have a very special guest, musician, jazz guitarist, singer-songwriter, Adam Levy, to talk all about diminished theory, diminished harmony and some tools for how to improvise over them. In this episode: 1. Adam Levy and his vibrant musical career 2. 4 common diminished harmonic contexts to know 3. Improvising over diminished 7ths starting with the chord tones 4. Thinking of auxilary notes to approach chord tones rather than diminished scales Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Adam's Guitar Tips Pro Adam's new album "Accidental Courage" Adam's TrueFire Courses LJS 121: Understanding Secondary and Backdoor Dominants
August 19, 2019
Welcome to episode 181 of the LJS Podcast where today I announce that I'm taking a break from jazz...for two weeks. But the fact that I'm taking a break does have some significance, and I want to explain the benefit of taking breaks for you and your musicianship. Listen to episode 181 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes So, as you can hear, I'm laying here on the beach in Greece, visiting my wife's family, on vacation. And there's not going to be any intro music today. There's not going to be a music theory lesson. There's not going to be a practice routine that I'm going to share with you. I'm not going to be taking out my guitar. I'm not going to be doing any of those things today. Because today is just an episode where I want to talk about taking a break. Taking a break from playing jazz, and taking a break from our everyday lives, of course. But in specific, I want to talk today about taking a break from playing music and why you should do that. And that's exactly what I'm doing right now, well, at least at the time you are listening to this episode. In this episode: 1. I talk about why I'm taking a break 2. Why you should take a break from jazz too Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Mindset by Carol Dweck 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
August 12, 2019
Welcome to episode 180 of the LJS Podcast where today I answer questions from the Learn Jazz Standards Community Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Lots of great jazz questions are answered over a wide range of topics. Listen to episode 180 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes We've got a special episode on the podcast today. It's an Ask Me Anything episode where you are asking jazz questions and I am answering them for you. I went into our Facebook community group, as well as the YouTube community, asked for some questions and you guys gave me some great questions to answer today. So, I am excited to answer these, to dive right into them. In this episode: 1. What is the best way to improvise over different rhythms? 2. Can a sus4 chord voicing include the 3rd as well as the 4th? 3. How do you play fast long phrases that sound great? 4. How do you go from improvising over one chord to a chord progression? 5. What are the pros and cons of sight reading? 6. What is your favorite gypsy jazz guitarist? 7. What are target notes and how to I implement them? 8. How do you build a solo so it tells a story? 9. Is it more important to learn music theory or improve my ear? 10. How do I transition from playing licks and tricks to melodic ideas? 11. Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you sit down to practice? Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Episode 169: Composing Jazz Solos Using Target Notes Episode 168: Making Rhythms the Foundations of Your Jazz Solos Episode 154: How to Avoid Meandering Jazz Solos (feat. Jeff Schneider)
August 5, 2019
Welcome to episode 179 of the LJS Podcast where today I go over 7 different options for playing an intro on a jazz standard. While you can just count off a tune and start playing the head on beat one, it can be nice to set up a song with an intro. I walk you through some options and give you a call to action at the end. Listen to episode 179 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One basic question that you might have when starting to play a jazz standard is exactly that. How do I start the jazz standard? How do I introduce it when playing at a jam session, a gig, or just with another friend? Well, of course, there's the obvious one which is, just count it off and start playing the head on beat one. But sometimes, it can be appropriate to have an introduction to a song, it can be more creative and even there are times where certain jazz standards have composed intros that are appropriate to play before getting started on the head. So, in today's episode, I'm going to be going over some different options for playing introductions to jazz standards. I'm going to go over 7 of them for you to give you some options. In this episode: 1. Pedal on the V chord 2. Play the last 8 bars 3. Two chord vamp 4. Improvise a chorus up front 5. I-VI-ii-V 6. I-ii-V 7. Composed intro Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way
July 29, 2019
Welcome to episode 178 of the LJS Podcast where today I have on special guest jazz guitarist and Youtuber, Jens Larsen to talk about recording yourself. I frequently get comments from my course students that the power of recording themselves has become a game-changer. Jens goes into detail about overcoming fears, and what to look out for when you listen back to yourself. Listen to episode 178 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes What if I told you that when you are practicing, you are leaving a lot on the table. And what I mean by that is you may be working on a bunch of great jazz improvisation stuff, techniques, music theory, maybe you're learning some standards, but you're not really able to analyze yourself, to hear what you're doing right or doing wrong. At the end of the day, we can be our own best teachers. We can analyze and listen to ourselves to identify the weak points that we need to improve upon. And so, on today's show, I have a very special guest, Jens Larsen, to talk to us all about recording yourself, how to do it, why to do it, and why it could be possibly the best thing you've done for your musicianship all year. In this episode: 1. How to overcome your fear of listening back to your jazz playing 2. How often should you record yourself? 3. What should you be listening for when listening back to yourself? Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Jens Larsen's YouTube channel  Jen's new book Modern Jazz Guitar Concepts Mindset by Carol Dweck
July 22, 2019
Welcome to episode 177 of the LJS Podcast where today I demonstrate a solo I composed over a minor blues. Composing jazz solos is one of the best ways to solidify the jazz language you already know and get it to come out in your playing. Listen to episode 177 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes For today's episode, I want to give you a very actionable episode. Something that you can take action on today. One of the best ways that I think that you can start improving your jazz solos and take the jazz language that you already know and get it to come out on your instrument, is to compose a jazz solo. And I've done this before in the podcast. But doing this action can really help solidify ideas that you already have. And since I don't talk enough about minor harmony on this podcast, today's example is going to be over a minor blues. So, I'm going to show you a solo that I have composed over a minor blues and challenge you to do the same. In this episode: 1. I demonstrate my jazz solo over a minor blues 2. A few quick points on writing a good jazz solo Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
July 15, 2019
Welcome to episode 176 of the LJS Podcast where today our special guest Nick Mainella from the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast discusses how we can improve our jazz improv by thinking slow. To be a great jazz improviser you need to think fast and effectively, and in order to do that you need to start by doing the opposite. Listen to episode 176 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Have you ever felt stuck in your jazz playing? You've reached this certain level but you're really not sure how to get to the next one above that? Maybe it's a particular jazz standard you are working on right now and you are not able to play the chord changes the way you want. Or maybe it's too fast of a tempo, and you're not able to create great musical ideas at that speed. Whatever it happens to be for you in your playing right now, it could be that you just need to rethink how you approach the practice room and the things that you actually do. It could just be a shift of mindset that will help you. To help us with that today is a special guest, Nick Mainella from the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast, who is going to lay down the value and help us get over these hurdles. In this episode: 1. Understanding how thinking fast means we first need to think slow. 2. System 1: Thinking on your feet and in the moment 3. System 2: Deeper, higher-level thinking 4. How to apply these systems to your jazz improv practice 5. How to improve your jazz solos simply by thinking about them Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Nick Mainella's 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (affiliate link)
July 8, 2019
Welcome to episode 175 of the LJS Podcast where today I talk about using pitch collections to create jazz lines over static chords. I personally don't enjoy thinking about playing scales over chords. I think a better way to think about scales is as "pitch collections" which can be especially helpful when learning to improvise over different qualities of chords. I go over the concept and demonstrate some licks. Listen to episode 175 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Sometimes in jazz, we come across chords that deserve a little bit of extra attention. These chords may have extensions and alterations in them, like a Major 7(b5) or a (#5) or a dominant 7(#11), the list goes on and on. But by taking this outside of a chord progression context, honing in on them and mapping out the note choices we have available to us, we can start creating jazz lines and start exploring these chords individually. So, in today's episode, I want to be talking about pitch collections -  how do you use pitch collections to map out chords like this, so that we can take our jazz improv to the next level. In this episode: 1. Understanding the concept of pitch collections 2. Formula for a dominant 7(#11) chord 3. How to play a Lydian Dominant pitch collection 4. Different lick examples using the Lydian Dominant pitch collection Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2
July 1, 2019
Welcome to episode 174 of the LJS Podcast where today I walk you through a step-by-step process for learning chord progressions by ear. Learning chord progressions by ear is usually the more challenging aspect of learning jazz standards by ear, and the benefits of learning by ear are numerous. I show you how the power of ear training, a tiny bit of harmony knowledge, and some practice will have you unlocking chord progressions. Listen to episode 174 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Whenever I tell people how to learn jazz standards, I always tell them to learn them by ear. And naturally, those who are a little less experienced with learning music by ear, and are more comfortable with reading music, are a little bit skeptical at first. Maybe they can wrap their heads around the idea of learning the melody by ear, that might be a little bit easier to latch on to, but they have a harder time imagining actually hearing chord progressions by ear. That's so much harder than simply learning a melody. So, in today's episode, I want to go over my method for learning chord progressions by ear, from scratch, and technically, you don't even need your instrument in order to be able to do this. In this episode: 1. Identifying cadences and resolution points 2. Identifying the root notes of the resolution points 3. Figuring out the root notes and qualities of the chords in between 4. The power of interval and chord quality ear training Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links How to Play What You Hear (Ear Training Course) Video: How to Learn Chord Progressions by Ear (No Sheet Music)
June 24, 2019
Welcome to episode 173 of the LJS Podcast where today I talk about the importance of blues, and why you should take it into all 12 keys. Jazz is a music that emerged from the blues and therefore jazz language is steeped in it. If you can play the blues in any key your jazz improv skills will be miles ahead. In this episode, I demonstrate myself taking the blues through all 12 keys and how you can too! Listen to episode 173 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the most important song forms in jazz is the 12 bar blues. And this is because jazz came out of the blues. It was birthed from it. And that's why you hear so much blues language in jazz throughout the different eras, throughout the history of the music. And the great thing about the blues is that it contains all of the most important harmonic elements of most jazz standards. So, if you know the blues, forwards and backwards, and are versed in it, you are going to be able to improvise well over many other jazz standards. It is important that we spend some time on these song forms, so in today's episode, we are going to talk about how I take the blues through all 12 keys. I'm going to take you through all 12 keys so you can hear it and we are going to dig deeper into this stuff. In this episode: 1. Why the blues form is important to know 2. The benefits of taking the blues into all 12 keys 3. I improvise over the blues in all 12 keys 4. My challenge for you: take the blues into 3 keys you aren't as familiar with this week Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Video: Blues in all 12 Keys Challenge LJS 146: 3 Strategies for Improvising Over the Blues
June 17, 2019
Welcome to episode 172 of the LJS Podcast where today I share my personal story of how I jump-started my jazz skills. When I first became interested in jazz I felt like I was way behind compared to my peers. I wanted to become a great jazz improviser and so I invested my time and energy into it. I go over 5 things that had a big impact on my jazz playing and will have a big impact on yours as well. Listen to episode 172 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes There is so much noise out there when it comes to jazz education. There are online resources such as YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts like this one, books, courses, different teachers with competing ideas of how to improve your jazz playing. And quite frankly, this can be overwhelming. There's so much content out there, we can get stuck in analysis paralysis -- jumping from one thing to the next, not really sure how for us we're going to get to the next level in our jazz playing. Well, I thought I'd share in today's episode, my personal story of how I jump-started my jazz skills. From really not having a lot of understanding of the jazz language, to really being proficient in the jazz language. So, I'm going to share my personal story, how I did it, the 5 things that I focused on in order to reach the level of playing I'm at today. In this episode: 1. I found a mentor and stuck with a program 2. I played out live 3. I learned jazz language by ear 4. I learned my instrument better 5. I stayed consistent Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing LJS 100: My Jazz Mentor Gives You His Best Tips and Advice (feat. Justin Nielsen)
June 10, 2019
Welcome to episode 171 of the LJS Podcast where today we talk about 10 jazz standards that will expand your knowledge of jazz harmony. My philosophy is that if we learn jazz repertoire all of the lessons we need to learn about improvising will fall into place. These particular 10 jazz standards start exploring jazz harmony past a basic level of understanding, and will help you know hundreds more. Listen to episode 171 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes If you have been following me for a while in Learn Jazz Standards, you know that my philosophy for improving as a jazz musician and becoming a better jazz improviser is to learn jazz standards because the jazz standards will teach you how to play. You will learn new harmonic concepts. You'll be forced to approach different chord progressions you haven't approached before. And naturally, through that process, you will be forced to learn improv lessons. You will be forced to listen, be forced to improve by simply going over different harmonic context. So, in today's episode, I want to share with you 10 jazz standards that I believe will really help expand your knowledge of jazz harmony, that are worth your time looking into. In this episode: 1. There Will Never Be Another You 2. Someday My Prince Will Come 3. Tune Up 4. Just Friends 5. Take the A Train 6. Days of Wine and Roses 7. Alone Together 8. Solar 9. What Is This Thing Called Love 10. The Girl From Ipanema Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2 LJS 121: Understanding Secondary and Backdoor Dominants
June 3, 2019
Welcome to episode 170 of the LJS Podcast where today we talk about limiting beliefs and how they can dictate the success or failure of our jazz improvement. Often times musicians are their own worse enemy. We choose to diminish our true capabilities, and believe that our potential is limited. This episode is about taking a look in the mirror and breaking free from the shackles of our musical limiting beliefs. Listen to episode 170 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Time and time again, I have sabotaged my true potential as a jazz musician. And many times, I've looked at other musicians and thought to myself that I'll never become as good as them because I'm just not as talented as them. And many times, I've told myself, well, my brain just doesn't think this certain way. Therefore, I'll never be a great composer. I'll never be as good of an improviser. I'll never be able to memorize all that music. Many times, I have stabbed myself in the foot because of my limiting beliefs about my musicianship. And my friends, today's episode is all about facing ourselves in the mirror and asking ourselves, what limiting beliefs do we have about our jazz playing because they are what's holding us back from becoming the best musician we can possibly be. In this episode: 1. Limiting beliefs and what they are 2. Defining your limiting beliefs about your jazz playing 3. Defining what it is you want out of playing jazz music Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links [Video] Limiting Beliefs in Your Jazz Playing LJS 98: How to Beat the Brain Game for Musical Freedom (feat. Matt Vaartstra)
May 27, 2019
Welcome to episode 169 of the LJS Podcast where we conclude "Jazz Standards Month." This lesson goes over composing target notes over the jazz standard There Will Never Be Another You and then using those target notes to create a jazz solo. This is a great way to start developing improv skills by slowing things down and intentionally composing jazz lines under the parameter of target notes. Listen to episode 169 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I personally like the idea of improvisation being composing sped up. And the inverse of that- composing being improvisation slowed down. And if we want to become a great improviser, sometimes it seems magical. You hear some of your favorite jazz musicians just playing this stuff and wonder how do they come up with those ideas? I think that a great way to get to that point is by slowing that process down and becoming a great composer. Figuring out how to compose your own jazz lines, your own jazz solos, your own concepts, so that the more you do that, the more naturally it will come out when you speed it up in an improvisation setting. So, in today's episode, we're going to take a little tool called target notes and we're going to compose some lines using target notes over the jazz standard There Will Never Be Another You. In this episode: 1. Announcement: The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2 is launched! 2. Target notes and what they are 3. How to create a target note map over There Will Never Be Another You 4. "Connecting the dots" and creating a solo from a target note map Target Note Map Target Note Solo Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2  LJS 122: How to Use Target Notes to Create Melodic Jazz Lines (feat. Jens Larsen)
May 20, 2019
Welcome to episode 168 of the LJS Podcast where we continue "Jazz Standards Month." Oftentimes in jazz education we place an emphasis on harmonic and melodic elements. We typically don't place enough emphasis on rhythm. However, rhythm is important for understanding jazz music and becoming a better jazz improviser. In this episode, we learn how to apply rhythmic motivic development to the jazz standard Someday My Prince Will Come. Listen to episode 168 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Oftentimes in our jazz education, we pay particular attention to melodic and harmonic elements of learning jazz repertoire and of jazz improvisation. However, we often leave rhythm on the back burner, when rhythm is actually a very important part of understanding jazz music and of feeling time and creating great interesting jazz solos. We need to use rhythm. We need to understand rhythm better. So, today's episode of "Jazz Standards Month" on the Learn Jazz Standards podcast, we are going to look at some rhythmic, motivic development over the jazz standard Someday My Prince Will Come. In this episode: 1. The importance of rhythm for time feel and creating great jazz solos 2. What is rhythmic motivic development? 3. Composing rhythmic motifs over Someday My Prince Will Come 4. Adding melodic notes to the rhythmic exercise Rhythmic Motives Example Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2
May 13, 2019
Welcome to episode 167 of the LJS Podcast where we continue "Jazz Standards Month." My subscribers often wonder what scales to play over jazz standards to help them improvise. However, scales are rarely the answer to creating great melodic solos. With that being said, they should not be discarded and in the right hands can be used to create great music. In this episode, we take the pentatonic scale and apply it over the jazz standard Just Friends. Listen to episode 167 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the most common questions I get from Learn Jazz Standards subscribers is what scales do I play over this chord? Or what scales do I play over this chord progression? What scales can I use in order to improvise? And while I understand that that question is coming from a good place of wanting to improve or wanting to become a better jazz improviser, scales are often not the answer for creating great melodic jazz solos. However, I don't believe that we should throw scales out altogether. In the right hands used the right way, they can be used creatively and melodically. So, in today's lesson, this next lesson of Jazz Standards Month on the LJS Podcast, we are going to be taking a scale that we all know and love, the pentatonic scale, and applying it over the popular jazz standard Just Friends to make it more musical, to help us use this scale effectively. In this episode: 1. The healthy way to think about scales in terms of improvisation 2. Chords analysis of the first 8 bars of Just Friends 3. Pentatonic Note Map over Just Friends 4. Using motivic development using pentatonic scales over Just Friends Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2 LJS 121: Understanding Secondary and Backdoor Dominants
May 6, 2019
Welcome to episode 166 of the LJS Podcast where we kick off "Jazz Standards Month." This month we are exploring jazz standards and digging into different concepts to see how we can learn, understand, and improvise over them better. In this episode, I go over the jazz standard Tune Up by Miles Davis, and demonstrate how to simplify these chord changes to make them easier to understand. Listen to episode 166 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Welcome to Jazz Standards Month here on the LJS Podcast, where this month of May we are going to be celebrating jazz standards. We are going to be digging into them to try to understand them better, try to make them simpler, easier to understand, and of course, to help us improvise over them better. This comes along with the launch of our Jazz Standards Playbook Volume 2 eBook Companion Course coming up on May 26 which we are all really excited about here on team LJS. But today we are going to be talking about simplifying jazz standards to make them easier to understand and to help us improvise over them better. We are going to be using a popular jazz standard in order to do that. In this episode: 1. What we will be learning during Jazz Standards Month. 2. The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol 2 (coming out May, 26th 2019) 3. Simplifying Tune Up to 3 different key centers. 4. In-depth chords analysis of Tune Up Chords Analysis of Tune Up Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2 LJS 105: Analyzing Jazz Standards with Roman Numerals for Max Results
April 29, 2019
Welcome to episode 165 of the LJS Podcast where today we have a fun show where we discuss how to improvise over the LJS Podcast theme song. It's an episode mixed with a bit of education, and just plain having fun. Best yet, we listen to several recordings of LJS community members improvising over the theme. Listen in! Listen to episode 165 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I've got a fun episode for you today. I'm going to be showing you how you can improvise over the LJS Podcast theme song. I'm going to do a little improvising myself and show you a few options. What's really cool is we also have some listener submissions of their improvisations over top of the LJS podcast theme song. This is going to be a fun one. I hope you enjoy it. In this episode: 1. Where the LJS Theme song came from. 2. What makes jazz, jazz anyway? 3. Several scale-related options for improvising over the theme song. 4. Listener improv submissions and how they approached it. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Sign up for the newsletter
April 22, 2019
Welcome to episode 164 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest trombonist, author, and educator Michael Lake to talk about warming up the body and mind for musical performance. Warming up is important for avoiding injury, and physically being able to play to your best ability, but it's also good for your mental game as well. We get inside Michael's head and learn his best practices and tips. Listen to episode 164 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Something that not everybody knows about me is that I'm a runner. I like to run. It is my exercise of choice. It keeps my body healthy. It keeps my mind healthy. And I genuinely enjoy doing it. I do it about 4-5 times a week. However, if someone were to say to me, "Hey Brent, how about you run a marathon with me tomorrow?" I would not be prepared to do that. And let's pretend that I do. Let's pretend that I say, "yeah, sure, I'll run a marathon with you tomorrow." So I wake up early in the morning and I start running this marathon. What's going to happen? Halfway through, if I get halfway through, I'm going to get an injury. My legs are going to breakdown, not only because I'm not physically prepared. I'm not mentally prepared. In music, we also need to be mentally and physically prepared to perform at our best ability to have a great performance. So, on the show today, I have Michael Lake to talk to us all about warming up your mind and body for killer musical performances. In this episode: 1. Why is warming up important? 2. Why brass players need to spend more time warming up than some other instrumentalists do 3. Changing your practice environment 4. Warming up the musical mind, and how to do that Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Michael Lake's website  Michael Lake's YouTube channel  LJS 159: Brain Hacking for Speeding Up Your Jazz Improv Success
April 15, 2019
Welcome to episode 163 of the LJS Podcast where today we talk about what to do when you feel un-motivated to practice. Sometimes we are burnt out, sometimes we just don't want to and don't have a good reason. It can be confusing especially since deep inside we know we want to become better jazz musicians. Don't panic, here are 5 things you can do. Listen to episode 163 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Tell me if you can relate to me here. If I were to describe myself to somebody else, I would say, "Brent is a husband. He is an entrepreneur. He is a foodie. He likes to travel and he's a musician". And music is an important part of my life. It's an important identifier. I identify myself as a musician. A good percent of my self-worth is tied into being a musician. So obviously, I want to improve as a musician always. But you know, the funny thing is sometimes even when I have ample opportunity to do so, I don't feel like practicing. I'm un-motivated to practice sometimes and that's a strange thing- to want to improve but yet not be willing to put in the work to do so. But it's natural. I'm sure that you can relate to me as well with that. So today I want to talk about 5 things that I do when I feel unmotivated to practice. And it's probably not everything that you're expecting. In this episode: 1. Let go and take a break 2. Listen to music you like 3. When you're ready, come back to your instrument and play something you think is fun 4. Find your source of inspiration 5. Re-evaluate your goals Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links LJS 159: Brain Hacking for Speeding Up Your Jazz Improv Success 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
April 8, 2019
Welcome to episode 162 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Aimee Nolte on the show to share with us how to develop an engaging solo that tells a story. Aimee thinks the biggest mistake she sees jazz improvisers make is coming out of the gate playing a slew of notes and run-on lines. She shows us how she develops a great jazz solo and let's loose and some amazing tips. Listen to episode 162 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I don't know about you, but the solos that I take where I leave feeling satisfied and happy with them are the ones where I start out with some ideas. I build on those ideas. I develop them. I climax the ideas, then I hand off the baton to the next musician to improvise. And the solos that I feel unsatisfied with or disappointed with are the ones where I just start playing as many notes as possible, getting as many ideas out there under the table. And not really considering the development of the solo. Well, that's what Aimee Nolte calls one of the biggest mistakes that she sees jazz musicians do when they are improvising. So, on the show today, I have special guest Aimee Nolte to lay it down for us, to tell us how we can develop awesome jazz solos. In this episode: 1. The biggest mistake jazz improvisers make 2. How to use simple melodic ideas that repeat to make the audience "feel smart" 3. How to develop your solo so it tells a story 4. Aimee's new album and why you should check it out Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Aimee's website Aimee's new album LJS 60: How to Develop Relative Pitch (feat. Aimee Nolte) LJS 154: How to Avoid Meandering Jazz Solos (feat. Jeff Schneider)
April 1, 2019
Welcome to episode 161 of the LJS Podcast where today I go over an in-depth analysis of the jazz standard "There Will Never Be Another You." This is a fantastic tune that has a lot to teach us about traditional diatonic jazz harmony, with a few fun surprises along the way. Learn how to start approaching this great jazz standard. Listen to episode 161 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I really believe that in order to take a great solo over a jazz standard, or any song at all, that you need to understand how that song works. Yes, we need to be able to use our ears and that's obviously the most important thing when it comes to being a jazz improviser. However, I believe that understanding how chord progressions work, how chords function and the context of the entire song - all of this is really important. And that's why I like to spend some time analyzing jazz standards, going over how they work and try to dig deep inside of them. I believe that if we have this mentality, we have this knowledge, everything is going to be so much easier for us when it comes to actually composing in the moment, a.k.a improvising. So today I'm going to be going over a very popular jazz standard  There Will Never Be Another You and we're going to take a deep-dive look into that and try to see what's going on with the harmony. In this episode: 1. Why There Will Be Another You is a great standard to study 2. Chord Analysis of There Will Never Be Another You 3. The Jazz Improv Rule, and why it's important for becoming a great jazz improviser Here's the chords analysis I discuss in the episode: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links LJS 121: Understanding Secondary and Backdoor Dominant 7 Chords [Video] What's a Backdoor Dominant?  [Video] What's a Secondary Dominant?
March 25, 2019
Welcome to episode 160 of the LJS Podcast where today I walk you through how to learn a jazz solo (or possibly two) by ear in 1 month. This practice plan breaks things down and makes things easy, even if you've never learned a jazz solo by ear before. Having a plan is important, and this one will set you up for success. Listen to episode 160 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One arm of my 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing course is learning jazz solos by ear. This is a great practice for learning jazz language and internalizing musical information from great jazz improvisers. A common thing I hear from students who are starting that course is: "I've never learned a solo by ear before, I don't know if I can do it." But what I love is when students tell me after 7 sessions of the course, that they can't believe they were able to learn 32 bars of a solo by ear. They're amazed by the progress they've made. That's what I call a transformation! The reason they had success is two-fold: * They took action and were held accountable. * They had a practice plan that broke things down into manageable chunks. So in today's episode, I want to let you in on my process for learning jazz solos by ear. For our purposes, I'll be showing you a 1-month program that you can put to use. Follow this process, and no matter how much experience you have, I can guarantee you will have success. In this episode: 1. Why you should learn jazz solos by ear. 2. The limiting beliefs of those who believe they can't learn solos by ear (and why they aren't true). 3. Tools to help you learn solos. 4. Suggested jazz solos to learn. 5. Things you need to do before you start your practice program. 6. The 1-month Stair-Step Practice Program for learning a jazz solo(s) by ear. 1-Month Practice Plan: Short Term Goal 1 Day 1: Learn first 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 2: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 3: Review Day 1 and Day 2 Day 4: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 5: Review Day 1-4 Day 6: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or enough to reach 32 bars) Day 7: Review Day 1-7 (all 32 bars) Short Term Goal 2 Day 8: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 9: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 10: Review Day 8 and Day 9 Day 11: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 12: Review Day 8-11 Day 13: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or enough to reach 32 bars) Day 14: Review Day 8-13 (all 32 bars) and then review Short Term Goal 1 Short Term Goal 3 Day 15: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 16: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 17: Review Day 15 and Day 16 Day 18: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or phrase) Day 19: Review Day 15-18 Day 20: Learn next 4-8 bars of your solo (or enough to reach 32 bars) Day 21: Review Day 15-20 (all 32 bars) and then review Short Term Goal 1-2 Short Term Goal 4
March 18, 2019
Welcome to episode 159 of the LJS Podcast where today we have special guest Rodney Brim on the show to talk about how to properly "hack" your brain for bigger, faster improvement in the practice room. Rodney is a psychologist and professional musician and knows the inner workings of the brain and how it works. He walks us through 4 huge tips for brain hacking in the practice room. Listen to episode 159 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Ever felt like you weren't improving your jazz skills fast enough? Like you were putting in a lot of effort but not getting the results when you wanted? I know I have. When it comes down to it, it's all about how you practice, and a lot of your success in the practice room has to do with your brain. Yes, your brain. Understanding how your brain works and how you can "hack" it to get better faster results, is a key to success. That's why I have special guest Rodney Brim on the show who's a psychologist and professional musician. Rodney shares his 4 tips for improving the quality and speeding up your efforts when you practice. This is a value-packed episode, so get out your notes and get ready! In this episode: 1. Our brains work best when we are having fun. 2. How our auditory senses are at a disadvantage compared to our visual, and how to give our ears a boost. 3. Working with your Cerebrum and the use of time and repetition. 4. Understanding left vs. right brain learning (and which one is most important) Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Rodney Brim's website The Brain Friendly Method for Musical Excellence (book) LJS 142: Creating Melodic Jazz Solo's and the Art of Not Thinking (Coaching Call with Dan Sich)
March 13, 2019
Special announcement! The Learn Jazz Standards Podcast has passed 1,000,000 total downloads over the past 3 years with 4 new episodes a month. It's a big mile marker, so here's a short episode to share some gratitude to the most important people who make this show a success: my listeners. Listen to the episode Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes This is a short, quick episode to announce an exciting mile marker for the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. After three years of the podcast, with four new episodes coming out each month, we have hit 1,000,000 total downloads! If you don't mind me geeking out for a second, total downloads aren't really the most important metric for podcasting. More important is the downloads per episode after a given period of time. The good news there is the Learn Jazz Jazz Standards podcast is in the top 8-7% of all podcasts in this metric, according to Lybsyn, the largest podcast host. That's a number to be proud of! But the 1,000,000 total downloads is important to me because it means, I've helped people become better jazz musicians 1,000,000 times. But the people to really thank are you, the listeners. Whether you've listened to every episode or only a few. Whether you've left a rating and review on iTunes, or shared an episode with a friend: you are the ones who keep this podcast going. Thanks for being a part of the community! In this episode: 1. The big 1,000,000 downloads announcement 2. My 'thank you' to all of the listeners Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links Join the newsletter
March 11, 2019
Welcome to episode 158 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about how to add chromaticism into your jazz lines. Chromaticism is one of the characteristics of a classic "jazz sound" and so we take a close look at how to implement it. We go over 5 different licks and gradually introduce chromaticism into them. Listen to episode 158 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Chromaticism is what I consider a prominent characteristic of the classic "jazz sound." Classic, meaning, some of the more traditional languages of jazz like bebop. Anyone can add chromatic notes into their jazz lines, but doing it in a way that is tasteful and makes musical sense takes some study and understanding. Beboppers like Charlie Parker were experts at utilizing chromaticism in a tasteful way. That's where this concept of "there are no wrong notes" comes from. The idea being, as long as you resolve a chromatic note to a diatonic note properly, it's going to sound good. This is the concept of tension and resolution. In this episode, I go over 5 licks that I composed that slowly introduce chromaticism. Let's dig in! In this episode: 1. Definition of chromaticism. 2. Example of a diatonic line with no chromaticism. 3. 4 licks that introduce chromaticism into the diatonic line. Lick With No Chromaticism Lick Adding Chromaticism Lick Adding More Chromaticism Lick Exaggerating Chromaticism Short ii-V-I Using Enclosure Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook LJS 150: Using Enclosure to Create Bebop Lines Over a Jazz Blues
March 4, 2019
Welcome to episode 157 of the LJS Podcast where today we discuss four different scale options for approaching half-diminished chords. Sometimes it can be helpful to take chords out of the context of chord progressions and look at them individually. These scales will help you map out note choices for this mysterious chord. Listen to episode 157 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Ever came across a half diminished chord and felt like you didn't really know how to approach it or what notes to play? When it comes to jazz improvisation, your note choices are always going to be dictated by which chord came before and what the next chord is. However, I think it's helpful to spend some time in the practicing room working on chords as isolated events. Scales are a good way to identify "pitch collections" that map out note choices in a chord. In this episode, I identify 4 different scales that can help you map out the half diminished chord so you can start feeling more comfortable with it on your instrument. In this episode: 1. Using the Locrian Mode over a half diminished chord. 2. Using the Locrian #2 over a half diminished chord. 3. Using a harmonic minor scale over a half diminished chord. 4. Using a minor pentatonic scale over a half diminished chord. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren't already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I look forward to having you join me in the next episode! Important Links LJS 99: Which Scales You Can Play Over Different Kinds of 7th Chords LJS 115: How to Balance Music Theory and Playing by Ear
February 25, 2019
Welcome to episode 156 of the LJS Podcast where today we feature a listener question all about how to memorize chord changes so you don't start confusing them with others. If you've ever gotten lost playing a jazz standard because you accidentally switched into playing a similar one, you're going to find this episode helpful. Listen to episode 156 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Have you ever been playing a jazz standard at a jam session, gig, or even by yourself and suddenly realized you switched to a different one? I certainly have. Some jazz standards are similar to each other. In this episode, I use the example of "It Could Happen to You" and "There Will Never Be Another You." Both of these tunes are commonly played in the key of Concert Eb major, and they have lots of diatonic cycling in 4ths and movements to the relative minor. It's easy to start getting those confused. So in this show, I talk about how to memorize chord progressions in a way that will help us internalize them and know them well in the first place. I also talk about a very simple solution to help prevent you from veering off to another standard. In this episode: 1. How to memorize chord changes so that you don't forget them. 2. Using the melody as your pillar to keeping you on track and true to the tune. 3. How to simplify the way you think about the harmony of a jazz standard. Let me know in the comments: How do you keep from losing track of which song you are playing and how do you memorize chord progressions? Important Links Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way How to Learn Chord Progressions by Ear (Video) LJS 88: Using the LIST Method to Learn Jazz Solos by Ear
February 18, 2019
Welcome to episode 155 of the LJS Podcast where today we have special guest Christopher Sutton back on the show to talk to us about improvisation. What I love about this interview is Christopher is not a jazz musician, and he offers some unique perspectives on improvisation that are really refreshing. Learn about musical playgrounds and how thinking this way will enlighten your improv. Listen to episode 155 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes As jazz musicians, we often make jazz improvisation super complicated for ourselves. It's a natural reaction to the nature of jazz music, which let's face it, is a bit complicated. But the truth is, if we want to become the best improvisers we can be, we need to simplify. We need to think less and create more. On today's show, we have special guest Christopher Sutton from Musical U back on the show. He talks to us about their approach to improvisation, and specifically the idea of "musical playgrounds." The best thing about having Christopher as a guest is he is not a jazz musician. His perspective is refreshing and quite helpful for making things feel comfortable and simple. This episode is rock solid, so get ready to take some notes. In this episode: 1. The mindset of an improviser (the non-jazz perspective). 2. "Musical Playgrounds," what they are, and how to think about them. 3. Different ways to apply the concept of Musical Playgrounds to your improvisation. 4. Important ear training skills for improvisers to work on. 5. Common mistakes beginner improvisers make. Thanks to Christopher Sutton for sharing so much value in this episode. If we apply this concept of musical playgrounds, we can start feeling more creative, less tense, and more musical. Let me know in the comments: How are you going to apply the concept of "Musical Playgrounds" to your practicing this week? Important Links Christopher Sutton's Musical U LJS 81: How to Set Game-Changing Goals for Your Musicianship (feat. Christopher Sutton)
February 11, 2019
Welcome to episode 154 of the LJS Podcast where today we have special guest Jeff Schneider back on the show to talk to us about avoiding meandering jazz solos. Jeff talks about how to create jazz lines that sound more like a conversation than just a stream of notes. This one is packed full of jazz truth nuggets. Listen in! Listen to episode 154 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Ever feel like your jazz solos are meandering? They don't really have any direction and they just sound like a stream of notes? Anybody who has ever improvised has experienced this. Maybe you've listened back to one of your solos and felt bored. Everything just sounded the same from beginning to end. On today's show, I have on special guest, composer, pianist, saxophonist, and YouTuber Jeff Schneider. Jeff is a phenomenal musician and educator and he lays down a ton of great advice for creating jazz solos that sound more like a conversation than a stream of random ideas. If you're feeling like your jazz solos are missing something, this may very well be the lesson you need to take things to the next level. In this episode: 1. How to take a simple idea, create a pattern, and then break it. 2. How to transpose musical ideas over different chords to establish repetition. 3. How to adjust a line to fit a different chord quality. Big thanks to Jeff for laying down a ton of value in this episode! What I love most about what he teaches is how simple it is. Often times we make jazz improvisation so complicated when really just one idea is all you need to create an interesting solo. Let me know in the comments: Which use of repetition are you going to try in the practice room this week? Important Links Jeff Schneider's website LJS 65: How to Create Killer Jazz Solos by Thinking Like a Composer (feat. Jeff Schneider) LJS 142: Creating Melodic Jazz Solo's and the Art of Not Thinking (Coaching Call with Dan Sich) LJS 145: How to Listen to a Jazz Recording and Learn From It Learn Jazz Standards Community Facebook Group
February 4, 2019
Welcome to episode 153 of the LJS Podcast where today we are covering 28 different jazz skills that you can start practicing today. No more excuses of not knowing what to practice! I break them down by category and list a lot of resources we have on Learn Jazz Standards to help you accomplish them. Listen to episode 153 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes If you've ever told yourself that you would practice you just don't know what, that excuse ends today. There are so many things you can be practicing to improve as a jazz musician, and my goal is to help you identify those things. Today's episode is a list of 28 jazz skills you can be working on. I break them down into 4 categories that are helpful for improving jazz skills and musicianship in general. I am fully aware that this is an overwhelming list. I suggest picking one or two things that stick out to you and focusing on them, rather than trying to tackle too many of them. I also have links to many important resources that we have on Learn Jazz Standards that will help you accomplish and understand some of these tasks. Here's the list of 28 along with important links for further training: 28 Jazz Skills: Category: Technique 1. Scales 2. Patterns * Episode 151: Applying Patterns to Scales for Jazz Improv Flexibility 3. Arpeggios * Video: Cool Chord Tone Exercise Using Voice Leading 4. Instrument-specific technical exercises Category: Jazz Language 5. Work on enclosures * Episode 150: Using Enclosures tp Create Bebop Lines Over a Jazz Blues 6. Pentatonic scale application * 8 Ways to Use Pentatonic Scales Over 7th Chords 7. Learn a jazz lick by ear 8. Take a jazz lick through all 12 keys * Episode 117: How to Practice Licks in all 12 Keys 9. Practice a jazz etude * 15 Essential Jazz Etudes 10. Compose your own jazz lick 11. Compose your own jazz solo * Episode 68: How to Compose a Jazz Solo From Scratch 12. Learn a jazz solo by ear * Video: LIST Process for Learning Jazz Standards by Ear 13. Practice specific chord progressions 14. Practice improvising over one chord 15. Compose your own contrafact *
January 28, 2019
Welcome to episode 152 of the LJS Podcast where today we are covering my music theory checklist for understanding jazz improvisation. If you are wondering what step-by-step building blocks you need in place for understanding jazz harmony and improv, this is a solid list. Take notes on which ones you need to work on. Listen in! Listen to episode 152 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes As a music educator and content creator, I spend a lot of my time trying to get into my student's heads. I want to know their struggles, what they're thinking, and what barriers they are hitting so I can help them better. Years ago I noticed that there will some students in my jazz practicing course that were getting left behind. There were some fundamentals that were missing. So I started thinking, "If I were starting from scratch, what things would I need to understand about jazz improvisation?" That ultimately lead to me writing my eBook and companion course Zero to Improv, which is a music theory-based approach to understanding jazz improvisation from the ground up. Today's episode is a deep dive into my music theory checklist. These are things I discuss in my book, and I want you to take a look at this list to see where you fit in. Here's what I talk about in today's episode: 1. Scales- 3 elements of knowing and putting them to use. 2. Chords- The basic qualities, extensions, and alterations. 3. Scales and their relationships to chords- understanding how they connect. 4. Chord progressions- how to build them in major and minor keys, and which ones are important in jazz music. 5. Jazz standards- which ones to know and important song forms in jazz. 6. Conceptualizing jazz language- music theory approaches to understand what you are hearing. I want you to think critically about this list. Which areas do you need to work on? Are there any topics or concepts that you have no clue about? That's okay. What's important is that you take action. Learning how to play jazz, in my opinion, is a combination of aural learning and filling in the gaps with the theoretical. Make sure you understand the basics of jazz theory, and that element will surely set you up for success. Important Links Zero to Improv eBook and Companion Course LJS 114: Minor Tonality and How to Build Minor Chord Progressions (feat. Dan Carillo) LJS 96: Important Jazz Chord Substitutions You Need to Know LJS 115: How to Balance Music Theory and Playing by Ear
January 21, 2019
Welcome to episode 151 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about how you can apply different pattern exercises over scales. Patterns are great technical exercises that can help us become more flexible on our instrument. I give several different examples that you can put to use. Listen in! Listen to episode 151 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the categories I include in the "Big 3" things you should be working on as a jazz musician, is technique. Now, there are a lot of things we can be working on for technique, including instrument specific things such as long tones for horn players, or fretboard positions for guitarists and bassists. But one way to practice technique that I think translates and is helpful for all instruments are pattern exercises. Working on patterns can help us develop flexibility on our instrument. We don't want things getting in the way of us creating musical ideas when we improvise. Having flexibility will help eliminate that potential barrier. Here is what I talk about in today's episode: 1. The importance of technique and why patterns are great to work on. 2. A 1231 pattern over a major and Mixolydian scale. 3. A 1235 pattern over a major and natural minor scale. 4. A triads pattern over a major scale and melodic minor scale. My challenge for you is to add even just a little bit of this to your practice sessions. Patterns aren't something that needs to overly consume your time. Just a little bit can really go a long way. Exercises: 1231 Pattern (Major) 1231 Pattern (Mixolydian) 1235 Pattern (Major) 1235 Pattern (Natural Minor) Triads Pattern (Major) Triads Pattern (Melodic Minor) Important Links LJS 124: The Only "Big 3" Things You Need to Be Working On as a Jazz Musician Zero to Improv eBook and Companion Course 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Course
January 14, 2019
Welcome to episode 150 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about a technique called "enclosure." Enclosure is a way to conceptualize bebop language, and how jazz musicians approach important chord tones. We learn the basics of enclosure and then apply it over a jazz blues. Listen in! Listen to episode 150 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes When it comes to becoming a great jazz improviser, I think there are two parts of the puzzle to consider: * Learning it by ear (aka. learning solos, licks...etc) * Conceptualizing it (music theory, techniques...etc) Today's episode focuses on the latter one. One way to conceptualize bebop language (lots of chromaticism and angular melodies), is through a technique called enclosure. In this episode, I go over the basics of enclosure, how it works, and then I demonstrate a jazz blues etude that utilizes this technique to the max. Here's what I go over in today's episode: 1. Enclosure 101 (video excerpt) 2. Bebop jazz blues etude using enclosure I mention in this episode that some visual aids may be helpful. So below I have all of the examples I use, including the jazz blues etude. Video referenced in the show: Enclosure 101 examples: Ex. 1 Ex. 2 Ex. 3 Ex. 4 Ex. 5 Ex. 6 Blues Enclosure Etude: Etude notation Etude notation (with enclosures circled) Important Links LJS 146: 3 Strategies for Improvising Over a Jazz Blues Learn Jazz Standards Newsletter
January 7, 2019
Welcome to episode 149 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about how to set up a game-changing practice play for your jazz playing. If you're tired of meandering and practicing aimlessly, you need a practice plan that works. Learn how Project, Short-term, and Micro Goals work together with the Stair-Step Practice Plan to help you reach your desired musical transformations. Listen in! Listen to episode 149 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I personally hate when I catch myself noodling and meandering when I'm practicing my instrument. I just don't like to waste my time. This is a complaint I get from a lot of students: I feel like I'm not making progress. And when I start digging into their problem it often ends up being that they aren't practicing in a focused, goal-oriented way. The practice session they are in has nothing to do with the last one. There is no logical process for building progress. I believe the most important thing I can do as a teacher is teaching my students how to practice. That's why in today's episode I go through the practice plan that I preach in my course, and to all of my students. Here's what I talk about in this episode: 1. Setting Master Goals and identifying your musical transformation. 2. The 3 goals needed to set up your practice plan: Project, Short-Term, and Micro. 3. The Stair-Step Practice Plan and how to set it up. My hope is that you will take action on this episode. Take a good listen and then write down on a piece of paper your Master Goal, the 3 goals, and your Stair-Step Practice Plan. If you have these in place and written down, I know that you will make dramatic progress in your jazz playing this year. How do I know? I've seen it happen time and time again in my own playing and in my students playing. You can do this too. So make a plan, commit to it, and take action. Important Links Accelerate Your Jazz Skills (free mini-course) LJS 82: How to Set Game-Changing Goals for Your Musicianship (feat. Christopher Sutton)
December 31, 2018
Welcome to episode 148 of the LJS Podcast where today we are taking a look back at the year 2018 and everything that has happened in the Learn Jazz Standards community. It's been an eventful year, and lots of great content, courses, and eBooks have come out. We talk about the top 5 downloaded episodes as well as my top 2 favorites! Listen to episode 148 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes At the time this episode is published, it is New Years Eve 2018, just about to launch into 2019. It's common to reflect at the end of the year and see what happened. I thought it would be a great idea to take a look back at what happened at Learn Jazz Standards and all of the great stuff we came out with. 2018 was a massive year for Learn Jazz Standards and I want to thank all of the podcast listeners and members of our community for being a part of it. You guys are what makes LJS awesome! Whether it was podcast episodes, videos, blog posts, eBooks, or courses, a lot has happened and I want to make sure you didn't miss any of it. Here's what I talk about in today's episode: 1. New things that happened on the podcast. 2. New things that happened on our YouTube channel. 3. The Facebook Group for the LJS community. 4. New eBooks and courses we came out with. 5. Top 5 downloaded podcast episodes of 2018. 6. My personal favorite 2 episodes of 2018. Below are links to everything I mentioned in this podcast episode. Feel free to check them out, and make sure that you didn't miss any of our top stuff before moving into 2019. Important Links YouTube Channel Facebook Group The Jazz Standards Playbook 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Band-in-a-Box Top 5 Downloaded Episodes in 2018 #1: LJS 124- The Only Big 3 Things You Need to Be Practicing As a Jazz Musician #2: LJS 110- How to Start Crushing It On the Blues #3: LJS 97- Using the 80/20 Rule for Productive 30 Minute Practice #4: LJS 100- My Jazz Mentor Gives You His Best Jazz Tips and Advice #5: LJS 114- Minor Tonality and How to Build Minor Chord Progressions
December 24, 2018
Welcome to episode 147 of the LJS Podcast where today we are taking a look at one of my compositions and exploring how some of the non-functional jazz harmony works within it. Often on this podcast, we cover functional harmony in jazz standards, but this time we discover how you can take that knowledge and start to break the rules. Listen in! Listen to episode 147 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is slightly self-indulgent, but I think you are going to enjoy it as well. By no means do I consider myself a prolific composer. That's why in general, I leave it to guests on this show to talk about composing. However, when I do compose a tune, I usually feel pretty good about it. Today we explore a tune I wrote over 5 years ago called "Elliott."  This composition was inspired by the great singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, who still to this day is one of my favorites. In this composition, I use a lot of non-functional harmony. This means that not all of the harmony can be related to a tonic or home key center. In fact, it sometimes can be a disservice to try to do that. I'll walk you through how I wrote the song and how I relate the chords to each other and the melody. For reference, here's a link to the pdf if the chart so you can follow along. Here's what I cover in today's episode: 1. What non-functional harmony is. 2. My solo rendition of "Elliott." 3. Chord-by-chord walkthrough of the harmony and how it works. 4. My process for composing the song by starting with the melody. 5. A demo recording of "Elliott" with a quartet. The goal of this episode is to get you starting to think outside of the box. Whether this is way over your head or in your wheelhouse, there is some food for thought and a challenge to break the "rules" of conventional harmony. Important Links PDF of Elliott The Jazz Standards Playbook
December 17, 2018
Welcome to episode 146 of the LJS Podcast where today we are covering 3 awesome strategies for improvising over a jazz blues. The blues is an important song form in jazz that every aspiring jazz musician needs to be proficient at. These strategies will help set a strong foundation for improvising freely over the blues. Listen in! Listen to episode 146 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Regardless of whether you are a beginner jazz musician or an advanced jazz musician, the blues is a song form you need to have complete control of. The jazz blues insinuates a variation on the standard 12-bar blues form that has been defined in music pedagogy. In jazz, we generally add more chord changes to the harmony. While there are many variations and harmonizations of a jazz blues, the basic jazz blues uses I7-IV7-I7-IV7-#ivdim7-I7-VI7-ii-V7-I7. In this episode, I cover 3 strategies for improvising over the blues. These strategies are more conceptual ideas. They shouldn't be used by themselves, and you should also be learning licks and pieces of language by ear in addition. Here is what I talk about in today's episode: 1. The basic jazz blues form 2. Strategy #1: Chord tones 3. Strategy #2: Major and minor pentatonic scales 4. Strategy #3: Mixolydian and Dorian modes My challenge for you is to take one of these 3 strategies and spend some time practicing them this week. Try to figure out how you can make them musical. When you think about each strategy, you realize that each one offers their own ingredients to add to the improv cocktail. If you start combining these approaches, you'll start to get some foundational elements of playing a great jazz blues solo. Important Links Blues In All 12 Keys Challenge (video mentioned) LJS 121: Understanding Secondary and Backdoor Dominants 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing (jazz practicing course)
December 10, 2018
Welcome to episode 145 of the LJS Podcast where today we are listening to some jazz together and doing some critical listening. We take Miles Davis' rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come" and pick a section of it apart by honing in on each instrument individually. Lot's to learn from this recording. Listen in! Listen to episode 145 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I commonly hear from subscribers that they don't have a lot of time to practice. I totally get that, and often find myself in the same boat. But I always suggest to those tight on time to simply do some listening. Listening to jazz or music, in general, can be one of the best forms of practicing, especially if done in an intentional way. In this episode, we do some critical listening to see what we can discover from a section of Miles Davis' rendition of Someday My Prince Will Come. We go through the last chorus of Miles' solo and the first chorus of Hank Mobley's solo and listen through it. Each time we focus on a different instrument in the band to see what we can learn. Here's an overview of today's episode: 1. The framework for critical listening. 2. Listening to the band as a whole. 3. A really cool concept Miles plays in his solo. 4. Listening to Wynton Kelley and takeaways from his comping. 5. Listening to Paul Chambers and takeaways from his approach from one solo to the next. 6. Listening to Jimmy Cobb and takeaways from his approach from one solo to the next. My big challenge for you is to pick a jazz standard or any recording you are interested in and apply this framework for critical listening. Listen to the song as a whole, then listen to it each time focusing on one instrument. Then find one thing you thought was interesting and figure out what it was. For me, the interesting part that I learned was Miles' use of the #11's. This was something completely enlightening to me, and this process was worth even just this takeaway. Important Links Someday My Prince Will Come (recordings and resources) 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing 
December 5, 2018
This is a short bonus episode where I announce a new podcast I've recently come out with that could be helpful for LJS Podcast listeners who teach music. If you're someone who makes money off of music at all, whether it be gigging or teaching, you may wonder how I make a living teaching music online. The Passive Income Musician Podcast is where I'm sharing the deets! Listen to Bonus Episode Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Wanted to share this bonus episode with those who listen to the LJS Podcast who are music teachers or make some sort of living as a musician. Don't worry! I know a lot of you who listen to the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast don't fit that description. That's why this is a bonus episode and I still have come out with a regular episode of the podcast this week. I'm excited to announce the launch of a new podcast I've come out with called the Passive Income Musician Podcast. In addition to my passion for teaching jazz and helping other musicians become better players, I've developed a passion for helping other musicians make a living teaching music online. That's why I created Passive Income Musician. I want to help those who are interested in making a living this way make that dream a reality. For me, it was a long, hard road to make Learn Jazz Standards the success that it is today. In fact, if I'm being honest, there was more than one time that I almost threw in the towel altogether. I'm thankful I didn't quit. Not only would I not be making a full-time living doing this today, I wouldn't get the incredible honor of helping all of you through my blog, podcast, and videos. You guys are really my inspiration! But over the years, I slowly figured out how to build a business around doing what I love: teaching jazz music to others. It was a lot of trial an error. I learned what not to do just as many times as I learned what to do. I had to learn about marketing, making great content, and how to make great music education products. On the Passive Income Musician Podcast, I share everything I know about making passive income teaching music online. So if you think this sort of thing could be helpful for you, feel free to head on over to passiveincomemusician.com, or find the podcast on iTunes! Important Links Passive Income Musician (website) Subscribe to Passive Income Musician on iTunes This week's LJS Podcast episode
December 3, 2018
Welcome to episode 144 of the LJS Podcast where today we are closing up a series of coaching calls with one of my 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing students, Brent Arnold. Brent asks a lot of really great questions, including how to know when to move on to something new. We talk through them one by one. Listen in! Listen to episode 144 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I love when I get to talk in person to students of my online jazz courses and eBooks. This episode closes off a series of coaching calls with some of my 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing students, and it's a good one. Today's guest is trombonist Brent Arnold from Utah, who used to be a professional musician but now continues pursuing jazz as a hobby. He played and taught professionally until he decided to make a career shift. Now he loves spending his free time improving his jazz skills. Brent has a lot of passion for the music and becoming a better player. This is one of those episodes where I know you will relate to just about every questions Brent asks. We go through them one-by-one and talk them through. Here's a bit of what we talk about today: 1. Should I skip over practicing things that are easy for me? 2. How to know when to "move on" from something you are practicing. 3. How to boost confidence for playing live and changing mindsets. Big thanks to Brent for allowing his coaching call to be shared on the podcast. I think we can all relate to Brent and some of the questions he has about practicing and improving as a jazz musician. Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing LJS 142: Creating Melodic Jazz Solos and the Art of Not Thinking (mentioned in episode)
November 26, 2018
Welcome to episode 143 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking to 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing student, Ina Dennekamp, about her journey in learning jazz. Ina is an inspirational character and someone who loves learning more about music. She shares her tips and what's working for her. Listen in! Listen to episode 143 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Every once in a while, all we really need is a good ol' success story. So when I was thinking of an episode like this, there was one person that kept coming up in my mind. Ina Dennekamp is a 68-year-old pianist from Vancouver, Canada, and is a student in my 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing course. She recently completed the course and was someone who was quite active in the community board, posting her video assignments. In this episode, Ina shares a bit about her jazz journey, what's working for her and dishes out some of her tips. Best of all is just listening to her infectious spirit of learning. Probably the best un-said tip from this episode is that if you want to improve your jazz skills you need to have a passion for learning. Ina clearly has that mindset. Here's some of what we talk about in this episode: 1. How Ina got into jazz and piano. 2. How a structured practice routine helped boost her skills. 3. What Ina learned from learning a few choruses of a Wynton Kelley solo. 4. Ina's top tips for others learning to play jazz. 5. Should you write down solos you learn? Hope you enjoy today's episode and get lots of inspiration from Ina and her story. Of course, a big thanks to her for putting herself out there for the podcast and sharing her jazz tips. Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing LJS 112: Mastering the Art of Transcribing (feat. Greg Fishman)
November 19, 2018
Welcome to episode 142 of the LJS Podcast where today we are sitting in on a coaching call with 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing student, Dan Sich. Dan asks how he can better outline chord tones, guide tones and other techniques without losing focus and getting off track. Brent gives out some exercises that take things in a slightly different direction. Listen in! Listen to episode 142 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is a coaching call with a 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing student, Dan Sich. Dan is a guitar player and we have a great conversation about his playing and some things to try in the practice room. Sometimes the things we need to help us improve aren't more of the same thing, but a different angle. That was the direction I went in when Dan asked how he could better outline chord tones, guide tones, and enclosures in his jazz solos without getting distracted and relying on things his fingers are used to playing. Ultimately, Dan wants to be able to hear the chord changes come out in his jazz solos better. He's been working on the techniques that can help him get those sounds in his ear, but now he needs to exercise his ear and put some of the theory on the backburner. We go over a few different exercises that will help start training his brain to think more freely while improvising and focus on creating melodies. We also discuss a composing exercise that will help him use his ear and help him incorporate some of the techniques he's learned into his lines. Here are some of the things we talk about: * Dan and his journey as a jazz musician. * A playing "free" exercise to help focus on only creating melodies. * A composing exercise over ii-V-I chord progressions. * Dan's tips for other jazz students and what's been working for him. I really appreciate Dan for being vulnerable and doing some playing on the show. He had no idea what I was going to ask him to play and he rocked it! I would encourage you to consider some of the exercises I went over in this episode. Knowing theory and conceptualizing jazz language is important, but what we do with it to make it musical is what matters most. Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Patterns for Jazz (suggested book) Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar (suggested book)
November 12, 2018
Welcome to episode 141 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about what I am thinking when I take a jazz solo. This is a question I get a lot so we talk about what the end goal should be and I record a solo and analyze it. Listen in! Listen to episode 141 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One question that I get from my subscribers from time to time is: "What should I think about when I'm taking a jazz solo?" It's a great question. Should you be thinking about scales? Chord tones? Licks? There is so much that can go on in one's head when improvising. That got me thinking about what I actually think when I improvise over jazz standards. So in this episode, I record myself taking a solo over the jazz standard Out of Nowhere, and go back through and analyze it. Here's some of what I talk about in this episode: 1. How not thinking is likely the ultimate end goal for an improviser. 2. My solo recording on Out of Nowhere. 3. Certain elements I was thinking about during different sections of my solo. This is a really great exercise to try out, and I would suggest doing it yourself. Record yourself improvising over a jazz standard and then go back and see if you can identify what you were thinking. By doing this you may just uncover some insight into your approach and how you could improve. Important Links: Jens Larsen's video analyzing one of his solos 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
November 5, 2018
Welcome to episode 140 of the LJS Podcast where today we have a short but sweet episode demonstrating 3 hip I-VI-ii-V licks. This is an important chord progression found in jazz and it's important to learn some jazz language over it. Listen in! Listen to episode 104 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is a short but sweet show all about I-VI-ii-V chord progressions. I demonstrate 3 licks that you can learn and practice. I like doing shows like this every once in a while because, at the end of the day, I want you to take action and start applying some of the stuff I talk about. I composed these 3 licks to perfectly outline each chord in this chord progression and connect each chord seamlessly. The goal is for you to start identifying how to melodically connect all of these chords. Here are the 3 licks I cover in this episode: Lick #1 Lick #2 Lick #3 I would suggest picking just one of these licks that you resonate most with and start working it through all 12 keys. Doing this practice will help you start to truly unlock this jazz language. Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing course LJS 128: 3 Hip 2-5-1 Licks for You to Practice LJS 117: How to Practice Licks in all 12 Keys
October 29, 2018
Welcome to episode 139 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about learning jazz by ear and with sheet music. Which one is better and what are the benefits of each? Listen in! Listen to episode 139 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I talk about learning jazz by ear and with sheet music and ask the question: which one is better? If you're familiar with me and the content I come out with on Learn Jazz Standards, you probably already know what I think. I won't leave you in suspense. I believe that learning jazz by ear is the best place to start and the best way to truly learn jazz language. That's not to say that using sheet music to learn doesn't have its place. It certainly does, and it has its only sets of benefits for aiding the learning process. Learning musical information by ear is something that I have my 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing students doing constantly. The report I get back is that it is opening up doors in their playing and I want it to do the same for you as well. Here's what I talk about in today's episode: 1. Learning by ear or sheet music- which one? 2. The benefits of each approach. 3. 3 primary reasons to learn jazz by ear over sheet music. My challenge for you is to start learning something by ear if you haven't been already. It could be a solo, a lick, or even an entire song. What do you think? Which one is better for you? Leave a comment below. Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing course
October 22, 2018
Welcome to episode 138 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking with Alexander Technique teacher and guitarist Christian Steineder. He talks all about Alexander Technique, what it is, and how it can help you as a musician. Listen in! Listen to episode 138 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes This episode is a fun one. I have on a regular podcast listener, Christian Steineder, who happens to be an expert on Alexander Technique. Alexander Technique is a process that teaches how to properly coordinate body and mind to release harmful tension and to improve posture, coordination and general health. It's named after the Australian Frederick Matthias Alexander who developed it. Christian goes over the basic idea of Alexander Technique and explains how it helped out his musicianship and general mindset around playing music. Here is some of what we talk about today: 1. What Alexander Technique is. 2. How the physical and the mental work with each other. 3. Basics of Alexander Technique and what a typical lesson looks like. I really appreciate Christian Steindeder for sharing his knowledge on this episode. Alexander Technique is a great way to start improving your physical relationship with your instrument and your mindset throughout your musical journey.
October 15, 2018
Welcome to episode 137 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Steve Nixon to talk about the three categories of chord progressions you need to know. Steve has a great way of making music seem simple and we talk about a lot of other fun stuff too. Listen in! Listen to episode 137 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode I have on special guest Steve Nixon from freejazzlessons.com to talk all things jazz and music. It's a fun, diverse episode where we talk about a number of topics, but especially chord progressions. Steve is a phenomenal music educator and he has a way of making music feel simple. He goes over 3 categories of chord progressions you need to know and demonstrates how pretty much all chord progressions can be summed up in those categories. Here's a bit of what we talk about in this episode: 1. What Steve is working on in the practice room. 2. How Steve's experience traveling and playing music has led him to his musical success. 3. Three categories that most all chord progressions can be attributed to. 4. His new course "Play Like Ray" and how it can help you. If you're looking for an especially entertaining listen, and even a little bit of hilarity, this is an episode I don't want you to miss. What's your biggest takeaway from today's episode? Leave a comment below.
October 8, 2018
Welcome to episode 136 of the LJS Podcast where today I listen back to a recording of myself from 2011 and give myself some honest feedback and critique. It's a great practice to record yourself and listening to old recordings can help you gain insight into where you were, where you are now, and how you can improve. Listen in! Listen to episode 136 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I take a little trip down memory lane and listen to an old recording of myself from 2011. One practice I always encourage my course students to do is record themselves. Not only is it helpful to do it regularly to give yourself a degree of separation for honest critique, but it's also helpful to look back at old recordings to measure improvement. The song I critique myself on is "Gone With The Wind," a nice standard in Concert Eb major. The setting is a duo with a bass player, which lends for lots of things to look at. Here's a bit of what I talk about today: 1. How much is too much embellishment of the melody? 2. Comping sparsely vs. spelling out the harmony. 3. When cool triplet lines need to be diversified. 4. What I liked about the spirit of my improvisation. I hope that you get a lot of listening to my commentary and my critiques of my playing from years ago. I know it was helpful for me to compare and contrast what I did then and what I do now. I even found some things I would like to go back to! Hopefully, this has encouraged you to record yourself and go out and do the same.
October 1, 2018
Welcome to episode 135 of the LJS Podcast where today we are exploring how to learn, understand, and memorize complex jazz standards. We take a look at Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" and extract lessons we can apply to others. Listen in! Listen to episode 135 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes On this podcast, I often go over basic jazz harmony and chord progressions. These are important starting points but are also imperative to continually review and improve upon. But what about those jazz standards that just don't seem to make diatonic sense? It's understandable to look at complex tunes by Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane and a host of others and get completely stumped. These songs can be hard to understand, and therefore become hard to learn and memorize. So in today's episode, I dive into Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" and try to make sense out of it. At the same time, I talk about how to approach difficult songs like this in general. Here's some of what I talk about today: 1. Diatonic harmony vs. non-diatonic and complex harmony. 2. In-depth analysis of "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" 3. 3 important tips to heed when learning complex jazz standards. Pay special attention to the 3 tips at the end. Those are the real key to approaching these songs and not getting overwhelmed. Important Links Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum chord charts and resources The Jazz Standards Playbook eBook and Companion Course
September 24, 2018
Welcome to episode 134 of the LJS Podcast where today we are debunking 10 common myths about playing jazz. These myths are limiting beliefs that are holding us back from our full potential and improving as jazz musicians. You may resonate with some of these. Listen in! Listen to episode 134 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I've heard countless myths about playing jazz and learning how to play it. These are limiting beliefs that hold us back from our true musical potential. The truth is, I've fallen prey to these myths before too. But I've found that becoming a better musician is at least 50% mindset. Whenever I've conquered a limiting belief about my musicianship I've witnessed progress. That's what I want for you too. So today's episode is all about 10 myths I commonly hear about learning to play jazz. I debunk them one-by-one. Here's a quick list of the myths I cover: 1. Jazz is only for the exceptionally talented. 2. You need to learn a bunch of fancy skills. 3. You need to know a lot about music theory. 4. If you keep listening and playing you'll eventually get it. 5. The more hours you practice the better you will get. 6. You have to master something before you can move on. 7. You need a lot of chops to be a great improviser. 8. You need to be at a higher skill level to play out live. 9. You need to know hundreds of jazz standards. 10. You should compare yourself to the best player in the room. Let's conquer these limiting beliefs together. Which ones of these do you most resonate with? Leave a comment below. Important Links 5 Myths About Playing Jazz (Video) "Accelerate Your Jazz Skills" free mini-course
September 17, 2018
Welcome to episode 133 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about ear training fundamentals and why you should be working on them as a jazz musician. The sad truth is they are being ignored by so many. But I want you to recognize their importance and allow them to level-up your skills. Listen in! Listen to episode 133 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I talk about something that I believe is important for all musicians to be working on. If we want to become better jazz improvisers, we need to be developing great ears. At the end of the day, your ears will be your strongest asset when it comes to improvising freely and creatively. Unfortunately, too many musicians ignore the fundamentals of ear training which are: * Hearing intervals. * Hearing chords. * Hearing chord progressions. Some students and even educators argue that they "aren't musical so why practice them?" But this misses the point of what fundamentals are all about. We practice fundamentals because they are those foundational elements running in the background that make everything else much easier. In this episode, I make my argument for working on them. Here's a bit of what I talk about: 1. Why the fundamentals are important. 2. The benefits of recognizing intervals. 3. The benefits of recognizing chords. 4. The benefits of recognizing chord progressions. 5. Examples of how they work together. I hope that after listening to this episode you'll both understand the importance of working on ear training fundamentals and feel inspired to start working on them. What do you think about ear training fundamentals? Are they important? Leave a comment below. Important Links The Ultimate Ear Training Blueprint free handout How to Play What You Hear ear training course
September 10, 2018
Welcome to episode 132 of the LJS Podcast where today we are answering a question from a podcast listener who asked about avoid notes. Avoid notes are used in music academia to help identify which notes to not play over given chords or chords in the context of chord progression. But should you really "avoid" avoid notes? Listen in! Listen to episode 132 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode covers what I consider a complicated subject to talk about. The topic is "avoid notes" and I believe it's not black and white. In music academia, avoid notes refers to notes you should avoid playing in a melodic situation over an isolated chord or a chord in context of a chord progression. The good thing about avoid notes are that they do help give some general rules of which notes to avoid in order to not create too much dissonance over a chord. Or in the case of a chord progression, they help identify how to differentiate chords from each other. The bad thing about them is that they should not always be avoided, which of course is a contradiction. Now if that confuses you, don't worry, and do my best to make this clear in today's show. Here's a bit of what I talk about: 1. Avoid notes and what they are. 2. Which notes to avoid over isolated chords. 3. When playing those avoid notes is acceptable. 4. Examples of notes to avoid in the context of a chord progression. 5. How to play avoid notes in a chord progression and still differentiate the chords. This episode may not provide black and white answers, but when it comes to improvisation, few things are. I hope this episode gives you some enlightenment and helps you conceptualize some of your note choice decisions the next time you sit down to practice. Important Links Episode 130: Ask Me Anything Rick Beato's video on avoid notes
September 3, 2018
Welcome to episode 131 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Marc Gelfo to talk about neuroscience and the music learning process. Marc calls himself a neuro-symphonic french hornist, and he's the CEO of the Modacity practice platform. He talks all about the power of neuroscience and music. Listen in! Listen to episode 131 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is unique from any other topic I've covered on this show. It's a good one, so be prepared to have your mind blown. When was the last time you thought about neuroscience and your musical improvement? I bet you haven't. That's why I have on special guest Marc Gelfo to talk all about neuroscience and how understanding this better can inform our musical success. Marc's passion for neuroscience and music influenced the way he views practicing. So much so that he's created a practicing app called Modacity. We talk a bit about this tool as well, and I'd encourage you to check it out. Here's what we talk about in this episode: 1. Why Marc calls himself a neuro-symphonic french hornist. 2. Why neuroscience is important for musicians to understand. 3. Cognition and how it's not just in the brain. 4. The facts and fiction about muscle memory. 5. What it takes to master musical information. 6. The importance of learning music for mind and body. 7. Modacity and how it can help you effectively practice. I think understanding this stuff gives us a huge advantage. A special thanks to Marc for helping me learn so much in this episode, and I know you're going to learn a lot too. Have any comments on today's episode or something to add? Leave a comment below. Important Notes Modacity practice platform
August 27, 2018
Welcome to episode 130 of the LJS Podcast where today we are having a special show where Brent answers questions from podcast listeners. Some are musical questions and some are more personal. It's a fun episode and lots of great tips for all. Listen in! Listen to episode 130 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is a fun one! On this show, I have listeners of the podcasts on to ask me any questions they have on their mind, both musical or otherwise. It was a lot of fun putting together this episode and hearing different questions. They covered a wide range of different topics, and the result was a value-packed episode. Here are the questions covered on today's show: * Which alterations are common for Secondary Dominants? * How do I know if I know a tune well enough to perform it? * How do I keep track of the form on modal tunes? * What should I do to warm up before playing a song? * What non-music related jobs have you (Brent) had? * Do you ever use guitar tabs in your music? * How do you transpose melodies of jazz standards into different keys? * What do you do when you don't feel motivated to practice? * Do you ever collaborate with other online music educators? Do you hire people in your business? * How do I balance thinking while I'm improvising vs. just being creative? * How do you create great bebop lines? * What jazz improvisation tips for jazz flute can you give? * How do I convince bar owners to hire my jazz group? Do you have any answers to give to some of these questions? Share your opinion in the comments below!
August 20, 2018
Welcome to episode 129 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking with saxophonist, composer, and educator Josiah Boornazian. Josiah is a brilliant musician, and he lays down some of his best tips. He hones in on the concept of setting parameters in your practice sessions and lays down three great options. Listen in! Listen to episode 129 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes On today's episode, we have a special guest on the show, Josiah Boornazian. I've known Josiah for a number of years and he's an incredible musician. So much so that almost two years ago I had him on to do some writing for the blog. We talk about a number of things on today's show, but Josiah hones in on the topic of musical parameters. He goes over 3 different kinds of parameters we can set for ourselves when in the practice room, and how doing so can really help us get inside different concepts we are working on. Here's a bit of what we talk about in today's show: 1. What Josiah did worked on early on to set himself up for success. 2. How long you should be practicing for. 3. Rhythmic/Time Parameters 4. Melodic/ Harmonic Parameters 5. Conceptual Parameters 6. Josiah's new jazz improv book and what you can get from it. It's always a great pleasure to talk to and learn from Josiah, and I know you're going to love it too! Have any other parameters to suggest? Leave them in the comments below. Important Links Josiah's jazz improv book Stella by Starlight Melodic Minor Application
August 13, 2018
Welcome to episode 128 of the LJS Podcast where today we are exploring 3 hip 2-5-1 licks. Learning licks is always a good practice for learning jazz language, and 2-5-1 chord progressions are arguably the most common in jazz harmony. This is a great episode to help you take action and practice. Listen in! Listen to episode 128 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes My entire goal for today's episode is to give you one task to go out and practice. So I keep it short and to the point. I go over 3 hip 2-5-1 licks that you can work on and take through all 12 keys. It's always a great idea to take small micro pieces of jazz language (licks) and work them in different keys. As a result, you will have internalized that lick, and improved your flexibility with it. Here's each lick I go over in this episode: Lick #1 Lick #2 Lick #3 I hope you take me up on my challenge and take one of these through all 12 keys. Let me know how it goes in the comments below! Important Links 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing LJS 117: How to Practice Licks in all 12 Keys
August 6, 2018
Welcome to episode 127 of the LJS Podcast where today I spend some time maintenance practicing. Maintenance practicing is a great way to keep up your skills even when you have very little time to spend practicing. I play through my quick routine and let you know how I keep my fingers fresh. Listen in! Listen to episode 127 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Here's the truth, even as a professional musician, I don't always have a lot of time to practice. Even the small percentage of professional musicians who make most of their living performing have limited time to practice. Musicians like me do a lot of education and have other lives, and sometimes it can be tough. But, of course, even if you're a hobbyist or student, I know you can relate. You have a job, a family, and other priorities. Sometimes you don't have time to sit down and learn a bunch of musical information. No need to worry! Maintenance practicing is the kind of practicing you do when you just need to keep your chops fresh. I do this all of the time. Usually, they don't last much longer than 30 minutes, but they keep me connected with my instrument and my chops ready to go. Here's a bit of what I go over in today's episode: * How to keep up your jazz skills with little practice. * The 3 categories I draw from to build my practice session. * A cool technical exercise I practice. * A solo rendition of a popular jazz standard. * A cool 2-5-1 lick I practice in all 12 keys. Maintenance practicing is awesome, and I hope you'll use my framework to build your own. They are quick, but they are rewarding. Doing them makes you feel accomplished and it also keeps your chops ready to go and your brain connected to your instrument. What kinds of things do you do when you have limited time to practice? Leave a comment below. Important Links LJS 124: The Only "Big 3" Things You Need to Be Practicing As a Jazz Musician LJS 117: How to Practice Licks in all 12 Keys 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
July 30, 2018
Welcome to episode 126 of the LJS Podcast where today we are doing a coaching call with current 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing student, Joyce Kettering. Joyce has an inspiring reason why she started learning jazz. We spend some time talking about that, and how she can effectively practice even when she doesn't have access to her instrument. Listen in! Listen to episode 126 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes We have another special guest on the show this time around. This time it's Joyce Kettering from Paris, France, and she's a current student in my jazz practicing course, "30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing." Joyce has a really inspiring reason why she started studying jazz and ultimately decided to take my course. She listens to jazz and plays it on her piano during times where she feels down. She treats it as a means of therapy, and her goal is to improve upon that. During our coaching call, she asked how she can practice even when she doesn't have access to her piano, which she only has when she goes and visits her parents. This isn't just her problem. Many of us may have access to our instruments, but we don't always have the time to actually spend time with them. So how can we practice effectively and improve, even away from our instrument? That's something we go over in this episode. Here is the basic outline of what we talk about: * Joyce's "musicpreneur" job and how she got into it. * Joyce's jazz goals and why she ultimately took my course. * Ways she can practice effectively away from her instrument. I was really inspired to talk to Joyce, not only because it's always fun for me to talk to my course students, but because she's an excellent example of how life-changing music can be. Your challenge for this episode is to think about what relationship you have with your instrument, and what you want it to be. Also, think of how you can apply some of the things talked about when it comes to practicing without an instrument. Important Links Joyce's website: creativeandproductive.com Accelerate Your Jazz Skills free mini course 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing
July 23, 2018
Welcome to episode 125 of the LJS Podcast where today we sit in on a coaching call with 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing course alumni Francis Belanger. Francis took our jazz practicing course last year and Brent checks up on post-course life. Listen in! Listen to episode 125 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the great pleasures of being a music teacher is getting to hear from students on how they are doing both in life and music. Hearing stories of student success, on any level, is a big motivator for me. Today on the podcast, I have a coaching call with a former student of my jazz practicing course, 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing, Francis Belanger. Francis is a chef who lives in Quebec, Canada, and he took 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing because he wanted a structured practice plan to help guide him towards his jazz performances goals. It was fun getting to know him better, what his goals are, and what some of his musical struggles are in the post-course life. Here's some of what we talk about today: * Francis' story and how he got into music. * Why Francis decided to take 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing. * Francis' struggle to maintain structured practice post-course. * A challenge for Francis to hold him accountable. I love doing stuff like this, and I think we can all learn a lot by listening in to other student's coaching calls because we can all relate. Francis absolutely crushed it on 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing and I'm looking forward to checking in on his progress in the future. Important Notes 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Accelerate Your Jazz Skills free mini-course
July 16, 2018
Welcome to episode 124 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about the Big 3 things you need to be practicing in order to improve as a jazz musician. This episode piggy-backs off of last week's episode where we talked about focused, goal-oriented practicing. Learn what to practice so you don't get overwhelmed and how to do it. Listen in! Listen to episode 124 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes What's great about the internet is that you can type in any question and immediately find blog posts, podcasts, and videos telling you the answer and teaching you how to do stuff. The bad thing about the internet is it is so cluttered and so distracting that often times we don't know where to start or how to apply the information we learn. As it applies to musicians, we can get completely lost and confused about what to learn, how to learn it, and when to learn it. That's why we need a focused, goal-oriented approach to our musicianship, which we talked about in last week's episode 123. But once we have goals and once we understand that we need this kind of practice, what stuff should we actually be working on? How do we know which things will help us make quick and efficient improvement as jazz musicians? In comes what I like to call, my Big 3. These are three things that if we just hone in on these categories, we can cover a multitude of skills that we need to develop as jazz musicians. Here's a little bit of what I cover in this episode: 1. A recap of why we need focused, goal-oriented practicing with an action plan. 2. Why we need to boil things down and get rid of the clutter. 3. Technique, why it's important, and what to work on. 4. Jazz repertoire, why it's important, and what to work on. 5. Jazz language, why it's important, and what to work on. I hope you start thinking about the Big 3 and how you can start creating an action plan for achieving your jazz performance goals. I especially want to invite you to sign up to receive the Accelerate Your Jazz Skills free mini-course where I go into further depth on all of this. Important Links Accelerate Your Jazz Skills free mini-course 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Episode 123
July 9, 2018
Welcome to episode 123 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about 5 powerful results that come from focused, goal-oriented practice sessions. If you want to improve as a jazz musician you need this kind of practice. That's why the next handful of episodes are geared towards this and how to accelerate your jazz skills. Listen in! Listen to episode 123 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes You know, when I first started playing jazz I felt like I was behind the 8 ball. Everyone in my jazz circle of friends had been doing it longer than me and had some serious jazz skills. I always felt like I was trying to keep my head above the water. I started getting serious about playing jazz during my senior year in high school, and during that time I became dedicated to pursuing this music in some fashion. But even though I made it into the jazz college programs I applied for, they offered me no scholarship money. What they were really saying was, "Brent, we'll take your money. But you're just not talented enough for us to invest in you." Ouch. I didn't have the funds, so I was out of luck. But my teacher had me stay behind for a year and study with him under a rigorous practice program, and guess what? The next year colleges threw money at me and the happy ending is I now have a bachelor degree and work as a full-time musician and educator. The most valuable thing I learned that year was how to set up focused, goal-oriented practicing. Not only that but practicing the things that actually move the needle.  Today's episode is all about 5 powerful results that come from this kind of practice, and I want to share them with you. Here's some of what I talk about: 1. My story and how I learned to practice the right way. 2. The 5 powerful results you will get from this kind of practice. 3. Setting Master Goals and why you should. This kind of practice is worth investing in, and I will be talking a lot more about this leading up to the relaunch of my jazz practicing course, 30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing. Let's start setting up our jazz playing for success and accelerate our jazz skills together! Important Links "30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing" waiting list and free "Accelerate Your Jazz Skills" course.
July 2, 2018
Welcome to episode 122 of the LJS Podcast where today we are joined by special guest Jens Larsen to talk about using target notes to create melodic jazz lines. Jens is a pro jazz guitarist, teacher, and he lays down his tips on how to bring out the chord tones in your jazz solos and use them to make real melodies. Listen in! Listen to episode 122 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I remember when I was first starting out playing jazz and how I struggled to get my solos to sound the way I wanted them to. There was just something about them that wasn't working. It wasn't long before I realized that the missing element was that I wasn't outlining the chord changes. I wasn't hitting those money notes that defined one chord from another. And then further than that, I wasn't connecting them in a melodic way. On today's episode, I have on special guest jazz guitarist, teacher, and YouTuber, Jens Larsen. He addresses this exact issue with a concept called target tones. Target tones are notes that you choose from each chord within a chord progression that helps define each chord uniquely. Here's what we cover in this episode: 1. How Jens Larsen got started as a musician. 2. The main things Jens thinks aspiring jazz musicians should be working on. 3. Target notes: what they are and which ones to choose. 4. How to connected target notes together in the context of a I-VI-ii-V progression. Jens and I have a special challenge for you today. Take what you learned in this episode and pick your own target notes over a I-VI-ii-V chord progression. Then connect them together and compose your own jazz line. Post what you came up with in the comments sections below. Upload a clip to YouTube or Soundcloud and copy and paste the URL. Important Links Jens Larsen's YouTube Channel Joe Pass Guitar Style
June 25, 2018
Welcome to episode 121 of the LJS Podcast where today we are digging into some jazz theory and talking about secondary and backdoor dominant 7 chords. These are two concepts that are used to resolve to a tonic I chord. If you understand these concepts they can help give context to a chord progression you are improvising over. Listen in! Listen to episode 121 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I'm digging into some jazz theory and talking about V7-I chord resolutions. But specifically, I'm discussing some alternatives to the common V7-I resolution. I'm talking about Secondary Dominants and the Backdoor Dominant. What's a secondary dominant? A secondary dominant is when a dominant 7th chord acts as a V chord of a diatonic chord other than the tonic. We call this “tonicization.” This means the chord the secondary dominant precedes now sounds like a new tonic to the listener. What's a backdoor dominant? A backdoor dominant is a dominant 7th chord that substitutes the V7 chord for a bVII7 chord approaching the I chord by a whole step. This works because the bVII7 has a lot of notes in common with an altered V7 chord. Example: Bb7-Cmaj7. In this episode, I go over these two concepts in further detail and give specific musical examples of how secondary dominants are used in All of Me, and how backdoor dominants are used in Lady Bird and Stella by Starlight. Why is all of this important? I have a rule I call "The Jazz Improv Rule," and it goes like this: To become a better jazz improviser, you have to understand jazz harmony. The more we understand how chord progressions work in the context of a piece of music, the more insight we can gain in how to improvise over them. It is worthwhile to spend some time digging into this stuff and make sense of it. That's exactly what we do in our eBook and companion course The Jazz Standards Playbook because this stuff is that important. Start looking out for these two kinds of dominants 7th chords whenever you are working through jazz standards. Important Links How to Master the Backdoor Jazz Chord Progression (By Josiah Boornazian) Zero to Improv The Jazz Standards Playbook
June 18, 2018
Welcome to episode 120 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Diego Maldonado to talk about how to practice towards fail-proof musical performances. If you've ever practiced a piece of music only for it to go completely wrong during a performance (like all of us), this episode will help you avoid this from happening. Listen in! Listen to episode 120 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Tell me if you can relate to this: you spend all week working on some music for an upcoming gig, but when you finally get up on the bandstand to play, everything just tanks. Look, we've all been there before. And that's why today's episode is really an episode all musicians should pay attention to. I have on special guest, drummer, composer, and teacher, Diego Maldonado to talk to us about practicing towards fail-proof performances. How do we avoid crashing and burning? Diego is a hard-core practicer and he knows how to help. He talks about a concept called "Head Room" which has a lot to do with over-preparing in order to ensure that distractions and outside elements don't cause you to fall off the cliff. Here's some of what we talk about today: 1. Diego, and his journey in music. 2. The first step you need to take to set yourself up for musical success. 3. How to practice using the Head Room concept. 4. Ways you can apply Head Room to music you are practicing. The options are limitless when it comes to practicing with Head Room, and you hear a good handful of options mentioned in this episode. If you start practicing with this concept, you will be surprised at how much flexibility you will have in your playing. Important Links Diego's Website Schedule a lesson with Diego Diego's Instagram
June 11, 2018
Welcome to episode 119 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about a common problem that plagues all musicians from time to time: musical slumps. We all go through periods where we feel like we aren't improving or even motivated to play. Sometimes it's hard to break free from those plateaus but this episode goes over some great antidotes. Listen in! Listen to episode 119 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Have you ever felt like you were totally stuck in your musicianship? Maybe you just didn't feel motivated, or maybe you had been working hard but just weren't seeing improvement. I know I have been there before, and it's likely I'll be there again. In this episode, I go over some practical tips for breaking free from these musical slumps. These are things that I have drawn from my experience and others, and I know they will help you too. Here's some of what I talk about today: 1. Motivation- 3 ways you can keep motivated to practice your instrument. 2. Oversaturation- taking breaks and taking the less is more approach. 3. Lack of direction- creating goals, practicing the right stuff, and creating an action plan. If you are finding yourself in a musical slump right now, I want to encourage you to take action on some of the things that I talk about here. Have anything else to add to today's advice? Feel free to leave a comment below. Important Links Facebook Community Group The Jazz Standards Playbook
June 4, 2018
Welcome to episode 118 of the LJS Podcast where today we are featuring some of the greatest hits of our guest episodes so far. Over the last few years, we've developed a big catalog of episodes with special guests sharing their best jazz tips and advice. We listen to important clips from those episodes and some additional commentary. Listen in! Listen to episode 118 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes This is episode 118 and at this point, we've developed a fairly substantial catalog of episodes. I think of each episode as an answer to a jazz question that you, my listeners, may have. But I don't always have the answers, or it's better to have someone who has a different perspective or expertise in a particular area than I do. That's why I love having guests on the show. In this episode, I feature some of my favorite guest episodes thus far. It was hard to pick some and not others, but these were all powerful episodes that I think deserve a re-look. I picked out 13 episodes and short clips that I thought were great takeaways, and expand on them a little bit more. Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Ultimate Ear Training Blueprint and Video Lesson Series Episode 9 with Josiah Boornazian Episode 10 with Bruce Forman Episode 12 with Peter Bernstein Episode 35 with Diego Maldonado Episode 39 with Don Hahn Episode 52 with Mike Taylor (and other guests) Episode 60 with Aimee Nolte Episode 63 with Brett Pontecorvo Episode 65 with Jeff Schneider Episode 82 with Christopher Sutton Episode 85 with Steve Nixon Episode 89 with Dorota Piotrowska
May 28, 2018
Welcome to episode 117 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about learning licks in all 12 keys and how to do it. Learning small pieces of jazz language is a great way to start developing vocabulary over chords and progressions. Taking them through all 12 keys adds even more value to that material and your musicianship. Listen in! Listen to episode 117 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes If you've ever learned a new language (or attempted like me), you probably remember starting out by learning short sentences to express simple ideas. When it comes to learning jazz language, learning short phrases is also a great way to go. We like to call these "licks;" these short musical sound bites that teach us vocabulary over chords or chord progressions. But often times we learn musical information only in one or two keys, which leaves other keys weaker than others. In this episode, I let you sit in on my practice session where I take a Sonny Rollins blues lick through all 12 keys. I walk you through my step-by-step process and show you how I do it. Here are the things I cover in this episode: 1. Why learning licks by ear is so beneficial. 2. Why taking licks into all 12 keys takes things to the next level. 3. My step-by-step process. 4. How I use the Circle of 4ths to practice the different keys. 5. I take the Sonny Rollins lick through the keys, mistakes and all. My challenge for you this week is to take a lick through all 12 keys. This is such a great practice and I know you'll benefit from it! Here are is the solo I took this lick from: The lick starts at 3:32. Here is the lick notated: Important Links Get Band-in-a-Box Read the Transcript Brent: Check, check, check it out. Hey, what's up? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website, Learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog, a podcast, and videos all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. You know what? I'm here every single week delivering the goods, free jazz educational content for you. My goal every single week is to serve you the best I can to help you become a better musician, a better jazz player and just improve your skills, so I want to thank you for listening, especially if you're a regular listener. I promise that I will continue to be here and I hope you get something out of today's show. I know you will. Today, I'm talking about a practice that is really important, I think, and that is taking musical material, musical language, little bits and pieces through all 12 keys. I'm going to let you sit in on my practice session today. I'm going to be taking a lick through all 12 keys, just shedding for myself here. Maybe you can get a little bit out of just seeing my step by step process, how I go through doing it. Learning licks through all 12 keys, I think is a great idea. Licks because they're small little ideas, musical ideas, that we're trying to learn, get little bits of language. If you want to learn how to speak any language, you start with learning a sentence, maybe, right? Then someone teaches it to you then you repeat it back and then you use it in diff...
May 21, 2018
Welcome to episode 116 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on a very special guest, drummer, composer and teacher, Kobie Watkins. Kobie has played with the who's who on the jazz scene, and in this show, he shares his story and talks about his mindset of continuous growth and learning. Listen in! Listen to episode 116 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of my favorite things about doing this show is learning alongside all of you. And yes, I learn even as I teach, but I especially learn a lot having on special guests. On today's episode, I have on drummer, composer and teacher Kobie Watkins. Kobie has played with a long list of big-time jazz musicians, and that's because he's part of that club. Sonny Rollins, John Patitucci, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Broom, Joe Lovano...and the list goes on and on. Kobie shares his story of musical growth and how he has developed a mindset of continuous learning. He also shares some of his best tips for crushing it as a musician. Here's some of what we talk about: 1. Kobie's musical beginnings and how he got started. 2. His mindset around continuous learning. 3. The things he thinks all musicians should be working on. 4. Important lessons he's learned, including one from Sonny Rollins. 5. His new album "Movement." Make sure you check out Kobie's newest album. See the link below. I learned a lot from him in this interview and I'm sure you will to. What was one of the main takeaways for you? Leave it in the comments below. Important Links Kobie Watkins Grouptet "Movement" Learn Jazz Standards Community Facebook Group Read the Transcript Brent: What is up, everybody? My name is Brent, and I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog, a podcast, and videos, all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. If you are into jazz, and you want to learn how to become a better player, whether you're a beginner just getting started out, intermediate trying to improve, or even if you're an advanced player trying to get some further insight, my friend, you are in the right place. Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening, and on today's episode 116, I've got a killer special guest on the show. It's drummer, composer, teacher Kobie Watkins. Kobie Watkins is really a powerhouse musician. Really honored to have him on the show. He's played with musicians like Sonny Rollins, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Curtis Fuller, Jim Hall, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Haines, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Bobby Broom. I mean, you get the point, right? I mean, he's played with everybody, and I had a great time talking to him, just learning his story and just getting his advice, which he's about to share with you. And I'm so stoked about that. And you know, Kobie, he has a brand new album coming out with his grouptet. It's called the Kobie Watkins Grouptet. I want you to go check that out at www.KobieWatkinsGrouptet.com. This album is called "Movement", and wow, just a powerhouse bunch of musicians.
May 14, 2018
Welcome to episode 115 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about the balancing act of music theory and playing by ear. In the jazz world sometimes one or the other can be overemphasized and as a result, can cause a player to miss out on a balanced jazz education. Learn the importance of working on both and how to balance them in your practicing. Listen in! Listen to episode 115 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In our Learn Jazz Standards Facebook Community, emails I get from subscribers, and general conversations I have with musicians, I witness a few different philosophies about learning jazz. The two extremes are the world of learning music theory, and the world of playing and learning by ear. In reality, these two shouldn't be separated things. They should work together. Yet sometimes one or the other is overemphasized in someone's jazz education. I think it's important to talk about creating a balance between the two. Both are important to our overall musical education and need to be apart of what we do. Here's some of what I talk about in today's episode: 1. The benefits of learning music theory. 2. The benefits of learning and playing music by ear. 3. The negatives of leaving out or overemphasizing one or the other. 4. How a healthy balance creates a completed circuit. I hope you enjoy today's episode and examine what role both of these play in your own practicing. Are your practice sessions balanced, or is one being ignored? Important Links Learn Jazz Standards Community Facebook Group The Jazz Standards Playbook eBook and Companion Course Read the Transcript Brent: Check, check, check it out. What's up? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog, a podcast, and videos, all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Hey, welcome everybody. Whether this is your first time ever listening to the show or if you're a regular listener, I want to thank you so much. I appreciate you for just being here, hanging out with me, and taking a little time out of your week just to learn alongside of me. And so I appreciate it. I don't take it for granted. And on today's episode 115, I did have an episode planned that was more music theory based, but it got me thinking, since we had such a heavy music theory episode last week ... which was an awesome episode, by the way, 114 with special guest Dan Carillo talking about minor tonality ... such a great episode, but a heavy episode. As I was thinking about today's episode, I thought it would be great to talk about how to balance music theory and playing by ear, because you know, sometimes we get overwhelmed with one or the other. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with there being too much music theory to think about when it comes to jazz. Sometimes we get banged over the head as well with learn jazz solos by ear, learn jazz standards by ear, all these things by ear. We get hammered on both sides of the spectrum, so I thought it would be great to talk today a little bit about that,
May 7, 2018
Welcome to episode 114 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Dan Carillo to talk about understanding minor tonality and building minor chord progressions. Minor tonality can be complicated because there are three minor scales at play. Dan gives a thorough explanation and unlocks this confusing topic. Listen in! Listen to episode 114 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Some of the questions I get from my audience time and time again have to do with minor chord progressions and how they work. Major diatonic harmony is much easier to understand because you can simply harmonize a major scale with 7th chords or triads, and come up with a simple answer of what chords are in the harmonic series. But minor tonality becomes complicated because there are three different minor scales at play: the natural, harmonic and melodic minor. When you harmonize those minor scales separately, you will notice that the qualities of each chord are not always the same for each scale degree. So which chord should you use for the given scale degrees? Is it a minor 7 for the V chord, or a dominant 7? Is it a diminished 7 for the VII chord or is it a dominant 7? In this episode, guitarist, professor, and composer Dan Carillo unlocks this and gives us the answers. In fact, he leaves no stone left unturned. Here's some of what we talked about today: 1. Why minor tonality is so hard to understand. 2. The problem with understanding minor chord progressions with scales. 3. The importance of the V-I. 4. The common sets of chord choices in a minor key. 5. The alternate sets of chord choices in a minor key. 6. Some of Dan's cool projects coming up. Notes Dan talks about two sets of chord options for minor keys, the common and the alternate. Here are the two sets spelled out. Common: Here is the common set notated in the key of A minor. i chord: minor(major 7)- from the melodic minor ii chord: half diminished- from the natural or harmonic minor iii chord: major 7- from the natural minor iv chord: minor 7- from the natural or harmonic minor V chord: dominant 7- from the harmonic or melodic minor VI chord: major 7- from the natural or harmonic minor VII chord: dominant 7- from the natural minor Alternate Here is the alternate set notated in the key of A minor. i chord: minor 7- from the natural minor ii chord: minor 7- from the melodic or harmonic minor III chord: major 7(#5)- from the harmonic and melodic minor IV chord: dominant 7- from the melodic minor V chord: minor 7- from the natural minor vi chord: half diminished- from the melodic minor vii chord: diminished 7- from the harmonic minor Important Links How to Harmonize a Major Scale with 7th Chords How ...
April 30, 2018
Welcome to episode 113 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking all about jazz play-alongs and how they could be hurting your jazz playing. Backing tracks can be great tools, but if used in the wrong way they could instill some bad habits. Learn when and how to use them, and when to leave them be. Listen in! Listen to episode 113 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes When Learn Jazz Standards first started it wasn't quite the same as it is now. Back then it was mostly just a resource for learning jazz standards, hence the name. We didn't have the jazz lessons, tutorials, the podcast, and the overall focus we have now. Part of the resources we offered (and still do) were backing tracks for jazz standards. Our thought was they would aid our subscribers, especially those who don't have as much access to playing with other musicians. What we didn't expect is that they would be such a hit. Our YouTube channel really blew up and became quite popular, mainly because of the play-alongs. That's why this week's episode is especially important. It is my responsibility to make sure you know when play-alongs are good to use and when they could be detrimental. In the right hands, they are a great tool to supplement your practice. In the wrong hands, they are a crutch used to learn and play jazz repertoire. Here's some of what I talk about in this episode: 1. Three reasons practicing with play-alongs can be detrimental. 2. Three situations you should not use play-alongs in your practice. 3. Three situations you should or could use play-alongs in your practice. Play-alongs should not be discarded altogether. They can, in fact, be great tools. Just heed some of this advice and you'll be on the right track! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Band-in-a-Box Read the Transcript Brent: Hey, hey, what's up everybody, my name's Brent, I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared toward helping you become a better jazz musician. I want to thank you so much for being here, welcome, if it's your first time ever listening, or if you're a regular listener, I really do appreciate it, I'm so excited to serve you today. And, oh, man, guys, I've got a serious head cold going on today, so I apologize for my voice, I'm not sure if it's coming through on the mic. I had to cancel my gig last night because, well I didn't cancel, I found a sub because I was just, oh, I'm not feeling well. It's gonna get so much worse if I go out, so that sucked. I'm having a sucky week, but you know what, things could always be worse. So, I'm thankful for everything and hopefully I'll feel better soon, but the show must go on, right? The show's gotta keep going on, so I'm here to deliver this podcast episode to you, for what I think is a great important topic for today's episode, 113. Which is all about how play-alongs, backing tracks, could be damaging or hurting your jazz playing. Now, I know that if you're listening to this podcast and you're familiar with LearnJazzStandards.com,
April 23, 2018
Welcome to episode 112 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest renowned saxophonist and educator Greg Fishman. Greg shares his story of how he has developed such a successful career in jazz and talks about one of his secret weapons: transcribing. Can you guess how many solos Greg has transcribed? Listen in! Listen to episode 112 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I'm welcoming on a very special guest, Greg Fishman. We go over his story of how he became such a successful and masterful jazz musician, as well as talk about transcribing, one of his practice room go-to's. If you aren't familiar with Greg, he's a renowned saxophonist who's toured with the likes of Conte Condoli, Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Lou Donaldson and many more. But he's also a great jazz educator, having published many books both through Hal Leonard and self-publishing his own. Greg is a phenomenal musician, and you'll learn a lot just by hearing his story and getting inside his brain. But he also talks a lot about transcribing, which is something he's done a lot of (you'll see what I mean!). Here's some of what we talk about in this episode: 1. How Greg got started into music and jazz. 2. How many jazz solos Greg has transcribed (hint: it's a lot). 3. Some tips and tricks for effective solo transcription. 4. Greg's new membership course and how it can help you. I know you're going to love this interview with Greg Fishman and get just as much out of it as I did. Prepare yourself for inspiration, awe, and tons of value bombs along the way! Be sure to check out Greg's membership course at the link below. Important Links Greg's membership course and jazz books Read the Transcript Brent: Hey, hey, what's up, everybody? My name is Brent, I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which has a blog, podcast, and videos all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome to episode 112. On today's show we have a very special guest on, it's saxophonist, recording artist, and jazz educator Greg Fishman. Greg is a masterful musician who's played with the who's who, who has an incredibly accomplished performing career, but not only that, he is an incredibly great educator, though. That's why I'm especially excited to have him on the show today, and Greg today talks a lot about just his story, and goes through how he became this incredible musician that he is. And I know that this is gonna be so enlightening for you, just to listen to his story. I know I got a lot out of it myself. Now, specifically today, Greg talks a lot about transcribing and how that was such an important part of his jazz education and still is today. And what I want you to do, I want you to guess right now how many solos Greg Fishman has transcribed, okay? Make a guess right now, keep listening to the show. You're gonna find out exactly how many solos that is, and you're gonna be blown away. Okay, so make that guess. You know, specifically I want to clarify this as well, in the past we've had other guests on the show that have talked about transcribing,
April 16, 2018
Welcome to episode 111 of the LJS Podcast where today Brent changes up the format for today's show to talk about some lessons from a recent gig. He shares the good, the bad, and the ugly. Find out what he learned and how he used certain tools he has built up for himself. Listen in! Listen to episode 111 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes This week I wanted to spend some time sharing with you my experiences at a recent gig. I'll be honest. It wasn't my best performance, not in the sense that I played bad, but that I felt like the odd guy out. This is a gig I've been playing every month for around 5 years at a club in New York City called Fat Cat. It's a great band and I'm honored to play with all of the guys. But this particular gig had me working overtime. A lot of songs were being called that I didn't know and I had to rely on my ears to get me through it. I share with you some lessons I learned from this particular gig. What went well, and what I need to work on. I think by listening to my experience you can take away something for yourself too! One thing I will say: listening and ear training is important. Being exposed to lots of jazz music really helped me, and also having those fundamentals of ear training down gave me a firm foundation. If you need to work on some of those fundamentals I would suggest checking out my ear training course How to Play What You Hear. I'll leave a link below. Enjoy the episode! Important Links Fat Cat NYC How to Play What You Hear Read the Transcript Brent: All right, so today's episodes a little bit different. I'm going to change up the format a little bit than what I normally would do because today I just felt like I wanted to talk about my gig last night. I wanted to share some of my experiences that I had and some of my thoughts about what went down. This is a regular gig that I play every single month in New York City at Fat Cat. If you've never heard of Fat Cat it's a great little jazz lounge, it's a noisy place, smells like booze and it's loud. But there's some amazing jazz that happens there every single night and I'm really honored that I get to spend some time playing there every single month. So, I'm going to talk a little bit about my experience at my gig, some lessons that I learned and just some general thoughts that I think can help you too just by me expressing them. But first, let's cue the intro music. Just in case you've never listened to this podcast before my name is Brent, I am the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com which is a blog, a podcast and videos all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician and I'm honored every single week to come here and do my best to serve you with the best jazz educational content that I possibly can. Make sure if you aren't subscribe to this podcast, subscribe on iTunes. If you're not subscribed on our YouTube channel I also post the podcast as well as other videos on our YouTube channel. That's youtube.com/learnjazzstandards. Of course make sure that you're involved in our community.
April 9, 2018
Welcome to episode 110 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking with Nick Mainella from The 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast all about the Blues and how to start playing it with confidence. Blues is a foundational element of jazz music and Nick teaches you the ins and outs and everything you need to know to get started. Listen in! Listen to episode 110 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's show is special, not only because we have guest Nick Mainella from the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast joining us, but because we've never spent an entire episode focusing on the blues before. The blues is a foundational element of jazz music. Jazz came directly out of the blues tradition and it is still represented in the music today. So would it be wise to study up on the blues? You bet. That's why I have Nick Mainella on to share his expertise. He loves starting his students out on the blues because the blues can teach us so many important lessons about jazz harmony and language. Here are a few things we talk about: * Why the blues is important. * What the difference between a major and minor blues is. * Common blues chord progressions. * Important jazz blues heads to know. * Basic and advanced improvisation tips over the blues. Nick absolutely lays down the value for you in today's episode so be sure to grab your favorite snack and beverage and take some notes! Don't forget to check out the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast, and be sure to check out his blues course as well. Important Links 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast 60 Days to Crushing the Blues Read the Transcript Brent: All right. What's up, everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is blog, podcast, and videos all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. So excited to be here and I have a very special guest on the show today. I know you're going to love. It's Nick Mainella from the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast. This is an excellent podcast where Nick every single week is laying down some jazz tips in advice for everybody. So be sure to check out the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson podcast. I'm excited to have him on because he's going to talk all about the blues today and how you can crust it on Blues. Now, the Blues we have never honed on the Blues before on this show. So I'm stoked about this because the Blues is really important in jazz. It really is the foundation of jazz and how it all started. It's still a big part of the music today. So we need to understand the Blues, how to play the Blues, how to improvise over it. So I'm really excited to dive into that today. So before we get into the interview with Nick, I just want to say if this is your very first time listening to this how, I want you to know you're in the right place if you are a beginner trying to get into jazz, maybe if you're just trying to see what's out there, understand what it is,
April 2, 2018
Welcome to episode 109 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking to professional music notation editor and engraver, Brett Pontecorvo. Brett lays down his best tips and tricks on how to properly notate music, as well as layout great, readable charts. These are valuable skills every musician needs to know how to do. Listen in! Listen to episode 109 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I have a very special guest on the show, Brett Pontecorvo who talks about his best tips for proper music notation and how to set your music charts up for success. Brett is a professional music editor and engraver, which means his job is to take peoples music, make sure it's properly notated, spaced, easy to read, and amazing to look at. I hire Brett to do all of my projects including my brand new eBook The Jazz Standards Playbook coming out in April of 2018 (already out for those listening in the future!). When it comes to making sure I come out with the best jazz education products, it's imperative that I have a professional come in and edit and make sure its a great experience. That's why I pick Brett's brain on this important subject and how you can set your compositions, arrangements, lead sheets, or education materials up for success. Here are some of the things we go over: 1. Best practices for notating off beat and over the barline phrases. 2. How to label chords with extensions and alterations. 3. How to make your notation easy to read. 4. Use 1st and 2nd endings or just write everything out? 5. Best practices for formatting and spacing notes, measures, and lines. 6. Courtesy accidentals. Good or bad? This was a great show, and I learned a lot getting the opportunity to ask Brett questions. I know you will too! If you would like any lessons on using Finale, music notation, or need engraver services, be sure to visit brettpontecorvo.com. Important Links Brett's website The Jazz Standards Playbook Finale Notation Software Sibelius Notation Software Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links and with no additional cost to you, Learn Jazz Standards receives a kickback on the purchase of those products. Read the Transcript Brent: Alright, welcome to another episode of the LJS Podcast. My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. I want to thank you so much for listening. Whether this is your first time ever or if you're a returning listener, I really appreciate it. On today's episode, 109, it has been a while since we've had a guest on the show 'cause we've been doing Jazz Standards Month in the month of March, but now that we're in April I'm excited to invite onto the show Brett Pontecorvo. He's a pianist,
March 26, 2018
Welcome to episode 108 of the LJS Podcast where today we are concluding "Jazz Standards Month" with the topic of motivic development and how we can utilize it to develop musical themes, and structure into our jazz solos. Brent tells you what motivic development is and gives some examples. Listen in! Listen to episode 108 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes This week's episode concludes "Jazz Standards Month" where we've been digging into different strategies for approaching and understanding jazz standards. I talk all about motific development, what it is, and how to use it over any kind of chord progression. Specifically, I hone in on the first 8 bars of On Green Dolphin Street, which can be a bit tricky to approach. I draw this lesson from the upcoming April 2018 release of our brand new eBook and companion course, The Jazz Standards Playbook, which goes over in-depth studies of 10 important jazz standards and what we can learn from them. Motivic development is when rhythmic or melodic ideas are repeated or evoked over different structures within a composition. This often manifests in applying the same or similar rhythmic ideas over different chords in a progression. It can also be the same or similar note choice formulas applied over the different chords. Here is some of what I talk about in today's episode: * What a motif is and how it can help. * 2 examples of motifs and how to understand them. * My challenge for you to compose your own motifs. Remember this week to take action. Understanding and knowing this concept is a great thing, but until you take action on it, you won't have gained its benefits. Musical Examples: Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Read the Transcript Brent: All right, podcast listeners, what's up? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog, a podcast, and videos all geared toward helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome back to the regular listeners and those of you listening for the very first time. If you are a jazz geek or a musician or someone who wants to be a better player, you are in the right place, so stay around, stick around. Now we are closing up Jazz Standards Month, the month of March has been Jazz Standards Month. And we're closing that up today with a great episode, episode 108, which is all about using motivic development to help you develop themes in your jazz solos. And this episode, we're gonna be talking about what is motivic development, how can it help us, and I'm gonna be giving you some examples as well, so stick around, make sure you stay tuned. Now, Jazz Standards Month, if you've been listening for a while, for the last several episodes, you know that this is leading up to a big book launch, ebook launch and companion course, the Jazz Standards Playbook. Which the official date now is April the eighth, Sunday, April the eighth, 2018, is when this book is coming out.
March 19, 2018
Welcome to episode 107 of the LJS Podcast where today we are continuing "Jazz Standards Month" talking about composing contrafacts to develop melodic ideas. Composition and melody are huge aspects of great improvisation. Learn why, and the great benefits composing contrafacts can have. Listen in! Listen to episode 107 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the things that I emphasize in my upcoming eBook The Jazz Standards Playbook, is composition. That may seem odd considering the book focuses on existing compositions and lessons we can extract from them. Where does composing music come in? You may have heard it said before that improvisation is simply composition sped up. I find this to be quite accurate. The difference between the two is one gives you time to plan and think and the other doesn't. So if we want to learn how to improvise better over jazz standards (which we all do), would it not be a good idea to practice composing? Another important aspect of great improvisation is melody. The best solos out there aren't the most technically stunning or flashy ones. They are the ones that are profoundly melodic. Those are the solos I'd rather listen to any day of the week. In this episode, I talk about composing contrafacts. A contrafact is simply a melody that is composed over an existing set of chord changes. You can take the chords to any jazz standard and compose your own melody over it. This is a great practice and has many benefits which I expand upon in this talk. Here are some of the things I talk about: * The many benefits of practicing composition. * The importance of melody and how to utilize it. * Contrafacts, what they are, and what makes up a good one. * Two examples of contrafacts I've written over "It Could Happen to You." * My challenge for you this week. I hope you'll listen to this episode and decide to take massive, determined action. Maybe if you're feeling so inspired, post a video recording of a contrafact you compose this week in the comments section below. Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Learn Jazz Standards Community Facebook Group Read the Transcript Brent: Oh yeah, that's right. My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Man, I love podcast recording day, I love doing this show. It's so much fun for me, so I want to thank you for hanging out with me, whether you're a regular listener or whether this is your very first time, you are welcome here. You're in the right place. If you like jazz, if you're a musician and you want to learn, whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, you're in the right place and I'm glad you're here. So thanks for being here today. Now, we are in the middle of Jazz Standards Month here on the LJS Podcast.
March 12, 2018
Welcome to episode 106 of the LJS Podcast where today we are moving forward in Jazz Standards Month to talk about mapping out a tune you are learning. We'll explore mapping out the guide tones and chord tones to build a strong foundation for your improvisation. Listen in! Listen to episode 106 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, we are continuing on through Jazz Standards Month. This time around I discuss how to "map out" a jazz standard you are learning so that you can get started on the right foot. I think it's important, no matter what level you are at, to go back to the basics. How do you spell out a chord, what are the defining notes in that chord, and ultimately, how can you use that information to inform your improvisation? I talk about defining the guide tones (the 3rds and 7ths), how to voice lead them, and how to utilize chord tones effectively. I believe that if we go back to these foundational elements we can set ourselves up for success on the bandstand. Here's what I talk about today: 1. The basic elements of mapping. 2. Defining the different qualities of 7th chords. 3. Defining guide tones and how to voice lead them. 4. Guide tones over "All of Me." 5. A helpful exercise for practicing chord tones over "All of Me." Here are some of the musical examples I refer to in this episode: Guide tones over a ii-V-I All of Me Guide Tones All of Me Chord Tone Exercise Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Read the Transcript Brent: All right. What's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast and videos, all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome, everybody. Thanks for listening. Thanks for hanging out today, and wow, I just to say first of all, a big thank you to everybody who participated in our podcast raffle back in February. Man, that was super-awesome, and we just got a lot of reviews on iTunes, I got a lot of suggestions from you from future episodes. So I just want to thank everybody publicly first, just for participating in that and just helping out. I really appreciate it, and I just sent out emails to 17 lucky winners of our raffle. I'm not going to name all of you, because you know who you are, I've sent you an email, but I want to publicly thank our number one winner, who won both of our jazz courses, our ear training course, "How To Play What You Hear", and our practicing course, "30 Days to Better Jazz Playing", as well as our entire library of jazz standard play-alongs, Megan Campbell from Seattle, Washington. So thank you so much, Megan, and congratulations. I really appreciate you being a listener, and I appreciate everybody who participated in our competition. Now, last week on the podcast we started jazz standards month. Sometimes we do themes on this podcast where we hone in on one specific topic for an entire month and just really try to get inside of that topic. So for the month of March we are doing jazz standards month. I'm excited about this, and last week we talked about analyzing jazz stand...
March 5, 2018
Welcome to episode105 of the LJS Podcast where today we are jumping head first into "Jazz Standards Month." This month on the podcast we will be focusing on learning jazz standards and extracting everything we can out of them. To kick it off, we talk about analyzing jazz standards with Roman Numerals for max results. Listen in! Listen to episode 105 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I'm happy to announce we are jumping into "Jazz Standards Month" here on the LJS Podcast. Jazz Standards Month is all about learning jazz standards and then digging deep into them to extract as much info as we can. It goes without saying, learning jazz standards is pivotal to all of our jazz studies. Regardless of whether you compose your own music or not, jazz standards are the foundations that we need to build our jazz education on. They embody the tradition of the music and the language that has continued to present times. To launch this series, we are starting by learning how to analyze jazz standards with Roman Numerals. This practice isn't new or ground-breaking, but it's an important one for understanding how the harmony within a tune works. Here are some of the things I go over in this episode: 1. 3 preliminary questions to ask when analyzing a jazz standard. 2. Understanding Roman Numerals in chord progressions by harmonizing major and minor scales with 7th chords. 3. 2 main harmonic lessons "Autumn Leaves" teaches us. 4. A full Roman Numeral chords analysis of Autumn Leaves. To help you as a visual aid throughout this episode, take a look at some of the resources below. You will find several examples that I mention in the show that may be of use to you. The Major and Minor Diatonic Series of 7th Chords Chords Analysis of Autumn Leaves Autumn Leaves Chords Analysis 1 Autumn Leaves Chords Analysis 2 Note that these examples come from our upcoming eBook The Jazz Standards Playbook which will be coming out in April 2018. This is an eBook and companion course that goes through 10 jazz standards studies that will level-up your jazz playing. Enjoy the episode! Important Links The Jazz Standards Playbook Read the Transcript Brent: Hey hey, what's up? My name is Brent. I'm the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog, a podcast, and videos all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. That's right, I just said videos. Now we're coming out with weekly videos on YouTube and on our blog, so if you have not subscribed to our YouTube channel, go to youtube.com/learnjazzstandards. Every Thursday, we're coming out with a new video, jazz tutorials, tips and advice, so if you ... this podcast is obviously not going anywhere, but if you want to enjoy a little bit of that content too, you can.
February 26, 2018
Welcome to episode 104 of the LJS Podcast where today we are celebrating our 2 year podcast birthday! To do that we are having on 11 different special guests on the show. They are special because they are listeners just like you! They all give excellent jazz tips and advice and have great stories to share. Listen in! Listen to episode 104 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today is a very special episode because it marks two years of the LJS Podcast. That's right, it's a birthday celebration! Now, our blog and website has been around for much longer than that, but when the podcast started it brought something very special into the mix. Around two years ago, Justin Kellerer, the tech manager for Learn Jazz Standards, convinced me I should start a podcast. I was apprehensive at first because I wasn't entirely sure the effort of producing a weekly podcast would be worth it. But 104 episodes later, we have many thousands of listeners from around the world tuning in each week. One of my favorite comments I get is "I feel like I know you." Even though I don't have the privilege to meet and talk with all of you personally, It's a good feeling to know that I can serve you each week and that you can get a sense of who I am and what I want to accomplish. All of this has made the podcast worth it 10 times over, and I look forward to many more years of the podcast. Today's episode features 11 special guests who are all listeners just like you. They come from all around the world, with different levels of jazz experience and different stories to share. These are some of the most valuable kinds of guests in my opinion because they are people we can all relate to. Here's a list of our guests and what they talk about: * Jerry from Ontario talks about how a little bit of music theory can go a long way (4:52). * Anne from Berlin talks about how giving up is not an option and to approach your jazz learning from all angles (7:46). * Pedro from San Paulo talks about how all kinds of music can teach us something and give us inspiration (10:11). * Rebecca from London talks about the importance of learning to play by ear and getting your eyes off the page (14:25). * Aidan from Louisiana talks about how listening is the most important thing you can do for your musicianship (18:48). * Camila from Columbia talks about how playing music from a communal approach is the best way to go (23:19). * Christopher from San Antonio talks about how when the musical journey gets tough to not get discouraged, and remember nothing is impossible (27:18). * Simon from Sydney tells his story about how his saxophone took him to places he couldn't have imagined it would (28:47). * Olivia from Paris talks about the importance of setting precise goals for your playing for maximum results (32:32). * Michael from Chicago talks about how ear training and transcribing solos was a game-changer for him (36:18). * Grant from San Francisco talks about how composing can help you solidify the musical knowledge you have (40:25). I want to thank everyone who contributed recordings to today's sho...
February 22, 2018
Welcome to episode 103 of the LJS Podcast where today we are having podcast listener Gabriel from Fishers, Indiana on the show to share his jazz tips and advice. Gabriel talks about a moment of musical failure, how he learned from it and has been crushing it in the practice room ever since. Specifically, he hones in on the difference between play along and actually knowing tunes. Listen in! Listen to episode 103 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I'm excited to bring on today's episode another awesome listener of the LJS Podcast to share his jazz tips and advice with all of you. This month we have been celebrating the 2 year birthday of the podcast, and to help celebrate, we are highlighting you the listeners, the ones who make this podcast happen! On episode 104 we will have a bunch of listeners on the show, but for this episode we are honing in on one submission that's a little bit longer and has a great lesson to teach us, worth spending an episode on. Gabriel from Fishers, Indiana talks about his musical journey, how a musical failure turned into a ton of improvement in the practice room, and how important it is to know tunes on a deep level. Here are some main takeaways from Gabriel's talk: 1. The difference between play along and playing a jazz tune. 2. Why you need to know all of the parts of a tune. 3. Why practicing along with recordings is such a beneficial practice. I want to thank Gabriel for his great advice and sharing with all of us his knowledge. Let's all take Gabriel's example and enthusiasm so we can improve on the weaker areas of our musicianship. Important Links Podcast Birthday Raffle Read the Transcript Brent: Hey, hey. What's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website, learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Now, welcome to this very special bonus episode of the week. Now, it's not really a bonus episode. If you're listening outside of realtime in the future, this is really just episode 103, but it's bonus because this episode is coming out on a Thursday, which means it's the second episode of the week. We come out with episodes every Monday, and this time we're doing one on Thursday because next week we're gonna be doing our big episode 104 -- really excited about that. But on episode 103, we are having a very special guest on the show just like we did last week. We had a listener of this show who had previously submitted a recording of their story, their jazz advice with us. We have another one of those examples today, which I'm really excited about, really excited to hear from these. I've just been really enjoying all of these. And in next week's episode, 104, we're having a bunch of you on to give tons of your advice and tips, and it's just really awesome. But today, I have a listener who submitted a recording that offered ... a little bit of a longer recording that had some very specific things that I think are important for us to talk about and dedicate an episode to. So, I'm excited to introduce you to that guest, so hold on. We're gonna get there really soon. Now,
February 19, 2018
Welcome to episode 102 of the LJS Podcast where today we feature the story and advice of a podcast listener, Staci from North Carolina. In this episode, Staci shares some breakthroughs she had in her jazz playing when she learned how to utilize the tools that worked for her and shifted her mindset. Listen in! Listen to episode 102 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today's episode is a lot of fun. A month or so ago I asked listeners of the podcast to submit recordings of their own jazz advice and tips. A lot of listeners did just that and I was blown away by the participation and the great stuff coming from our jazz community! This month we are celebrating our 2 year podcast birthday month (psst...don't forget to enter into our raffle). So in our upcoming episode 104, our birthday episode, we are going to be featuring a bunch of listener tips and advice. It's going to be a value-packed episode. But to lead into that, today's episode and episode 103 we are featuring a few submissions that were a bit longer and are worth spending an episode talking about. Today's guest is Staci from Jefferson, North Carolina. She plays the piano and talks about how she had some big breakthroughs in her jazz playing when she learned to strike out on her own musical path, use the tools that were working for her, and started enjoying her musical journey. Here are some of my main takeaways from her talk: 1. Find good tools, then use the ones that work best for you. 2. Let the music teach you how to play. 3. Focus on having a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset. I want to thank Staci for the great tips and advice, and for sharing her story. I learned a lot and I am sure you will too. If we can learn to approach music more like Stacy has learned to, we will most certainly start seeing some incredible results. Important Links "Mindset" by Carol Dweck Podcast Birthday Raffle Read the Transcript Brent: All right. What's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Thanks so much. Whether this is your first time ever listening, or whether you're a regular listener, I really appreciate you. If you've been listening to the show for the past several weeks or so, you probably know already that this month is our two-year birthday celebration month of the podcast. In episode 104, coming up here, we are going to be celebrating two years of this podcast. Now, our blog and other resources that we've had going on, have been around for a lot more years than that, but two years of the podcast, and it's all thanks to you guys. I'm going to thank you guys a lot this month, so bear with me. Thank you so much for listening. You guys are the ones that make this thing happen. Without you guys, I wouldn't be doing this, and so I really appreciate you guys. You guys are super awesome, so thanks for ... Give yourself a pat on the back.
February 12, 2018
Welcome to episode 101 of the LJS Podcast where today Brent will teach you how to play one of his favorite jazz standards, "My Shining Hour" by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Learn the melody, chords, and how the harmony works. Brent improvises a chorus at the end to tie it all together. Listen in! Listen to episode 101 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode, I'm trying something a little bit different than I've done before. I've had learning jazz standards on my mind a lot lately, as I've been working on a new eBook and eCourse geared towards studying what I call my 10 Master Jazz Standards. This will be coming out in April of 2018 and it's called "The Jazz Standards Playbook." So since it's all fresh on my mind, I thought it would be fun and helpful to teach you how to play a jazz standard. One of my favorite jazz standards is "My Shining Hour" by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. I just love the triumphant melody and harmony. In general, I find it fun to improvise over. While I do encourage you to do some homework on this song, such as listening to a lot of recordings and try learning the melody and chords by ear, I walk you through the basics. Here's what I go over: * I play through the head for you so you can get acquainted. * I play the melody in it's purest form with a metronome. * I teach you the chords and how they function in the harmony. * I demonstrate a chorus of improvisation for my own (and hopefully yours too) pleasure. Use this episode as a resource for learning this awesome jazz standard. Since this is the first time doing an episode like this, let me know if you thought this was helpful in the comments below. Also, if you're checking out this episode at the time it came out, be sure to participate in our Birthday Month Raffle. Important Links "My Shining Hour" from The Sky's the Limit Chord charts and backing track for "My Shining Hour" Read the Transcript Brent: What's up everybody, my name is Brent, I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Wow, I am so excited for you to be here today. Thank you so much for joining me. Whether you're a regular listener, or if you are listening for the very first time, welcome, and I am excited to give you as much value as I can today. And today's episode, I'm actually going to do something I've never done before, which is teach you how to play a jazz standard. And, you know, I'm also trying to do different things on the show, try different things, see how you guys like them, and ... So, if you like a show like this today, please let me know. That would be awesome. Today I am going to teach you one of my favorite jazz standards, which is, "My Shining Hour." Really, really cool tune. So, I'm really excited to jump into that today.
February 5, 2018
Welcome to episode 100 of the LJS Podcast where today we are celebrating 100 episodes! To do that, Brent has a very special guest on the show, his jazz mentor Justin Nielsen who got him into the music and set him on a path to success. Justin talks about what he teaches his students and some of his best tips for musical improvement. Listen in! Listen to episode 100 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes Today marks a very special episode and a mile marker for this podcast, episode 100! It also kicks off our birthday month leading up to our 2 year birthday of the podcast in episode 104. In honor of our birthday month, don't forget to enter our raffle for opportunities to get our courses, eBooks, and backing tracks. We don't do this often, but this is a special occasion. It's also a great way to help us out by taking some of the actions required for entries. I make a deal out of this episode because when I first started this podcast, I really didn't know how long it would last. The Learn Jazz Standards blog had been going on for years quite successfully, but I didn't know if the time and effort spent on a podcast would be worth it, or if anyone would even listen to it! Well, here I am 100 episodes later and I couldn't be more thrilled with it. It's all thanks to you. Those who have been listening for a long time and even those just listening for a short time. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to serving you with more free jazz education content for hundreds of more episodes. But for today's episode, I knew I wanted to have someone special on. In this episode I have my jazz mentor, Justin Nielsen come on the show to tell us what he knows about learning jazz and music in general. Justin had a huge impact on my musical life and pointed me in the right direction. I have to say, I would not be a professional jazz musician and teaching jazz on Learn Jazz Standards if Justin hadn't taken me under his wing. He's a musical hero of mine, and a great person as well. I'm pleased to have him on to share some of his knowledge with you. Here are some of the things we talk about: * A public "thank you" to Justin. * How Justin got into music. * How he discovered teaching and mentoring young musicians is his life's calling. * What he teaches his students on a regular basis. * Things both beginning and more advanced jazz students should do right now. * His eBook he wants to give away to you for free. * An opportunity to join his inner circle. I don't want you to miss this episode. I say this all of the time, but this is easily one of my favorite episodes to date. Also be sure to check out his free eBook. You can find the link to that in the "Important Links" below. Finally, if you resonate with Justin in this episode, and want to make a living teaching music to others, apply to join his inner circle by sending him an email. Important Links Get Justin's free eBook Want to learn how to make a living as a music teacher? Email Justin at justin.nielsen54@gmail.com.
January 29, 2018
Welcome to episode 99 of the LJS Podcast where today we are going over scales you can play over different kinds of 7th chords. While scales aren't musical by themselves, they can be helpful for mapping out tones you can choose from in chords and chord progressions. This episode covers the essential basic chord qualities and alterations. Listen in! Listen to episode 99 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes I have to admit right off the bat: I didn't think I would ever do an episode like this. In general, I'm not a huge fan of using scales as a means to improvise over chords and chord progressions. It's not that scales are bad. They are important. But in the wrong hands, they can be used in unmusical ways. But I came around to doing this episode because I believe it is both helpful and important. If we think of scales as "pitch collections", tools to help us map out tones we can choose from, they can enlighten us and help us conceptualize our approach to improvisation. In this episode, I cover the basic chord qualities and the common altered extensions they have. I list out common scales that can be applied to these chords and help you map out your options. Here is a list of the chords I cover: * Major 7, 9, and 13th chords * Minor 7, 9, and 11th chords * Minor 6 chords * Dominant 7, 9, and 13th chords * Half diminished chords * Diminished 7th chords * Minor(maj7) chords * Major 7(#11) chords * Major 7(#5) chords * Dominant 7(#11) chords * Dominant 7(alt) chords * Dominant 7(b13) chords If you want to see the scales I use for each of these chords and how they are notated out, go here. I haven't listed them out in this post in an effort to not be redundant. Having these tools under your belt can be incredibly helpful for conceptualizing your note choices. Go ahead and pick a few you would like to apply and start working on. Important Links A Guide for Which Scales to Use Over 7th Chords LJS 67: How to Use Pentatonic Scales Over Any Chord LJS 74: How to Improvise over Sus Chords Read the Transcript Brent: Oh man, that's right. This is episode 99, which means that next week is episode 100, which I am super stoked about. I am so excited about this. We're going to be hitting the big one, zero, zero episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast, this is incredible. By the way, my name is Brent. I'm the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician.
January 22, 2018
Welcome to episode 98 of the LJS Podcast where today we are joined by sports and performance psychologist Matt Vaartstra to talk about how to channel your mindset towards musical freedom. At the end of the day, music is a brain game. There are so many negative voices that hinder our progress, and Matt teaches us how to train your brain for optimal performance. Listen in! Listen to episode 98 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes When it comes to becoming a better jazz musician, or any musician for that matter, your mindset plays a huge role in your success. The brain game is of equal or greater value than the actual physical side of practicing or playing. I have experienced this time and time again in my own musical development as well as observed it in my peers. I have walked into gigs with negative thoughts of my own playing or ability, and suffered. I've also approached my playing with confidence and positivity, and come out on top. Being a musician is a brain game, and it's up to us to control it so that ultimately we can achieve musical freedom and enjoyment. Joining me on the show today is a very special guest. Even more special than normal because it's my brother, sports and performance psychologist, Matt Vaartstra. I've mentioned him on the podcast before as a great example of someone who sets personal goals vs. viewing things as outside competition. Though we talk about this, we talk about so much more. Here are some of things discussed in today's show: 1. The power of mindset over musical performance. 2. How to train a positive mindset with a Self-Talk Script. 3. Using the "Three D's" to cut off your negative thoughts. * Detect * Disrupt * Dispute 4. Honing in on musical personal records vs. competition. 5. Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets. 6. How to measure your personal progress. Today's episode is so important. I can't stress this enough. If we truly want to achieve musical freedom and become the best jazz musicians we can be, we have to train our brain. My challenge for you is to write your Self-Talk Script this week and utilize the "Three D's" to disrupt your negative voice. I'm in this with you, and I believe we'll be better musicians because of it. Important Links The 5 Minute Journal "Mindset" by Carol Dweck Read the Transcript Brent: All right, what's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website, learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome. If this is your first time ever listening to this show, and if you are a regular listener I want to thank you for being here week after week,
January 15, 2018
Welcome to episode 97 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about how we can use the 80/20 Rule to get big results out of 30 minute practice sessions. Life can be busy and sometimes it's tough to find time to practice. But if we are practicing the right things and stay focused, 30 minutes may be all we need. Listen in! Listen to episode 97 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes If you are anything like me, you have a hard time finding time to practice. Even though I am a career musician, often times my work doesn't allow time to practice; to actually improve upon my skills. So if you aren't in the line of work that I am, I know that it's probably even more of a challenge for you. If you are a listener of this podcast or you follow the lessons on our blog, it's likely you are excited and motivated to become a better jazz musician. And the only way to improve is to spend some time practicing. But for many of us, the demands of our everyday life leave little time to hit the shed. Even if we have 30 or 45 minutes to practice, it can feel as if we can't possibly achieve results within such little time. Today's episode is all about debunking the idea that we can't produce results for our musicianship in a 30 minute practice session. I believe that we can make huge strides if we are practicing the things that actually make a difference in a focused manner. To do this, we can use the 80/20 Rule to our advantage. The 80/20 Rule states: "80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts." This means that 20% of what we spend time practicing is likely creating 80% of our musical improvements. That doesn't mean we should ignore the other things we practice, but we should be spending more time working on the 20% that is really moving the needle. Here's an outline of what I talk about today: 1. Why I think 30 minutes is enough to improve 2. What's the 80/20 Rule? 3. Identifying what your 20% is 4. How to structure a 30 minute practice session using the 80/20 Rule At the end of this episode I give you a challenge. I want you to mark off 3 spots in your schedule where you have an extra 30 minutes. Use these times to practice, apply the 80/20 rule and in the comments below, tell me and the rest of our jazz community how it went! Important Links The 80/20 Rule Explained LJS 85: How to Practice Smart and Improve Quickly (Feat. Steve Nixon) 30 Days to Better Jazz Playing eCourse Read the Transcript Alright, hey what's up? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website, learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome back if you are a regular listener. If you are listening for the first time, I'm really excited you're here. Thanks so much for hanging with me. I know you're going to get a lot of today's episode.
January 8, 2018
Welcome to episode 96 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about important jazz chord substitutions you should know about. Jazz musicians love to add and substitute chords and progressions within jazz harmony, and these are some common ones that you should explore. Listen in! Listen to episode 96 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One thing I love about jazz music is all of the harmonic possibilities. Jazz standards are already extraordinary vehicles for harmonic exploration, but the very nature of this music allows us to expand upon all of this. When approaching jazz standards and common chord progressions we can consider substituting chords and chord progressions for each other. Regardless, of whether you are a comping instrument or not, you can use substitutions to add more color and movement to your jazz improvisation. In today's episode I talk about 5 chord substitutions that you may hear other jazz musicians use and that you should explore for yourself. I will have basic examples in the show notes today, but if you want to get a lot more detail on these, check out this blog post that today's episode is based off of. Here are the substitutions I talk about: 1. iii Replaces the I 2. #i Diminished Replaces the VI Note: a dominant 7 can be altered (b9,#9, b13, #11). If we were to make the VI chord into a dominant7(b9) chord it would share all of the important notes except the bass note of the chord, with the C#dim7. 3. Tritone Substitution 4. I-IV-iii-VI Turnaround to a ii-V-I 5. Chromatic ii-V's Important Links Zero to Improv eBook 5 Jazz Chord Substitutions You Need to Know LJS 92: How to Use Tritone Substitution In Your Jazz Improv Read the Transcript All right, what's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website, learnjazzstandards.com which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome back if you are a regular listener and if you are listening for the very first time, I'm really excited to have you here, checking this out, hanging out with me. And I know you're going to get a lot of value out of today's episode, and today's episode is actually a little bit of a theory lesson, a jazz theory lesson. Now this lesson comes straight out of our e-book which, by the way, I looked up at the numbers the other day and over 1,000 people have downloaded and are using this book to help their jazz playing. It is Zero To Improv. You can't find that at zerotoimprov.com, and this lesson comes straight out of that and today's episode 96 is all about important chord substitutions that you need to know in jazz. Now jazz musicians,
January 1, 2018
Welcome to episode 95 of the LJS Podcast where today we are walking through 10 important tips for playing successful jazz gigs and jam sessions. At the end of the day, the end goal for our practicing and honing our craft is to get out there and play. These tips will help set up you and the other musicians you are playing with for success.  Listen in! Listen to episode 95 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes It's January 1st, 2018, a brand new year, and every time a new year comes we hopefully jump into it full of motivation and excitement for a fresh start. When I was planning for what topic to do for our first episode of 2018, I was coming off of a long month (December) of holiday party gigs and casuals. Though as a professional musician I gig quite often, the welcomed increase in gigs had this fresh on my mind. What better way to kick off the new year than talk about actually getting out there and playing with other musicians. Today's episode hones in on 10 important tips for successful jazz gigs and jam sessions. These are all things that I have observed and experienced having played hundreds and hundreds of gigs throughout my career. I truly believe that if you and the other musicians you are playing with are following these principles, some pretty incredibly musical moments will be allowed to come to life. Here are the 10 tips I talk about today. Be sure to listen in to the episode where I go deeper into each. 10 Tips: 1. Know the repertoire 2. Listen first, play second 3. Take the focus off of yourself and serve the music 4. Show up with your homework done 5. Be your own timekeeper 6. Spread positive vibes only 7. Know your role in the band or the musical context 8. Leave competition at the door 9. Don't overplay- say your part and pass the baton 10. Reflect- what should you work on for next time? If you aren't playing gigs or going to jam sessions yet, make it one of your goals to start doing so this year. If you are doing these things, make a point to engage even more. Read the Transcript Brent: Alright, what's up everybody? My name is Brent, I am the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome and happy new year, if you're listening today, which is January 1st, 2018. Special happy new year whether you're listening a little later in the week because you were partying on New Years day, welcome, really excited to just launch a new year and to have you as a listener on the podcast and if you didn't listen to episode 94, last episode, I talk about how I'm gonna be setting up my 2018 for a successful music year. I talked a little bit about my successes and some of my failures, I do hope you go back and listen to that episode if you haven't yet. Whenever we talk about the new year and resolutions and goals, all those things are really important for our success and our case, our musical success. Our success with becoming better jazz musicians. Be sure to listen back to that one. While I was thinking about what would be a great podcast episode to launch 2018, I thought to myself,
December 25, 2017
Welcome to episode 94 of the LJS Podcast where today we are reflecting on this past year and everything that has been accomplished. Brent shares his non-musical and musical accomplishments during 2017, and reveals a confession. He shares his successes and failures, what he's learned, and how you can learn from them too. Listen in! Listen to episode 94 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes It's that time of year! 2017 is coming to a close and I'm sure that you are joining me on reflecting what you have accomplished both in and outside of your musical life. I personally think reflection is important. Not everyone likes to do it, but I think it can be a really powerful thing and can help influence how we take action from here on out. The end of a year and the start of a new year is a great time to do this. Many use this time marker to judge progress and accomplishments and I think that's a great thing. In this episode, I share with you some of my successes and failures during this year. I'm happy to report that many of my non-musical goals were met. And these non-musical goals are important, because they also have to share space with our musical goals. I had a lot of musical wins this year. As a professional musician I've been gigging a lot this year and that's been awesome. I truly feel like I have improved in my musicianship this year and for that I am thankful. However, I know I have failed at some of my musical goals. I share all of this with you, and more, including some lessons we can take away from it all. Here's a quick outline of the episode today: * A special thank you for being an LJS podcast listener. * How my non-musical goals went this year. * How my musical goals went this year. * How I'm going to move forward for a successful musical 2018. Read the Transcript Brent: All right. What's up, everybody? Welcome to the show. My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome. This is Episode 94, and this episode is coming out on Christmas Day, so I know that everybody who is celebrating Christmas Day ... and if you are celebrating Christmas, a very merry Christmas to you ... you're probably not listening to this show today. You're probably listening a couple days out. And for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, you're the only ones listening on the actual day this episode comes out. I was looking at our content schedule, and I was looking and seeing that today's episode, it falls on Christmas Day, and next week's episode ... we always come out with shows on Monday ... falls on New Year's Day. So I hope that you're listening back, whether you're listening on the day this comes out or not. A lot of valuable stuff coming up here. But thank you so much for listening. As the year is coming to a close, I'm just really reflecting on how wonderful this year has been for LearnJazzStandards.com, everything that's been going on with our courses, with our e-books, with just the content that we've been doing, but especially the LJS Podcasts.
December 18, 2017
Welcome to episode 93 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest jazz saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown to talk about developing bebop language. Chad talks about his musical journey and the lessons he's learned along the way to becoming a renowned jazz musician and recording artists. Specifically, he hones in on Bebop, and gives us some great exercises to work on. Listen in! Listen to episode 93 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes One of the most defining eras of jazz was the Bebop Era. This is a time period in the 1940's where pioneers like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie innovated a style of playing that included a more virtuostic instrumental approach to jazz. Joining us on the show today to talk about developing bebop language is renowned New York City based saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown. He's played with jazz musicians like Arturo O'Farrill and Clarence Penn, and has also played with some pop icons such as Taylor Swift and Don Henley. He also teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a visiting artist. Chad knows a lot about playing music and especially jazz. Today he talks about his roots and how he developed into the musician he is today. I know I learned a lot from hearing his story and you will too! Chad also shares with us some great exercises for conceptualizing bebop language and different things we should be doing to develop jazz language. This episode is super value-packed, so I hope you have your notes ready. Here are some of the exercises Chad talks about today: The Bebop Scale F Bebop Scale Exercise #1 Adding chromaticism to the Mixolydian Scale Exercise #2 Enclosure Pattern Important Links: chadlefkowitz-brown.com Chad's Store Read the Transcript Brent: What is up, everybody? My name is Brent. I'm the jazz musician behind the website learnjazzstandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome back, if you are a regular listener. If it's your very first time ever listening to the show, I want to thank you so much for being here. I've got a special treat for you today. I've got a special guest, and that is jazz saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, who lives out here in New York City. He dedicated a little bit of time to talk to us today about bebop, about playing bebop. Not only just that but talking a little bit about himself, about his career, his development in jazz, all these things which I know for a fact you're going to be really interested in hearing. Today's episode is a little bit longer than normal, but it's totally worth it, and I know you're going to love everything Chad has to say. Chat Lefkowitz-Brown, real quick, just in case you don't know who he is, he is an internationally renowned jazz saxophonist and recording artist. He's played with lots of artists, including Arturo O'Farrill and Clarence Penn. He's also even appeared with some pop icons, like Taylor Swift, Don Henley, and Phillip Phillips. And he's also part of the faculty,
December 11, 2017
Welcome to episode 92 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about tritone substitution and how we can use it in our jazz improvisation. Tritone substitution is a cool harmonic tool jazz musicians use to add movement and color. This episode goes over several ways we can use it along with some lick examples. Listen in! Listen to episode 92 Enjoy listening to this podcast? If you get value from the LJS Podcast, help us out by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. Thanks for your help! Rate and Review on iTunes In today's episode I explore tritone substitution and teach you how we can use this technique in our jazz improvisation. Jazz musicians are constantly adding and substituting chords and chord combinations while improvising and comping, and tritone subs are one great technique to use. What's a tritone substitution?  A tritone substitution occurs whenever a chord is being substituted or replaced by another chord with a root a tritone interval away. Example: G7 is replaced by Db7. In this episode I give example of three different way to apply tritone substitution and I give some lick examples of how you could improvise over them. Here's a quick overview of what I talk about: * What a tritone interval is and what it sounds like. * What a tritone substitution is. * Why tritone substitution works when comparing chord tones. * Three ways to use tritone substitution. As promised in the episode, here are the different tritone subs I cover along with the accompanying licks. Tritone Sub of V Tritone Sub of VI Tritone Sub of ii Read the Transcript All right. Hey, what's up everybody? My name is Brent. I am the jazz musician behind the website LearnJazzStandards.com, which is a blog and a podcast, all geared towards helping you become a better jazz musician. Welcome, as I always say, whether you've been listening for a long time now or if this is the first time ever listening. Thanks for being here hanging out with me. I've got my coffee here ready to go. I'm ready to dive in to another episode here. This is episode 92 of the LJS Podcast, which today we are going to be talking about an important harmonic concept, harmonic tool in jazz music called the tritone substitution. Tritone substitution. This is a really cool concept, and so the goal for today's episode ... this is going to be a lesson, a teaching episode ... the goal for today is to not only define what is tritone substitution in case you don't know what that is already, but to dive into how we can use this tool to create more harmonic movement in our solos and to create different colors in our jazz improvisation. Really excited to dive into that today. You can find today's show notes over at LearnJazzStandards.com/episode92, and that might be helpful for you, because I'm going to be giving some lick examples over top of these things. So if you want ... I always encourage people to learn things by ear, so if you're in the gym right now, you're running, or you're in the car and you want to go sit down with this later, you can either just go listen to this and slow it down and listen to the licks that I'm showing you, or you can go to the show notes and take a look at that notation there.
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