Using Rests and Odd Groupings to Spice Up Your Rhythms

If you have been following my lessons here on Learn Jazz Standards, you're probably familiar with my rants on how important it is for a musician to master rhythms. It's just as important as...

4 Ways to Make Scales Sound More Musical

Scales are some of the most fundamental building blocks of Western styles of music, including jazz. As musicians, we’re often told how important it is to practice scales and how useful they are for...

6 Common Endings All Jazz Musicians Should Know

How do you end a jazz standard? As jazz musicians, we spend so much time and energy working on learning jazz standards and developing the craft of improvisation that we sometimes forget to address very...

3 Mistakes Jazz Musicians Make When Developing an Original Sound

I've encountered all kinds of students in the many years I've been teaching music. I often get the ones who are concerned about sounding original and finding their unique voice, which I think is...

5 Exercises to Improve Your Rhythmic Precision and Feel

When we are new to learning a musical instrument, we want to learn the cool stuff; the stuff that has a bunch of notes in it. We want to show off to our peers...

How to Improvise Over “Giant Steps”

Giant Steps looms large in the jazz repertoire as one of the most challenging tunes on which jazz musicians cut their musical teeth. The iconic title track from Giant Steps helped cement saxophonist John Coltrane’s...

How to Play an Intro to a Jazz Standard

Sometimes in jazz, like in life, the hardest thing to do is to just get started with something. When it comes to starting an activity like a song, it’s occasionally a challenge to break...

Awesome Philly Joe Jones Lick and Solo Analysis

For this month's drum lesson we are going to analyze a lick played by one of the fathers of bebop drumming: the great late Philly Joe Jones. I first learn this lick when transcribing Philly's...

Accents And Odd Groupings: 12 Exercises To Spice Up Your Rhythms

Rhythmic accuracy and variety are some of the skills I value the most in musicians. When I go out to see live music, something that keeps me interested and wanting to hear more from the...

How to Get Started as a Jazz Composer

The emphasis on musicians composing and improvising their own music has been a central part of jazz culture since the music’s inception. When jazz musicians write their own music, it greatly contributes to their...

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