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...

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...

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...

How to Navigate Autumn Leaves

One of the most popular jazz standards of all time is "Autumn Leaves" by Joseph Kosma. It's often one of the first jazz standards that aspiring jazz musicians learn to play and for many...

3 Important Skills for Becoming Great Rhythm Section Player

If you are a pianist, guitarist, bassist, drummer, vibraphonist, or any other designated chordal or rhythmic instrument, you are a part of the rhythm section family. You are a vital part of what makes...

2 Jazz Improvisation Exercises Over Bluesette

Bluesette, composed by jazz legend harmonica player Toots Thielemans in 1964, is to harmonica players what Hey Joe is to guitarists. It is a staple for jazz chromatic harmonica and a challenging jazz waltz...

How to Avoid Musical Burnout as a Jazz Musician

It happens to all of us who are serious about music. We get passionate, practice hard, practice even harder and then we get exhausted and hit a plateau. It's our own musical version of...

5 Ways to Play “Outside” on the Blues

The 12-bar blues is one of the most simple, short, and iconic standard jazz forms. As jazz musicians, we all are used to playing blues tunes frequently, which can be both a blessing and...

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