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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 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...

4 Ways to Stay a Mediocre Jazz Musician

I don't know about you, but I don't wake up in the morning with aspirations for mediocrity. I much prefer to try my best to excel at whatever I do. So when it comes...

How to Find More Time to Practice

We have all heard stories about musicians who practice almost every waking hour for an extended period of time.  Charlie Parker allegedly practiced up to 16 hours a day for a while, and John...

Mastering Musical Doubt

Guest post by Peter Rubie. I like to play squash, and the best advice a pro ever gave me was this: “Hit the ball in the middle of the racquet.” Do you have any idea...
44 Essential Jazz Recordings

44 Essential Jazz Recordings-Guest Post by Brent Jensen

Brent Jensen is the Director of Jazz Studies at the College of Southern Idaho.  He is also an amazing saxophonist and recording artist for Origin Records.  Here is his first of several upcoming guest...

Stuck On One Chord: Strategies to Improve Your Modal Jazz Solos

Very often iconic modal jazz tunes, such as Miles Davis’s “So What,” are among the first songs young, inexperienced, and newly aspiring musicians learn how to improvise on. Although modal tunes (which are songs...

3 Reasons Why You Should Be the Worst Musician

I was playing a gig the other night at a club in Greenwich Village, New York City when suddenly I realized I was the worst. Everyone in the band was just absolutely killing it.  Every...

4 Ways To Keep Your Jazz New Year’s Resolutions

As the New Year approaches, millions of people around the world are reflecting on 2015, asking themselves what went well and what didn't. As we look forward we must ask ourselves where we want to be and...

Musicians Must Get Paid!

This article is a follow up to 3 Reasons Why You Need To Stop Playing Gigs For Free, in which I talk about how our musical economy has been severely damaged by musicians playing...

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