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Jazz Theory

Having a grasp on some music theory concepts can be a great help when learning how to become a great jazz improviser. Below is a list of jazz theory lessons we’ve created.

If you’re looking for a place to start, definitely check out my Ultimate Guide to Jazz Theory. This is my most comprehensive jazz theory post that will get you started on the right foot!

Unlocking Diminished vs. Altered Scales

When you are soloing over a dominant chord, you can choose notes from several different scales in your improvised melodies.  The mixolydian and the mixolydian bebop scales work well, but sometimes you want something...

Ultimate Guide to Jazz Theory

Let me tell you one of the biggest myths I hear about learning how to play jazz: You need to know a ton of music theory. WRONG. You don't. You only need to know a little bit...

Spice Up Your Jazz Solos with Asymmetrical Melodies

Once we’ve mastered some of the basic types of jazz vocabulary, we’re always striving to find new and interesting ways of breaking up and varying our improvised melodies. One of the most effective ways to...

How to Use Voice Leading In Your Jazz Solos

As jazz musicians, we often talk about the importance of voice leading and using guide-tones while improvising. In this post, I want to talk about guide-tones and offer some specific examples of how to...

How to Improvise Over “Stella By Starlight”

Stella By Starlight is arguably one of the most popular jazz standards of all time. As one of the most commonly called “workhorse” songs on gigs and jam sessions, this is a must-know tune...
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9 Ways To Use The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The video above is based on the lesson below. The minor pentatonic scale is a fairly well-known scale, and I imagine many of you have used it before. However, I find that many musicians think about...

5 Sonny Rollins Licks Over “Tenor Madness”

One of my favorite jazz albums is Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness." It was recorded in 1956 and is especially notable because it's the only known recording that features both Sonny and John Coltrane. I used...

How to Use Bebop Scales Like a Pro

Perhaps you’ve read or heard about bebop scales before – they’ve been mentioned in passing on LJS in the past. But where do bebop scales come from, and how can they be used in...

Odd Times: Strategies to Improve Your 7/4 Playing

In my first odd meter post, I talked about some of the ways you can approach learning how to play better in 5/4 time. In this follow-up, I want to take some of those...

4 Blues Chord Progressions You Need to Know

One of the most important song forms in jazz is the blues. The blues was born out of the African slave trade in the United States. It came straight out of the oppression of the...

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