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Home LJS Podcast Get help with practicing jazz LJS 129: Using Musical Parameters for Next Level Jazz Practice (feat. Josiah...

LJS 129: Using Musical Parameters for Next Level Jazz Practice (feat. Josiah Boornazian)

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

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

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Loved the show. A lot of the advice given reminds me of the exercises my teacher has me practice. Start on the up beat of 1, 2, 3 or 4, so you don't sound too boxy. Whisper, talk, scream, to practice dynamics, and float (whole notes), walk ( half and quarter), run ( 8th, triplets, 16th). Excellent reminder of what to practice. And it's not exclusive to working on set pieces. You can practice those as the same time you practice scales and modes. They will be a lot less boring, with the added advantage that if you run out of ideas during your improv (I run out of ideas all the time, or, more accurately, I can't always think as fast as the music goes), you can fall back on playing scales and still can make it sound musical by playing with dynamics and rhythm. All the more weapons in your arsenal.

  2. Josiah is a legend. What a great podcast. Some of it is above my level of proficiency but there is a mountain of great information and actions for me to follow. I will be returning to this episode in future.

  3. Talking about isolation….I have been doing something unique in regards to sharpening my timing. I play straight eighths on the drums for a period of time and switch to eighth note triplets and go back and forth. Has to be done with a click or music otherwise I might be fooling myself. I have found that by isolating the rhythm like that, it translates over to my Sax play effortlessly. Something about having that isolated rhythm exercise solidly inside of my feeling zone that puts that part of the challenge on the back burner when adding notes to the mix. The slower the tempo is, the more challenging it becomes but the rewards are greater. Slow tempos reveal the flaws that can't be ignored.


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