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LJS 178: Becoming Your Own Jazz Teacher by Recording Yourself (feat. Jens Larsen)

Welcome to episode 178 of the LJS Podcast where today I have on special guest jazz guitarist and Youtuber, Jens Larsen to talk about recording yourself. I frequently get comments from my course students that the power of recording themselves has become a game-changer. Jens goes into detail about overcoming fears, and what to look out for when you listen back to yourself.

Listen to episode 178

What if I told you that when you are practicing, you are leaving a lot on the table.

And what I mean by that is you may be working on a bunch of great jazz improvisation stuff, techniques, music theory, maybe you’re learning some standards, but you’re not really able to analyze yourself, to hear what you’re doing right or doing wrong.

At the end of the day, we can be our own best teachers. We can analyze and listen to ourselves to identify the weak points that we need to improve upon.

And so, on today’s show, I have a very special guest, Jens Larsen, to talk to us all about recording yourself, how to do it, why to do it, and why it could be possibly the best thing you’ve done for your musicianship all year.

In this episode:

1. How to overcome your fear of listening back to your jazz playing

2. How often should you record yourself?

3. What should you be listening for when listening back to yourself?

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren’t already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I look forward to having you join me in the next episode!

Important Links

Jens Larsen’s YouTube channelĀ 

Jen’s new book Modern Jazz Guitar Concepts

Mindset by Carol Dweck

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. Hi Brent, love the jazz version of the “It’s a wonderful life” you ended with…every time someone fails to subscribe, a bad bit of music is played somewhere… that was funny!
    I will pre-empt my forthcoming comment by saying that I am a relative newbie to jazz and my ear for jazz is somewhat limited to the more accessible side of things… that said, I was subscribed to Jen’s channel and he is an amazing jazz teacher and I really like him, BUT…I prefer your channel with it’s greater emphasis on jazz standards.
    Re today’s podcast, the things I found really noteworthy are Jen’s recommdation to set out what you want to listen for/improve on as opposed to a general non specific critique ( which can be useful too and is probably going to happen as well) and also the notion of video recording in place of just audio, to pick up on posture, face-pulling etc . Recording one day and listening back immediately prior to your next practice session seems like a good idea…as long as it doesn’t have a negative impact ( brace yourself for the deflation!).
    Your recommendation for having a written critique to both refer to at a later time and as a tool for development of certain aspects is an excellent idea.
    I am appreciating LJS more and more as the weeks go by. Wish I could give you a 5 star rating somewhere but I am not an iTunes guy, so don’t know what the deal is there.
    Bye for now, Aidan.


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