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Home LJS Podcast Jazz Tips and Advice LJS 215: Apps, Software, and Technology for Practicing Jazz

LJS 215: Apps, Software, and Technology for Practicing Jazz

Welcome to episode 215 of the LJS Podcast where today I go over different apps, software and technology that I and other members of the LJS community recommend for practicing jazz. Apps and software shouldn’t be used as crutches, but if they are used as aids to help the learning process they can be a really helpful thing.

Listen to episode 215

One thing we’re lucky to have as jazz musicians here in the 21st century is lots of apps, software, and technology to help aid us in our jazz practicing and learning the music more efficiently. 

Now, some would say that’s not so much of an advantage. I mean, if you look back at the jazz greats, they had to put in the hard work and really train their ears by picking up that needle on the record player, by going to gigs, and listening and picking things up on the fly.

And absolutely, sometimes, things made easier are not made better.

On the other hand, we have all these great tools at our disposal, at our fingertips, and they can be really helpful for us if used as tools and not crutches. 

So, in today’s episode, I’m going to be sharing some different apps, software, and technology that you can use to help you on your jazz education journey.

In this episode:

1. iReal Pro

2. Chord Bot

3. Tonaly

4. Band-in-a-Box

5. Amazing Slow Downer

6. Transcribe

7. iPhone or recorder

8. Spotify

Important Links

1. iReal Pro

2. Chord Bot

3. Tonaly

4. Band-in-a-Box

5. Amazing Slow Downer

6. Transcribe

7. iPhone or recorder

8. Spotify

Brent Vaartstrahttp://www.brentvaartstra.com
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com 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."

15 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Brent , what’s the best way to load songs into Amazing Slow down app and is that one of the better apps for slow down?

    • Second that. Anytune is great. I especially like the ability to filter different frequency … I can isolate the bass and also boost the bass frequencies … invaluable for transcribing bass lines (as bass is often back in the mix, especially in older recordings).

      I used to use Capo for the same reasons, but switched to Anytune because of that filtering (I think it does a better job at it than Capo).

  2. One final comment about BIAB. Done properly – as in the backing tracks on LJS – BIAB certainly sounds about as good as it gets. But, since I last used it in 1990s it has gotten so complex! There are so many options and ways to go that I’m too scared to try it again, being a bit of a technophobe. What would be great is a podcast on how set it up for straight ahead modern jazz as in the LJS backing tracks. If then I could grasp how to set it up I would consider getting it. Funny story: I once went to the BIAB forum to try to get help and ended up in a futile debate with people claiming that Bebop/bebop based Straight ahead jazz that is NOT modern jazz. What ev… Bottom line, Brent it would be great to get a tutorial on how to set up BIAB to create good backing tracks ala LJS.

  3. Although it’s patterns are repetitive, Session Band is often overlooked. But it swings much more that iReal, and more than many BIAB arrangements. Worth a look. Jazz vol 1 is the most useful.

  4. In addition to Band In A Box, I use a piece of software called Finale. It is particular useful for practicing comping, chord changes, chord substitutions, things like that. I load in the melody and loop it it then simply accompany the melody.

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