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HomeLJS PodcastJazz Tips and Advice3 Roadblocks Intermediate Jazz Musicians Face (And How to Overcome)

3 Roadblocks Intermediate Jazz Musicians Face (And How to Overcome)

Welcome to episode 244 where today I go over 3 common roadblocks I hear about from intermediate jazz musicians. These roadblocks can make these musicians feel like they are stuck on a plateau and unable to move forward in their progress. I discuss one action item for each roadblock to help you move past them.

Listen to episode 244

If you’ve been at this jazz thing for a while and would consider yourself in the intermediate range as far as skill level as a jazz musician, you’ve likely come across roadblocks in your playing and have felt like you are stuck on a plateau, like you are just not improving the way you want to.

Well, I’ve certainly felt that way many times in my playing.

And I’ve noticed with my students in my courses and my Inner Circle members that I hear the same things over and over again when it comes to frustrations from intermediate players with their jazz playing.

So in today’s episode, I like to share with you the top three roadblocks that I hear about and give you one thing that you can do for each one to start moving past those roadblocks so that you can move up in your jazz playing and become a better jazz improviser.

In this episode:

1. Unable to apply jazz language they’ve learned

2. Know the chord tones and notes to play but not able to target them in their solos when improvising

3. Practice a lot but feel like they aren’t improving

Important Links

1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

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. My issue is , almost the opposite of your first point. I love composing my own solos, and also learning others’ etudes, but am still having problems learning specific melodies, solos , licks etc… by ear. In my head i sort of hear what i want to play and can compose my own solos that way, but still am not satisfied with learning by ear. I’m thinking with time, it will all come together.


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