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LJS 64: 5 Tips for Never Losing Your Place In a Jazz Standard

Welcome to episode 64 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about 5 tips for never losing your place in a jazz standard. Getting lost while playing jazz standards is a frustration many listeners and readers have expressed to us and we are here to help. Listen in!

Listen to episode 64

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In this episode

  1. Familiarize yourself. Do your homework on the song and make sure you know it forwards and backwards. The more you familiarize the less likely you are to get lost.

  2. Practice keeping your place. Use a metronome and try different beat variations of clicks. Break down the song into smaller parts.

  3. Map out the song. Analyze it and identify points of importance.

  4. Feel the pulse. Graduate from counting to feeling. Feel fewer beats at fast tempos.

  5. Become familiar with jazz harmony. If you can recognize typical chord progressions in jazz standards it becomes much easier to keep your spot.

Listen to Episode 63: How to Become and Expert Sight Reader (feat. Brett Pontecorvo)

Extra resources:

How to Avoid Getting Lost in a Jazz Standard

Best Drum Trainer

LJS 31: Ear Training for Jazz Musicians

Mentioned in the show

30 Days to Better Jazz Playing eCourse

A 30-day audio eCourse that walks you through focused, goal-oriented practicing, where you will be working on things that actually improve your jazz playing.


Anything to add to today’s show? Leave us a comment below.

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."


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