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LJS 192: I Compose a Jazz Tune on the Spot

Welcome to episode 192 of the LJS Podcast where today I put my self on the spot and compose a jazz tune on the podcast. I had no pre-conceived ideas before recording, I just start going in real time. See how I did and the tune I came up with in the end.

Listen to episode 192

On today’s episode, I am putting myself on the spot, friends. I am stepping out onto the stage, the spotlight is glaring on me right now.

And I am going to compose a tune on this podcast today, on the spot, and no, I have not pre-meditated anything. In fact, I am feeling particularly uninspired today.

However, I am going to compose a jazz tune for you all and go through the process and just see what happens.

So, get yourself ready. I appreciate your sympathy in advance. Let’s jump to it.

In this episode:

1. I start composing a jazz tune!

2. The final product revealed

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

Jazz Blues Accelerator Course (mentioned at end of episode)

LJS 68: How to Compose a Jazz Solo from Scratch

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. Brent, how would you compose if your instrument is not a chord instrument? I play chromatic harmonica, so like a sax, trumpet, etc. we can't play chords. You said in the podcast you start with the melody, but it seemed like you were really concentrating on the chord progression.

    Do you need to do the chord progression on a piano or other chord instrument in order to compose?

    • Hi Michael, I think I was leading with the melody, but as I was finding the melody notes I was adding the chords as I went. It's definitely helpful to have some basic piano chops to get you through when it comes to composing. But that shouldn't hold you back. You still have the ability to arpeggiate any chords you would like.


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