Access monthly jazz standard studies, and courses: LEARN MORE

Home LJS Podcast Learn Jazz Theory LJS 219: How to Apply Scales to Jazz Standards

LJS 219: How to Apply Scales to Jazz Standards

Welcome to episode 219 of the LJS Podcast where today I walk through an exercise for applying scales to jazz standards and song forms such as the blues. Scales are a great way of mapping out note choices over chords. But we want to be able to do this in a way that connects chords together melodically. You’ll learn how to do this over a 12 bar blues.

Listen to episode 219

Imagine you are planning a cross country road trip in whatever country you live in. And before you go on your trip, you want to map out all the different possible attractions you could possibly see on the way to your final destination.

And even though you are not going to end up seeing all of them, at least you know what’s available to you.

Sometimes it’s just going to look like a zigzag. It’s going to go way off course. It’s going to be taking twists and turns but eventually, you will get to your final destination.

But when it comes to jazz improvisation, sometimes we want to map out all the different note choices we have available to us before we start trying to create actual melodies. And this is where scales can be helpful when applied in exercises.

So, in today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how to start applying scales to jazz, in a way that we can start mapping out note choices but connecting them together so that we end up getting to our final destination at the end of the song form. 

In this episode:

1. Scale choices over a concert C blues

2. Scale tone map over a concert C blues

Episode Images:

Important Links

1. LJS Inner Circle Membership VIP Waitlist

2. LJS 214: 16 Scales to Know for Jazz

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."


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Follow Us

Free Stuff

I want to...