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Home LJS Podcast LJS 207: 3 Strategies for Melodic Improv on Jazz Standards

LJS 207: 3 Strategies for Melodic Improv on Jazz Standards

Welcome to episode 207 of the LJS Podcast where today I demonstrate three strategies you can practice to help you develop more melodic jazz solos. Often, we are tempted to jump straight to bebop lines and complex theory applications when improvising. But simple melodies are often skipped, and therefore missing an important aspect of making meaningful solos. Learn how to start practicing this.

Listen to episode 207

As a jazz musician and an educator, I’m often looking for new ways to practice improvising over jazz standards, whether it be for myself or for you guys.

And oftentimes, we over-complicate the improvisation process thinking that we have to come straight out of the gate playing complex bebop lines or “hip lines” in order to really sound great playing over jazz standards.

But the truth of it is, the most important thing to include in our improvisation is melody.

And so in today’s episode, I’m going to be going over 3 strategies that you can start practicing today, that will help you play more melodic jazz solos and also give you a great starting point to start building your jazz solos.

In this episode:

1. Strategy #1: Use the melody as a basis for improv

2. Strategy #2: Improvise a melody based on the standard you are playing

3. Strategy #3: Base your solo off of a composed theme

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

LJS 201: 3 Ways to Start Improvising More Organically

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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