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LJS 32: Music Advice I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Welcome to episode 32 of the LJS Podcast where today podcast host Brent Vaartstra talks about music advice he wishes someone had told him from the beginning. This advice is ultimately about being the best musician you have the potential to be. Listen in!

Listen to episode 32

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In this episode

  1. Relax. Don’t take music so seriously to the point where you forget why you got into it in the first place.

  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t compare your playing with others, just go for your personal record.

  3. Practice hard. Becoming a better jazz player does not come cheap and easy.

  4. Jam hard. Take every opportunity to play with others, because this is where the best practice happens.

  5. Travel or get out and do something other than music. Artists need inspiration and experiences to create art.

  6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is how you learn to play better and fix what is broken.

Listen to episode 31: Ear Training For Jazz Musicians

What music advice would you give to others? 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."


  1. Mr Vaartstra – firstly thanks for all you're doing with LJS , I've been on the free stuff since the first podcasts & the actual value is way beyond money.
    The interviews , technical info & friendly delivery style have helped me focus a lot lately.
    I'm 50 , got a jazz diploma in Australia 25 years ago , but have been staying alive playing pop music since then.
    Still working on exactly what you're talking about though so I just wanna say keep it up please , it's all relevant , timely & bang on the issues including those involving attitude.
    Got a big kick 2 days ago watching Brad Mehldau & Joshua Redman duo live in Shanghai demonstrating a high level – it probably only reached 2nd or 3rd gear for those guys but – festival crowd – i was foot tappin , when i wasn't losing 1 , but even if most others weren't doing that they were cheering like they could sense the quality , even as a few walked away in confusion..
    Anyway , that's it , you & the team are doing a fine thing , appreciated around the world..

    • Thanks for the kind words Campbell, much appreciated! I'm a huge Mehldau fan, as well as Redman. Glad you got to see that show!

      • Turns out to be a bonus week here – Eddie Gomez stayed around to do gigs & clinics – sneaked into one today & well worth seeing the kind of gracious ambassador he is with students – & still way serious chops for a man of any vintage – but his main points were about history & his playing is just pure groove..


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