Access monthly jazz standard studies, and courses: LEARN MORE

Home LJS Podcast Play better jazz solos LJS 151: Applying Patterns to Scales for Jazz Improv Flexibility

LJS 151: Applying Patterns to Scales for Jazz Improv Flexibility

Welcome to episode 151 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about how you can apply different pattern exercises over scales. Patterns are great technical exercises that can help us become more flexible on our instrument. I give several different examples that you can put to use. Listen in!

Listen to episode 151

One of the categories I include in the “Big 3” things you should be working on as a jazz musician, is technique.

Now, there are a lot of things we can be working on for technique, including instrument specific things such as long tones for horn players, or fretboard positions for guitarists and bassists.

But one way to practice technique that I think translates and is helpful for all instruments are pattern exercises.

Working on patterns can help us develop flexibility on our instrument. We don’t want things getting in the way of us creating musical ideas when we improvise. Having flexibility will help eliminate that potential barrier.

Here is what I talk about in today’s episode:

1. The importance of technique and why patterns are great to work on.

2. A 1231 pattern over a major and Mixolydian scale.

3. A 1235 pattern over a major and natural minor scale.

4. A triads pattern over a major scale and melodic minor scale.

My challenge for you is to add even just a little bit of this to your practice sessions. Patterns aren’t something that needs to overly consume your time. Just a little bit can really go a long way.


1231 Pattern (Major)

1231 Pattern (Mixolydian)

1235 Pattern (Major)

1235 Pattern (Natural Minor)

Triads Pattern (Major)

Triads Pattern (Melodic Minor)

Important Links

LJS 124: The Only “Big 3” Things You Need to Be Working On as a Jazz Musician

Zero to Improv eBook and Companion Course

30 Steps to Better Jazz Playing Course

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."


    • Hi Serafin, I'm not sure what instrument you play, but all that is really required is reading the exercises I've provided in the show notes. If you can read the notes, it's just a matter of starting to work on them and do some practicing!


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...