For a musician with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to get better, the internet can be a wonderful thing. I am always checking out YouTube videos, websites and blogs that deal with topics that are near and dear to a music geek’s heart: music theory, improvisation techniques, transcribed licks. You know, the usual stuff. And as someone who has been playing music a very long time, I have my opinions on what stuff works better than other stuff. And a lot of that stuff is wrong! OK, maybe “wrong” is too strong a word but I get annoyed when I read tutorials that say the same basic thing about learning jazz improvisation: see this chord, play that scale. If improvisation was just a matter of knowing your scales than there would be many more Parkers, Coltranes and Monks around and there aren’t. Knowing scales is the beginning of the process but it’s often taught as The Answer.
This brings me to a cool website alert. I strongly recommend that you check out Jazz Advice.com. Two young jazz musicians, Forrest Wernick and Eric O’Donnell, have put together an ongoing series of articles that talk about the jazz advice they’ve received in their quest to become better musicians. They stress the importance of leaning the jazz language, developing that language for your own expression and applying it to tunes. While they have articles discussing such things as ear training, improvisation concepts and rhythm, they recently posted a fascinating slide show that I think really sums up their philosophy on how to develop as a jazz musician. Titled “What Should I Practice? The 3 Essential Pieces to Practicing Jazz Improvisation”, it offers great advice on how to go about becoming a better musician. I admit that I don’t follow their advice religiously (they provide the advice, you have to supply the discipline) but it has given me a some insights on how I approach practicing and how to better develop myself as a musician. Check it out below:
What Should I Practice? The 3 Essential Pieces to Practicing Jazz Improvisation: A Free Presentation
Here is the link to their blog with lots of interesting articles that should appeal to the jazz musician geek in us all.