“Learn tunes. Transcribe solos.”
The instructions for aspiring jazz musicians are pretty much the same everywhere you go.
You want to play longer lines and master tricky chord progressions?
“Learn tunes and transcribe solos.”
Need more technique and better ears?
You get the idea.
We receive this advice from our teachers, friends, and from our musical heroes in master classes and interviews. Hearing these instructions repeatedly, we try to shape our practice sessions around these four words. It’s good advice, but how exactly do you transcribe and what is the best method to learning tunes?
As I started out with these instructions myself, I immediately went out and got a real book and some books of transcribed solos and got to work on becoming a jazz star. The only problem is that how you go about these tasks is gravely important. My idea of transcribing solos and learning tunes was not exactly accurate and this led to years of frustration.
Along with knowing that we should transcribe and learn tunes, we need some instruction on how to achieve these tasks and what skills are involved. Before you rush into the practice room with these words fresh in your mind, take a second to think about how you are going to go about completing these two tasks and more importantly, why you are transcribing and learning tunes in the first place.
Before you learn tunes
Make sure you’re clear on what “knowing” a tune actually entails. Do you have the notes … Read More