April 15th, 2010

3 Keys to Effective Practice

Written by Eric

1. Create your own space

As a musician, time spent working in the practice room is an important part of everyday in which you work to maintain or, better yet, improve musicianship and technique. When you practice you need to find an environment that is the most productive for you. Ideally, finding a place to shed where no one can hear you is the best; a place where you can concentrate on the areas of your playing that need the most work and not be afraid to sound bad or  self conscious about who is listening to you. This is not always easy to achieve though, especially in music college practice rooms and after seeing practice rooms in various colleges,  it seems like the same familiar scenario is happening for music majors everywhere…

After twenty minutes of searching for an open practice room, you finally find a tiny room with an out of tune piano. In the room next to you a tenor player is continuously playing the same three licks over Giant Steps as fast as possible and in the room on the other side of you, the lead trumpet player in the big band is trying to hit the highest note he can play, as loud as he can possibly play it. From somewhere at the end of the hall, for some reason you can hear a rock band rehearsing, even though the last time you checked there was no degree for rock bands at your school. Meanwhile, … Read More

April 14th, 2010

Visualization for Jazz Improvisation

Written by Forrest

Countless hours in the practice room and rhythm changes or a simple bridge to a tune still giving you a tough time? This is a familiar situation to everyone of all levels. I used to waste hours mindlessly practicing, thinking that there was some secret I was missing, or if I just kept improvising over the changes, I would eventually just get it. Or maybe it wasn’t the changes at all, but maybe it was something faulty with my equipment. Oh yes, that had to be it. If I could just get my hands on the right mouthpiece or that latest ligature then…that had to be it!!!

This attitude is completely delusional, yet many of us continue to think this way for years! Playing over a tune constantly, hoping that eventually you’ll play well over it is a mindless pursuit, as is blaming your equipment for your shortcomings as an improviser.

In actuality, the problem is not external. We hold in our mind what we will play before we even pick up our horn, therefore, to change what we are going to play, we have to change what’s stored in our mind. Sure, when you practice your instrument, your mind is altering its stored information, but what if you could simply go directly to your mind and start fixing the bugs? That is where visualization comes into the picture.

Defining Visualization

The dictionary defines visualization as the formation of mental images. For the purposes of this article, think of it … Read More

April 14th, 2010

Jazzadvice Begins

Written by Forrest

Welcome to Jazzadvice.com! The name says it all. Jazzadvice.com is a rapidly growing collection of the best advice we’ve picked up along the way on our never-ending path of musical devlopment. What ever it may be, no matter how seemingly simple or complex, it’s advice based on experience that will make you a better musician, a more creative individual, and a more motivated force pushing you towards your own goals. So pull up a comfortable seat and stay a while.

The Purpose of This Site

The main purpose of this site is to help you grow as a  musician and an individual. Specifically for the jazz-playing dorks like us, we are sharing with you things we have practiced or in many cases are practicing currently, that are helping us to improve as improvisers.

No worries if you aren’t a musician! Many of the ideas we discuss have universal applications and will benefit just about anybody who applies them to their field of expertise. You may want to skip over the ‘Practice Concepts’ category, however, cuz that’s more geared toward musicians, but perhaps it will inspire you to start playing and join the party!

Much of the advice we have was told to us directly from outstanding (and in some cases legendary) players. It is our sincere hope that the information on this site propels you to new heights and encourages you on your journey.

Get Some Advice

This site is here to help you. If you’re having trouble with a … Read More

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