Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Jazzadvice Needs You!

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

A note from Forrest and Eric

To our beautiful readers,

Jazzadvice has been around for several years now. During that time we’ve made it a point to provide you with the best possible content in a mostly ad-free environment, completely free of charge.

The response has been overwhelming. We receive daily emails filled with praise and generous donations. We’re thrilled that you’ve shared and recommended Jazzadvice to as many people as you have.

But we need your help. Don’t worry, we’re not asking for money. We’re asking you to help even more people enjoy the fruits of our labors.

We have thousands of people visit the site every day, but there are a lot more people that could benefit from Jazzadvice that have still not heard about it. This is our fault. When we started Jazzadvice, we never thought it would be as big as it has become, and we never thought that people would appreciate our service as much as they have.

We didn’t start a Facebook page or a Twitter page, as we thought these things would just distract from what we wanted to do: give great content on a subject that we care deeply about. Well, we’ve accomplished that and we promise to continue. But now it’s time to spread the word.

We just launched our Facebook and Twitter pages with the hopes that you’ll become a fan and follow us. These outlets will prove to be yet another valuable resource for you. We’re not going to tweet about what we had … Read More

Keeping a Line Journal

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Line journal

In an instant, musical ideas spring to life. You might be transcribing and stumble upon something you like, or perhaps you suddenly play an idea that seemed to come to you from nowhere. I bet this happens all the time. In fact, I’ll bet you come up with something you like nearly every time you practice. What do you do when you discover or create ideas you like?

I used to just play the idea a bunch, thinking, wow…this is a great line. The next day, needless to say, I’d have difficulty remembering the line, and a week later, I’d forget the line entirely.

Keeping a line journal is not only a great way to remember the lines you pick up from transcribing or create yourself, but it’s an essential tool to keep track of the knowledge-base you hope to expand throughout your life.

Whatever it is, write it down

When you’re practicing, you’re in the zone. You don’t want to interrupt it for any reason. This is your time and you want to spend it playing, not writing. That attitude kept me from writing down a lot of things that could have potentially been gems. Sometimes I’ll play something and think, hmmm, that’s kind of nice, but is it nice enough to write down?

Whatever it is, write it down. During your practice, keep manuscript-paper and a pen handy at all times. Consider this your scratch paper where you’ll jot down anything that comes to mind. Knowing that this … Read More

The Stages of Jazz Language

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Stages of Jazz Language

We talk about jazz language a lot: what it is, what it isn’t, how to get it, and what to do with it. We constantly strive to better communicate these aspects of learning language because of the vital role that language plays in successful improvisation. It’s essentially all the raw melodic material you draw from when you improvise and it doesn’t get there by accident.

It gets there through dedicated practice over an extended period of time, a distinct process. By understanding this process of how we accumulate language and how it evolves, you’ll transform the way you think about the entire life-cycle of language, making easier to acquire language and develop the language you have.

 The discovery stage

The first stage is discovery. Language starts out as an idea. A possibility. A little flicker of something that captures our attention. We get intrigued and wonder what we just heard. This curiosity leads us to peel the gem off of the recording, in hopes of understanding the composition of the melodic fragment.

Bit by bit we learn the line, imitating every little nuance that we hear. Not every nuance we think we hear, but every little detail that is actually there. Once we grasp the full length of the line and have it operating in our ears and fingers, a mental picture of the line begins to form in our mind.

The shape, the rhythm, the precise articulation…all this starts to embed itself in our subconscious. We absorb so much … Read More

Learning to Let Go: Achieving your optimum performance mindset

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Learning to Let Go

When I think about what it means to “let go,” detailed scenes from Hollywood hits come to mind. Scenes like Neo in The Matrix learning that “there is no spoon,” and Tom Cruise in the Last Samurai being taught to think “No mind.”

There’s a good reason these type of scenes take place in so many films: to achieve our potential in activities that occur in the moment (things like combat, public speaking, and improvising), we must surrender to the moment. Film writers know that this message plays an important role in reality and that we relate to it on an intimate level, hence they include it in many movies.

Like Neo in The Matrix and Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, we too can learn to control our thoughts and free our mind to make way for our creativity.

Letting go: performance versus practice

Too much conscious thought during performance impedes our ability to perform at our optimum level. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to not think so much while we perform.

Believe it or not, this skill is something that we actually all tend to do quite naturally. How many times have you gone to the practice room and just played for hours with no specific direction? If you answered “yes”, then you’re human.

The problem is that when you’re alone in the practice room, for the bulk of your practice session, it’s the wrong time to play with the let-go-mindset. At the end … Read More

Jazzadvice Begins

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Welcome to! The name says it all. 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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