studies will focus on the JAZZ format. However,
good jazz musicians have Classical training
in their background. Classical training
and Music Theory are the tools which help
a great jazz musician develop their "Chops."
"Chops" is a Jazz term
for "musical technique and skill."
is a shared learning experience. No person
learns the art of Jazz without playing along
with other Jazz musicians. One learning tool
for doing this is to play along with recordings
of other Jazz musicians. There are courses
of studies that use recorded jazz groups leaving
out one instrument. This one instrument might
be a piano part, bass part, trumpet part,
etc. Then, it is up to you and your instrument
to fill-in the missing part. The QuickTime
MIDI file below is an example of this kind
of training. It is missing the "lead
line." The "lead line"
is the melody line that plays on top of (along
with) the "rhythm section."
The "rhythm section" is traditionally
those players playing Drums, Piano, Bass,
and Guitar. Push play on the slider bar below.
good place to start to learn the art of Jazz
is in the "12 bar blues." A
"12 bar blues" is 12 musical
bars (measures) that repeat over and over
to allow each member in the band to solo (improvise)
during each the 12 bar period. Usually each
soloist will play this 12 bar phrase over
and over again until they "feel complete"
or have exhausted their ideas for soloing
over the top of these 12 bars of blues chords
(also referred to as "changes").
There are NO RULES in Jazz. There are NO MISTAKES
in JAZZ. Jazz is a subjective art. If you
like what you are playing, then play it. This
thing to keep in mind. Jazz is like several
painters working on the same painting at the
same time. Imagine yourself in a group of
painters about to begin an abstract painting
of anger and loneliness, fear and hurt, joy
and freedom, love and tenderness, or desire
and frustration. Each painter knows the canvas
size. Each painter is going to add their version
of the chosen topic without destroying or
covering up what someone else is doing. Each
painter knows that working together and supporting
each other in this common effect will produce
a painting that is understood by most people
viewing the finished artwork. None of the
painters in the group are in charge. The only
restriction is the size of the canvas. After
thinking about this for a few minutes, listen
to the music playing above and begin to experiment
by adding some of your own notes to the music.
Do this for as long as you would like to.
Listen a little, play a little, listen a little,
play a little, listen . . .
aside some time each week (at least an hour)
to sit uninterrupted and listen to a recording
of a "small" jazz group playing
any kind of jazz (Latin, Dixieland, Blues,
Fusion, Swing, Scat, etc.). This will help
you begin to build a library of ideas in your
head. These ideas will be seed thoughts to
help you build new ideas of your own. At this
point it is not necessary to know how any
one player played a certain group of notes
or rhythms. Just listen and enjoy. Let the
music bathe and wash over you. Let it hold
you and take you on a journey.