A Key to Jazz Improvisation Success: Boredom and Repetition

Here’s a great article that a fan of my site emailed to me a few months ago.  Although the article is dealing with the martial arts, the principles written about in this essay can just as easily be applied to music and jazz improvisation. When the writer writes about “kata” imagine that he is referring Read More…

FREE 12 Major Scales Practice Sheet

Here’s a free sheet I give to all my students to learn their 12 major scales and major triads. When I teach my students the major scales, I teach them to memorize all the scales on this sheet exactly as written.  They should be able to play each scale on the sheet immediately when asked Read More…

Free Demo Lesson on Altered Pentatonic Variations

I decided to offer another free video lesson based off my book Mastering Altered Pentatonics for everyone.  This is a short demo lesson based off of my full length lesson “Creating Modern Lines with Altered Pentatonic Variations-Lesson 1“.  The full lesson includes a 38 minute video lesson and  the 36 page PDF of the altered Read More…

Free Chord Tone Cheat Sheet

Here’s a great tool that I made for my students years ago that I totally forgot about.  It’s called the Chord Tone Cheat Sheet.  I had a Skype student the other day that said he was looking for something like this on the internet but couldn’t find anything.  As he was speaking, I had this Read More…

FREE 12 Major Blues Scale Sheet

Here’s a free sheet I give to all my students after they learn their major scales. It’s just a sheet with all the 12 Major Blues Scales on it.  If you take a look at the sheet you might notice that the scales are the same as the scales on my free 12 blues scales sheet Read More…

The Art of Jazz Improvisation-Communication

I was browsing the internet this morning when I happened upon these two amazing videos below.  It struck me that as teachers and students, we are so often teaching jazz improvisation in a one dimensional realm.  We talk about scales, licks, chords and patterns. We go home and practice by ourselves with our play along tracks Read More…

My “Secret” List of the Funkiest Minor Tunes to Practice to……..

Today, I’m going to share my “secret” list of funk tunes that I have been practicing to for a few years now.  These are tunes that I bought on iTunes because I was sick of the generic Jamey Aebersold tracks that we all practice to.   I spent many hours one week going through iTunes Read More…

Body and Soul: The Evolution of a Tenor Saxophone Standard Review

For the last couple of weeks,  I have been diligently working through a great new book by Eric Allen entitled Body and Soul — The Evolution of a Tenor Saxophone Standard: Transcriptions and analysis of solos by: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Sonny … Brecker, Chris Potter, Spiral-Bound Book Body and Soul — The Read More…

The #1 Thing You Need to Do To Become a Great Improviser

I’m seeing a trend in adult  students that I have taught over the last 10 years and wanted to write about it.  The #1 thing that most students young and old want to improve is their ability to improvise well.   Many times, I ask the students what their practice routine is like and I get answers Read More…

Why is Learning Jazz Patterns Foreign to Me?

I received this question in an email the other day and I thought it would be good to try to answer it in detail on the blog here so others can benefit from it: Question: Steve, I have always listened to jazz, but I tend to favor simpler, lyrical playing like Houston Person, Gene Ammons, Read More…

FREE 12 Blues Scales Sheet

Here’s a free sheet I give to all my students after they learn their major scales. It’s just a sheet with all the 12 Blues Scales on it. When I teach my students to use the blues scale I teach them to try to move off the #4 note quickly when playing. Many student who Read More…

Joel Frahm Jazz Improvisation Clinic

I emailed Joel Frahm the other day and asked if I could post this great masterclass he did in Prague years ago.  He said “No problem” which I was very excited about.  I have been a great fan of his going back many years.   I went through a stage where I was listening to a Read More…

Blues Scale Funky Grooves

When I was a kid, the way I first learned to improvise was by learning all of my blues scales.  I don’t remember if I was taught the different blues scales or if I just figured them out.  I remember learning pretty quickly that most modern Top 40,Pop,Funk and Smooth Jazz was all mostly in Read More…

40 Michael Brecker Licks

I have written out 40 great Michael Brecker licks that I have picked up and used over the years.  Last week I cleaned them up and numbered them so they are easier to read.  I give these out to my more advanced students who want to start getting into this stuff.  I went through a Read More…

Practicing away from your instrument! Part 1

I had a lesson the other day with a student and I realized that he was really having a hard time coming up with melodic ideas and phrases.  I asked him “Do you ever sing?”  “No!”  “How about humming?”   “No!”  “How about in the shower?”   “No!” This really got me thinking about things Read More…

The Ultimate II-V-I Primer

This is the title of a new pdf book that I have written. Basically, it is a step by step introductory approach to learning all your major 7th, minor 7th and dominant 7th chords. I take you through the basics of playing just the roots and then add the 3rds, 5ths, 7ths, 9ths………. The goal Read More…

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