Jazz Repertoire & Improvisation

How to Practice

Here are some guidelines on how to be able to maximize your learning outside of the classroom.

  • Use every opportunity when you are away from the instrument to sing and or think about the music you are working on. 

  • When possible, seek out and/or develop opportunities to play with other participants and/or friends from outside of the school. This is the best way to continue along the journey of self-edification in the practice of music performance.

  • Be able to play/sing the chord changes of the tune in question and understand the underlying harmonic structure.

  • Learn the piece on a piano by playing melody in the right hand and chords in the left hand. If you don't own a piano, a chordal instrument like guitar can suffice.

  • Listening to as much live jazz as possible is the best way to see all of the concepts touched upon in classes be executed right in front of you by master musicians.

  • Create a space that can allow you to have a pleasant practicing experience. Few items to consider:

    • Metronome -- invest in a good quality metronome that can provide an audible click w/ or w/out subdivisions​

    • Music stand -- invest in a sturdy music stand that can hold your music, books

    • Instrument stand -- as soon you get home, unpack your instrument (if applicable) and put it on its stand. This way you will always want to grab it and play when passing. 

    • Audio/Video -- create a setup where you can play along, transcribe, or otherwise work with audio video materials (i.e. speakers, laptop, AV interface, etc.)

  • Last, but not the least, be mindful of practicing for the sake of practicing or smart practicing -- that is, when you specifically pick areas of your technique where you feel like you can do more work and purposefully address those issues. This is not the same as just playing certain random scales and calling it a day -- there's value in that, but YOU know what YOU need to work out better than anyone.​