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big band

Why you need more than just big band

From time to time we meet young musicians who are about to finish high school and aspire to study at one of the reputable tertiary jazz schools but are taken aback and disappointed when they don’t get past the audition. Why not? After all, they were one of the best musicians at their school, even […]

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How can I get more solos in jazz band?

By Saul Richardson, University of Sydney. May 2016. Learning jazz and playing jazz at school is usually great fun and rewarding. But it can also be confusing and, for some students, disheartening. At first everything is fun, and everyone participates together on equal terms, loving the joy of just making music together. Over time, however, […]

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Faking It: Real Books and how to use them

By Saul Richardson. You are not meant to play most Fake Book/Real Book tunes exactly as written. One of the most widely-used resources among jazz students are so-called “Real Books”. Real Book is more-or-less a pun on “Fake Book”, a collection of rough lead sheets for jazz or popular songs. The Real Book first appeared […]

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Teaching Modes: a useful method

  By Saul Richardson. In this article I will compare two different ways of presenting and teaching modes to students for improvisation. The first is the common method in which we teach where modes come from. The second, and the more useful for the improviser, is what modes do. Modes are different ways of playing […]

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Tunes for beginning improvisers

By Saul Richardson, Principal & co-founder at Jazz Workshop Australia.   Here is a selection of jazz tunes that are good for beginning improvisers using a Key Center approach. Using a key center approach, the soloist selects one scale or pattern that works well against all the chords in a tune, or in a section of a […]

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