Five more tips for jazz beginners

5 more tips for jazz beginners, Teaching Jazz blog - jazz education

Here are five more tips for jazz beginners, following on from tips for jazz beginners Part 1. Read that first if you haven’t already.

  1. You don’t need to know jazz theory before you start to play jazz. Just start playing and enjoying the music, then learn different aspects of theory as you need to or want to.
  2. Speaking of theory, there is a lot of theory around jazz, but you don’t need all of it at once or all the time.
  3. Work hard at memorising things like scales or arpeggios. A scale is not much use to you as an improviser if you have to read it whenever you need it.
  4. Following on from that – don’t be lazy! If you want to improve, there ARE things you need to learn, memorise, and practice. Things like scales, arpeggios, chords (especially if you play guitar or piano), effective technique on your instrument, and learning to listen and recognise. Reading music is also a huge time-saver.
  5. Start listening to jazz played by professional players, especially the really famous or Great ones. Because playing jazz involves improvising, you need to know what it sounds like, like learning the pronunciation and accent of a new spoken language along with its idioms and cadence. By all means, avoid listening so you can develop your own ‘fresh’ ‘personal’ sound, but if you can’t play in any recogniseable style as well then you will struggle to find other people to play with or places to play. Also, regardless of how much time you spend listening to exemplars, you will develop your own sound and style, it is impossible not to. Everyone develops that.

Anyway, there you go. That’s five more tips for jazz beginners. Keep an eye out here or on the Teaching Jazz YouTube channel for more.

Happy playing.

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