Five Jazz Guitar Mastery Secrets Bonus Articles from JazzGuitarLessons.Net

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1 Five Jazz Guitar Mastery Secrets Bonus Articles from JazzGuitarLessons.Net Hello, My name is Marc (often nicknamed «Gilles») and I m hoping to help guide you on your musical journey in the world of jazz guitar. There will be many challenges along the way but with the right mindset and resources you'll have fun and grow steadily. I believe we are all eternal students. The learning process will never end. The core concepts found in the following articles are applicable regardless of your level or interests. I am constantly returning to these foundational concepts. Marc-A «Gilles» Seguin JazzGuitarLessons.Net Secret #1 : Change the Way You Hear Secret #2 : Learn from the Masters Secret #3 : Study Repertoire Secret #4 : Learn from Others Secret #5 : Find Your Way

2 Secret #1 : Change the Way You Hear Music is an aural art form. Therefore I believe that visual, intellectual (theory) and tactile feedback is only secondary in the learning process. It may be hard to understand at first but there s still only one way to play better music : hear more and differently. It is quite challenging, in the world we live in, not to think of the guitar fretboard in terms of physical (visual) placement. Most of our society is built around reference points that are visual in nature : television, roads, cellphones, computers, etc. Music is an exception. Most people learn to play the guitar (or other instruments) with their eyes. However, such an approach can only go so far Listeners are still just hearing the music! To improve our aural abilities we have to redefine the way the whole music is heard. Traditional ear training, although a very important step, won't accomplish this shift. It is not about interval and chord recognition or melodic dictations. Changing the way you hear is about listening from another angle. It's perceiving the same musical idea differently. Example : Play any full chord. Select two notes from this chord. Make them stand out. Now play the two notes by themselves. This is one angle from which you can perceive the interval.

3 Next, chose a different bass note (preferably on the sixth string). Play your two selected notes against this new bass. You now have a different perspective on the interval. Keep going and you'll find more and more personalities in the two selected notes. Another example: Play any scale in time and then play the same scale but start on a different beat. Count yourself in ( ) and play the first note on beat 4. The scale will be reborn. Your ears are most likely very familiar with the scale starting on good old beat 1. As you can now see (and hear) the musical material hasn't changed at all but your perception of it is now broader. Keep in mind, these are only basic starting points from which you can create countless exercises. This new way of thinking will lead you to greater rhythmic and melodic freedom. This is changing the way you hear. Keep your ears wide open at all times. The tactile, emotional and visual aspects of playing (and learning) jazz on the guitar should be secondary most of the time. Prioritize the aural perception. Finally, reconsider your own practice material with the ears in mind : listen more and noodle less. Relying purely on technique can be a waste of time (... I'll learn X amount of scales so that they come out when I improvise... ) Learn the fingerings (indeed!) but do not let your fingers guide the music. Those two floppy things on the side of your head are the musician's best friends!

4 Secret #2 : Learn from the Masters Are you familiar with the concept of private lessons? Another musician teaches you for an hour or so in exchange of money. The teacher draws from his experience and skills to guide you in the learning process. How about free lessons with past and present jazz guitar legends? How to Learn from the Masters If Wes Montgomery walked into my house to give me a lesson today, he would still use his experience and skills to teach me... the same two things he used in the studio to record his best albums. I say we cut out the middleman and we use his recordings as a learning tool! Even if I actually had a lesson with Wes, and he played in front of me, he would still sound exactly like his recordings. The main advantage of studying recorded jazzmen is learning from real masters at your own pace. The passages on an album can be repeated indefinitely without a problem. It gives time to notate the music on paper if needed. This approach is also cost effective : a ten dollar album can contain hundreds of mini-lessons when explored in depth. ( Who showed you that? Well, Jim Hall did. )

5 What to Learn from the Masters Specifically, I strongly suggest you learn and imitate your favorite recorded solos. Please refer to this transcription article for a practical guide. Other aspects of jazz recordings can be studied such as : Repertoire (melody, chords and form of tunes) Song Interpretation (how the melody is played) Comping (listen to pianists and guitarists) Arranging (intro, ending, overall big picture structure) Orchestration (what instrument plays what) Rhythms (singing / clapping just the rhythms) To summarize, the wealth of information available on jazz recordings is yours to explore and learn from. It is also a very personal quest : two similar musicians will, more often than not, explore different aspects of the very same track. The beauty of the process is that it really is yours to discover! Tremendous growth comes from the whole transcription process. Schedule private lessons with your guitar heroes today for free! If you admire those guys, why not learn from them directly!?

6 Secret #3 : Study Repertoire Listen to jazz!!! This is the most precious piece of advice any student of jazz can be given. Listen to good jazz everyday! Borrowing records from the library and shopping at used record stores are the cheapest options. That being said, listen to your favorite tunes hundreds of times and learn them directly from the recording. You can never listen too much. I find it is best to learn a tune from a recording than from a sheet of paper. An album will give you ideas as to how to interpret the melody and how to solo. Make a leadsheet from the recorded track if needed. Avoid fakebooks and use your ears. I know, I know... You have three sets to play tonight and you only know approximately fifteen tunes. Five of them are blues and you don't remember the melody and chords perfectly to three or four of the others... I understand (been there done that!) Rely on the fakebook if you must. But you must understand that fakebooks are a crutch that you should eventually get rid of. You'll be much more involved in the music if you're not busy reading. Put many hours of work into mastering your repertoire. That means to memorize and polish the statement of the melody. It also means taking the time to practice accompanying a soloist. Guitarists comp lots! Create a chord melody if you wish to go deeper harmonically.

7 To study a tune also means to improvise quite a lot, both playing with the melody and blowing over the chord changes. Embellish the melody creatively. Improvise on the chords and attempt to outline the changes effectively while creating meaningful musical statements. To conclude, playing jazz is playing the tunes! Every aspiring jazz musician should build a decent list of memorized tunes and study repertoire on a regular basis. Practicing technique (scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.) is useless by itself; we need at least a few good tunes to play and improvise on. Write down your repertoire list right now!

8 Secret #4 : Learn from Others Listening to, practicing and studying jazz are not all it takes to become a great player. This music is social, it's alive. Famous jazz musicians did not stay at home and practice all night they went out, they met with other cats and they heard live music. They were immersed in the language of jazz. It's enriching to attend jazz concerts and local jazz events. It's even more important to become part of a jazz community and increase your awareness of what's going on in the jazz world. This understanding allows for a more mature approach to playing and learning the music. Playing with the same few people on a regular basis was the key for me as far as absorbing the language. I learned so much from practicing countless hours in duo with the same drummer! I also believe that it is important to meet and play with a lot of different musicians. All the different personalities, approaches and levels will challenge you and contribute to your daily improvement. To conclude, get involved early on and your growth will be very fast. Try to play with advanced musicians right from the start even if you feel intimidated. Everyone learns by osmosis. The better your band mates, the quicker your progress!

9 Secret #5 : Find Your Way If I could write just one sentence here it would be : Don't listen to me, you know better than I do! Even if someone asks me how to get better at improvising on a simple blues I can merely make suggestions. Various outcomes will arise from the same suggestions (depends on the player, instrument, level, context, style, tempo, number of beers consumed, etc.) Some people claim that they have found the right way to practice jazz and write books about it. These works can be of great value but only you hold the key to unlocking your musical voice. Always remember that no one really knows what you need to do next. It all boils down to you, your choices and your life. It's good to take in lots of information but be strategic and selective. Varying your approaches is also of utmost importance when learning jazz. Get inspiration from anywhere and discover your own ways of dealing with musical situations. It's very satisfying to overcome musical obstacles with your own solutions. Personally, I benefit from drastic changes in my approach once in a while. I get into a new concept and my playing feels very messy for a day or two. With time, my sound always settles down. I learn a great deal through this process.

10 In summary, no approach is good for everything and everyone. Vary your entry points when dealing with musical material and situations. Discover the approaches that work for you.

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