The_Ultimate_Jazz_Guide_to_Practicing

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An exclusive e-Book for our subscribers
©2017 www.learnjazzstandards.com
Learn more about this author at www.brentvaartstra.com
JAZZ GUIDE
PRACTICING
THE ULTIMATE
to
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS
By Brent Vaartstra

CONTENTS
Introduction
The truth about practicing
Part 1: Inspiring Practice
What you need to do before you step into the practice room
Part 2: Plan Your Practice
How to set up your practice sessions for success
Part 3: Focusing
How to eliminate distractions in the practice room
Part 4: What Should I Practice?
How to decide what you should spend your time practicing
Part 5: How Much Should I Practice?
How often and how long you should practice
Part 6: Wrapping It Up
Concluding what we've learned about practicing

INTRODUCTION
« The truth about practicing »

4 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
The truth is, practicing is often
loaded with baggage. Sometimes
we associate the act of practicing with
nagging parents who forced us to practice
our instrument for 30 minutes a day, a
sense of defeat because it didn’t get us
anywhere, or even boredom. Perhaps
we might feel anxiety towards practicing,
because the pressure to sound great at
a gig or recital was the only thing driving
our motivation to practice in the first
place. Maybe practicing just means you
sit down with your instrument only to
mindlessly noodle for an un-determined
amount of time, eventually get bored, and
leave with nothing accomplished. Maybe
for you the word practice fills you with a
sense of fear, disgust, and self-loathing.
Or maybe you’re on the other side of the
fence; the sunny, brighter, grassier side.
Practicing to you is associated with fun,
productivity, accomplishment and success!
You’re always looking forward to the next
time you can get your hands on your
instrument. You take advantage of every
opportunity to perfect your musicianship.
Ah, yes, you are in love! You are always
efficient. You always feel yourself getting
better and better. You set clear goals and
you reap the bountiful harvest of your
hard work.
If that’s you, great! But chances are if
you are reading this right now, you aren’t
satisfied. Your results aren’t good enough.
You don’t feel accomplished after your
practice sessions, or maybe you don’t
even know what to practice! You want
to get better at your instrument, but the
problem is practicing seems to hate you.
You are longing for something better
than what you’ve got going on now.
The reason why practicing often feels like
a chore that leads to poor results is we’ve
been going about it all wrong. We haven’t
been smart with how we practice. We
are under the illusion that if we simply sit
alone in a room and play our instrument
for a pre-determined amount of time we
will come out victorious.
We need to have a reality check.
Practicing takes focus, planning, passion
and determination. In the next handful
of pages I am going to show you how
to get there by sharing with you the
most important things I’ve learned about
practicing over the last 10 years.
Setting habits for good practicing isn’t
easy, but I guarantee that if you apply
these principles to your practice routines,
you will be flying to the high road of
improvement. It’s time to re-kindle your
love for practicing your instrument. So if
you’re still with me, read on… »»»
Practicing
takes focus,
planning,
passion and
determination.

« What you need to do before you
step foot in the practice room »
PART 1:
INSPIRING PRACTICE

6 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
Listening.
Have you ever felt like you were
forcing yourself to practice?
You didn’t want to do it, but knew that’s
what you were supposed to do. Forcing
yourself to sit down and practice felt like
you were trying to put the wrong sides of
two magnets together. As much as you
liked the idea of practicing, the appeal was
more like sitting down to do homework.
I know I’ve felt like that before. The key
here is it felt like homework. No one likes
dreaded homework, and if you do, well,
you’re just a little bit more special than
the rest of us.
So how do we turn this around? How
do we make practicing our instruments
feel less like homework and more like
enjoyment? The answer is simple:
Inspiration.
If you’re inspired, you’re interested…
you’re hooked. If you go into a practice
session feeling truly excited about what
you might discover, the work is taken
completely out of it. What you have left
is fun, and that’s what we all got into this
music for in the first place right? We love
to play it. Inspiration breeds passion.
So this of course begs the question: but
how do we get inspired? Again, so simple:
We listen to music, because music is
the life-blood that drives our musical
ambitions.
To some of you this might seem obvious,
a no brainer, but the fact is the #1 reason
musicians lose inspiration to practice
is they stop being curious about the
music that got them hooked in the first
place. Though all of this information is
applicable to any kind of musician, I’m
talking specifically to jazz musicians, so
this means we need to be listening to lots
and lots of jazz!
I remember one winter night I was sitting
in my apartment in Harlem, New York City.
I was at an all-time musical low. I wasn’t
practicing a lot at the moment, and not
even close to the ridiculous amounts I was
in college. I had lost a pair of expensive
headphones on a recent trip to Peru,
and hadn’t bothered to replace them. It’s
safe to say that my music listening time
had gone down substantially. I showed
up to my gigs sucked dry of all creative
musical juices. I was trudging on through
my musical career, my soul begging for a
revival. I remember thinking thoughts like
“Why do I play jazz anyway? ” and “Does
anyone even care?” Yes, it was a miserable,
sad time indeed.
A good fellow guitar player friend of
mine called me up and told me there
If you’re
inspired, you’re
interested…
you’re hooked.

WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM 7
was a great show going on at Mezzrow , a
fantastic club in the West Village started
by Spike Wilner . Peter Bernstein and
Russell Malone were playing duo, and both
being guitarists I greatly love and respect,
I eagerly grabbed my coat and headed for
the train downtown. It had been a while
since I had gone to see a show, unlike
when I had first moved to New York and
spent all of my spare money at jazz clubs.
As I sat at the club that night watching
those two masterful musicians play
together a fire was awakened inside me.
I was mesmerized. Fascinated. I felt as if
I had been trapped in a dark hole and
was finally being rescued. My head was
spinning, my ears were soaking in every
precious note. I felt my heart beating with
genuine excitement as I watched them
play. I mean those guys were so good! I
stayed for both sets, completely glued to
my seat. The power of Peter and Russell’s
music caused me to remember what I had
set out to do in the first place.
When the show was over, I rushed home, I
picked up my guitar and I played and played!
I was excited to play my instrument again

because I wanted to sound like those guys
so badly.
We can all relate to this can’t we? Being
inspired by our favorite musicians after a
show or listening to a record?
I strongly believe that listening to music is
not only essential to inspire us to practice,
it is practicing.
I remember sitting in a clinic with the great
guitarist Bruce Forman one year and he
said to the audience, “If you don’t listen to
this music, you are never really going to
get it.” And isn’t that so true? If we aren’t
constantly listening to jazz how can we
possibly know what we are shooting for?
How do we even get those sounds into
our ears if we don’t listen? The same as a
painter must observe the works of other
painters before him, or a chef must taste
a dish first to truly develop great flavor, a
musician must be saturated in the music
that he attempts to create.
If you’ve lost your vision like I had, and
you can’t seem to get excited about
practicing, go back to your roots and
immerse yourself in the music. Plug in
your headphones and listen to jazz on
your drives, walks, or at home. If a great
jazz musician is coming to your town, be
sure to be there. Know that not only will
you be inspired to practice, by listening
you have started the process already. »»»
go back to your
roots and immerse
yourself in the
music.

« How to set up your practice
sessions for success »
PART 2:
PLAN YOUR PRACTICE

WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM 9
Setting Goals.
The biggest mistake musicians
make is walking into their
practice sessions completely
blind. They don’t know what they
want to accomplish and therefore they
accomplish nothing. They may know that
they want to become an awesome player,
but the process to reach that point is
never conceived.
If you take nothing else from this book,
please take this: Whether or not you
set musical goals for yourself will define
the success or failure of your practice
sessions. This is so important.
You need to get specific about what it
is exactly you want to get out of being
a musician. You need to really think out
what you want to be able to accomplish
musically both long term and short term.
This will be inspired by the musicians
you like to listen to and your individual
personality, among other things.
It could be many variations or a set of
completely different things than listed
here. Be realistic but don’t be afraid to
be ambitious. By setting these long term
goals, you are defining where you want to
be, which will in turn require you to figure
out how to get there.
It can also be useful to set short term goals
as well. For example, we’ll take the long
term goal #2 of wanting to know 300 jazz
standards by heart: I want to learn 50 new
tunes by the end of the year (Assuming
it’s January). A short term goal will often
set a time-line for when you want to see
your goal accomplished. This will force you
to be pro-active about accomplishing it.
Again, be realistic with yourself, but don’t
shy away from a reasonable challenge.
So now that you know what your goals
are and what you want to accomplish, you
can start formulating ideas of how to get
there. Later, I’ll go over how to determine
exactly what you should practice, but
for now I’ll explain how to prepare for
stepping foot into your practice room.
Here’s an example of a possible
set of long term goals a musician
might set for oneself:
1. I want to have no technical
limitations on my instrument.
2. I want to memorize 300 jazz
standards.
3. I want to know how to play over
chord changes proficiently.
4. I want to be a great sight
reader.
be realistic with
yourself, but
don’t shy away
from a reasonable
challenge.

10 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
Write it down.
I have a friend who practices all the
time. I mean he’s completely obsessed
and driven to improve his playing. It’s
always inspired me. One time when I was
over at his apartment I noticed an open
journal on his desk with pencil scribbles
in it. Upon a closer look it was obvious
that he had written out what he wanted
to practice that day. Though it wasn’t a
foreign concept to me, or something I
had never done before, I decided to take
up his habit whenever I intentionally set
out to practice. Did it help? Of course it
did!
It’s no secret that studies have been done
showing that those who not only have
goals, but write them down, are much
more likely to achieve success than those
who don’t. If you think about it, it makes
sense. Writing down what you want to
accomplish forces the decision of how
exactly you will arrive at your goals, and
it also lays them out tangibly to become
constant reminders.
Obviously your routine might look
quite different depending on what
instrument you play and other factors.
This particular routine may also be a
bit ambitious depending on how much
time you actually have to practice,
or the speed at which you learn and
retain information. The point is you
can actually see what you are going to
practice before you start.
Again, I can’t stress more the importance
of setting meaningful goals for yourself
and then using those goals to help you
write down what you will practice before
each session. By doing both of these
things you are already setting yourself
up for great success. Even though you
haven’t even started practicing yet, you
have taken the most important steps to
help yourself truly improve your music!
However before we talk about what we
are actually going to practice, we have to
get one other thing out of our way… »»»
Let’s go back to that long term
goal example I gave earlier and
create a potential practice routine.
I’ll address each goal number with
one thing to possibly practice:
1. Practice major 7 th arpeggios in
all 12 keys.
2. Learn the melody to Autumn
Leaves.
3. Learn that Charlie Parker line I
heard over a ii-V-I.
4. Spend 15 min. reading through
sheet music.
write down
what you will
practice before
each session.

PART 3:
FOCUSING
« How to eliminate distractions
in the practice room »

12 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
Eliminate
Distractions.
I have to be honest. One of
the most difficult things for me
personally is to stay focused. I
have the hardest time not wandering off
to something else all of the time. Many
a practice routine has been completely
ruined for me by Facebook, emails,
YouTube, Twitter, texts and phone calls.
My focus is always shifting and my guitar
is always begging me to come back.
Everybody has different levels of focus.
Some of you might say you’re actually
quite good at staying on task, others of
you might say you’re completely ADD.
Regardless of how good or bad your
focus is, in this modern age everyone
has to deal with a constant assault of
distractions.
The problem is mastering a craft
demands so much more than half of
your attention. It greedily demands
it all. It requires an intense amount
of dedication, and in the case of jazz,
requires a great deal of virtuosity.
The best practice sessions I’ve ever had
were in seclusion, and I don’t just mean
absence of people, but absence of media
distractions as well. My freshman year of
college I went to Cornish College of the
Arts in Seattle, Washington and I was at
the height of my obsession with practicing.
My daily routine was simple: go to class in
the morning, practice in between classes
in tiny black box rooms, play a duo gig at
a nearby restaurant at night, then head
back to the music building to practice until
midnight, and then do it all over again the
next day. How was my social life you ask?
I had one close friend and we did all of the
same things together!
After my gig I would go to the top most
room in the music building, the old room
of the school founder Nellie Cornish, and
practice alone. The only thing I brought
with me besides my guitar was my mp3
player so I could transcribe. The room
was dimly lit, quiet and serene. The only
distractions were the beautiful view of
downtown Seattle through the white-
framed French doors and the creaking
sounds of the old building. It was a
great place to practice. There were no
temptations around me so it made it easy
to be productive.
Staying focused can be made so much
easier by just eliminating distractors. Turn
off your computer, turn off your phone,
strip bare to only the essentials you will
need to practice. If possible practice
somewhere other than home. »»»
in this modern
age everyone has
to deal with a
constant assault
of distractions.

PART 4:
WHAT SHOULD
I PRACTICE?
« How to decide what you should
spend your time practicing »

14 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
Consult your goals.
Not knowing what to practice
is something we’ve all been
through. After all, there are so many
things you could be doing, how do you
possibly choose? Or perhaps you actually
don’t even know what you should be
practicing to become a better jazz
musician.
One thing to keep in mind is that
musicianship is a journey. Don’t think for
a second that if you could just finally play
at faster tempos, or play better lines over
rhythm changes that you will have finally
arrived. You will always be slightly un-
satisfied with where you are at, which if
channeled in a positive way can be a great
thing!
So don’t get overwhelmed by how much
there is to actually learn. Consider the
path you are on as an epic journey that
you will continue to embark on for the
rest of your life. Decide today that you
are in this thing for the long run.
The good news is if you have already
defined your goals as a musician you are
already off to the right start. Your long
term goals should be informing your short
term goals which in turn will be informing
what skills you practice day to day. This is
why your goals are so important. They
will directly impact the trail you blaze in
order to arrive at them. Let your goals be
the most important guide to what you will
actually practice.
Practice what’s
ailing you.
Here’s another little bit I learned from
Bruce Forman: practice the things that
are holding you back at the moment. Fix
what is broken. In other words, if you’ve
been going to jam sessions or gigs and
you don’t know a lot of the tunes that
are being called, you need to focus on
learning tunes. So then maybe you’ve
been focusing on tunes for a while and
have gotten more under your belt, but
are realizing you can’t improvise well over
them. Start learning solo’s or phrases from
recordings or isolate chord progressions
giving you trouble. Perhaps after that
you notice that your technical abilities
aren’t allowing you to play the things you
want to play. Focus on arpeggios, scales,
patterns or whatever it is you need to do
to improve your technique.
Becoming a better musician requires
a constant balancing act. Focusing too
much on one thing will lead to neglect of
something else. It’s good to try to have a
balanced practice session, but that’s not
always so realistic.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t always
have time to have a balanced practice
session. I don’t have the same amount
Becoming a better
musician requires
a constant
balancing act.

WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM 15
of time to practice as I did in college. I
have bills to pay, more responsibilities
and relationships to maintain. As much as
I would like to have a perfectly balanced
practice session, sometimes I have a gig
coming up that I have to learn a lot of
music for. My time and energy needs to
be focused on the most pressing issues in
front of me.
This is reality. We live multi-faceted busy
lives. It’s important to spend your practice
time wisely and define what your weak areas
are at the moment. Ask yourself: What
issue is the most pressing? Then make sure
that it’s #1 on your practice routine.
What should a
jazz musician be
practicing?
Everyone has their own philosophies on
what exactly a jazz musician should be
practicing, and a lot of them look quite
different. However, in my experience
there are certain elements that I would
highly recommend all students of jazz to
practice. I believe these things address
the nature from which this music was
born and help you relate skill on your
instrument to actually play jazz.
Fundamentals.
Everyone seems to avoid them like the
plague. Some perceive them as reserved
only for beginners. They have little to
nothing to do with actually playing jazz,
but everything to do with learning how
to play your instrument and maintaining
a well-oiled machine. Practicing scales,
arpeggios, patterns, and basic theoretical
concepts are important to developing a
map of your instrument.
It’s like moving to a city for the first time.
At first you don’t know your way around,
you’re not sure which roads lead to which,
and you are unfamiliar with the territory.
After a while you start going down different
streets outside of your block, exploring
areas that were previously unknown. As
time progresses you become acquainted
with navigating your new city, and even
learn about some secret spots that not
too many know about.
Fundamentals help you explore your
instrument, and maintain familiarity
with how to navigate it. Don’t make the
mistake of undermining their value!
Learn tunes.
I was taking a lesson from Peter Bernstein
one time, and I just couldn’t resist the
temptation to ask him what stuff he was
practicing when he was younger. Without
hesitation he told me: “Tunes man. I
learned a lot of tunes. I let them teach me
how to play.”
Fundamentals
help you explore
your instrument.

16 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
Personally, I love that: I let the tunes teach
me how to play. The answers to almost
everything you want to know about playing
jazz are in the tunes. In them you will find
gold mines of harmonic and melodic
content that will challenge and instruct you.
Just to make sure we’re on the same page
when I talk about tunes, I’m referring to
the collection of songs that throughout
jazz history have been adopted and
consistently played by jazz musicians. We
call them “jazz standards”.
I consider jazz standards to fall under
several different categories .
A lot of these tunes come out of what
we call “The Great American Songbook”,
which are popular American songs
mostly written for musicals and film that
came pre-dominantly from the 1920’s-
1950. Examples include: The Way You
Look Tonight , My Shining Hour , Night and
Day , Body and Soul , I’ll Be Seeing You and
countless others.
Another category I’ll call “Jazz Originals”,
which are tunes that were composed by
notable jazz musicians and have been
continually played since conception.
Think artists like Miles Davis, Charlie
Parker, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane,
Horace Silver and Thelonious Monk. I
would even consider Duke Ellington’s
music to be under this category, though
many would disagree and put him under
the Great American Songbook category.
The big difference is these tunes
weren’t being covered, whereas jazz
musicians were covering Great American
Songbook tunes. They were composed
by jazz musicians for jazz musicians. Some
examples include: Ornithology , So What ,
Giant Steps , Well You Needn’t , JuJu , Four ,
and Watermelon Man . These are just
scratching the surface.
Then I would say there’s a category that
would entail music that was adopted
by jazz musicians that came outside of
the United States, mainly from Brazil
and other parts of Latin America. Think
Antonio Carlos Jobim. Some of these are
Bossa Nova’s like The Girl From Ipanema ,
How Insensitive , Triste , Desafinado , Luiza
and Corcovado among others.
Why learn jazz
standards?
If you can, think of jazz like a house. Bear
with me. It all starts with a foundation.
The foundation holds up the rest of the
structure, and it’s shape helps define
what the rest of the design will look
like. It has plenty of room for expansion
and growth. As time goes on different
tenants will come and go to inhabit
the house, but its original design will
always influence the way it is furnished.
The house may get new paint jobs and
change, but the foundation will always
remain the same.
Every song
presents its own
set of harmonic
and melodic
challenges.

WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM 17
Part of the foundation of jazz is the
repertoire upon which it was built. For
jazz musicians, standards are the vehicles
that we use to learn how to improvise.
The language of this music can be heard
and studied by listening to how the
greats navigated these tunes. Every song
presents its own set of harmonic and
melodic challenges. The more tunes you
know, the more your ability to improvise
musically will expand. Delving deep into this
music will give you a firm understanding
of its tradition and everything that has
happened to it since.
I’ve heard some jazz students tell me that
they don’t really know a lot of tunes. They
prefer to write their own music because
that’s their “thing”. The problem is they are
missing out on truly understanding what
this music is about and where it came
from. I have never heard of a successful
jazz musician who doesn’t know a decent
amount of standards, whether they stuck
to the tradition or not. They all did their
homework to get where they are, and so
should you.
Let the tunes teach you how to play.
Learn solos/
transcribe.
A pivotal, musically valuable time in my life
was the year I took off after high school
to practice and study jazz before going to
college. I spent that entire year practicing,
studying with my teacher, gigging and
teaching guitar lessons.
One of the things my teacher had me do
was learn 32 bars of a solo each week
which I had to play for him at the next
lesson. Now 32 bars a week may sound
like a ridiculous amount of music to
memorize, and trust me it was. It was
incredibly hard to sustain, and in hindsight
I would say it was too much information
to retain. Sometimes less is more.
Needless to say, I learned so much in that
year from learning those solo’s alone. It
opened up my ears wide and it jump-
started my vocabulary like you wouldn’t
believe. To me learning lines, phrases,
choruses, and even entire solos of jazz
greats is a must.
I remember when I started it was hard at
first to hear the notes being played and
then translate them to my instrument.
It was because my ears weren’t well
developed, but the more I did it the
easier it got.
I didn’t always remember how to play
everything I had learned, but I had played
all of it so much that slowly but surely it
learning lines,
phrases, choruses,
and even entire
solos of jazz
greats is a must.

18 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
would sink into my subconscious. Not
only did it increase my knowledge of
bebop and jazz vocabulary, it helped me
open up ability on my instrument as well.
I think it’s important to learn everything
by ear and commit it to memory. Only
then will you truly internalize it. That being
said, it’s also a great idea to write down
whatever you learn as well. Notating
phrases and solos can be incredibly useful
for visualizing or keeping track of your
work so you can reference it later.
Do as your teacher
says.
I believe that having a great teacher to
help guide you down the right path is
one of the best ways you can spend
your money as a musician. Getting
one-on-one personal instruction from
a qualified teacher is something that
every musician who wants to truly
improve should do.
I’ve had a number of great teachers
throughout the years. One of the most
impactful teachers I ever had didn’t even
play my instrument. He was a piano player,
but his mentorship and direction was
everything I needed to really get my foot
in the jazz door. I’ve also studied with a lot
of great jazz guitarists such as Vic Juris,
Peter Bernstein, Steve Cardenas, and the
excellent Seattle-based guitarist Dave
Petersen. My time spent with all of them
was extremely valuable. They provided
me with such a wealth of information and
experiences that I wouldn’t have traded
for anything.
Start studying with a great teacher on a
consistent basis and actually take his or
hers advice. Don’t just show up to your
lesson, spend the money, and leave. Go
home and practice the material that was
given to you!
It seems like simple advice, but as a
teacher myself I’ve seen so many
students throw away their lessons by
not going home and practicing the
things I told them to do. Doesn’t seem
like a good use of time and money
right? »»»
Start studying
with a great
teacher on a
consistent basis

PART 5:
HOW MUCH SHOULD
I PRACTICE?
« How often and how long »

20 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
How long?
As I mentioned earlier, I used to
practice ridiculously long hours.
The year I had between high school and
college I would practice an average of 6
hours a day, sometimes more sometimes
less. My first two years of college I kept
up similar practice regiments. The longest
practice session I ever had was 10 hours
long, and I don’t say that in a bragging
sort of way. The truth is not even half of
those 10 hours were productive.
I wouldn’t say I regret having practiced so
much. It was a phase. I had the time to do
it, and I was going to school for music. But
would I say it was necessary? Certainly not.
In fact in many ways it was unhealthy for
me. I put a lot of pressure and stress upon
myself which in turn caused me a lot of
trouble…but more on that another time.
Depending on where you’re at in your life,
what your responsibilities are, and what
your life focus is, the amount of time you
can and should practice will vary.
This all goes back to why we made goals
for ourselves and then wrote down what
we were going to practice in the first place.
The point of it was to bring direction and
focus to our practice sessions and to bring
out the most productivity as possible. If
you are prepared and focused you can
accomplish a lot in less time.
There is no practice session too short
or too long. If you only have 30 minutes
to practice that’s great! If you have one
hour to practice that’s great! If you have
3 hours to practice go for it! Just make
sure productivity is your priority not the
number of hours you practice.
How often?
It has been noted that the great classical
pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said: “If I
don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t
practice for two days, my wife knows it. If
I don’t practice for three days, the world
knows it.”
Everybody knows that the only way to
truly master anything is to be consistent.
Practicing even just a little bit every day is
obviously ideal. It’s far better to have short
practice sessions everyday than have one
long practice session a week, however it’s
not always possible to fit practice times
into our daily schedule.
Make it your goal to practice consistently.
If not every day, then be sure it’s a given
set of days per week. Challenge yourself
but don’t burn yourself out. Remember:
practicing still needs to be fun .»»»
Challenge
yourself but
don’t burn
yourself out.

« Concluding what we learned
about practicing »
PART 6:
WRAPPING IT UP.

22 WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM
The Conclusion.
It all starts with inspiration.
Without inspiration you are
dead in the water. You need to
intentionally listen to jazz and remain
curious about music in order to instill a
passion and desire to improve.
The most important thing you can do to
set yourself up for success in the practice
room is to set goals. Allow yourself to
dream. Delve deep within yourself to
identify what exactly you want out of
music. Once you’ve established what your
goals are, write down what you are going
to practice before starting your session.
Preparation and organization is key.
Before starting to practice, you need
to eliminate distractors. Shut down the
phone, close the computer, and make sure
your environment is conducive to learning.
In the practice room you need to consult
your goals to help you decide what you
should practice. Be sure to practice the
things that are holding you back. Prioritize
the concepts you are struggling with over
others. Be sure to have a good teacher
to help guide you and then practice the
things your teacher gives you.
These are all essential for developing
yourself as a jazz musician.
Don’t over practice, just make sure the
time you spend practicing is focused and
productive. Practice consistently for the
best results and be sure to challenge
yourself.
Remember that practicing should be fun
and coming from a place of inspiration.
Don’t allow practicing to cause you stress
and anxiety. Enjoy it. Do all of this and
you’ll find your music taking you places
you never thought you could go. »»»
Jazz musicians should be sure to
include these important elements
in their practice sessions:
• Learn jazz standards
• Learn solos/transcribe
• Fundamentals
Practice
consistently for
the best results
and be sure to
challenge yourself.

WWW.LEARNJAZZSTANDARDS.COM 23
BEFORE YOU GO…
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fact, we have so much that it can be overwhelming! That’s why we created six portals to lead you to our
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