If you have to make a 30 minute Jazz Practice Routine, what should you include?
We are all different so there is not one solution that fits everybody, but you don’t want to waste time, or leave out important things to practice.
In this video I am going to go over what I think a 30 minute practice session should include. I am of course a guitarist so it will be aimed at jazz guitar practice, but I am sure the philosphy and topics will fit all instruments. Some of the topics that I think are important for a jazz practice routine would be:
I am really curious about how your practice routine is, so if you have a routine then please leave a comment with a list of stuff you work on. This is useful for people looking for inspiration and certainly also for you to evaluate how you work. I will do the same 🙂
Scale Practice actually goes way beyond having to work on exercises. Taking phrases or licks and moving them around is a great way to expand your abilities on your instrument.
On the guitar moving to another key is maybe not as difficult as staying in the same key and moving around the neck, and you need to be able to do this if you want to be able to freely transpose songs.
In this video I will go over this exercise and demonstrate what the thinking is and what gain from working on it.
The PDF is available in the Patreon Facebook Group.
There are two important skills you can work on to get better at playing better solos and most of the time we never talk about them because they are either forgotten or under developed. Yet they are both essential parts of what we end up playing.
In this video I will go over how you can use harmonic analysis and compositions as tools in developing your ability to play better lines and also how to increase your vocabulary. The examples make use of both Charlie Parker licks as an inspiration and a way of implementing an arpeggio in your lines.
PDF with sheets/tab for the examples available on my Patreon Page!
If you don’t want to waste your time you want to make sure to turn everything you practice into material that you can use when you improvise.
We all practice scales and work on our technique by doing Scale Exercises, arpeggios, diatonic triads and patterns. In this video I want to show you how you can take your exercises and start turning them into jazz licks.
The Diatonic Triads in a Scale Position
Let’s just start with an exercise that I am sure you already practice: Diatonic Triads. Here below I have written it out in the key of C major:
Turning this exercise into a II V I is shown here below where it is used on a II V I in C: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7:
I am using the descending version of the exercise above on the Dm7. It is then used with the triads of Dm, C and finally B dim. From here it continues with a G7 altered lick before resolving to C.
Diatonic Triads in Patterns
A great way to practice diatonic triads is to play them in a pattern so that you break up the order of the notes. In the example below I have written out the diatonic triads in a 3 1 5 pattern:
Using this type of exercise in a jazz lick is a great way to add some larger intervals to your lines.
The lick here below is using the F,G and Am triads over the Dm7. It then continues with a G7 altered line that is based on a Bmaj7(#5) arpeggio before it resolves to Cmaj7.
Triads along the neck
Another way to practice the triads is to play them on a string set along the neck. This is shown in a 2-1 fingering here below.
Turning this into a lick is easy. I am using the F,Em and Dm triads descending and then continue the triad idea on the G altered with Eb and F dim triads to resolve to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.
A good variation on this is to use Db and Eb triads on the G7. This idea is shown here below:
Changing the way we practice scales
In the previous examples I had to rely on scale exercises that are stepwise in nature, so the triads are played in stepwise order: C, Dm, Em etc.
The problem with this is that If you use triads on a Dm7 chord then Dm, F and Am are fine, but Em and G are less strong and therefore difficult to use in a lick.
One way of getting around that is to look at how the Dm, F and Am are a 3rd apart in the scale. This means that we have can start working on practicing the triads in 3rds in the scale to get them together in the sets that work together. An example of how you can do this is shown here:
The lick below is using the triads like this, and they are played in a 5 1 3 patttern. The triads used then are Dm, F and Am which are all closely related to a Dm7.
Beyond the triads: Shell voicings
Of course you can apply this to any type of structure. In the example here below I am doing hte same type of exercise as example 7, but now using Shell Voicings.
Turning this into a lick is shown in example 10 where I use Fmaj7 and Am7 shell voicings on the Dm7. On the G7 I am also using a Db7 shell voicing and combining that with an AbmMaj7 arpeggio before resolving to C.
Putting it all together
As you can see in these example it is not only important to try to use the exercises you do, but it can also be a great idea to try to shape your exercises so that they are immediately easier to use when improvising or composing lines.
It makes a lot of sense to try to work a lot with 3rds because it reflects how we build chords and keep the triads closely related to the chord you want to use them on.
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Every body wants to have good time and work on playing swinging rhythms. But if you only do this with a backing track, you might be in trouble!
With this video I want to discuss why there is a much more effective way to practice to improve your rhythm than using backing tracks. The video will give you a few metronome exercises and a way to start working on feeling subdivision.
Feeling subdivision and working on relating what you hear and play to your subdivison grid is a very useful way to get better time and also to get better at playing together with others.
It is difficult to find a guitar practice routine that is efficient and it is important to think about whether your practice time is spend in the most effective way.
In this video I go over 3 problems that are very common in a guitar practice schedule and I talk about how you evaluate and how to practice guitar effectively. Each segment is turned into a question that you can ask yourself to evaluate your practice and I include a real example of a topic you might work on and demonstrate and discuss how you can approach this.
The examples include a George Benson Phrase and an Imaginary Michael Brecker Lick.
List of content:
0:27 Intro – and the three questions to test your own practice
Working on Exercises while improvising is a very efficient way to improve your jazz improvisation. Developing you abilities while improvising means that you are finalizing what you have checked out as exercises or written new material with. In this video I will cover 3 exercises that you can add to your jazz guitar practice routine and help different aspects of improvising and translating your technical skills to your improvised solos.
I have also added an extra exercise that will give you a new way of developing and understanding of the harmony and voice-leading plus elp you come up with new licks or lines.
List of contents:
1:32 Solo only using Basic Diatonic Arpeggios 2:11 Discussion of Arpeggio solo exercise 4:32 Solo in one position 5:08 What to take away from soloing in one place on the neck 6:59 Continuous Motion solo 7:36 What to focus on and learn from Continuous Neck movement on the neck 9:43 When and how to use these exercises 11:04 The Bonus exercise to develop new licks or lines 13:31 How to make guide tones and what you can work on with this exercise.
This weeks Q&A on Transcribing Chord progressions, Practice goals, Up tempo soloing and how to work towards it, and if Jazz skills translate directly to other genres.
In the video I talk about what and how you learn from transcribing and how you work with transcriptions in different ways. I also talk about how to incorporate licks and melodic material into your jazz guitar solos.
If you have any questions on guitars, effects, improvisation, technique or improvisation then leave a comment on my video or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram.
0:14 Intro 1:15 Learning tunes by ear 10:00 Practice goals, what to work towards? 13:15 Uptempo solos and how to practice that 20:16 Applying Jazz Skills to other genres 26:25 Outro + Questions?