Jazz 101: Tips for Those Who Want to Learn Jazz

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Jazz music is a creative fusion of everything that’s good about music. It has rhythm, style, and improvisation, among others. Even if you’re playing a cover, you can make it sound like an original. Jazz is magical journey into the world of music. It can be quite complicated, too, so if you’re trying to learn how to sing or play jazz music, you’ll have a lot of things to consider.

To help you out, here are some tips that you might find useful.

Musical Skills  

Playing jazz music will require you to have basic musical skills. You don’t have to be an expert, but it is important that you know and practice the fundamentals of this music genre. There are three things you need to focus on here: basic scales, the 7th chords, and the instruments.

The first thing you need to do is familiarize the natural minor scales, the major scale, as well as the Mixolydian scale and the Dorian minor scale. These are the basic sounds that you’ll hear in jazz. Additionally, you’ll also need to understand and familiarize these scales because they can be used for improvisation.

Second, you should know how to construct chords. The most important of these is the 7th chords, which has several varieties. This is what you need if your goal is to achieve jazz harmony in the easiest way possible.

Third, you have to familiarize yourself with all the instruments jazz musicians use. Again, you don’t have to be an expert; you just have to have basic information about it. You have to have basic knowledge about each instrument so you’ll also gain a better understanding of jazz music and how it is played or interpreted.

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Research Everything That You Can About the History of Jazz

Even if you have no intention of becoming a master or of performing jazz music professionally, you still need to know and understand its origins. Find time to research about the most important aspects of jazz history. Doing so will greatly help you understand jazz, especially since it has an interesting history. This is where you can learn about the different jazz styles that came out one after the other. To get started, search for sources – videos – online. There are a lot of them.

Listen to a Lot of Jazz Music

If you are seriously considering learning how to play jazz music, you have to listen to a lot of jazz music. Don’t listen to just one or two, or even three; listen to as many artists as you can. You have a long list of excellent jazz musicians to choose from. Some examples are the great Louis Armstrong, the legendary Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Stan Getz. You may have a difficult time looking for their music in iTunes, but you can always go and check their albums at the record store. Or, you can download from reliable music sites.

Learn Jazz Standards

Just like the lessons you were taught in school, you need to learn the basic jazz tunes. While it is nowhere near what basic is, jazz standards are certainly a good starting point for anyone who intends to learn how to play the music. Jazz standard is the usual repertoire of musicians who regularly play in bars and clubs. Learning and familiarizing these tunes will not only give you a better understanding of the music but will also help you learn how to communicate with other jazz musicians. Jazz standards are also good practice material for chord progressions.

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Practice Playing With Other Jazz Musicians

Once you’ve familiarized and practiced playing jazz standards, you can move on and start practicing with other jazz musicians. Although it is not required, choosing the musicians you practice with can help a lot. It is important that the musicians you interact with understand what you want to achieve and are like-minded. This will create a general atmosphere of congeniality and respect – for each other and for one another’s artistry.

When you’ve accomplished all these steps, find a good mentor or teacher who is willing to help you study and continuously learn. Studying, continuous learning and practice are the best weapons to mastering jazz music.