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Basic Training

  • Basic Training: Syncopation

    Jazzed Magazine | December 1, 2011Melodic Syncopation Part 1 Read More...
  • Yoruban Game

    Jazzed Magazine | March 23, 2011This is a topic I discuss often at Camp MMW and on my latest educational DVD, LIFE ON DRUMS (Vongole Films). Not only do we (Medeski Martin Wood) stress this as a practice method in our music workshops, but we also use “Yoruban Game” for composing and improvising as a band. Conceptually: when two or […] Read More...
  • Transcribing A Score for Big Band

    Jazzed Magazine | January 16, 2011Sooner or later, a jazz composition student will be asked to transcribe a solo from an album as a way of honing and improving listening and writing skills. Despite two degrees in classical composition, I was never tasked, as a student, with this kind of assignment. Since graduating with an M.A. (composition) from Hunter College […] Read More...
  • Creating and Using Synthetic Scales for Guitar

    Jazzed Magazine | November 19, 2010Major and minor scales and their related modes and arpeggios are the cornerstones of improvisation. But sometimes “home improvements” are needed. You can infuse some sonic curb appeal with synthetics. Synthetics build upon what you already know. By adding key notes or leaving some out, you can quickly produce an interesting variation on a scale […] Read More...
  • Learn a Jazz Tune in Three Steps

    Jazzed Magazine | March 24, 20101. Melody From an accurate lead sheet, play through the melody from three to 10 times with a metronome set to a medium tempo. After you find yourself playing the song while not really reading the notes anymore, turn the sheet over and play it again from memory. If you make a mistake, just continue […] Read More...
  • Where’s the Beat?

    Jazzed Magazine | March 1, 2010The term, “meter” can be defined as a repetitive pattern of strong and weak beats in an arranged rhythm. This does not imply that the rhythms themselves are necessarily repetitive, but a repeated pattern of pulses or beats is clearly evident. Duple meter in the music will feel like “strong/weak/strong/weak.” Triple meter in the music […] Read More...
  • Ear Training 101

    Jazzed Magazine | September 14, 2009There are three qualities that every good jazz musician must possess: a great ear, a strong sense of time, and a unique sound. While there are many different ways to approach these skills, the first two always require a certain amount of drilling. The ear can be thought of as a muscle and to a […] Read More...
  • Teaching Jazz Guitar To The Freshman Student

    Jazzed Magazine | March 18, 2009The student new to jazz faces many obstacles and I believe this is especially true for the student of jazz guitar. In my many years of private and group instruction, I have encountered students with a mixture of no experience, little experience, or a fair amount of prior instruction. Oftentimes, the student with no prior […] Read More...
  • Applying Guide Tones to Improvisation

    Jazzed Magazine | August 19, 2008Many times a student has come to me and said, “I need to learn all my scales, so I can become a jazz musician!” Most scales consist of seven notes and I might say to that student, “Let’s just play one of the notes from the scale, say the 3rd or the 7th.” – Read More...
  • Navigating the Be-boppers’ Harmonic Galaxy

    Jazzed Magazine | March 11, 2008The be-boppers’ harmonic galaxy is based on the Diminished 7th arpeggio. It is the axis upon which all is built. #149; For this reason, the first thing I do when I look at a new set of changes is to look for diminished relations. #149; These relations quickly define key centers, dominant relationships, and significant […] Read More...
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