What Should I Practice (JazzAdvice.com)
RoyMusicUSA posted a link to a website called JazzAdvice.com. It was started by two young jazzers named Forrest Wernick and Eric O’Donnell. He shared a free presentation that they created called What Should I Practice? The 3 Essential Pieces to Practicing Jazz Improvisation. Its the best thing I’ve ever read on what to practice to develop a musical vocabulary.
Although it has both jazz and improvisation in the title, I look at it as universal – not necessarily style-agnostic though, because it can be applied to any style of music. Essentially, its about studying pieces of music – from short phrases and solos to lengthier parts, basically whatever catches your ear – and learning to play them. Then, dissecting them to see why they move you and creating your own variations thereof.
The entire learning process is broken into 3 actions:
- Get more language
- Develop the language you have
- Work on songs
These actions aren’t linear either. Each informs the other.
The presentation goes into detail about each and includes a short detour into scales. In it, they basically say that scales and chords are the beginning, but that ultimately, analyzing the language of our heroes is what helps us to create a sound that we love, and helps to evolve the language that we’re practicing. I’ve read similar advice to this, but not quite as well-expressed. Its really beautiful if you think about it.
The 2nd half has a section specifically about practice, and its a goldmine. They go into each of the 3 actions and give explicit examples and really explore the process of each. It has to be read to be believed. Its the most explicit outline I’ve ever seen on practicing along with both theoretical and practical application.
So, before I gush anymore, visit their website and read the presentation. Its hosted at SlideShare and also embedded below. Enjoy!