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2 Essential Apps for Improvisers

POSTED ON June 24, 2016   |   Post A Comment
I’d like to share a couple fantastic mobile apps. (These personal recommendations are not sponsored.)

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Do Jazz Players Hear Everything They Play?

POSTED ON June 17, 2016   |   2 Comments

A reader sent me a thoughtful series of questions:

I’ve been reading through The Living Jazz Tradition and thinking about what you and many jazz educators write about: the importance of being able to play what you hear. I understand that in terms of playing jazz heads, simple melodies, tunes etc…. But I was listening to this interview with Lee Konitz and he raises a good point that the interviewer in turn seems to struggle with the answer:

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Who Cares if You Practice?

POSTED ON June 10, 2016   |   2 Comments

As players and teachers, many of us obsess over what to practice, how to practice, and how many hours to practice. This often puts the cart in front of the horse.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Jason James

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Ideal Music Under Perfect Conditions

POSTED ON June 08, 2016   |   Post A Comment

I want to share a writing exercise from composer, pianist, and author W.A. Mathieu. If you feel overwhelmed or frustrated with trying to measure success by someone else’s model, this prompt will help you define a personal musical vision.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/alexanderward12

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Playing Changes Part 8: Secondary Dominants

POSTED ON June 02, 2016   |   Post A Comment

The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press.

Index of Playing Changes articles

Secondary Dominants

Hearing, internalizing, and improvising over secondary dominant harmony is essential for playing jazz repertoire from the 1920s through the 1950s.

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This Might Not Work

POSTED ON May 26, 2016   |   Post A Comment

The mindset for creating a body of original work is simple, yet enormously challenging.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Florence Ivy

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Presenting the Game Symphony Workshop

POSTED ON May 19, 2016   |   Post A Comment
I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Game Symphony Workshop. This creative music experience helps formally trained musicians get off the page through Soundpainting, musical adaptations of theater games, and creative chamber music.
Steve and Kaley 2

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Playing Changes Part 7: Learning Tunes Functionally

POSTED ON May 12, 2016   |   Post A Comment

The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press.

Index of Playing Changes articles

The first article in the Playing Changes series helped you visualize and hear melodies by thinking in scale degrees. This concept also applies to hearing tonal harmony.

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Graphic Scores by Students

POSTED ON May 07, 2016   |   Post A Comment

Collaborative graphic scores are extraordinary vehicles for teaching composition in the classroom.

Graphic Score by Cheryl Leonard, Photo courtesy of Charles Kremenak (more…)

Playing Changes Part 6: Color Tones

POSTED ON April 30, 2016   |   Post A Comment

The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press.

Index of Playing Changes articles

Color tones are pitches added to a chord that change the sonority, but not the function.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Pacheco Photography (more…)

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