Pro Tips for Beginner Jazz Players : Get in a Routine That Works

The only way to be successful is to get yourself set up on a routine that works. Guitar practice will be the key to getting you to where you want to be as a musician. Jazz guitar is not a for the faint of heart, and requires hours of practice to be “good” at it. Here are a few ways you can set up a routine that produces real results.

Warm Up

Before you embark on your very first practice session, and the ones to follow, you’ll want to make sure you’re good and warmed up. You can do this by warming up your fingers by playing up and down your fretboard. When your fingers are warmed up, you’ll be better able to make the somewhat difficult finger movements requires when you play guitar.

Even a basic chord will require you to put your fingers in positions they aren’t accustomed to. So just like a singer, you need to warm up your tools (fingers and hands) before you get started. If you already know how to play a tune or two, start with what you know to launch your practice session.

Get Technical

Next, you’ll want to explore your technical side. You should spend approximately 10 percent of your time in guitar practice studying technical guitar scales. Learn the basic chord and scales for at least two octaves to shape the way you approach your practice.

Learn the Language

Another part of your routine should be spent learning the language of music, particularly jazz guitar. After all, the most important part of jazz is improvisation, without understanding the language of this genre you won’t be able to do solos. If you want to sound like a professional, study like a professional. Learn to speak the language to be successful.

Transcription is an important part of this. When you learn it correctly, you will begin to internalize the music which helps you kill it once you start playing it. Practice your jazz phrases first harmonically and then rhythmically to get the best use out of your time spent doing so.

Strive to learn a new lick every single week during your practice, if you’re serious about developing your understanding and jazz language. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to 8 or fewer bars. Guitar practice has to be somewhat entertaining for you to keep it up, so don’t press yourself to complete more than that in a given 7-day span.

Gain Access to the Best Resources

Clearly, when you’re learning anything you need access to the best resources and tools available. Otherwise, you could fall short of your dream of being a killer jazz musician one day. Even when it comes to your basic chord structure, you do need to have the foundation of information under your belt to get you started on the right path.

Have friends who play jazz guitar? If so, ask them for advice on where to find the best resources. Ask what they used to become the players they are today and follow through with what they tell you. Definitely don’t hesitate from investing in resources that are proven to work. Be open to ideas and don’t shrink away from courses if you’re truly serious about becoming a successful musician.

Alternatively, the internet is chalk full of free resources for you to take advantage of. Try YouTube for tutorials, or even scour Google for free e-Books and transcriptions to explore. Don’t give up, but also be sure to follow through with the advice you’re supplied with or your research will be useless. Remember, it’s practice that makes perfect, not reading…

Be sure to improve your cord dictionary and immerse yourself in all things jazz to get yourself in the right frame of mind to begin playing.

Begin with Open Chords

Another tool is to use basic open chords as your foundation. All aspiring jazz guitar players had to start with these chords, so don’t feel bad about it when you start with them. Each of these basic chords can be played without being fretted for the most part. Translation: they’re easier to play. Also, you can be confident they sound clearer.

Learn and Study Music Theory

Music theory is equally important. No guitar practice is complete without learning or investing time in studying music theory. When you learn music theory, you empower yourself to be a full-blown musician, and that is priceless.

Get a Teacher!

Of course, one of the best ways to be a killer musician is to have the right teacher on your side. Customizing your learning experience will put you on the path to success.

Use these tips to ramp up your guitar practice. By putting them into practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the jazz musician you always dreamed of being.