Yeah, this thread is about jazz. And school.

So anyways, I've just got the results from the last year of High School and I passed music with an A, which in turn means I've met the conditions for the college course I wanted to get on to (Advanced Higher Music pass at B).

I've started thinking about getting ready to audition for University, and I've decided to go down the jazz route (as I realise that students usually study jazz or classical).
But, I've realised that I don't have a clue about jazz*. Sure I know Autumn Leaves and Take Five and Giant steps, but I don't know a hell of a lot.

So UG MT, I need to know, where should I begin in exploring jazz for academic purposes?

*This doesn't mean I don't enjoy it and I'm only doing it for the sake of doing it - I enjoy jazz on the odd occasion I listen to it. The only thing is I've never really found any decent resources or people who are interested it, and so I've never properly explored it. Now with University looming in the distant, I figure I should learn and listen to a lot more.
Call me Batman.
Personally I listen to Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker, Monk, and some others. I don't listen just to be-pop, or fusion, I try to listen to as much jazz as I can from different types. Give those guys a listen.

Learn alot of standards from the real book (get a copy if you dont have one yet) and build up your repertoire as much as you can. Play along with band in a box or play along tracks if you can't play often with other musicians. If you can play with other musicians play with as many you can get, especially with jazz, its best to learn to play along with different harmonies, rather than playing the pieces alone.

Practise arppeggios and scales for major, mixolydian, minors (harmonic, melodic, and others), dorian, b5, #9,and all these other variations. Also, whole tone scale, diminished, half diminished, of course blues scale, lydian.

Learn the scales in thirds, fourths, fifths, and sixths.

Thats some stuff I can think of right now. If you already know that then good! your on the right track I guess.

Btw, like you, Im planning on studying jazz in Uni, either performing it (with saxophone though, not guitar, as sax is my primary instrument) or doing jazz studies. Good luck man, and have fun! There is so much to jazz its unbelievable. Look around for as much stuff as you like, listen to it often (but try and pay attention to it, rather than just have it on in the background) and listen to other performers. Catch as many live shows as you can, whether local artists or big name guys.
Last edited by Dookie92 at Aug 6, 2009,
Get yourself The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine, it's an extremely good place to start; you get introduced to everything you need to, and most importantly you get notated examples of all of the techniques used by real jazz musicians... means you become familiar with the sound, which is really important when studying jazz. It also has an extensive list of recommended recordings and jazz standards to learn at the back. Well worth the money.
That DOES sound like a good book, I will definetly look into it.
Call me Batman.
I would say just play. Maybe get lesson from a jazz teacher at a local college?
OH And listen to John Scofield. He'll get you into jazz guitar.
buy 'the real book' and 'Jazzology' together they cover everything you need to know including standards, theory, improvisational skills and even songs and albums you should listen to. You really can't go wrong with those two books.
I posted earlier, but I forgot, an online real book: http://books.google.com/books?id=vlP2sv6GuJIC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false

I got the link off someone on here not long ago (but alas I cannot remember who deserves credit... at any rate it is not me), not used it much yet, but it seems like any other real book, might be of some use to you.
yeah, also check out scribd, it has some real books. I needed to see a piece one night before a recording, but I had lost my book. But since it was some edition not many copies were made of, there was only one place I could get a copy of it in Athens. scribd had the exact edition I was looking for, and it saved me.

actually, type in jazz in scribd, alot of good stuff might come up.
I did the same thing as you want to do this past year and I'll be attending college to study jazz and music education. The best thing you can do is get a teacher who is or was also a gigging jazz musician. Go to some local jazz clubs, and if you like someone's playing, ask them if they teach. You could also contact guitar teachers at university jazz programs near you. You should also be listening, and trying your best to find some people to play with. If you say you can't you aren't trying hard enough. Also, I would pick a tune and work on it because you'll need atleast 3 tunes if you plan to do auditions. Finally working on your site reading will set you apart from many applicants because most of them won't be able to read. This helped me get into a program where I was up against guitar players who could play over changes as good as me, but couldn't read up to the level that I could.
12 fret fury
This is fantastic, a lot of great stuff.

I'll definetly be seeking out a proper teacher when I get to college, but at the moment the area I live in has more sheep than people, and very little in the way of a music scene(the occasional bar gig).
All these standards are great, but there isn't a chance you guys could inform me of some of the more popular ones? There's no way I'm learning 200 standards :P
Call me Batman.
Last edited by J.A.M at Aug 6, 2009,
There are such a huge number of 'standards' aren't there? But what is actually standard depends entirely on the teacher you have... they tend to do what they like. So whilst people may well give you a list, far better would be just to listen to some of the songs (most will be on youtube) and see what you like, there's no better introduction to jazz than actually listening to a lot. And then learn the ones that you like, or the ones that make you wonder what exactly is going on musically. That may seem like somewhat of a cop out reply, but, it really would be the best, and most enjoyable for you.
I think you're right. I'll go dig around for some stuff I like then.
Call me Batman.
Yeah Bro, its all about listening to the music. I look in my Real Book and go through each song and listen to it. Normally I find some that dont do much for me and then I come across some that I absolutely love. So just listen to alot, and try to listen to a variety, or at least a little variety.

There are some lists online of 100 great jazz tunes or the 100 best jazz recordings or artists, albums, and what not. See if you can find some, they sometimes offer a good place to start.
it's good you don't have a clue. Those people that go into college with no knowledge what soever about music, they come out with an A+ in standard jazz and that is all that they can play. They have no creative quirky habits, or rootsy blues tecnique. learn jazz then learn more.

knowledge is wealth
Nothing exists there is no you, no me . . .
Listen to as much jazz as you can, regaurless of your instrument.

Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, Joe Diorio, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Scofield, Charlie Parker etc.

Get yourself as many real books as possible, try and aim for one tune a week, thats what the uni over here requires. Harmonize the melodies, work on improv (obviosly) work on different voicings, reharmonizations, sing the melody etc.

Apparently to be a "good" jazz player you need 300 standards under your belt. Needless to say this is easy said and not so easily done. But start with the common ones

Autumn Leaves
All The Things You Are
Blue Bossa
How Insensitive
Take The A Train
It Dont Mean A Thing
Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars
Stella By Starlight


Learn as much theory as you can, Levines Jazz Theory Book and Jazz Piano Book are both incredibly helpful. David Leibman has some very good books (A Chromatic Approach to jazz harmony and melody)
Quote by J.A.M
I think you're right. I'll go dig around for some stuff I like then.

Yep, before i went into my big band - i never knew how to improvise over jazz progressions, and how to play ninth or thirthteenth chords... go for it!

And if you can't do that, then try to go to a jam or two at some sort of pub - where i live, there are like three pubs who have weekly jams... will be useful

If you can't get in look here - i think there was a website with loads of jazz standard backing tracks for guitar... but if forgot it (i'll edit once i find it)

And lastly listen! Learn from the greats themselves...

good luck!