Heres the thing: I want to be in my school's jazz band, so I can play guitar there, but I need to learn a completly new genre over the course of one summer. To be in the band, I most pass an audition. Currently, I have absoulutely no idea how jazz is played, techniques of jazz or anything else jazz related, and I would really appreciate some help. Also, I would like your opinion on whether the summer will provide me with enough time to learn how to play jazz, pass the audition, and gain a seat in the band. Thanks for the help.

P.S. If you know any links to any informative things throughout the interent about jazz that could help me, of if you know of any good Learn-To-Play Jazz books out there please post here!
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^ Basically what he said. Just learn your chords and learn enough theory that if you come up on something you don't know you can figure it out in a few minutes. That's what I did, and I'd say I'm ok. Also, just incase you ever have to improvise (my teacher just points at me sometimes, and suddenly a guitar solo is completely necessary to the song even thou it's never been before --- during concerts.) I'd learn your pentatonic scales. They're easy to remember and link together to have a pretty decent improv.

Oh, and never, EVER solo in the wrong key... I did that once, I saved myself, but it wasn't good at all.
Dominate seventh chords are mostly used, with extensions or alterations (sharpened or flattened notes). I suggest start by learning the Emaj and the Amaj bar chords and their alterations. Once you get a handle on that and get the hang of reading chord changes quickly, start working on only playing the nessacary notes, such as the 3rd, the 7th, and any extensions/alterations; void the root because it robs clarity from the bass, and the 5th is always optional (unless diminished or augmented). Also, you'll most likely be using the Freddie Green style playing (quarter notes; downstrokes), so work on keeping time and remember to watch the director as much as possible, especially with your periferal vision. Good luck!

EDIT: As for inprov. the biggest thing to do is play around the chords, avoid notes that would dissonate with the chord, and avoid the root of the next chord in the progression.
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Last edited by theacousticpunk at May 2, 2008,
I know its of no help but I am in a similar situation. I want to learn how to play Jazz because basically, I love it, but I play mostly rythme stuff, heavy metal style with only a little bit of lead. I feel like I shine better in the rythme creation area and not the lead. I just don't have what it takes to be a serious shredder. So I have moved onto different areas and techniques, such as Hybrid Picking, but I really want to delve into Jazz so I can add that into the mix, or repitoire. I love the metal versions of Jazz as well, like Meshuggah. And I think thats the way I'm going to learn how to play it. Not by technical terms but by jamming and figuring it out by my own means. Its the way I have always done things. I never had a teacher and I just read and jammed and i know enough to get by, but I have only been playing for three years so I'm still behind when it comes to theory, it'll come in time. I think playing guitar is all about natural progression. Never pushing yourself into areas we are not supposed to be entering.
So maybe that could help you? Its a long shot but just buy some jazz records and play along with them as best as you can. Purchase a book and learn one or two scales. I guess thats the best for you to do. Its what I am hoping to do.
I'm in the same situation as you. An audition is needed to join the Jazz band. I'll also have to learn how to read music (bleh), but I'll try looking for a teacher/tutor over the summer. A teacher is always a good idea, even if you only see them for a month.
The guitar player in our jazz band just plays chords in the background, but for soloes, all he does is bluesy type stuff, but it's all good.
Jazz is probably the most complex genre in western music. Don't expect to learn it the way you would learn another genre.
Learn how to read music. I can't do it (well, I can but so so so slowly. Hence.... I just say I can't read ) but my friend can and he plays in the district jazz band.

Learn theory, and from there how to form chords! When I look at my mates music sheet, some of them are chord sheets with insane chords. If you can't decipher C#9th/add11th (or something), you ain't gonna get far.

Learn your modes, major / minor scales. If you ever have to improvise, use those scales. Once your comfortable with that, get used to following background chords. Any improv is so much better once you can do that!

Learn how to keep in time and different time sigs. You never know when they bust some insane rhythms out!


That is actually a **** load of work to do, so if you really want to play in the jazz band, you are gonna have to work hard! Most of this stuff takes lots of time and work so good luck mate.
There are many chords used in jazz like dominant chords, Major 7th chords, 13th chords, Minor 7 chords, 6th chords, and many more.