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  1. #1

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    So, let's say you've been playing guitar for a long time, but Jazz guitar- not so much.
    So you have found a teacher, and you want to make the most of the next 1.5 weeks before your first ever Jazz guitar lesson. What do you brush up on and make sure you are familiar with?
    I'd like to go in there not feeling like an idiot, (well less of an idiot). So what to cram?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    So, let's say you've been playing guitar for a long time, but Jazz guitar- not so much.
    So you have found a teacher, and you want to make the most of the next 1.5 weeks before your first ever Jazz guitar lesson. What do you brush up on and make sure you are familiar with?
    I'd like to go in there not feeling like an idiot, (well less of an idiot). So what to cram?
    I would pull out scale sheets in G for the major scales (and modes), and the blues scale as well as a basic root 6 and root 5 chord voicing for the major 7, min7, Dom7, Min7B5 Dim7 chords.

    These are the basics that the teacher will build upon (and you will save money if he doesn't have to give you these basics in the first lesson).

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    I would pull out scale sheets in G for the major scales (and modes), and the blues scale as well as a basic root 6 and root 5 chord voicing for the major 7, min7, Dom7, Min7B5 Dim7 chords.
    Ok, thanks for the response. I'm good with all that, except maybe to brush up on the mixed blues scale (R-2-b3-3-4-#4-5-6-b7);
    I guess I'm at the next level. I am pretty familiar with all that. I just don't know much what to do with it.

  5. #4

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    Brush up what you feel you already know , don't cram new stuff its a lesson and the beginning of a process not a test Do you have a tune you enjoy playing that you feel shows where you are at? I believe a good teacher will see where you are at right away and offer a path forward based on what you want to achieve . If this is the first meeting remember you should be assessing how the teacher is relating too and directing you. Don't forget if you are not used to directed disciplined studying it takes a while to become a good/efficient student .

    I recently found a fantastic teacher/player and over the past couple of months can see/hear a lot of progress in my playing but can also see the relationship evolving as we get used to each other .

    Will

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by WillMbCdn5
    Brush up what you feel you already know , don't cram new stuff its a lesson and the beginning of a process not a test Do you have a tune you enjoy playing that you feel shows where you are at? I believe a good teacher will see where you are at right away and offer a path forward based on what you want to achieve . If this is the first meeting remember you should be assessing how the teacher is relating too and directing you. Don't forget if you are not used to directed disciplined studying it takes a while to become a good/efficient student .

    I recently found a fantastic teacher/player and over the past couple of months can see/hear a lot of progress in my playing but can also see the relationship evolving as we get used to each other .

    Will
    All good points. Thank You. Hopefully we get on well as it seems you are.

  7. #6

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    If I was the teacher, I'd expect that I could figure out your status as a player without difficulty.

    What I wouldn't know, is what your goals are. What kind of music? What kind of musician?

    If that's too vague ... who do you like? what band do you wish you could play in? Solo or combo? Do you want to be a so-called "well rounded" jazz player, or are you going for something more specific. Do you want to be a good reader, or do you even care about reading? Stuff like that.

    It seems to me that the more you can communicate your goals, the better.

    But, I can also argue it another way. My own experience is that I wanted to strum folk chords as a kid and I went for lessons. From the first day, my teacher taught me reading. I never would have asked for that. Now, almost every gig I get is because I can read. So, my teacher knew better than I did about what would be good to learn.

  8. #7

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    Maybe a bit off tangent to the OP's question but I would reinforce something RP just said...reading music, being literate in written music is a huge leg up. I was already playing guitar 10 years when I finally buckled down to learn to read and it has paid off too many times to count. I branched off to violin and mandolin later in life and those reading skills made progress on those two instruments much faster and rewarding.

  9. #8

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    As a teacher myself, I'm impressed when students tell me about the music they've been listening to, what inspires them. You'd be amazed at the number of people who ask for jazz guitar lessons who can't name one jazz guitarist. Not even Django! It's not all about what scales and chords you know, but what inspires and motivates you. That will give any sensitive teacher a good insight into you the musician.

  10. #9

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    I would learn a couple of simple Jazz songs. Just learn the melody and the chords. Songs are the launchpad for everything.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  11. #10

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    All great ideas thus far. A few more:


    Try to improvise on a simple blues tune, but with a II-V in the turnaround.

    Can you improvise a little on So What or Impressions?

    Brush up on your basic theory. Can you harmonize the major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales?

  12. #11

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    Having owned my own guitar shop and taught a huge number of students over a 30 year period of time, I would recommend that you listen to as many jazz guitarists as you can before you go to your first lesson so that you can tell him some names of specific jazz guitarists that you like.

    I can't tell you how many times a student would come in and say to me that they wanted to learn how to play jazz guitar like Eric Clapton, Michael Bloomfield, BB King etc!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Can you improvise a little on So What or Impressions?
    This is exactly what I hope to achieve. I play over So What often. But it sounds like my same old minor pent doodling, with some of Mile's lines thrown in. When I try Dorian, it sounds like pointless rambling. Anyway this is my goal. I don't want to learn a bunch of standards, and (I know this will be unpopular here) I don't see a lot to be gained by reading, based on my goals.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstndt
    Can you harmonize the major
    Yes, without hesitation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    , melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales?
    Well kinda. Still takes too much thought in real time. Thank you - it's now on the to do list.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Herron

    I can't tell you how many times a student would come in and say to me that they wanted to learn how to play jazz guitar like Eric Clapton, Michael Bloomfield, BB King etc!!
    Ha, see that's my problem. At present I play Jazz guitar like BB King!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    As a teacher myself, I'm impressed when students tell me about the music they've been listening to, what inspires them. You'd be amazed at the number of people who ask for jazz guitar lessons who can't name one jazz guitarist. Not even Django! It's not all about what scales and chords you know, but what inspires and motivates you. That will give any sensitive teacher a good insight into you the musician.
    Agreed. I'm good in that regard because the "teacher" is a well known player, and I respect and enjoy his work. So he can't say - "Nah, why would would want to play like that guy?"

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    What I wouldn't know, is what your goals are. What kind of music? What kind of musician?

    If that's too vague ... who do you like? what band do you wish you could play in? Solo or combo? Do you want to be a so-called "well rounded" jazz player, or are you going for something more specific. Do you want to be a good reader, or do you even care about reading? Stuff like that.

    It seems to me that the more you can communicate your goals, the better.
    Yes couldn't agree more. I communicated exactly what I want to focus on, and the teacher understands and has no problem with it. I said that I want his improv insights on modal tunes, minor blues, and hard bop.
    I now realize that I should have stated this in the op.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    Ha, see that's my problem. At present I play Jazz guitar like BB King!
    Clearly peripheral to the topic, but I want to put in a good work for BB King's jazz sensibility.

    When interviewed, BB King showed the same familiarity and love for Charlie Christian that his contemporaries did.

    BB improvised, was melodic and and as expressive as anybody. I wouldn't be surprised if he could do quite well playing standards. Anybody heard him do that?

    I consider myself a jazz player, even though I don't use a lot of the usual vocabulary -- and I count BB as a major influence. Not in harmony, but in expressing emotion and using space -- meaning fewer notes, some sustained.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    So, let's say you've been playing guitar for a long time, but Jazz guitar- not so much.
    So you have found a teacher, and you want to make the most of the next 1.5 weeks before your first ever Jazz guitar lesson. What do you brush up on and make sure you are familiar with?
    I'd like to go in there not feeling like an idiot, (well less of an idiot). So what to cram?
    I would review the major scale (in several positions) and modes, and pick two tunes to work on...the head, basic comping, and your best stab at improvisation. And do at least some practicing with a metronome. If you are more advanced, the melodic minor/harmonic minor scale and modes too. But in general, don't worry about it. It's not like you're showing up to play a gig for an audience - your teacher will not really care how well you play; it's your attitude towards learning that will matter. The less you care what your teacher thinks, the better.

  19. #18

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    I think the best thing you can bring with you is a clear set of goals, a firm grasp of what you realistically hope to achieve; examples of players you aspire to emulate. Be specific about the style, decade(s), types of tunes you want to focus on. Check that he/she is familiar with want you want to study and has experience teaching it. You are auditioning the teacher more than auditioning for the teacher.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    I think the best thing you can bring with you is a clear set of goals, a firm grasp of what you realistically hope to achieve; examples of players you aspire to emulate. Be specific about the style, decade(s), types of tunes you want to focus on. Check that he/she is familiar with want you want to study and has experience teaching it. You are auditioning the teacher more than auditioning for the teacher.
    and that can be as simple as:


    1. I want to learn to improvise effectively in an authentic jazz style,
    2. Post-bop seems like a good place to start as I identify with it best, and people are still playing it to a large degree,
    3. Any great post-bop soloist is a good reference "jazz hero", regardless of instrument
    4. Can you assist me in my goals?

  21. #20

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    You have lessons because you want to know what to work on.

    Prepare a tune so you can play melody, solo & comp and possibly use as a basis for the lesson if the teacher chooses. Simple and familiar is best. And have concrete goals in mind as others have said.

    The teacher will handle the rest, and a good teacher will not make you feel small or stupid.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    I think the best thing you can bring with you is a clear set of goals, a firm grasp of what you realistically hope to achieve; examples of players you aspire to emulate. Be specific about the style, decade(s), types of tunes you want to focus on. Check that he/she is familiar with want you want to study and has experience teaching it. You are auditioning the teacher more than auditioning for the teacher.
    So true as it relates to auditioning the teacher. Additional advise would be to not feel bad about dropping the teacher, even after one lesson. I know from experience that I often knew right from the start that the person sitting across from me wasn't a good 'fit' but I would still take 3 or 4 lessons before coming up with a lame reason for dropping the teacher (e.g. I'm moving out of state!!). Of course this was when I was in my early 20s.

    When I went to take lessons again in my late 30s, I 'reviewed' 3 teachers before I found the right one for me. This relationship "worked" because I was able to state where I wanted to go and the teacher was able to outline a plan for getting me there. I.e. it was clear he had experience taking others at my 'level' to a similar place and he wasn't just winging it. He was the right balanced of being organized but not overly theoretical.

  23. #22

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    How many lessons you think you'll need? If you wish to learn to play at a "competitive" pro level, then you should realise you might require several hundred lessons over many years! In that case it really doesn't matter what you know to begin with, it's what, why and how you learn with a teacher that will become far more important.

    Also, a good teacher should help you to "unlearn" habits that might be working against you, re the acquisition of Jazz chops. Most often a background in Rock/Metal/Blues etc is actually a hindrance more than a help. You are about to realise why, but don't be deterred, the right teacher will get you there if you have the time, the will and the patience (oh, and the money )...

  24. #23

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    Prep questions. Teachers love questions.

    edit: I teach kids and so few of them ask questions just for their own curiosity. That type always develop faster. Like 10x faster. Without asking questions, the teacher has to be a good shrink and even a psychic to give you the advice you need the most.

  25. #24

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    Sometimes answering a question properly can take several lessons