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Unread 06-03-2009, 11:05 PM   #1
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Thinking about the next step...

I have just two more years until college and I'm thinking of majoring in jazz guitar. I don't want to get to college and be totally unprepared for it. I'm thinking of possibly getting lessons with a teacher who specializes in jazz. My drum teacher plays jazz around town and he knows of quite a few people who could possibly help me. Only, this isn't just "learn that chord" or "play this solo" type teachers, these people will actually kick you out if you don't study. So you've really got to be committed beyond a shadow of a doubt. Plus I don't know if they'd require me to read/learn to read music. If they do then I'm in trouble. There's no way to go to college for music and not know how to read music, is there? I would think not. But again, I don't want to set foot in college and not know how to read music when everyone else does. And that's not something I want to learn as I go.
So, do you something like studying jazz full time now would be a good thing for me? What should I know about music college and how do I prepare for it? When you're trying to go pro, does having a music degree help?

I've just been thinking/worrying about this a lot lately, probably because it's the end of the school year and all that.

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Unread 06-04-2009, 06:42 AM   #2
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Jazz is a very non-specific term, so it would be helpful if you could specify what kind of jazz you're interested in.
I learned this the difficult way many years ago as I too wanted to learn "jazz" but had no idea what I was seeking to learn.
In short, my desire was to learn be-bop and swing from the '30s and '40s...early jazz guitar and early electric guitar music...but my teacher was trying to teach me WAY 'outside' jazz...late Miles Davis, John Scofield, Pat Methany and beyond...and that was too extreme for my ears and brain at the time and even now, frankly. I just don't care for most of that stuff, but to be able to play like Charlie Christian or Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell...THAT'S still a goal for me and it's a different kind of jazz than the free-form, experimental, outside stuff.

Find recordings of the kind of jazz that you like and then immerse yourself in listening to it. Get familiar with what it is that you're hearing. This will probably make it easier for you once you start to learn the theory behind it.
If I can suggest: Johnny A is a killer guitarist, imho, and well worth checking out if you haven't yet.

As far as a degree helping you become a pro, I don't think that Billy Joe from Green Day has a degree in music and I don't think that he can play jazz (I could be wrong), but he's a professional musician, so take that for what it's worth. I do know that a degree in ANYTHING can be beneficial to your future and so why not get a degree while studying something that you enjoy?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 06:51 AM   #3
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I'm not a music major, never had the chops. I passed the auditions but knew I was in over my head and didn't have the fire to take it to the next level.

You are completely doomed if you attempt to become a music major and cannot read music. It would be akin to an English major coming our of high school not being able to read. The classes you take at the collegiate level are grueling enough without having to struggle to learn to read a totally new language.

Two years? It can be done. You need to find a real teacher and lay it on the line. Does the college you wish to attend require an audition? If it does, have you seen what it entails yet? Learn to read music.

Most of the players I know who make a living at music have some sort of degree. Most of them teach. A few of them play gigs. A couple of them are fully endorsed touring pros with all the rights and privileges of being at the top of the heap. I know a few at the top who never set foot on a college campus as well who are making more money and having more artistic success than I can even imagine. Formal training is always a very good thing.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gtrdave View Post
Jazz is a very non-specific term, so it would be helpful if you could specify what kind of jazz you're interested in.
I learned this the difficult way many years ago as I too wanted to learn "jazz" but had no idea what I was seeking to learn.
In short, my desire was to learn be-bop and swing from the '30s and '40s...early jazz guitar and early electric guitar music...but my teacher was trying to teach me WAY 'outside' jazz...late Miles Davis, John Scofield, Pat Methany and beyond...and that was too extreme for my ears and brain at the time and even now, frankly. I just don't care for most of that stuff, but to be able to play like Charlie Christian or Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell...THAT'S still a goal for me and it's a different kind of jazz than the free-form, experimental, outside stuff.
Yeah, I'm sort of in the same boat. I lean more toward early jazz, but I can't really tell you specifically what I want to learn. I just know that to do get a degree in guitar it's either jazz or classical, and I like blues, and jazz is sort of the closest thing to blues that you can go to school for. And I'd rather do jazz than major in something I'm only half interested in.
Quote:
Find recordings of the kind of jazz that you like and then immerse yourself in listening to it. Get familiar with what it is that you're hearing. This will probably make it easier for you once you start to learn the theory behind it.
If I can suggest: Johnny A is a killer guitarist, imho, and well worth checking out if you haven't yet.
Thanks, I will for sure! Do you have any other suggestions for who to listening to while I'm at it?

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Originally Posted by jeepnstein
Two years? It can be done. You need to find a real teacher and lay it on the line. Does the college you wish to attend require an audition? If it does, have you seen what it entails yet? Learn to read music.
I'm not sure where I want to go yet, but everywhere that I've looked into so far has required an audition.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 01:42 PM   #5
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I would guess the audition would be for sight reading skills...?

Taking the lessons and learning to read standard notation now sounds like the way to go - that should indicate whether you have enough interest to pursue it as a major, and/or career. If not, and you hate it, then you won't waste yer time and money. If you end up pursuing it in college, it sounds like you need to develop those skills anyway.

Keep us posted.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:32 PM   #6
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You know what's really funny, Dave? I played a lot of swing and big band music in my school jazz band, bvut never really got "into" jazz until I was introduced to Metheny, Scofield, Return to Forever, the Headhunters, and late Miles Davis. From there I grew into my love for bebop, too, Davis, VSOP, Thelonius, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy, and Trane, but I still could never get into much jazz from before the 50s.


Anyway back to the OP's question, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do is research your schools. Make a list of schools you're interested in applying for, make a spreadsheet and list out all the requirements for your audition. Note whether it's a taped audition, local audition, what you're supposed to do. Compare schools, get names of faculty and instructors, and do your homework on what kind of program you're getting into.

At my school (University of Washington! Go Huskies! ), the jazz studies program requires you to show two prepared pieces of contrasting style, including improvisation, and also to sightread a third piece. Pretty standard. The guitar program, however, is actually more geared towards classical performance, so most guitarists in the program here are in the classical program, which has the same drill, minus improvisation; two prepared pieces from standard repertoire of contrasting style, and sightreading.

Yes, you MUST know how to read music. Everything you learn will be written out in standard notation, and the auditions will generally require you to sightread a piece. On guitar this is actually quite a bit more difficult than on most other instruments due to the many places you can play a particular note on the fretboard. But the best thing to do is practice. In this case it might be very helpful to find a teacher that knows standard notation and can help you learn.

Next, to be a good jazz musician, you really have to listen to a lot lot lot lot lot LOT of jazz, and play a lot of it. Transcribing solos (in standard notation), and picking apart licks will be very, very important here. For many jazz programs you are going to be required to do an improvised solo as part of your audition (if not two), and the people who are going to be listening are going to be listening for your knowledge of jazz music, which is going to be expressed in what you play during your improvised solo. Here getting a fake book or two or three and just playing changes and listening to other jazz musicians playing the same charts will be very, very important in increasing your jazz vocabulary. Think of each jazz lick and phrase as a word or phrase, and your improvised solo is a poem.

Speaking of playing changes, this is where a true jazz teacher will be invaluable. Improvising over changes is one thing that sets jazz apart from any other kind of music. I can't really describe in a paragraph what it's all about, but knowing and recognizing the scales and keys to use over a particular part of a progression and knowing what jazzy idioms to use over, say, a ii V7 I progression will be something that is the big part of the learning of how to play jazz music in general.

Jazz is one evolution to blues, but it's a pretty hefty subject in itself. I wouldn't want you to go into a jazz studies program if you didn't really LOVE jazz. There are also more contemporary music programs, usually in schools geared towards performance art. Large universities will often have programs geared towards classical with decent jazz programs, but not much for contemporary music.

I haven't gone into a jazz studies program myself, but I considered it for a while, and know a lot of people personally who did go into jazz studies programs, so if you got questions, I may be able to help you.

____________


Alright, here's what I got for the info on auditions at UW for the jazz performance degree:

Quote:
Performance Major: 1) Major scales memorized. 2) Be able to play and improvise 3 jazz standards in solo style (e.g., Green Dolphin Street, My Romance, All the Things You Are, Night and Day, Blue Bossa, I Love You, Confirmation, Stella By Starlight), one must be a standard jazz tune in a swing feel, and two can be chosen from Blues, Latin, Funk, Ballad, etc. 3) Sight-read. Rhythm Sections will not be provided, but you may bring your own (set-up and tear-down will be deducted from your 15-min audition time). However, a CD and tape player with good speakers will be provided for Aebersold backgrounds if needed.


Now that's a lot to digest, so let me pick it apart for you:

1) Major scales memorized.

Major scales, all keys, pretty self explanatory. Note that it's not going to be good enough to know one scale form and transpose it up frets and down frets. I'd recommend knowing the CAGED system, and be able to easily extend the forms up and down.


2) Be able to play and improvise 3 jazz standards in solo style (e.g., Green Dolphin Street, My Romance, All the Things You Are, Night and Day, Blue Bossa, I Love You, Confirmation, Stella By Starlight), one must be a standard jazz tune in a swing feel, and two can be chosen from Blues, Latin, Funk, Ballad, etc.

First off, if you don't know those tunes, find a lead sheet for them (fake book!), and find a bunch of recordings of people playing them, and listen and play and study! Standard jazz form is more or less: Play the head (melody over progression, IOW what's written on the lead sheet), take turns improvising (improvisation over progression, passed between instruments; one time through the progression is known as a "chorus", musicians will often take several choruses), repeat the head and end.

You most likely will want three songs of contrasting styles (and when they are asking for a blues, they don't mean SRV or Hendrix, they mean something a lot more like Moanin', Tenor Madness, or C Jam Blues). And when you play the tune you will most likely go through the head, do a chorus of improvisation or two, then repeat the head to end.


3) Sight-read.

Most likely, they will give you a lead sheet to read. I believe the above pieces may or may not be memorized. It may also be a transcribed solo. Be prepared.


Rhythm Sections will not be provided, but you may bring your own (set-up and tear-down will be deducted from your 15-min audition time). However, a CD and tape player with good speakers will be provided for Aebersold backgrounds if needed.

Aebersold is of course named for Jamey Aebersold, who has the definitive line of jazz education materials (you will likely go through these with any good jazz teacher).

Other schools will probably have many similarities to this audition process.


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Here's a list of a few good standards to know... I've been looking for good/classic versions I like on YouTube, but I'm far from done with that, I'll add more later, though:

After You've Gone
Django (Gypsy jazz-style)
YouTube - After You've Gone - Django Reinhardt
John Pizzarelli (great example of the "Freddie Green" strum)
YouTube - John Pizzarelli Trio - After You've Gone

Sweet Georgia Brown
Oscar Peterson
YouTube - Oscar Peterson Quartet (Sweet Georgia Brown Live)

Bye Bye Blackbird
Miles Davis
YouTube - Miles Davis - Bye Bye Blackbird

Blue Skies

Honeysuckle Rose
Django
YouTube - Django Reinhardt - Honeysuckle Rose

But Not For Me
Chet Baker
YouTube - Chet Baker - But Not For Me

Embraceable You
Chet Baker
YouTube - Chet Baker - Embraceable You

Georgia On My Mind
Herb Ellis
YouTube - "Georgia (On My Mind)" Herb Ellis & friends

I Got Rhythm
Benny Goodman
YouTube - Benny Goodman Sextet : I Got Rhythm ( 1945 )
John Pizzarelli
YouTube - John Pizarelli - I Got Rythm

Mood Indigo
Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
YouTube - Duke Ellington & Louis Armstrong - Mood Indigo

Just Friends
Chet Baker
YouTube - CHET BAKER - Just Friends

April in Paris
Ella Fitzgerald
YouTube - Ella Fitzgerald sings "April in Paris"

It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
Duke Ellington
YouTube - Duke Ellington and his orchestra

Night and Day

Sophisticated Lady
Duke Ellington
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brqxEdwsTQs

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Thelonious Monk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdWb8iANW6k

In a Sentimental Mood
Sonny Fortune, Elvin Jones
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq_RbAgqyhw

My Romance
Bill Evans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCO1Gd0jRto

Summertime
Miles Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N090STPx-2M

Caravan
Wynton Marsalis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjhqTFZtAaQ

The Way You Look Tonight
Brad Mehldau (REALLY interesting modern pianist)
YouTube - Brad Mehldau - The Way You Look Tonight

My Funny Valentine
Chet Baker
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvXywhJpOKs

Some Day My Prince Will Come
Bill Evans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57HnHX-BlRg

Cherokee
Branford Marsalis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPEgesK0KKQ

The Nearness Of You

Prelude To A Kiss
(my fave is the Ella Fitzgerald version)
Gilad Hekselman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYqaiEicGjs

All The Things You Are
Joe Pass
YouTube - Joe Pass - All the Things You Are
Dave Brubeck
YouTube - Dave Brubeck - All The Things You Are - 1972

Autumn Leaves
Stan Getz
YouTube - Stan Getz-Autumn Leaves
Cannonball Adderly
YouTube - Cannonball Adderley feat. Miles Davis " Autumn Leaves"

C Jam Blues
Duke Ellington
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlpcJhNyDI
Oscar Peterson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWhwkTVCZEY
Ella Fitzgerald, et al.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osI1QoRgxiU

Harlem Nocturne

How High The Moon
Ella Fitzgerald
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XauJVEUHXCY

'Round Midnight
Wes Montgomery
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOm17yw__6U

Ornithology
Charlie Parker & Chet Baker
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr2-sOiagNg

Stella By Starlight
Chet Baker
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD8QbY5x4bg

Take The A Train
Dave Brubeck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbUklDXdH2o

All Blues
(get Miles' Kind Of Blue)
So What
(get Miles' Kind Of Blue)
Freddie Freeloader
(get Miles' Kind Of Blue)
Blue in Green
(get Miles' Kind Of Blue)
Flamenco Sketches
(get Miles' Kind Of Blue)

Blue Monk
Thelonius
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmhP1RgbrrY

Fly Me To The Moon

Giant Steps
John Coltrane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU

Manha de Carnival (Black Orpheus)
George Benson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cheL5LYrlDw

Milestones
Miles
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRfdlcQ_MZw

Misty
Ella Fitzgerald
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQouJdvB80U

My Favorite Things
John Coltrane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_n-gRS_wdI

Night Train

Satin Doll
Joe Pass
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyjQv52Nzno
Oscar Peterson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inBaY7X3KTg

Blue Bossa

Cantaloupe Island
Hancock, Metheny
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrgP1u5YWEg

The Girl From Ipanema
Stan Getz
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gghq6pvtQHY

Impressions
John Coltrane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me7P9qqBgwI

Oye Como Va
Tito Puente
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj_XxBKG53g
Santana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpPb2cVswlI

Watermelon Man
Herbie Hancock
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYDH0ZGoo_M

Red Clay
Freddie Hubbard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp6S6yOD6qM

Spain
Chick Corea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huIcAdTbMbM

Chameleon
Herbie Hancock
(2002) YouTube - CHAMELEON - HERBIE HANCOCK
(1974) YouTube - Herbie Hancock - Chameleon (Live)

Birdland
Weather Report
YouTube - Weather Report - Birdland

Sunny
John Scofield
YouTube - Pat Martino & John Scofield - "Sunny"
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Last edited by Rainer.; 06-04-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rainer. View Post
Anyway back to the OP's question, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do is research your schools. Make a list of schools you're interested in applying for, make a spreadsheet and list out all the requirements for your audition. Note whether it's a taped audition, local audition, what you're supposed to do. Compare schools, get names of faculty and instructors, and do your homework on what kind of program you're getting into.
Last year I took a glance at few schools I was interested in, but I guess I should really dig deeper now. So far about the only thing that I've determined is that I'd like to go somewhere in the Austin area if possible.

Quote:
Yes, you MUST know how to read music. Everything you learn will be written out in standard notation, and the auditions will generally require you to sightread a piece. On guitar this is actually quite a bit more difficult than on most other instruments due to the many places you can play a particular note on the fretboard. But the best thing to do is practice. In this case it might be very helpful to find a teacher that knows standard notation and can help you learn.
My teacher now is a very good classical guitarist, and he can sightread just about everything I throw at him. So I can start learning anytime. I've just been putting it off since I still remember how much fun sight reading classical flute music was... But guitar is way more fun, so maybe it won't be so bad. I can read music notation for drums, so the good thing is that I won't be starting to learn and know nothing.
Quote:
Jazz is one evolution to blues, but it's a pretty hefty subject in itself. I wouldn't want you to go into a jazz studies program if you didn't really LOVE jazz. There are also more contemporary music programs, usually in schools geared towards performance art. Large universities will often have programs geared towards classical with decent jazz programs, but not much for contemporary music.
I hadn't really thought about the schools geared more towards contemporary music, I'll have to look into that too. Although, I really do want to learn jazz. I have the basics down on drums and it's a blast to play. Jazz is about my favorite thing to play on drums, and it's growing on me as far as guitar goes. I just need to get into listening to it more.
Quote:
I haven't gone into a jazz studies program myself, but I considered it for a while, and know a lot of people personally who did go into jazz studies programs, so if you got questions, I may be able to help you.
Thanks, man. You have no idea how much you're helping me. Especially with that list you posted, I'm going to give every single one a listen.

I do have one question. The music director at my Church a few years ago was talking about how in order to get a music degree you had to play piano. Is that really true? He's the only one who I've heard mention that.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 08:33 PM   #8
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Alright, here's what I got for the info on auditions at UW for the jazz performance degree:





Now that's a lot to digest, so let me pick it apart for you:

1) Major scales memorized.

Major scales, all keys, pretty self explanatory. Note that it's not going to be good enough to know one scale form and transpose it up frets and down frets. I'd recommend knowing the CAGED system, and be able to easily extend the forms up and down.


2) Be able to play and improvise 3 jazz standards in solo style (e.g., Green Dolphin Street, My Romance, All the Things You Are, Night and Day, Blue Bossa, I Love You, Confirmation, Stella By Starlight), one must be a standard jazz tune in a swing feel, and two can be chosen from Blues, Latin, Funk, Ballad, etc.

First off, if you don't know those tunes, find a lead sheet for them (fake book!), and find a bunch of recordings of people playing them, and listen and play and study! Standard jazz form is more or less: Play the head (melody over progression, IOW what's written on the lead sheet), take turns improvising (improvisation over progression, passed between instruments; one time through the progression is known as a "chorus", musicians will often take several choruses), repeat the head and end.

You most likely will want three songs of contrasting styles (and when they are asking for a blues, they don't mean SRV or Hendrix, they mean something a lot more like Moanin', Tenor Madness, or C Jam Blues). And when you play the tune you will most likely go through the head, do a chorus of improvisation or two, then repeat the head to end.


3) Sight-read.

Most likely, they will give you a lead sheet to read. I believe the above pieces may or may not be memorized. It may also be a transcribed solo. Be prepared.


Rhythm Sections will not be provided, but you may bring your own (set-up and tear-down will be deducted from your 15-min audition time). However, a CD and tape player with good speakers will be provided for Aebersold backgrounds if needed.

Aebersold is of course named for Jamey Aebersold, who has the definitive line of jazz education materials (you will likely go through these with any good jazz teacher).

Other schools will probably have many similarities to this audition process.
That's a little more heavy than I thought. I'm glad I'm asking these questions now instead of waiting until the last minute!

The first thing isn't a big deal. I'm familiar with CAGED system. As far as number two goes, when they say blues would they accept something like a T-Bone Walker song?
And number three already has me sweating.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 08:38 PM   #9
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Thanks, I will for sure! Do you have any other suggestions for who to listening to while I'm at it?
The others I mentioned: Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Christian...and George Benson, Norman Brown, Joe Pass, and even Chet Atkins.

Example: Joe Pass
YouTube - Joe Pass - Solo Jazz Guitar

For some insane gypsy jazz, check out Joscho Stephan:
YouTube - Joscho Stephan - Django's Tiger

Norman Brown, a protege of George Benson:
YouTube - Norman Brown - Living For The Love Of You (live)

Wes:
YouTube - Wes Montgomery - Round Midnight
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Unread 06-04-2009, 09:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by AudioAUnderdog View Post
My teacher now is a very good classical guitarist, and he can sightread just about everything I throw at him. So I can start learning anytime. I've just been putting it off since I still remember how much fun sight reading classical flute music was... But guitar is way more fun, so maybe it won't be so bad. I can read music notation for drums, so the good thing is that I won't be starting to learn and know nothing.
Just saying, but you will probably want someone well versed in jazz to work with if you are trying to go into jazz. Even just on the side. A lot of jazz is learning the feel and history of the music, and sightreading is really a little part of it. Mostly you'll just be asked to play a melody on a treble clef, but how you style the melody is just as important, you're not just gonna straight play the melody.

Quote:
I hadn't really thought about the schools geared more towards contemporary music, I'll have to look into that too. Although, I really do want to learn jazz. I have the basics down on drums and it's a blast to play. Jazz is about my favorite thing to play on drums, and it's growing on me as far as guitar goes. I just need to get into listening to it more.
If you can find a group of jazz musicians to jam with, that would also be HUGELY valuable. I've been blessed in my experience to have a lot of friends who love jazz like I do, and it's a blast to just get together and improvise over some standards. By the way, you should be able to sing and play the melodies to the standards, and be able to get the chord progressions out of it.

Quote:
I do have one question. The music director at my Church a few years ago was talking about how in order to get a music degree you had to play piano. Is that really true? He's the only one who I've heard mention that.
Well, you end up learning how to play piano. Piano is basically the easiest instrument there is to visually see concepts in music theory. It's a bit harder on guitar to visualize triads and progressions and such, but on piano, everything is arranged linearly. So yes, you are going to be working on pianos a lot while you are learning music theory and composition. You're not going to end up a piano virtuoso, but you will be using pianos a lot.

Also note you will also probably end up using your voice as an instrument a lot, too.

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That's a little more heavy than I thought. I'm glad I'm asking these questions now instead of waiting until the last minute!

The first thing isn't a big deal. I'm familiar with CAGED system. As far as number two goes, when they say blues would they accept something like a T-Bone Walker song?
And number three already has me sweating.
You'll get there. Just get fake books and start going through tunes. I'm actually surprised how many jazz tunes I know off the top of my own head .

As far as the blues, there's a very distinct form of blues used in jazz. Not so much T-Bone Walker; though he is a bit more jazzy than your electric blues players of today. You probably want blues more along these lines:
YouTube - west coast blues
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Unread 06-04-2009, 09:59 PM   #11
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Just saying, but you will probably want someone well versed in jazz to work with if you are trying to go into jazz. Even just on the side. A lot of jazz is learning the feel and history of the music, and sightreading is really a little part of it. Mostly you'll just be asked to play a melody on a treble clef, but how you style the melody is just as important, you're not just gonna straight play the melody.
Definately. I'm thinking of keeping the teacher I have now in addition to finding a jazz teacher because I want to learn some classical guitar stuff too, even if it's just the basics. Plus I still need someone to run to when I have a gig the next day and still have no idea what to do on a song.

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If you can find a group of jazz musicians to jam with, that would also be HUGELY valuable. I've been blessed in my experience to have a lot of friends who love jazz like I do, and it's a blast to just get together and improvise over some standards. By the way, you should be able to sing and play the melodies to the standards, and be able to get the chord progressions out of it.
Maybe after I know something about jazz (so I don't show up and look like a total idiot) I'll ask my drum teacher about jamming. He plays all over town and he's in the loop when it comes to knowing about things like that.

Singing's something I know I need to work on. I sang in a choir when I was in Jr. High but since then I haven't even sang along to anything on the radio... I just feel awkward singing even in a group. Play a song I've never heard before on guitar in front of a few hundred people, no problem. But singing on the other hand... That's a fear I'm going to try to conquer, because I have to.

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Well, you end up learning how to play piano. Piano is basically the easiest instrument there is to visually see concepts in music theory. It's a bit harder on guitar to visualize triads and progressions and such, but on piano, everything is arranged linearly. So yes, you are going to be working on pianos a lot while you are learning music theory and composition. You're not going to end up a piano virtuoso, but you will be using pianos a lot.
OK good, that I can deal with.
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Also note you will also probably end up using your voice as an instrument a lot, too.
My guitar teacher has been telling me that for two years. Do you think I'll need any vocal lessons or anything? Maybe just once a month or something, since I need to focus more on guitar.

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You'll get there. Just get fake books and start going through tunes. I'm actually surprised how many jazz tunes I know off the top of my own head .
Cool, Books-A-Million has a fairly large fake book section. Next time I'm there I look for jazz specifically and see what they've got.
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As far as the blues, there's a very distinct form of blues used in jazz. Not so much T-Bone Walker; though he is a bit more jazzy than your electric blues players of today. You probably want blues more along these lines:
YouTube - west coast blues
I know that song! It's on the Wes Montgomery CD I have. It's about the only jazz CD I have at the moment, but hopefully I can get some more. Speaking of CDs, do you have any recommendations on some must-have jazz CDs that are common enough to find in stores like Best Buy? I don't usually download music, I buy CDs. I know, that's so '90s.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 10:41 PM   #12
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Hey, I didn't have time to read through the other posts yet, so sorry if this is off track or has already been said but here's my advice.

1) go buy a Real Book! Spend time flipping through it and playing songs. Work on comping chords and playing the melody, above all use this to practice sight reading.

2) Learn to read music... now... Berkley has a really good reading course out that is in three parts, there are other's out there, but I know that is a really good one.

Another general tip about music programs is that, especially your first year, they are going to work you hard on all your weak spots! and you may not get to play the kind of stuff you really enjoy.
I was a percussion major my first three years of college. In high school my emphasis was jazz drumming and drum corp stuff and these were the things I really wanted to work on, but because mallets and music reading were my weak points I ended up doing absolutely nothing but playing mallets and learning to read music for my first two years!

Another tip about guitar programs; really look into the program before you pick a school. Some of the classical programs tend to be very snooty about anything but classical guitar styles and won't give you the chance to work on other realms of the guitar. The guitar program at my school even turned their noses up at jazz players; they didn't consider anything but classical to be true guitar playing. That really turned me off of the program. One time in my freshman theory class we had to perform original compositions for the class. I performed a piece I had written that was very Petrucci-meets-Satriani styled and I had a guy from the guitar studio just glaring at me and rolling his eyes the whole time. He came up and talked to me after and told me he used to be into that kind of stuff until he grew up and became a REAL guitarist

I'm certainly not saying all programs are like this, you just have to look into it a bit and see what their philosophy is and what the atmosphere is like. Sometimes they will let you come and sit in on classes which is great to meet some of the other people in the program and get a feel for it.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 11:56 PM   #13
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I didn't think about sitting in on a class. That's a real good idea if they'd let you.

Oh, and is a real book and a fake book the same thing? Or different?

Wow, it's late! I'm off to bed.
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Unread 06-05-2009, 01:28 AM   #14
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Oh, and is a real book and a fake book the same thing? Or different?
The most popular fake book is called the "Real Book". How's that for confusing?

And The Real Book is the book to have.


http://www.amazon.com/Real-Book-Hal-.../dp/0634060384
http://www.amazon.com/Real-Book-Inst..._bxgy_b_text_b
Great book, though. I've had a LOT of great times jamming out of that book. (it is also the book that everyone and their mother jams out of)
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Unread 06-05-2009, 04:04 PM   #15
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. (it is also the book that everyone and their mother jams out of)
Which is why that is the one to get. You can bet that if you ever go sit in on a jam or a gig that is the one the other guy's will be using.

One other thing I was thinking about in preparing for a music school. The most important thing is really making sure you've got your basics down. If you can read music, read lead charts, know your theory, chords and have a good knowledge of the fretboard then your teachers will have a better basis for teaching you the concepts around the different styles. Chances are that your teachers will have their own way they want you to do certain stylistic things anyway, so if you are prepared with a good knowledge of your instrument it will be easier for them to teach you those things.
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