What are they and how to Practice the Jazz Standards?

Now, what is the use of putting together a repertoire of standards, well, the answer is simple, to enter the international play of musicians … since Jazz is a culture of “Jam Sessions” (informal and spontaneous plays by musicians who do not they know each other and test their interaction skills and group improvisation), the Jams are the best way to put everything you’ve studied to work, meet new musicians and make contacts, so guess what repertoire is used to interact in a way more effective? Clear! Standards, For this reason, it will be very important that you have a basic repertoire that allows you to play comfortably and thus be able to share your vision of improvisation with others.

Well, how are the standards practiced? this is where the magic comes, many people do not understand how to use the Real Book in their favor, but for that, I wrote this article, so I will give you my vision of the order or protocol to assemble repertoire without dying in the attempt:

Know perfectly all types of chords, modes, modal relationships, etc. in short, to have completed a complete course of harmony such as the one taught in freejazzlessons.com

Listen on YouTube versions of the standard you’re going to play, I recommend listening to 5 versions and singing them for a day or two, this will make your mind understand the essence of the composition and understand how it should be interpreted.

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Memorize its structure and its chords, this will allow you to clearly see the harmonic movements and thus be able to interact with them.

Analyze the relationships that have the chords with the key and with each other, this will make your selection of resources is accurate and spontaneous.

Make reconnaissance laps by divided degrees, that is, return of tonic of all the chords, of thirds, fifths, sevenths, and even ninths.

Arpeggiate the whole structure with triads, in order 135 and in disorder, 1 5 3, 3 5 1, 3 1 5, 5 1 3, 5 3 1, this will give your brain food to find similarities between chords and close-level connections chromatism.

Use chromatic ornamentations to embellish your arpeggios, if you do not have a base of previous ornaments, try the immense collection that we have in freejazzlessons.com there you will find written ornaments, explained and applied by me to the luxury of detail.

Play the melodic line and take advantage of the dead spaces to incorporate full chords or chunks, depending on the time it allows, this will give the listener the effect of filling and accompaniment even without having it when we play a capella.

Test your resources on a whim, that is, with a non-rhythmic feel and in slow motion so you can listen to the contrasts you are performing yourself.

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Try playing your standard without a track, only with a metronome, emphasizing times 2 and 4 (swing) and record, in this way you should already listen to a full jazz band, this, playing your solo without accompaniment.

Search for tracks of different speeds on YouTube and test your standard, if you still feel that you are flogged by the tempo, repeat all the points, especially point 10 and accelerate the metronome until you can maintain the flow of information with a swing.

Remember that preparing a topic well could take at least a week, so do not rush, standards also have structures and chords that are recycled, so giving your time to a composition means doing it in other topics indirectly.

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