266 episodes

The LJS Podcast is the podcast where you get weekly jazz tips, interviews, stories and advice for becoming a better jazz musician! Hosting the show is the jazz musician behind learnjazzstandards.com, author, and entrepreneur Brent Vaartstra, whose one goal is to answer any question about playing jazz music you may have. Jazz can be a challenging music to learn and play, but it doesn't have to be so hard. Each episode features a specific musical challenge that jazz students may come across, where it is discussed and answered. Special jazz guests frequent the show, sharing their expertise on an array of different musical subject matter. Join thousands of listeners getting free jazz education every week!

Learn Jazz Standards Podcas‪t‬ Brent Vaartstra: Jazz Musician, Author, and Entrepreneur

    • Music Commentary
    • 4.7 • 70 Ratings

The LJS Podcast is the podcast where you get weekly jazz tips, interviews, stories and advice for becoming a better jazz musician! Hosting the show is the jazz musician behind learnjazzstandards.com, author, and entrepreneur Brent Vaartstra, whose one goal is to answer any question about playing jazz music you may have. Jazz can be a challenging music to learn and play, but it doesn't have to be so hard. Each episode features a specific musical challenge that jazz students may come across, where it is discussed and answered. Special jazz guests frequent the show, sharing their expertise on an array of different musical subject matter. Join thousands of listeners getting free jazz education every week!

    LJS 264: Memorizing Jazz Standards 101 (So You Don’t Forget Them)

    LJS 264: Memorizing Jazz Standards 101 (So You Don’t Forget Them)

    Welcome to episode 264 where today I go over some tips and strategies for memorizing jazz standards in such a way that you are less likely to forget them, and can recall them even if you haven't played them in a while. I go over a few don'ts of memorizing jazz standards, and some work you can do ahead of time and during the process of learning that will make a difference.







    Listen to episode 264















    The question I get quite often is how do I memorize jazz standards so I don't forget them, especially because it seems as if it's required of me to know a lot of them?







    Like 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, maybe even more jazz standards when you go out to a jam session. Maybe you are a musician who is actually starting to gig around a little bit at your local coffee shops and bars, and you need to know a lot of tunes.







    And it can be really frustrating especially if you have learned the tune only later when it's called on a jam session or a gig to forget it.







    So in this episode, I'm going to be digging into some strategies and some tips I can offer to help you memorize jazz standards better and really get the most out of them so that you are not forgetting them so that you are able to put them to use on the bandstand.







    In this episode:







    1. Learn the melody using the LIST Process







    2. Understand the major and minor diatonic series







    3. Be able to recall in your head and on your instrument common chord progressions in different keys







    4. After learning the chords to a jazz standard, categorize each set of changes rather than thinking of chords individually







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 34 min
    LJS 263: The L.R.C Practice Strategy for Mastering Musical Material

    LJS 263: The L.R.C Practice Strategy for Mastering Musical Material

    Welcome to episode 263 where today I go over a simple strategy you can start implementing into your practice. It's called the L.R.C Practice Strategy, and it will help you take your practicing to the next level with structured and focused actions that yield better and faster results.







    Listen to episode 263















    In today's episode, I'm going to be teaching a simple but powerful practice strategy that I first kind of put a name to and revealed in a masterclass that I gave at our recent Learn Jazz Live 2021 Virtual Summit.







    And this is a practice strategy that I implement in a lot of my courses, of course, in my own playing and any other students that I've taught in the past. 







    I've used this practice strategy to help accelerate the process of becoming a better jazz improviser and making sure that while practicing, you are utilizing all the elements of the material you are learning to really make quicker progress.







    I'm excited about this episode, it's a quick but powerful one. 







    In this episode:







    1. Learn







    2. Refine







    3. Create







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 20 min
    LJS 262: From the Vault: Bossa Nova Basics with Livio Almeida (5 Year Birthday Episode)

    LJS 262: From the Vault: Bossa Nova Basics with Livio Almeida (5 Year Birthday Episode)

    Welcome to episode 262 where today we are reaching into the LJS Podcast Vault and going back in time to revisit an episode all about Bossa Nova. Special guest Livio Almeida walks us through the basics, shedding light on important rhythms, composers, and tunes. This is one of those episodes that needs another listen!







    Listen to episode 262















    Today on the podcast we are going to be traveling back in time. 







    We are going to be reaching into the vault of the LJS podcast to reflect on an episode back in the earlier days of the show that I think is really important and one that I don't really talk about, or at least a subject matter I don't really touch on a lot nowadays because I'm not really an expert in the field. 







    However, it's really important to jazz, and that is Bossa Nova and understanding the basic rhythms, understanding some ideas about how to play Bossa Nova well because Bossa Novas are a big part of the jazz standard repertoire so we need to know that very well.







    I had a special guest, Livio Almeida, onboard this episode that we are going to revisit today and he is an expert at all the stuff and an incredible jazz musician as well. 







    In this episode:







    1. Learn about the origins of Bossa Nova







    2. Learn basic rhythmic structures of Bossa Nova







    3. Learn important composers to be aware of







    4. Learn important tunes you need to learn







    5. Learn about "Choro" music (Brazilian bebop)







    6. Brent recaps his biggest episode takeaways







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 37 min
    LJS 261: 4 Levels of Jazz Chords to Spice Up Your Comping and Improv

    LJS 261: 4 Levels of Jazz Chords to Spice Up Your Comping and Improv

    Welcome to episode 261 where today I'm covering 4 levels of jazz chords so that you can start implementing these concepts into your comping and jazz solos. In this episode, I start with the simplest of chords, triads, and build up in complexity. You'll learn how jazz musicians take basic chords and transform them into colorful harmonic tools.







    Listen to episode 261















    In your jazz studies, you probably noticed that jazz standards have a wealth of harmonic information in them. 







    And jazz musicians don't even always stick to that harmonic information in the jazz standard. Sometimes they take a chord and they change it. They make it even more colorful. Sometimes they remove a chord. Sometimes they'll add in different chords in altogether. 







    So how do we go from just very basic chords? Like just regular triads that you've heard of, you know, rock and pop and all that stuff, and slowly turn them into "jazzy chords"?







    Well, that's what we are going to talk about in today's episode. Four different levels of jazz chords starting from incredibly basic to a lot more complex and more colorful, the kind of stuff that jazz musicians like to play in their harmony, their comping, and in their solos.







    In this episode:







    1. Triads







    2. 7th Chords







    3. Extensions and Alterations







    4. Chord Substitutions







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 16 min
    LJS 260- 7 Steps for Improvising Over Jazz Standards from Scratch

    LJS 260- 7 Steps for Improvising Over Jazz Standards from Scratch

    Welcome to episode 260 where today I'm covering a 7 step process for improvising over a jazz standard starting from zero. This is the exact process that my Inner Circle members go through to learn and improvise over a new jazz standard every month, and now I'm sharing it with you.







    Listen to episode 260















    Check it out! 







    I just got done practicing 4 hours to demonstrate the material that I'm about to show you in this episode where I'm going to show you how you can go from essentially not knowing a  jazz standard almost at all to improvising over it at a fairly high level. 







    And there are 7 steps I'm going to walk you through that I personally went through today to get myself to this point and certain tools that I use in order to accelerate this process.







    So I'm really excited about this process. This is one of those episodes where it's kind of a big, big one and I really want you to pay attention to this one.







    In this episode:







    1. Learn the melody and the changes







    2. Learn and memorize a chord tone map







    3. Learn and memorize a guide tone map







    4. Learn and memorize a scale map







    5. Learn one chorus of an etude or solo







    6. Compose your own chorus of a solo







    7. Improvise a chorus of a solo







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 43 min
    LJS 259: 7 Steps for Not Getting Lost During Your Jazz Solos

    LJS 259: 7 Steps for Not Getting Lost During Your Jazz Solos

    Welcome to episode 259 where today we're addressing a really common problem improvisers face, which is getting lost in the form while you are soloing. Getting lost is something that happens to everyone, but the key is reducing this occurrence and being able to get back on quickly. Here are 7 steps to consider.







    Listen to episode 259















    So you're in the middle of your solo, and you are playing all the notes. You think you are playing the changes. You're getting swept away.







    Then all of a sudden you realize, I don't know where I am in the song. 







    This horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach comes up, and you feel embarrassed. You don't even know what you're doing. You just started playing random notes. You're getting disflustered.







    All these things are coming about, you just don't know where you are in the song anymore. Somehow, you got lost. 







    And so the big question is, how can we avoid this from happening? How can we avoid getting lost when we are playing jazz standards, when we are improvising our solos? And how do we set ourselves up for success so that this does not happen to you ever again?







    That's exactly what we are going to talk about in today's episode. And we're going to go over 7 questions to ask yourself if you are doing these things or not, to help you avoid this mistake.







    In this episode:







    1. How are you learning the tune? By ear or by sheet music?







    2. Can you recognize the sounds of basic chord progressions?







    3. Do you practice singing along with the form?







    4. Do you practice with a metronome?







    5. Do you have a good concept of playing subdivisions?







    6. Do you practice keeping track of the form while listening to recordings?







    7. Do you practice improvising off of the melody?







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
70 Ratings

70 Ratings

Kymaton ,

LJS

Absolutely phenomenal. Step by step approach to understanding the building blocks of the genre of jazz and how to improvise. And this works. Within a very short time I was getting it. But most importantly this is a practical podcast which not only talks you through it but demonstrates with good real life jazz standards examples. In 2 words ‘thank you’.

The Shiba ,

A very good resource

Having been predominantly a classical musician, as a late-comer to learning to play Jazz and even understanding the medium, I find this podcast a very good resource for the learning I have to undertake. Thanks.

cantfindanicknamegoddamnit! ,

Great podcast

This is an excellent podcast. Wonder if we could hear a little bit on the modes of the melodic minor as I’m shedding that at the moment.

Loving all the content though

Top Podcasts In Music Commentary

Listeners Also Subscribed To