“Ear” training in jazz? I don’t think so…
The one piece of advice I see consistently in jazz education is the importance of “ear” training.
Is it really your ears you’re training?
I don’t think so.
Think about it:
The ears are just a fleshy protuberance on each side of your noggin. They can’t really be trained per say.
So what does this term “ear training” really refer to?
What is being trained?
It’s your mind that needs to be trained. It needs to be trained to recognize the unique sounds of jazz, and have the training to reproduce those sounds on the fretboard without any obstruction.
I’ve found it very helpful to think in this way when it comes to studying jazz. It clears the mystique away – ‘training your ears’ is a bit too fuzzy-wuzzy a way of describing the actual process.
So what am I getting at here?
Well, when you say ‘mind training’ instead of ‘ear training’ it makes the study of jazz much easier to understand – and far more doable.
Here’s the thing:
When you boil things down, there are only two “mind trainings” you need to do in order to become a great sounding jazz player.
*Drumroll*…Here they are:
#1: Aquire (i.e memorize) great sounding jazz vocabulary
#2: Use the jazz vocabulary you’ve acquired as a springboard for your own soloing ideas.
That’s how to get good at jazz.
The best part?
Anyone can do this. And if you’re smart about it, it doesn’t need to be a 16 hour a day Charlie Parker-esque marathon.
Here’s the thing:
Many players forget about #1 – they try to improvise without acquiring a stock of solid jazz vocabulary. (And even if they do do it, they aren’t practicing in a way that will retain the material effectively in their mind.)
They try to go straight to #2 – and they fail.
They don’t have any solid foundations to build their improvisation skills upon.
The good news:
Due to popular demand, in a few weeks I’ll once again be opening the doors up to my Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation online course.
This course will show you the exact steps you need to do in order to achieve points #1 and #2 outlined above.
No longer will you waste precious time going around in circles and getting nowhere with your jazz playing.
Instead, you’ll a) learn the essential ingredients of jazz vocabulary, b) learn how to effectively retain that vocabulary in your mind through some neat shortcuts, and c) learn how to be creative with the vocabulary so you can then develop your own unique voice as a jazz improviser.
Founder, Fret Dojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education