Do you need to go to jazz school to become a great player?

by | Mar 12, 2018 | Articles, General Updates | 0 comments

I read a very interesting article today (that might raise some eyebrows), called “Are Schools Necessary?” by V. Orval Watts.

Here’s the link by the way:

I think the question needs to be raised:

Do you need to go to a prestigious music university in order to be a great jazz player?

The answer for me is…

A resounding NO.

The idea that schools, universities and so forth are essential for learning – is flawed.

Of course, they offer a lot of great opportunities and connections with other players. And for sure, they can help accelerate the learning process.

On the flip-side though…

Students often get too dependent on these kinds of institutionalized systems when it comes to learning. They think that passing tests, getting grades and earning a degree or some qualification equals mastery.

But it doesn’t. As everyone knows, getting a formal qualification does not necessarily mean you have fully understood and internalized the subject.

Furthermore, people that haven’t had the opportunity to go to these prestigious schools think that they have “missed the boat”, and they won’t be able to realize their dreams to become a great jazz player.


To quote the above article: “an individual becomes truly educated only as he learns to educate himself.”

Thinking that you need to go to a prestigious jazz school in order to play music is nothing more than a self-limiting belief.

Once I took responsibility for my own learning, put in the effort and sought out the answers to my questions off my own bat, I started to make rapid progress with my jazz playing.

And you can too. You just need a roadmap.

If you’re looking for a shortcut to mastering your jazz guitar playing with step-by-step lessons, think about giving my FretDojo Academy Club a try. The lessons contained in the Club will give you the exact blueprint of how I improved my jazz skills rapidly.

Here’s where to get access:

Now the exciting bit:

If you're keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.

Here's what you get when you join up:

  • Detailed step-by-step video lessons on new classic jazz tunes and essential jazz guitar skills added to the club website each month. Includes listening recommendations, demonstrations of the melody, analysis of the harmony, and detailed explanations on how to solo over the tune.
  • Key improvisation concepts and techniques for soloing, and classic licks and example solos that relate to each tune, so you can continue to expand your jazz vocabulary and have more options when it comes to soloing.
  • Detailed comping ideas to suit the style of each jazz standard covered
  • Lessons on how to make chord melody and solo jazz guitar versions of tunes featured - play a complete jazz standard completely on your own like Joe Pass!
  • Members only forum - A worldwide community of jazz guitarists from all around the globe.
  • Regular workshops, masterclasses, and Q & A Sessions - get direct answers from me on anything holding you back in the practice room. Replays of all sessions are available to access for all members even if you can’t make it live.
  • Massive searchable database of jazz licks and soloing concepts - the ultimate idea "grab bag" for your solos.
  • Optional monthly challenges where members participate to get feedback on their playing, reach new milestones and be eligible for cool prizes.

The best part:

You can access this all of this and more for just $1 by signing up to a 14 day trial. Go here for more info:

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

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