Podcast: Interview with Jazz Guitarist and Educator Beth Marlis

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Interviews, Podcasts | 0 comments

Greg and Vin recently had the chance to chat with the fabulous Beth Marlis, professor in the guitar department at Musicians Institute (M.I.) in Los Angeles, CA since 1987 and the Vice President of M.I. since 2010.

She has decades of experience teaching thousands of guitar students and was very kind to share her best insights and tips for students!


Key Highlights:

  • Joe Pass and Joe D’Orio were important mentors for Beth. They emphasized learning melodies and breaking down chords/harmony.
  • Having a background in martial arts and Aikido informed Beth’s teaching approach – focused practice, being present, transforming through diligent work.
  • Beth has taught thousands of students over 37 years at M.I. She tries to be conversational and meet each student where they are.
  • Common mistakes Beth sees in students: practicing non-musical exercises, getting distracted collecting information, being self-judgmental, only practicing what you already know.
  • Beth advocates focused, deep practice rather than broad shallow learning. Suggests establishing a practice routine, learning melodies/phrases you love, singing/transcribing, breaking chords down into fragments to see musical possibilities.
  • Though still male-dominated, Beth is seeing more accomplished female jazz guitarists emerging. She leads by example and supports dialogue on this issue.
  • Access to online learning and global connectivity is expanding jazz education worldwide. Beth is optimistic about the future of jazz guitar.
  • Key is avoiding distractions, going deep into the music with discipline, being part of a community of fellow musicians. Finding great teachers/mentors is still very important.


Listen to Beth’s fantastic version of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Oleo’ below!


Where to find out more:

Beth’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@bethmarlis

Beth’s Website: https://www.bethmarlis.com/

What are your thoughts? Do you resonate with Beth’s teaching tips and tricks or thinking learning to play jazz guitar requires martial arts discipline to learning the guitar?

Leave your comments below!

Audio Version:

Join FretDojo’s online jazz guitar academy here



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.

Go here for more info: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer


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