Practice Better! An approach to learning Jazz Standards
For these examples, I’ll be using “Fly me to the moon”, written by Bart Howard.
If you’ve ever sat and watched a great Jazz guitarist, such as Jimmy Bruno, Pat Metheny, or Pat Martino, you’ll see these guys flying all over the fretboard. Their chord knowledge and comfort with such complex and usually FAST music is staggering. How do you even approach this stuff? What are the steps to a practice routine that will get a student more comfortable with this type of music?
Let’s look at Fly Me to the Moon and break it down.
There are roughly 8 chords total that you must know to play along. So, the first step towards mastery is do you know all 8 chords?
If the answer is no, try to learn at least one voicing for each chord. Then move on.
Do you know the spelling for all 8 chords?
If the answer is no, try to use whichever voicing you’re most comfortable with for each chord, and try to name the notes within the chord.
The first step towards understanding the chart is being able to play through it at a steady tempo, with all the chords played. Even if you only know one way to play them, you’re on the right track.