Everyone wants to learn tunes.
Some want to learn the Jazz Standards, some want to learn cover songs, others church songs.
But if you're not careful, you can wind up actually making these 3 mistakes that make it harder to learn the tune in the first place.
Watch the video below to learn the best ways to learn tunes on your instrument.
Some tools to help you learn tunes on your instrument
- Go to the Jamey Aebersold website, and purchase Play Along Volumes 24, 1 and 21. (Volumes 24 and 1 are for beginners to Jazz, but Vol 21 is for everyone)
- Be sure to add Jamey's free handbook to your order. It is filled with a ton of important information and exercises to help you learn jazz.
- Enroll in my Master Your Favorite Saxophone Solos course. By using my method to learn tunes, licks and solos, you'll be able to apply that to your favorite music.
- Learn your scales and chords! By doing that, you will have more tools in your tool belt to draw from when wanting to improvise, and you will better understand the tune you are studying.
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How do I come back to the saxophone after having played the clarinet for 3 years?
You’ll need to get used to the embouchure and your mouthpiece/reed combination again, as well as working up your breath support because the saxophone takes much more air.
I would advise that you seek out a teacher, whether it’s in person or online, to guide you.
Best way to learn (and remember) a song is to sing it.
Donna, enjoyed your video. I’ve been playing since 80s. I play in a couple of cover bands now and have always played by ear unless it’s a classic solo from e.g. rolling stones, bobby keys. Then I will loop solo back continuously and slow it down until it’s spot on. I only buy the sheet music to study the exact phrasing and never look at it again. I know exactly how it feels to play a melody over a harmony and not have it fit the chord rhythm. I struggle with that and you nailed the reason why. I simply have not imprinted the tune in my head, every time. The faces on the guitar and bass player will instantly revolt, ha. If you don’t fix it, you won’t get hired.
So true Dale – thanks for sharing 🙂
Donna, I am an advanced player, I have a degree in music, but have always shied away from “playing by ear”. Now I am trying to meet that challenge but am having difficulty finding an efficient way to start. Any ideas?
I sent out an email today about the pros and cons about playing by ear, I will be creating a video in a week or two that will specifically answer your question. Starting people off playing by ear is something I’ve been doing for 20 years.
An actor learns a long speech sentence by sentence. Sometimes phrase by phrase. Likewise, we – as musicians – can through audiation and repetition of component parts (phrases, motifs, even “licks”) put these puzzle pieces together as be build memory of a song or an ensemble part
Audiation is not repetition. Audiation is a lot deeper than the typical read, look away style of memorizing that doesn’t stick.
Note . . I used the conjunction “and” between audiation and repetition. (Acknowledging that they are two separate functions) (both important)
Learning the words to songs – – from simple tunes to complex standards – – is a long favored jazz process for memorization.
A (perhaps legendary) anecdote has Miles Davis playing a song with his band and suddenly stopping – or seemingly losing the “head” (melody) of the song. He then turned to the piano player and said “Sorry” ….”I forgot the words” He was such a lyrical player I’ll bet it was true.
I would suggest you research Dr Edwin Gordon, the creator of Music Learning Theory.(www.giml.org)
One of the main tenets of MLT is audiation, and in order for one to audiate a melody, we separate the lyrics of a song from the pitches for the exact reason you mentioned about Miles Davis.
Quick question: what would you say are the prerequisites for each of the Jamey Aebersold volumes you recommend? Specifically, what does one need to know in order to benefit from Volume 21? I’m a guitarist, and can play the major and Dorian minor scales in all keys and in all positions on my instrument; and while I don’t mind investing in a book that will help me improve, I don’t want to spend money on something that shows me how to do something I already know how to do.
Thanks for all of the information you provide — I hope more people find out about your excellent articles and videos!
Hi Jeff, believe it or not, your question doesn’t yield a quick reply. Each volume is different and geared for particular levels of players.
I’ll need to shoot a separate video for this book to help you make that decision.
Thanks for the compliment!
If you have time, I would love to see a video on that topic. I have Volume 1, and agree with you that although there is much to read, the book contains a lot of very useful information in addition to the playing exercises. I also own Volume 21, but am reluctant to work on that material if there are things in Volume 24 that one should address first.
Thanks again for all the help and inspiriation!