jazz guitarJazz Guitar

Jazz Guitar is a way of life; it’s about certain attitudes and values the player has towards the music he or she is playing.

What is Jazz?

If you asked 50 people what they thought of Elton John, Miles Davis or Mozart you would instantly have 50 different opinions; since music can be heard almost everywhere people automatically consider themselves experts on the subject.

The very same people wouldn’t dream of making a comment about dentistry or brain surgery because they feel that it is a specialist field; yet everyone young and old are happy to offer their thoughts on music.

The average “Joe public” music buff picks up all they need to know to “keep them in the loop” from little snippets of information on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and a handful of trendy magazines; they know what brand of toilet tissue Madonna uses and what sort of make-up Joe Satriani used to look like an alien on his surfboard.

Those who are jazz inclined probably know about Jim Hall’s love- life or Kenny G’s preferred brand of shampoo and conditioner and much, much more.

To the enthusiastic amateur that’s all okay – it gives them something to talk about when the footie’s not on; But! If you are one of the lucky ones who wants to know more and grow deeper into your favorite style of music we’ll have to take a different route.

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is jazz?

Most of our official dictionaries struggle to give us a clear definition. How can you describe a music of such complexity in eight centimeters?

A distinction that is absolutely central to the essence of jazz is…

“Jazz is not a what… but a how!”

The player is primarily concerned about how he or she will play the notes and chords, rather than the notes and chords themselves.

Jazz is improvised music.

The improvisation can be based on an existing melody or an original piece and may take place within the framework of a composition or arrangement, or may evolve independently of pre-set patterns.

Improvisation is spontaneous invention that exists on many different levels in a jazz performance; this spontaneous interplay or ‘musical conversation’ between each member of the jazz ensemble is essential in the creation of the art; the unique personality of each musician is embossed on the composition making a truly ‘one of a kind’ performance.

A jazz performance is effected by the musician’s response to the following:

* The tone of the instrument

* The acoustic qualities of the room

* The responsiveness of the instrument

* The lighting and temperature of the room

* The emotional response from the audience

* The ability of the musicians to bring out the various parts in relation to each other

and most of all…

* How the performer feels about the music!

The jazz artist has the skills and experience to eliminate spelling out anything… when it is time to play, music is the language.

Jazz does not ask you to be yourself… it demands it!

Mike Hayes is a top-level guitar teacher based in Gympie, Queensland Australia who uses the Berklee Guitar Method to teach students to become fully capable guitarists.

For more information about Jazz Guitar Lessons via Skype contact Mike here.