Jazz improvisation has been compared to speech by many great jazz educators. Much like speaking; Jazz has words, phrases and sentences that we can put together to make a cohesive musical statement. To be a better communicator- you need to have more then just a few words in your vocabulary. There’s a number of different ways you can add to your vocabulary:

  • In my opinion, the best way is to grab them from recordings or live performances. The licks, lines, phrases, etc. that move and excite you should be the ones you learn (and learn them in all keys). Then find creative ways to put that line into different harmonic situations.
  • Talk with other musicians about their favorite lines. You never know when someone else’s favorite lines might work for your vocabulary. This is one of the reasons I started the Lick of the Day. These “licks” are lines that I enjoy using or heard being played.
  • Lick and/or Pattern Books. I don’t have any issue with lick or pattern books per se. If you can grab some that work for you…great. Most lick or pattern books I’ve read, however, were pretty stale. There have been a few that I’ve enjoyed, but not many. Maybe the licks really moved the author, but I didn’t find too many that moved me.

My goal with the Lick of the Day is to provide you with some motivation to add to your vocabulary. If you like the lick you see on a particular day I encourage you to internalize it and learn it in all keys. Find creative ways to put it into other harmonic situations. If you don’t like the lick on a particular day…that’s fine too! Check back daily and you might find one that grabs your attention. I’m providing these FREE of charge. However, if you’d like to support what I’m doing you can go to the Digital Store and pick up a book (or two) or get my latest CD. This page will be dedicated to the licks that have been posted for the current calendar year.

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