Posts by Michael Lake

Playing jazz like your life depended on it

I’m almost half done with the video interviews I’m conducting with some of the greatest jazz players and teachers in the world. Soon, these will be made into an online event called Jazz Master Summit. Sign up on my home page in order to be notified as I get closer to releasing this unique event.…

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Putting the fun back into practicing

This morning I asked subscribers to suggest questions that I could ask Jim Pugh and Bob McChesney since I will be interviewing each of them within the next few days. I am creating a week-long event consisting of interviews with great players and teachers. I’ll be sharing more of this as the date for the…

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Getting the most out of Trombone Improvisation Savvy

I got an email recently from an owner of Improvisation Savvy who wrote that he isn’t getting what he had hoped he would from the book. He was looking for chord/scale instruction to teach him jazz improvisation and felt that the book was, therefore, for more advanced players. For anyone publishing materials for skill development,…

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Hal Galper’s demonstration of results

In a world craving instant gratification and immediate results, players learning the craft of jazz live a somewhat frustrated existence. Results are slow to come. Spoiler alert: improvisation is hard. I watched a video today that I hadn’t seen in a while, and it reminded me that in the hands of a good teacher, instant…

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How to most effectively practice your musical instrument

I received an email from a subscriber asking an excellent question. He asks how he can optimize his time in the three hours per day he dedicates to practicing. Is it better to have fewer things to work on and spend more time on those, or to practice on more things and extend the total…

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How to prepare for sitting in on a jam session

One of the most important activities a jazz musician can take part in is a jam session. Spontaneity is the essence of jazz and if you’re not in a band that plays regularly, you probably don’t play live often enough with other musicians. Play live with and in front of people is what strengthens your…

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Master this discipline and be a much better improviser

A flautist (aka flute player) I’ve been working with wrote me recently that she is excited to notice that her “ear to instrument reaction time” is improving. She is habitually working on a few exercises such as the Brahms Lullaby in 12 keys and Jazz Patterns for Ear and seeing some delightful results. This article…

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An electronic orchestration of The First Noel

Knowing Christmas was coming, the time when I annually reach inward to give birth to a new rendition of a holiday tune, I first bought a couple of interesting synths for inspiration. One was Straylight by Native Instruments, a sample-based granular synthesizer. I’m a sucker for the X-Y modulation matrix. The other is Trailer expressions…

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