Jazz Saxophone for Beginners

Not Sure Where to Start?

I have many lessons in my series, so I understand if you are not exactly where or what you should start with. Since most musicians are at different stages of development, I’ve created lessons at a variety of levels, so you have many options.

The lessons are organized in categories and are offered in sets or individually. You can read descriptions of the categories and individual lessons below. You’ll also find links to YouTube Playlists that provide samples from many of the lessons.

The Beginning Jazz Improvisation Course

This 8-part course is for beginning improvisers that have basic (or better) skills on their instruments and want to start playing jazz with a structured approach. It’s also great for anyone new to my lessons. Lots of play-along tracks and I Play-You Play practice included. This set will prepare you for improvisation success!
Transpositions for tenor sax, alto sax, and concert instruments included.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube playlist:


Lesson 1: The Role of the Major Scale
We get the ball rolling by improvising with the major scale and a common major scale mode known as Dorian. There’s a lot of foundation material covered, I Play-You Play practice, and 24 play-along tracks included.

Lesson 2: Blues and the Blues Scale
In many ways, playing jazz begins with the blues. First, you’ll learn how the blues scale is constructed. We quickly move into call and response style phrasing and some basic blues style ear training. I Play-You Play practice techniques are employed and two play-along tracks are included.

Lesson 3: Paving the Way with Pentatonics
A bit of music theory is used in deriving relative major and minor pentatonic scales. Learn how these scales are used for improvising on basic chord changes using a play-along track based on the jazz standard, Cantaloupe Island.

Lesson 4: The ABC’s of the Jazz Language
Learn how triads form the foundation for basic major, minor, and dominant chords. This lesson utilizes the chord progression and a play-along track from the jazz standard, The Summer Wind.

Lesson 5: The ABC’s and 7ths of the Jazz Language
Expand your understanding of major 7, minor 7, and dominant chords in this lesson as you learn about one of the most common types of chord progressions used in jazz, the ii-V-I. Play-along track included.

Lesson 6: Developing Your Jazz Sound
Learn how to develop good tonal control and flexibility on your saxophone. Basic jazz articulation is also covered in this lesson on developing your personal jazz sound.

Lesson 7: Developing Jazz Technique
Learn how to build dexterity on your instrument with exercises that apply directly to improvising. You’ll have ample practice material for developing a sense of technical freedom as you play.

Lesson 8: Developing Your Ear
Developing a working relationship between your ear and instrument is essential to advancing as an improvising musician. In this lesson, I show you my favorite ear training exercises.

New! Play the Blues on Any Tune

In this new addition to the Sound and Style category, you'll learn how to use blues scale based sounds on the chords of most jazz standards. Using the chord progression to the tune, There Will Never be Another You, I take you chord-to-chord with suggestions for sounds that provide that soulful, blues sound that is still very chordal specific. Video, Play-Along Track, and Written File included. This lesson can be purchased separately or as part of the complete Sound and Style series.

Skill level - medium

View a sample from this lesson in the Sound and Style YouTube playlist at:

New! Quick Tunes Set 7

This series includes more lessons on soloing on great jazz classics! Lessons include instructional, phrasing demonstration, and I Play-You Play videos, play-along tracks, and written files. Go to the practice room with confidence in your approach to creating great jazz solos!

View samples from this set and my other Quick Tunes lessons in this YouTube playlist:


Set 7 Lessons:

Song for My Father

The basics of the chord progression are covered along with instruction on practicing the tricky turns found in the melody. Improvisation instruction covers the use of pentatonic scales, arpeggios, approach tones, and chromatic passing tones. A supplemental video on the use of overtones in improvisation ala Joe Henderson is also included.​

Killer Joe

Learn about the use of Mixolydian and Lydian Dominant scales and arpeggios as we work on creating phrases built around rhythmic templates. This will help you develop a logical approach to creating Call and Response style phrases while keeping your place in the form over extended repeating chords. This is followed with a discussion of advanced concepts.

How High the Moon/Ornithology

Learn about the use of triads, arpeggios, passing tones, approach tones, and developing quick ii-V lines as we work through this tricky chord progression.

New! Vocabulary, Licks, & Language

The licks and phrases we commonly play are often at the center of our musical personalities. Set 1 in this series breaks down 13 basic licks with instruction on how to include the ideas in your solos. You’ll learn how to practice the licks in different keys and how to conceptualize the components, turning them into vocabulary and musical language.

View a sample from this lesson in this YouTube video:

The Licks:

#1 - The series begins with a Minor 7/Dorian lick that can be played on a 2-bar minor 7 chord or a ii-V progression.
#2 - Next up is a Minor 7 arpeggio lick. Examples from Sonny Stitt and Dexter Gordon solos are incorporated.
#3 - This one is a minor pentatonic lick taken from a funk tune by the JB Horns. It’s suitable for use in a variety of jazz styles.
#4 - A pentatonic lick, suitable for use on major or dominant chords is next. A phrase from blues solo by Scott Hamilton is cited as an example.
#5 - Transcribed from a blues solo by Gene Ammons, this lick presents a major blues scale pick-up.
#6 - This dominant blues arpeggio lick uses blues neighbor tones in a passage transcribed from a master blues tenor saxophonist.
#7 - Learn how this triplet arpeggio based lick can work on either major 7 or minor 7 chords.
#8 - This major/dominant chromatic line is the basis for passages performed by most jazz players. Examples are included from Stanley Turrentine and Hank Mobley solos.
#9 - This up and down chromatic line comes with examples showing how it can be used on dominant or major chords.
#10 - This major lick can be used on major chords but includes a blues inflection adding a touch of soul to the sound.
#11 - This one introduces a basic enclosure in a lick that can serve as a motif or closing passage of a phrase.
#12 - This lick adds additional neighbor and enclosing tones to Lick #11, creating a more embellished and complex line.
#13 - A minor pentatonic pattern is introduced that serves as a melodic basis for the melodies of tunes such as Song For My Father and Sugar.

New! Unraveling the Diminished Scale

This extensive 5-Part series includes lessons ranging from learning the diminished scale to incorporating it on tunes. Included: 12 instructional videos, written instruction, several play-along tracks, and more. Transpositions included as needed.


Part 1 - Learning the Scales
In this lesson, I’ll show you a system for learning the half-whole diminished scale and relating it to dominant chords.

Part 2 - Diminished Fluency
Four videos in this part teach you patterns based on diminished scale symmetry designed to build technical proficiency and an understanding of the shared scales. This will help you establish an intrinsic level of fluency with the diminished scale.

Part 3 - Diminished Application
Three videos in this part teach you the relationship between the half-whole diminished scale and dominant chords. You’ll learn to conceptualize components from the patterns in Part 2 in exercises and improvisation using play-along tracks based on Hot House (What Is This Thing Called Love) and Stella By Starlight.

Part 4 - Ascending Resolution with Enclosure
In this lesson, you’ll learn an ascending resolution of the diminished scale based on a passage from a Stanley Turrentine solo. I also divide the diminished scale into two groups of minor 3rds that set the stage for Part 5.

Part 5 - Diminished Chords and the Diminished Scale
Learn how diminished chords function and how to create diminished scale and arpeggio lines accordingly. In this lesson, I create phrasing examples using play-along tracks (included) for excerpts from the tunes, What Am I Here For?, Wave, and How Insensitive.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Video:

Quick Tunes Set 6

This set Includes lessons on Take the A-Train, How Insensitive, and On the Sunny Side of the Street. The lessons include video instruction, written instruction, play-along tracks, and I Play-You Play videos.

Set 6 Lessons

Take the A-Train

First, we cover basics of the chord progression and musical vocabulary. This is followed by work at Call and Response and development lines in our solo phrasing.

How Insensitive

I take you through an approach to learning the chords individually on this classic Jobim Bossa Nova as I play them on piano and demonstrate on sax. A separate video is included for practicing the chords individually. This is followed by phrasing practice and soloing instruction.

On the Sunny Side of the Street

This is an exceptionally fun tune to play with interesting chord changes. You’ll learn a logical approach to creating solo lines that take advantage of the colors in the harmony.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Tradin’ 4’s with the Blues

Sometimes you just want to play the blues. In this new addition to the Basics of the Blues series, all we do is trade 4’s with blues tracks in all keys. A variety of styles and tempos are included making this a fun set of videos. This set can be purchased individually or as part of the complete Basics of the Blues series.

View a sample from this lesson in this YouTube video:

Updated! Basics of the Blues

This is a new series I’m currently working to expand. You’ll find a number of blues lessons in Stages I-IV, but these lessons cover additional blues related topics. The lessons are at varying skill levels and it’s not necessary that they be studied in any specific sequence. Written material and play-along tracks are included.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube video:

Blues Basics Part 1- Connecting the Triads
This lesson provides a practice routine for learning to connect the triads found in the basic blues chord progression. The objective is to learn to play the chord changes with accuracy and smoothness.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium

Blues Basics Part 2- Pentatonics and Passing Tones
Learn to combine the basic pentatonic scales, 7ths, and chromatic passing tones using this set of exercises and a Bb Blues play-along track. The objective is to add harmonic depth to your blues vocabulary.
Skill Level: Medium

Blues Basics Part 3- The Rockin’ Boppin’ Blues Lick
This is a great lick that includes elements of the major blues scale and the dominant bebop scale into a passage that can be used in its entirety or as a concept in your rock and blues playing.
Skill Level: Medium

Blues Basics Part 4- Blues and the Cycle of Dominants
This lesson explains the relationship between the Circle of Fourths and the blues. You’ll learn how practicing ideas around the cycle develops your ability to play the blues and transport your musical ideas to different keys. A Cycle of Dominants play-along track is included with exercises that range from basic to difficult.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Blues Basics Part 5- Learning the Blues in All Keys
Like the title says, this lesson takes you through the steps of learning to play the blues in all 12 keys. Shuffle blues play-along tracks in all keys are included.
Skill Level: Advanced

Confirmation Bop Concepts

In this series you’ll learn a number of bop concepts in a progressive manner, making for an approach that will help you understand, practice, and improvise passages that have an authentic bop sound and feel. The chord progression from Charlie Parker’s tune, Confirmation, is used as our musical canvas, but the concepts may be applied to many tunes that have fast moving ii-V’s.

Slow and Fast play-along tracks and written instruction are included with this video series. Transpositions for tenor sax, alto sax, and concert instruments included.


Part 1: The Guide Tone Connection

Learn how guide tones serve as connection points of chords in bop lines. The exercises will help you build a foundation for more complex bop sounds.

Part 2: Inversions and Displacements

Learn about inversions and displacements, and how these concepts can be used for creating interesting angles in your solo lines.

Part 3: The Enclosure Equation

Learn how to create and combine these signature bop sounds with the concepts covered in parts 1 and 2 to develop solo lines that weave and bop through the chord changes.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Quick Tunes Set 5

This set includes soloing lessons on Minor Blues (ala Stolen Moments), The Days of Wine and Roses, and Here’s That Rainy Day. An instructional video, phrasing demonstration video, play-along tack, and written file is included for each lesson. Transpositions included for tenor sax, alto sax, and concert pitch instruments.

Set 5 Lessons

Minor Blues (ala Stolen Moments)
Learn the basics of the concert C minor blues progression and basic phrasing concepts using the blues scale. You’ll also learn to use the arpeggios, pentatonic scales, and complete scales associated with each chord. A separate I Play-You Play video is included where you can practice the concepts along with me.

The Days of Wine and Roses
After an analysis of the chord progression, we work through the chords and phrase construction simultaneously. A lot of emphasis is placed on the internal motion of the harmony as we develop lines that emphasize connections between the chords.

Here’s That Rainy Day
Learn an approach to soloing on this tune that is based on recognizing the tonal centers and the internal motion of the chords. We’ll use several rhythm templates to practice phrasing before completing the lesson with an I Play-You Play session.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

One Exercise All Chords

This 4-part lesson series takes an arpeggio based exercise and turns it into a conceptual approach toward learning chords, ii-V-I progressions, and improvising on jazz standards. This series lays a foundation for a melodic approach to learning to solo on jazz standards.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube video:


Part 1- The Basic Exercise
Learn a method for practicing the arpeggios to major, minor 7, dominant, half-diminished, diminished, and augmented chords that breaks the root bias and moves in a natural manner through the keys.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Part 2- Working With Tunes

Learn to adapt the basic exercise to the chord progressions of tunes using the chords and a play-along track to the standard, All the Things You Are. This begins a melodic improvisation journey that expands as the lesson series develops.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Part 3- ii-V-I’s

In this lesson, we’ll take the exercise one step farther by adding variations including inversions and flat 9’s as we work major ii-V-I chord progressions through the keys. The exercises and improvisation are performed using a Bossa Nova play-along track.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Part 4- Applying Variations to Tunes

Learn to adapt and conceptualize the exercise with more variations as we practice and improvise using a play-along track to Lee Morgan’s standard tune, Ceora.
Skill Level: Advanced

Updated! Sound and Style

*Now included as a bonus lesson when purchasing the complete set:

Summertime and the Diminished Scale

In this 3-part series, you’ll learn how various inflection techniques, time, articulation, and phrasing all have their roles in creating great improvised solos.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Soloing With Style
Based on a transcription by one of my subscribers of my solo in the introduction to the lesson on But Not For Me, this lesson identifies inflection techniques I use in my solos. You’ll learn about the articulation, bends and scoops, alternate fingerings, and more that I use to personalize my sound.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

The Stylings of Stanley Turrentine’s Summertime
We'll explore the blues stylings on 6 licks from Stanley Turrentine's solo on Summertime taken from the album, Up At Minton's. I'll reference points in the recording you can find on YouTube as we dive into various aspects of the way he plays things. No transpositions of the licks are provided, since some of his sounds are specific to the key of E minor on sax. I have included separate play-along tracks in E Minor for Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, and Concert Pitch instruments.
Skill Level: Medium

Focus on Phrasing
Learn about the phrasing techniques: Call & Response, Point Up-Point Down, Sequencing, and Theme & Development. I use play-along tracks based on the blues and sections from Take the A Train, Blue Bossa, and Recorda-me to demonstrate and explain these phrasing techniques. Play-along tracks included.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

The Minor ii-V-I Series

This 3-part series covers the basics of understanding and playing the common minor ii-V-I progression. You’ll learn about the chords and scales associated with the progression and how to develop effective solo lines across the changes.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube video:


Part 1- The Whats and Whys
Learn about the half-diminished, dominant flat 9, altered dominant, and various tonic minor chords associated with minor ii-V-I progressions. A practice routine is offered for learning these chords in different keys.
Skill Level: Medium

Part 2- The Scales

Learn about the scales associated with the different types of chords used in minor ii-V-I progressions. You’ll learn the logic behind the scales as a method for determining the scales in different keys. Scale sheets are included.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Part 3- Creating Phrases

Learn to create 2-bar and 4-bar minor ii-V-I phrases. I dissect 4 different passages and explain the logic behind creating effective solo lines. Play-along track included.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Advanced Jazz Articulation!

In this 4-part series, you’ll learn how to produce and incorporate the “Da-un-Dah-un” articulation used by great jazz sax, rock, and blues players including the likes of Red Prysock, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, and many others.

View samples from the lesson in this YouTube video:

Advanced Jazz Articulation! Part 1
Part 1 in the series acquaints you with the sounds of the “Dah-un” articulation and shows you how to begin the process of learning to produce it.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Advanced Jazz Articulation! Part 2
In Part 2 I’ll give you more tips on creating the articulation along with a series of exercises for implementing it.
Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Advanced Jazz Articulation! Part 3: Single Notes and Alternate Fingerings
In Part 3 you’ll learn the role of advanced jazz articulation in playing repeated notes. This is a sound you may be familiar with from listening to great jazz players like Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, and Stanley Turrentine as well as rock and blues players like Red Prysock and King Curtis.
Skill Level: Advanced

Advanced Jazz Articulation! Part 4: Articulation Styles of the Great Players
In Part 4, we'll analyze the articulation and create practice variations on examples from Sonny Stitt, Hank Mobley, Dexter Gordon, and Cannonball Adderley. The end goal being to help you find direction in developing your own personal style using articulation concepts we've explored in this series.
Skill Level: Advanced

Quick Tunes 4 Sets Now Available!

This is a new series of lessons that is gaining popularity quickly, so look for new tunes to be added frequently. In these lessons we’ll go directly to the process of learning and soloing on classic tunes. Phrasing demonstration and instructional videos along with a play-along track and written file are included with each lesson. The written melodies are not included, but in most cases I can help you locate them.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Set 1 Lessons

I’m in the Mood For Love

Develop an understanding of the chord-to-chord the harmony as we work on developing melodic phrases over this timeless classic. This is a fun tune to play that we’ll approach at a tempo placed between a ballad and a medium swing.
Skill Level: Medium

Georgia on My Mind

This tune has been at the top of my “lesson request” list for some time and should be in the repertoire of all jazz musicians. In this one we’ll begin with the use of the major blues and basic blues scaled advance to arpeggios and dominant flat 9 sounds- all in an easy-to-follow format.
Skill Level: Medium

The Girl From Ipanema

This is a Bossa Nova that’s in every jazz musicians “Ya Gotta Know This Tune” list. In this one I cover the basics of the “A” section, but break down the dreaded bridge into a practical approach that is easy-to-follow.
Skill Level: Medium

Set 2 Lessons

God Bless the Child
Learn to phrase and solo on the chord changes to this classic tune by Billie Holiday. We’ll develop ideas based on the basic vocabulary all the way to altered dominant sounds.
Skill Level: Medium

Learn the basics of playing and soloing on this Gershwin classic. After establishing an approach to learning the melody by ear, I identify the three primary sounds from the chord progression as we build a soloing approach from the ground up.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium

Blue Bossa
I begin by identifying tonal centers and chordal relationships. Then you’ll learn how to develop interesting solo lines using pentatonic scales, arpeggios, and the harmonic minor scale.
Skill Level: Medium

Set 3 Lessons

Autumn Leaves

Learn to solo on the classic jazz standard, Autumn Leaves. The lesson covers both tonal center and chordal specific soloing concepts.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium

On the Street Where You Live

Learn to solo on this classic tune using steps based on the melody, target tones, and advanced concepts.
Skill Level: Medium


Learn how to perform the tricky turns in the melody before we take a key centered approach to soloing on this 16-bar blues progression. We’ll also identify some target tones and sounds you can use to place your personal signature on the tunes.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium

Set 4 Lessons

Willow Weep for Me

This lesson combines a blues style approach with learning to play the chord changes. A fun lesson on a classic tune.
Skill Level: Medium


Learn about the use of Lydian scales and how parallel lines in the development of a solo compliments the “waves” of harmony in this Sam Rivers classic.
Skill Level: Med-Advanced

When Sunny Gets Blue

Learn a melodic approach to navigating the harmony on this beautiful ballad that is often noted for its tricky chord progression.
Skill Level: Med-Advanced

The Complete Beginning Sax Series for Alto or Tenor Sax

10-lesson Beginner or Refresher Saxophone Course complete with video instruction, sheet music, written Instruction, and play-along tracks! Free Introductory Lessons are found on the Learn More page.


Lesson 1: This lesson picks up where the free introductory “Getting Started” lesson left off. A new note is introduced. Playing exercises incorporating whole-notes and whole- rests are included to help build timing, tone, and note recognition skills.

Lesson 2: Four new notes – Long tones for improving tone quality – G Major Scale: Playing exercises are designed to help build reading and rhythmic fluency through a full octave. Learning the G scale provides preparation for improvising in the next lesson.

Lesson 3: Tuning the sax – Half-notes & rests – Jazz improvisation in G
major: Playing exercises incorporating half-notes & rests are included to build technique & reading skills. A jazz improvisation lesson & play-along track with a Bossa- Nova groove are included.

Lesson 4: Four new notes, Quarter-notes & rests, C Major scale – Jazz improv in C major: Playing exercises incorporate quarter notes & rests, are designed to build technical fluency & extend the range. A jazz improv lesson & play-along track with a jazz-rock/R&B groove is included.

Lesson 5: Two new notes – Dotted half-notes – Ties – 1st & 2nd endings – F Major Scale: This lesson begins with a scale review & tone exercises. Playing exercises use a variety of rhythms learned in this & previous lessons. A jazz improv lesson & play-along track with a funky minor groove are included.

Lesson 6: Three new notes – Eighth-notes: After beginning with a scale review & long-tone warm-up, the focus of the written lesson is to build technique & reading skills. A jazz improv lesson & play-along track with a bluesy jazz-rock groove are included.

Lesson 7: Two new notes – Eighth-rests – Slurs – Dynamics – D Major Scale: After beginning with a scale review & long-tone warm-up, the focus of the written lesson is to build technique, range, & reading skills. A jazz improv lesson & play-along track with a funky jazz-rock groove are included.

Lesson 8: Two new notes – Dotted-quarter notes: This lesson includes exercises designed to build technique & rhythmic accuracy. A jazz improv lesson & play-along track with a Bossa Nova groove are included.

Lesson 9: One new note – B Flat Major Scale – Triplets – Swing: The focus of this lesson is on learning to understand & play both triplets and swing style eighth-notes. A jazz improvisation lesson & play-along track with a swing feel are included.

Lesson 10: Two new notes – Upbeat Eighth-Notes in even and swing styles: The focus of this lesson is on developing greater rhythmic skills in both even and swing styles. A jazz improvisation lesson & play-along track with a swing blues progression are included.

Soloing on Tunes

In this series, you’ll find in-depth lessons based on there chord progressions to common standard tunes. Most of the lessons include multiple videos that cover topics such as chord progression theory, the basics of the chords, phrasing, and advanced soloing concepts. The lessons often reference other lessons in my Stage I-IV series. Play-along tracks and written files included with all lessons.

View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:


Soloing on Tunes: Broadway

The lesson begins with some fundamental observations about the chord changes, which are followed by a step-by-step approach to phrasing and playing the changes.

Skill level: Easy-Medium

Soloing on Tunes: All of Me

This tune ranks very high on the list of "tunes you've got to know," making it essential to the repertoire of any jazz musician. There's a lot of I Play-You Play phrasing practice with a great play-along track in the lesson, as we add chromatic passing tones to your basic arpeggio and pentatonic scale vocabulary.

Skill level: Medium

Soloing on Tunes: Misty

Misty is a favorite among sax players, making it a perfect ballad for this series. This is an extensive lesson with four instructional videos totaling over 90 minutes of instruction. Video 1 focuses on the theory behind the chord progression. Video 2 covers the basic vocabulary needed for soloing. Video 3 provides phrasing and lots of "I Play-You Play" practice. Video 4 shows you how to stretch the limits with advanced soloing techniques.

Skill level: Medium-Advanced

Soloing on Tunes: Fly Me to the Moon

This extensive Soloing lesson includes 5 videos with topics including The Chord Progression Theory, Foundation for Melodic Soloing, Anticipating the Changes, Phrasing and Soloing, and Advanced Soloing Concepts. With this lesson, you’ll learn to solo with confidence on this classic tune.

Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Soloing on Tunes: Softly As in a Morning Sunrise

We'll concentrate on phrasing as we work at both expressing the minor tonality and playing the chord changes over a Bossa Nova play-along.

Skill level: Medium

Soloing on Tunes: But Not For Me

Learn how to create a toe tapping, hand clapping, knee slapping solo that swings on chord changes to the standard, "But Not For Me." You'll learn the chord changes basics and how to include the blues scale and major blues scale in your improvisation. There's a lot of I Play-You Play phrasing practice making this a really fun and practical lesson for anyone looking to engage their listeners.

Skill level: Medium

Soloing on Tunes: Scrapple From the Apple

This is an extensive dual purpose lesson. In addition to learning to solo on a classic bop standard, you'll learn how to practice and utilize the basic components of bebop. The lesson includes 4 instructional videos, a play-along track, written instruction, and more. Topics cover the theory behind the chord progression, bebop scales, auxiliary tones, chromatic enclosures, and double-timing.

Skill Level: Advanced

From Licks to Language

Learn how to transcribe and analyze licks, practice them in different keys, find concepts within the licks, and include them in your solos. The lesson includes 4 instructional videos that use play-alongs from my Soloing on Tunes lessons, written instruction, and a folder with all 58 of my Transcribe This Lick videos. Skill Level: Medium-Advanced

Stage I

This series includes lessons that help beginning improvisers build basic skills needed to advance in the art of jazz improvisation. The lessons will help you continue learning your scales, develop technique and articulation skills, and build a practice routine centered around learning to improvise on standard tunes and the blues. These lessons are an excellent supplement to my series entitled, The Beginning Jazz Improvisation Course.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Jazz Lesson 1; Developing a Practice Strategy
For sax players with basic skills looking to become jazzers, the lesson will help you focus on developing tone, technique, jazz chart reading, and improvising.

Blues by the 4's
Learn to construct blues solo lines based on basic 4-bar phrases. Lots of I Play-You Play with play-along.

Learning the Major Scales/Time, Tongue, and Technique
A method for learning and memorizing the major scales and arpeggios along with a method for building your time.

Making Sense of Jazz Improvisation, Part 1-3
Learn the basics of improvising and phrasing on jazz standards. Exercises in playing chord changes and soloing.

Introduction to the Blues (4-Lessons)
Learn the basics of improvising and playing the chord changes on 12-bar blues progressions.

Circling the Minor 7 Arpeggio
Constructing a pattern for building minor 7th chord vocabulary.

Stage II

For musicians with experience but still fairly new to improvising, these lessons will help you continue to build your theory knowledge, develop your improvisation vocabulary, and get more soul into your playing.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Jazz Sound and Style
Learn how to give your music that jazz sound and style.

Jazz Improvisation; How to Play Chord Changes
Take the first steps toward learning how to improvise over tunes with chord changes.

Shaping the Blues Scale, Parts 1&2
Locate and use the soulful sounds of the blues scale.

Sax Tips; Inflection and Embellishments
The growl, vibrato, scoops, and more are addressed in these videos.

Relating the Pentatonics, Parts 1&2
Learn the relationship between the major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, and blues scales. We work together at improvising using the minor pentatonic and a play-along.

Major, Minor, Dominant; What's the Difference/Intervals- The Building Blocks of Jazz
Learn the differences between basic major, minor, and dominant chords and arpeggios and guide to understanding the different simple intervals with playing exercises for internalizing them.

The Foundation of Technique and Harmony
Combine the study of jazz theory with practice designed to build your technique and an internalized knowledge of the foundation of jazz harmony.

Metronome Obsession: Practicing in Time
Some of my favorite practice techniques for building your technique and internal sense of time, tempo, and rhythm.

Stage III

For musicians with a reasonable amount of jazz experience and good basic skills looking to step it up a notch.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Relating the Pentatonics, Parts 3&4
In Part 3, you’ll earn how to use pentatonic scales for improvising on dominant chords and in the blues. Part 4 shows how to use pentatonics to improvise on a funk based blues groove.

Through the Keys Part 1; The Circle of Fourths and Dominants
A method for learning the "Circle of Fourths" and for practicing concepts, phrases, and licks on dominant chords in all keys using the "Cycle of Dominants.”

Through the Keys Part 2; ii-V-I’s: The Modal View
Learn the major ii-V-I chord progression through Dorian, Mixolydian, and Major scales. Exercises are provided to help you learn to play phrases and licks over ii-V-I

The Arpeggio Circle, Parts 1&2
A technique using circle patterns for practicing and internalizing the arpeggios associated with the chord changes to most standard tunes. The chord progression from, "You Stepped Out of a Dream," is used in the exercises.

Technique Through Concepts Parts 1&2
A strategy for incorporating technique and harmony building patterns in your practice and solos.

Minor to Minor: Understanding the Scales
Sort out the confusion and begin understanding the most common types of minor scales used in jazz.

The Rock and Blues Series
Lesson topics include the V-IV Turnaround, Rock & Blues Vocabulary, Common Rock & Blues Forms, and Licks From the Greats. Lots material for crossing the bridge between jazz and rock & blues playing!

Stage IV

For advanced jazz players looking for new practice techniques and ways to better understand jazz theory.
View samples from the lessons in this YouTube Playlist:

Navigating the Changes, Parts 1 & 2
A simple, straight-ahead, practice method for creating interesting lines that flow through the chord changes of tunes.

Through the Keys Part 3; ii-V by Any Name
Learn to identify the naturally occurring ii-V chord sequences found in major keys and tunes.

The Flat Nine
The chord changes from the standard, "I Could Write a Book," are included to help expand your vocabulary to include these extensions of basic harmony.

Guiding the Harmony
Learn to use guide tones for navigating chord changes to standard tunes. Exercises are based on the changes to the standard, "There Will Never Be Another You."

Through the Keys, Part 4: Tunes Through the Keys
Learn to transpose and practice standard chord changes in different keys using the Roman Numeral system.

Through the Keys, Part 5: The Shifting Tonal Center, Major-Minor
Launch the altissimo through the use of overtones, and a technique for approaching the particularly problematic tones from above. Fingering chart included.

The Bebop Series
This 4-part jazz improvisation lesson series on bebop takes you from an exercise using the dominant bebop scale to building enclosures and practicing the concepts on tunes.