hello friends.

i have a bit of a problem when it comes to practicing jazz. i find that when i sit down to practice, i don't really have anything to practice. i usually attempt to warm up using scales, and then i play a couple of tunes out of the real book. i own randy halberstats jazz piano book, and i have mark levin's jazz piano book. i also have a voicings drill book in which i play out of occasionally.

my question is this: does anyone here have a reliable working practice routine that they use, and could anyone give me suggestions of some that i could use? i would consider taking lessons however i simply do not have the money for it and there don't seem to be many teachers in the area that are able to give me lessons.
There are 5 comments, leave a comment.
i tend to over simplify, but just pick some area where you feel you need work and work on it. anything you work on will help your playing.  it's important to spend time with whatever it is you want to do well.  the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.  the learning process is a life-long venture, try to be patient and enjoy it.
one of the main problems people have when practicing is that they "...usually attempt to warm up using scales, and then i play a couple of tunes out of  the real book..."

that routine is helpful for many things, but it's not really what practicing is about.

practicing is about focusing on something and sticking with that one little thing until you have it down.

so, let's say you are working on a new chord progression that you only know in three keys.  a good practice would be to slowly work it out in all keys, then keep on working it out until you can play it in all keys easily.

don't jump around when you are practicing, you'll never learn anything.  focus on one thing to practice and work on it all day long if necessary.  

practicing builds foundations for your playing and the only way to really learn is to be methodical.  

randy's book is great, he talks about practicing throughout the book.  i recommend reading that book from cover to cover, don't even play anything, just read it, and then use the great practice hints you find in that book to dial in your practice session.

look at it like studying for a math exam.  would you read your history book before the biggest math exam of the year?  no, you'd probably be cramming for what was on the test.  a good example of focusing in on one thing.  do this for piano practice and you'll improve quickly.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
dave frank wrote a great essay for "jazz improv" magazine in last months issue dealing with the issue of practice time.
gee.. that's some expensive subscription...
i think the key word is "routine".  if you settle into a practice routine, then your playing will become routine.
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