i need some help.  i am an intermediate level fledgling jazz pianist who would like to know what you consider to be a the best or preferred methodology for practicing playing jazz tunes from a fake book. i sense that you must know the posted chords inside out including the inversions.  is there a specific book out there or published scale or chord charts that i should play and get very familiar with?  i have been playing for about 8 years now, but fear that i may be practicing the wrong way or not practicing in the most efficient manner.  help!!
There are 5 comments, leave a comment.
the best methodology is the one that works for you.  first of all
you are at this site, and that is an important first step.
explore some of the rooms here.  they contain all kinds of examples
of standards from which to learn.  pick out the tunes you like, or have listened to the most.  your ears are very important tools in this
process called jazz education.  yes there are plenty of books and those too have been reviewed here.  break your practice down into  
parts.  that way you can isolate problem areas.  this site works
best when you can present a specific problem to get feedback on
from the many knowledgable and experienced musicians here.
it's not like it is an art or anything.  you just figure out what note is written on the page, how long it says to keep it held down for then you play it accordingly.
as jmkarns notes, there are lots of good resources on this page.  in particular, you might want to check-out albatens room.  he has a lesson on how to play from a lead sheet, which might be a good place to start, but also a bunch of files on different chord voicings (which is, of course, a big part of interpreting a lead sheet).
thanks to all for your help.  i will check our all of the sources on this site.
i have a suggestion for getting started - there are two things you can dop
2 + 2 - hit the bass with your pinkie and the 7th with left thumb, then the 3rd with right thumb the the melody with the rest of the right hand.  or, if it is too muddy, try the bass with index finger on the left hand, the 3rd with the left thumb, the 7th with the right thumb, and the melody with the rest of the right hand.  experiment.
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