The first thing that all jazz improvisers must master is song form, or just “the form” of the tune. “Keeping the form” is perhaps the most foundational skill for the jazz improviser. The moment the form is lost, one’s solo loses all meaning.

For advanced improvisers, the form is so fundamental that they hardly notice its existence, anymore than someone walking somewhere thinks about the ground they’re walking on — it’s just there. It hardly merits discussion, or even notice.

For the beginning improviser though, “keeping the form” represents a barrier to entry. For some, this is a skill easily…

As the director of The Jazz Workshop, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about a jazz improviser’s “hierarchy of needs”. This is an idea that I’m borrowing from the psychologist Abraham Maslow, who was most famous for proposing the idea that humans have the following needs in the following order:
Physiological needs — Safety needs — Love and Belonging — Esteem — and finally, Self Actualization.
This has always resonated with me.

What about jazz improvisers? …

Mike Jolkovski is a saxophonist / flute player who has been in The Jazz Workshop for about four years. Recently, I’ve been noticing that when Mike is playing with his group, he’ll spend the majority of each session not looking at charts when he plays.

I complimented him on his obvious efforts to really learn and internalize these important jazz tunes that we do, and I asked him not only what he does to learn these tunes, but what the process of internalizing these tunes has been like for him. …

We just had our jam session last night at the Epicure Cafe in Fairfax, VA. We’ve been doing these on the last Sunday of every month for almost four years now.

Jazz jam sessions are a wonderful thing — a chance to celebrate mainstream jazz values, a place to test your skills and your knowledge, and a situation where it feels a little dangerous — “are they going to call a tune I don’t know?” The answer to that last question, is of course, “Maybe they will!” …

Who are the people in The Jazz Workshop? In the hopes of answering that question, from time to time we’ll feature one of our students.
This month, we invite you to meet Franco Luong, a bassist who’s been in the Workshop for about a year now.

I’m Franco Luong. I’m a computer geek for a living. I used to be a Network Engineer but these days I’m more of a Software Engineer / Systems Engineer hybrid. I live in Reston, VA.

I’m a dancer as well. I’ve spent a lot of years doing Lindy Hop and Balboa, dancing to swing…

If you’re just getting started playing and learning jazz, one of the first things you notice is that there are a LOT of tunes to learn! Repertoire is a big deal in this music, and it can be intimidating to try to figure out where to start.

I’m going to recommend eight tunes for you to get started with. These are some of the most commonly played tunes in the jazz world, known by everyone. …

The Jazz Workshop

Located in Tysons Corner, VA. We’re all about helping you be the best jazz musician you can be, giving you a great place to play, and living a jazz life.

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