How to play Jazz

This site is for anyone who wants to start playing or singing jazz from scratch, regardless of their age or level of musical expertise. It shows how you can begin to develop as a jazz musician or singer and points you in the direction of people, places and resources that can help you move on once you've got going.  (Please note: this site contains NO requests for your money!)

Jazz is…

…music where you, the player or vocalist, have the freedom to ‘improvise’ and add colour, contour, texture, pattern and shape to a song or tune. 'Improvising' on a song is adding melodies, phrases, rhythms, chords, voices and sounds that are individual to you. All over the world and over thousands of years, people have responded to songs and tunes, adding their own voices and instrumentation. People were improvising long before the name ‘jazz’ was ascribed to ‘20th century American folk music’, and the boundaries between jazz and many other forms of music are blurred at the edges. The ‘e17 jazz collective’ from Walthamstow, London says; ‘There are so many different styles of jazz that it makes more sense to think of it not as a single style, but rather as an approach to making music’. Learning to play jazz doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t have to know all the technicalities to make an authentic personal contribution to a piece of music, as many of the early blues musicians like Robert Johnson demonstrated so well.

Here we go...