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Beyond The Note: Jazz Music Essentials – #1 Learning to Follow the Music in a Small Ensemble Context

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#1. Learning To Follow The Music In A Small Ensemble Context

When playing music together with other musicians we must listen closely, trusting not only in the abilities of the other musicians in the group, but also in our own talents. We must learn to overcome the fear of taking chances and experiencing failure, experiencing forgiveness, and how to quickly turn what may be technical errors into musical ideas. Lastly, we must maintain the flexibility to give up our own ideas if necessary to follow where the music is leading…learning to differentiate between our own will and the will of the music.

In a group format it is the music that ultimately should become more important than the individual players.

The music knows where it wants to go. Our job as creative artists is to step out of the way, listening closely at all times to the musical possibilities that are constantly surfacing and to remain as flexible as possible to follow where the music is leading without the fear of mistakes. To accomplish this, we must take our eyes off ourselves, listen and to respond creatively to what we hear…differentiating between our will and the will of the music.