Practice based on jazz standards

Hey all !

An idea came on my mind this afternoon, and i wanted to know what you think about this ?

Do think we can practice jazz by only doing so with jazz standards, even doing the theory exercices by basing ourselves on them.

For exemple, if its my rootless voicings practice day, would it be effective, to do everything by following the jazz standard form ? (and take the jazz standard all the way around the 12 keys, to make sure we have no weakpoints in our knowledge), also it could maybe give us more time to take the standards around all 12 keys. Maybe (lots of “maybe”) it could help assimilate the standards form more easily ? Anyway, what do you think ?


PS: I don’t know if i explain my idea clearly :sweat_smile:

Hi Guillaume,

Good question!

With just 5 or so jazz standards, we can find 251s in all 12 keys, and therefore use these tunes as ‘etudes’ to practice and apply our theory knowledge.

I explain this in more detail in this post, and also provide some examples:

Take a read over that post.

Theory drills are certainly useful, but playing the standards is the end goal for many of us and so my view is always apply the theory in context of standards.

Taking a standard around all 12 keys is certainly a productive exercise.

If you check out any of Tuomo’s tutorials, you will see that he puts a lot of emphasis on numeric harmony, which provides the ‘blue print’ to play a tune in any key.

As a regularly gigging professional musician, this is important skill.

I had a similar discussion with @Pierrot in this post:

Ultimately, I think it depends on our goals and aspirations as musicians.

Read over that post where we discuss in detail.


I’m not a good musician and I have a very basic level of knowledge in Harmony and theorical points.

what I’m searching to learn through this site (whatever the style -classic, jazz and so on) is :

  • to have a nice presence and expression in accordance of the piece of music. (sound, style…)

  • to understand a little bit better the structure to

  • feel more relaxed about memorizing and controlling the sound effects

  • to be able to make very short incursions in possible variations (especially in jazz)

  • to be able to make some small variations combined to transpositions.

so… knowledge of some cadence, variations or what is called “progressions” or “turn around” is for me a way to try to get a better sound expression and “presence”
… technique is a tool… it is just easier when you have good tools)))

1 Like