- Listen to jazz. Really. A lot of jazz. Listening is practicing. Why? You will need to recognize when you are doing it right. Listen like a musician. I’ve other blogs on how to listen. There are courses online available from great sources. Like the audio lecture series "Elements of Jazz"
- Memorize 3 tunes: a blues, a ballad, a standard. This is where you will apply your growing knowledge.
- Learn the basic building blocks of Jazz: the major scales for these 3 tunes, the jazz chords played broken through the inversions. There are a couple of other things as well, but we will save them for later.
- Mess with the melody. (Advice from Louis Armstrong: memorize the melody, mess with it, then mess with the mess). Listen to how the greats, “interpreted” the melodies on the ballad and standard. Imitate.
- Learn to play your instrument to the same level as the jazz solos you aspire to create.
- Isolate a short phrase, three maybe four notes, within a jazz solo you like on YouTube. Listen to it over and over and over until you can sing it. Then find it on your instrument. “Licks” you learn this way you will make your own. “Licks” you read will have to be memorized. I will show you how to transpose these licks onto the other chords of your three pieces.
- Study the solos of other musicians on YouTube. Type in “Autumn Leaves Transcription” for example and see what pops up. I wish we had that when I was a kid. Find multiple instances of your three pieces.
- Forget all the fancy stuff you see online until you can play 12 bars on the blues without getting lost. Then 8 measures on the other 2 standards.
- At some point you will need to study music theory in depth. High level jazz is theory played live in real time at high speed.
- At some point you will need to study ear training. It’s hard to play what you can’t hear.