Here are 6 different ways you can use this lick to build your improv chops:

One of the very best ways I’ve improved my improvising over the years has been through transcribing great licks.

I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve poured into unearthing famous solos from some of the world’s greatest jazz and blues musicians.
Here are 6 different ways you can use this lick to build your improv chops:


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1. Use the lick verbatim

Look – there’s no harm in using an exact lick in your own playing. Players do this all the time!

The great Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow; Great artists steal.” So if a lick you’ve learned works in another song you know, use it!

2. Nail it in all 12 keys
It’s not much good learning a lick if you can only use it in one key, especially if you’re playing with other musicians.

I can’t tell you how many times musicians where I’ve played with a singer and had to change keys because they spent too much time partying the night before.

Learn your licks in all 12 keys, and you’ll become a much better soloist.

3. Break the lick into smaller chunks
Inside of large licks are many smaller lick ideas you can use.

Break your licks down into 2-beat cells and start using these little ideas to create even more ideas!

When you can do this your whole musical world opens up.

4. Learn the Principles behind why the lick works
This is the deepest form of learning a lick, and it will help you improvise and create more ideas than anything else.

Let’s say you learn a lick on an Fmaj7 and it uses an Amin7 arppeggio.

Great! Now, figure out WHY this idea works.

In this case, it’s because an Amin7 includes the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th of an Fmaj7 chord. These chord tones can be put together in an infinite number of ways to create thousands of original licks!.

I can’t stress this enough: if you understand the principles behind WHY a lick works and can master these principles, your playing will become unstoppable.

5. Create and hand-write your own ideas using ideas from the lick
Sure, it’s nice to learn an idea and then begin improvising using it right away.

But I urge you to STOP, take a deep breath, and write down these licks first.

If you don’t write it down, you run the risk of not properly using the lick and creating ideas that aren’t necessarily “jazzy.” However, when you do write down a lick, not only does it give you brand new material to practice, it forces you to use the lick the way it was designed.

There you go! 5 simple ways to use licks in your own soloing.

6 th way Be Kind To yourself and remember this mantra when you get overwhelmed.

To the incredible person that’s seeing this, I wish you all the best in life❤ don’t over blame yourself, accept things and go forward. Don’t let others define what “success” is for you. Get up, learn the skills needed and get after it, all the keys to a happy life is in your hands. Keep pushing.

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