Pogcast Episode 4: 4-Minute Practice for Summertime (Session 1)

In this episode, you’ll learn a 4-minute practice routine for bars 12-13 of “Summertime.” For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to keep my cat/co-host Lola from dying. She’s doing much better, but it’s really driven home the importance of having a way to practice quickly when life gets in the way.

See below for cards (using a fitness deck format), download iRealPro track here on Google Drive, and support the site at Patreon.

Pogcast Episode 3: How to Practice in 4 Minutes

How to use HIIT/Tabata fitness principles to create 4-minute workouts. Also, learn the solo etude for “Ain’t No Sunflower” (covered in Episode 2 of the Pogcast). Stay tuned for more information about workshops and Skype lessons/consultations!

Pogcast Episode 3


Pogcast iRealPro charts on Google Drive

Ain’t No Sunflower Etudes in treble, bass, Bb, and Eb (Patreon supporters will still receive workshop and lesson discounts for $12/month)

Pogcast Episode 2: Melody for “Ain’t No Sunflower”

This week’s episode covers the melody for “Ain’t No Sunflower” – a mashup of “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin and “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard (with a nod to “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers).

Pogcast Episode 2

“No Quarter”

“Little Sunflower”

“Ain’t No Sunshine”


Pogcast iRealPro charts on Google Drive

Update (08/01/18): Ain’t No Sunflower Leadsheets in treble, bass, Bb, and Eb (Patreon supporters will still receive workshop and lesson discounts for $12/month)

Dear Nano: Why Circle-of-Fourths?

Each week, I’ll be answering questions based on Pogcast material. Feel free to post questions on the Patreon site. This is a question that’s been posed to me many times by students and will become increasingly relevant in Pogcast episodes:

Why should I memorize the circle-of-fourths? Especially since I’ve already memorized it as the circle-of-fifths…

To clarify, the circle-of-fifths (which seems to be more common in music education) moves clockwise up a perfect fifth interval, while the circle-of-fourths (see the top image) moves clockwise up a perfect fourth interval.

If you’ve already learned the circle-of-fifths, it’s going to initially be a little awkward memorizing the circle-of-fourths (like memorizing the alphabet backwards). But it’s super-helpful when learning jazz tunes and theory because so much of jazz harmony moves through circle-of-fourths progressions.

I’ll talk more about this in future episodes, but for now I want to show you how it works in “Over the Rainbow.” Note that the iRealPro chart used below (shown in C Major) is available as a Patreon exclusive. The blue arrows represent a circle-of-fourths movement.

Here’s a highlighted circle-of-fourths, so you can see what I mean:

There are several movements from C-F, then F-Bb. At the end of the ‘B’ section, there’s a long fourths-based progression: F#-B-E-A-D-G-C.  The only time the progression moves up a fifth is at the very end of the ‘A’ section, when it moves C-G.

A lot of the “hacks” I’m going to show you on the Pogcast are learning the underlying structures of jazz so that you can “chunk” information (memorizing one set of information, rather than 12 different keys). Learning the circle-of-fourths is crucial to building this kind of understanding.

Patreon Exclusives for Pogcast Episode 1

Here are the Patreon exclusives for Episode 1 of the Pogcast. Note that starting in July, you’ll need to support the site on Patreon for $12/month to get access to these exclusives. Patreon posts will be password-protected and I’ll post passwords on the Patreon page – Please let me know if you have any problems downloading materials (especially the iRealPro chart) so I can get any bugs worked out. Thanks!

Exclusive #1: “Over the Rainbow” Solfege Chart (PDF)

Exclusive #2: “Over the Rainbow” iRealPro Chart (HTML File on Google Drive) Note that this download requires iRealPro to be installed on your device. I simplified some of the chords from the original “Over the Rainbow” iRealPro chart.

Nanoversity of Jazz Pogcast Episode 1:


Pogcast Episode 1: Melody for “Over the Rainbow”

I’ve fallen off the radar for the past month because I’ve been hard at work on this, the first episode of Nanoversity of Jazz Pogcast (thanks to Jeff Baran for brilliantly suggesting the “Pogcast”!):

I’ll post sample Patreon exclusives tomorrow and a related Dear Nano on Thursday, but if you want to be an early supporter, go to Stay tuned for more content – I’m really excited about this series!

Update #1: Patreon exclusives for Episode 1 are here.

Update #2: Dear Nano for this week is here.

Dear Nano: 10 Must-Know Tunes for Jam Sessions

Dear Nano is a weekly advice-column-like post to answer to questions posed by NoJ supporters. This week’s question:

What are the top 10 standards you need to memorize for jam sessions? When I go to one, I want to be able to call three tunes and not have people cringe because I don’t know one.

First, the bad news: every jazz musician has a different list of “must-know” jazz standards. In my opinion, you should memorize the tunes that you think are important and bring a tablet with iRealPro to jam sessions. If the musicians there make you feel ashamed for not knowing a tune, find a different jam session (or start your own!)

Which brings me to my next point – jazz musicians are way too focused on jam sessions. Sure, they’re a great way to network and try true group improvisation, but they’re focused on one level of musical development: individual musicianship (see bottom level in the pyramid above). In jam sessions, you’re building skills in and often being evaluated on just timekeeping and/or soloing.

While musicianship is a good foundation, you also need teamwork (the ability to function in an ensemble) and leadership (the ability to improve group performance) skills. So rather than focusing just on preparing for jam sessions, you’re better off booking a gig, putting together a group, and constructing a setlist with common tunes (which you can then call at jam sessions).

I put together the tune list above, broken up into two sets, trying to create stylistice variety:

  1. Bags’ Groove (F Blues)
  2. Autumn Leaves (Medium Swing)
  3. Oleo (Rhythm Changes)
  4. Body and Soul (Ballad)
  5. Take the ‘A’ Train (Medium Swing)
  6. Sonnymoon for Two (Bb Blues)
  7. Summertime (Minor Blues)
  8. Someday My Prince Will Come (Waltz)
  9. Blue Bossa (Latin)
  10. There Will Never Be Another You (Medium Swing)

Later this week, I’ll put together a byte-sized guide to bandleading. Musical leadership doesn’t necessarily mean weekly rehearsals and regular, high-profile gigs – it can be as simple as playing an occasional backyard barbeque. By leading the occasional gig, playing in ensembles, and going to occasional jam sessions, you’ll develop all three levels of musical development.

What tunes would be on your list of 10?