To My Guitar

Sweet charm of my solitude,
Creator of the calm in my nights,
Share the secret worries
of my tender yearnings!
Now joyful, now plaintive,
Oh guitar, echo of my sighs,
Express with my attentive voice
Both my pain and my pleasure
.

Excerpt from nineteenth-century poem

Artwork by Alena Aenami

A Selected List of Standard Jazz Tunes for Memorization – Ohio University Jazz 2016

Swing
All the Things You Are
All of Me
Alone Together
Autumn Leaves
But Not for Me
Bye Bye Blackbird
Cottontail
Days of Wine & Roses
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore Doxy
Fly Me to the Moon
Foggy Day
Four
Have You Met Ms. Jones
How High the Moon
I Got Rhythm
If I Should Lose You
If I Were a Bell
In a Mellow Tone
Just Friends
Night & Day
Oleo
Pennies from Heaven
Perdido
Satin Doll
So What
Softly As a Morning Sunrise
Solar
Star Eyes
Stella by Starlight
Summertime
Sweet Georgia Brown
Take the A Train
There is No Greater Love
Things Ain’t What They Used to Be
There Will Never Be Another You
Well You Needn’t
What is This Thing Called Love

3/4 or 6/8
Alice in Wonderland
Footprints
My Favorite Things
Some Day My Prince Will Come
Up Jumped Spring

5/4
Take Five

Latin
Black Orpheus
Blue Bossa
Caravan
Ceora
Corcovado
Girl from Ipanema
Green Dolphin Street
Little Sunflower
Maiden Voyage
Night in Tunisia
Recordame
Wave

Funk
Chameleon
Mercy Mercy Mercy
Watermelon Man

Ballad
Body & Soul
Georgia on My Mind
In a Sentimental Mood
Misty
My Funny Valentine
Polka Dots & Moonbeams
Round Midnight
Skylark

Blues
All Blues
Au Privave
Bessie’s Blues
Blue Monk
Blue Trane
Equinox
Freddie the Freeloader
Now’s the Time
Sandu
Tenor Madness
Walkin’

More Advanced
Blues for Alice
Cherokee
Donna Lee
Giant Steps

Also see the post, Bruce Forman’s 10 Essential Jazz Standards for more repertoire suggestions.

Bruce Forman’s 10 Essential Jazz Standards or “Mother Tunes”

Summertime
Honeysuckle Rose
Take the A Train
Autumn Leaves
All the Things You Are
There Will Never Be Another You\
Just Friends
On Green Dolphin Street
Ain’t Misbehavin’ -or- It Could Happen to You
Stella By Starlight

I once had a student ask me which jazz standards he should be working on. I directed him to choose a few from a list of songs that had been put together by the chair of our jazz program at Ohio University. (You can see that list here: A Selected List of Standard Jazz Tunes for Memorization – Ohio University Jazz 2016)

When he saw the list of nearly 100 songs he was visibly overwhelmed. I remember him saying that it was too long a list of songs to really be helpful. Which ones were really important to his development? Which ones might be called at a jam session? While that list is an excellent resource and included many of the most important tunes standards you’d expect, I understood his feelings completely.

Soon after, I found that guitarist Bruce Forman had created a list of 10 essential jazz standards for his students to start with that comprise many of of the most common sounds, cadences, and forms that jazz musicians will encounter as soloists and accompanists. I’ve since started using these pieces with many of my students as entry points into the jazz repertoire. Bruce discusses why he chose these specific tunes in more detail on Episode 99 V of the GuitarWank Podcast.

I’d also add the super-obvious recommendation that students should have a blues song and a rhythm changes tune in their repertoire.

Is blogging still a thing in 2020?

A while back I moved johnhorneguitar.com from a wordpress-based site to a new site hosted by Bandzoogle. It’s great for a lot of things, but not so great for journaling and sharing thoughts ideas. I’ve been missing that aspect of my old site, so I’m going to try a free WordPress blog and post about what I’m practicing and working on here. I’m not completely sure this is the best format – maybe YouTube or some other platform would be better, but I feel strongly that I want to stay away from popular social media platforms right now so that I can just post about my work without worrying about likes or comments. I also want a platform which is easily searchable so I can go back and find work later. I hope readers will find some of my ideas or thought process interesting or helpful in their own musical journey.

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