Do You Ever Feel Stuck With Your Playing?
Getting Past Practice
How To Get Unstuck With Your Music, Unlock Rapid Musical Progress And Start Playing Real Jazz.
Dear Fellow Jazzer,
In just a moment I'm going to reveal 2 of the biggest 'game-changer' lessons I've ever discovered about playing jazz. First, a quick introduction.
Over the past 20+ years of playing and studying jazz I've learned a thing or two about practicing, learning and progressing with music.
I've also had the opportunity to play with dozens and dozens of the very best players here in Boston.
And I’ve been fortunate enough to study and attend classes with some of the best jazz educator's in the world. Cats like Hal Crook, Pat Martino, Kenney Werner, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Danilo Perez, Rashied Ali, Gunther Schuller, George Garzone, Ian Froman, Bob Gullotti and many, many others.
But what I'm most proud of is that I've been able to help literally thousands of students online through my courses, private lessons and my various books, videos & articles.
I Think I Know What You’re Going Through
Truth be told my musical path was far from a smooth ride.
In fact it was pretty damn awful for a long, long time.
I struggled. And then I struggled some more.
I’ve had more than my fair share of failures, embarrassments and ass-kicking’s on the bandstand.
In fact I felt so completely and utterly stuck that I contemplated quitting music all together more than one time.
It’s tough when you feel like you’re up against a wall with your music. And you just can’t seem to break through.
Does Any Of This Sound Familiar?
- I used to practice very, very hard for hours and hours every day but sometimes it felt like the more I practiced the slower I improved.
- I often felt like I was faking it, like I wasn't playing ‘real’ jazz.
- I was nervous to sit in at jam sessions or play with other people because I just didn’t have confidence in my ability to pull it off without totally blowing it.
- I would retreat to the practice room everyday because I thought I had to pay my dues in the shed before I would be ‘ready’ to play with other cats.
- Needless to say I was incredibly frustrated with my situation and especially with my musical progress.
- The worst part was that when I would occasionally venture out to play at a session I would get my ass kicked. Thus retreating back to the practice room once again and repeating this vicious cycle.
- For years and years I struggled on, wondering when the hell I would finally ‘arrive’ and figure out how to really play this music I loved so much!
Then It Finally Began To Change!
Well, I finally did manage to get unstuck.
I hung in there. For years. Doing my best in the practice room. And logging hour after hour after repetitious hour.
The year was 1998. I was just beginning my 3rd year at Berklee. And ever since arriving at Berklee I wanted more than anything to get into one of Hal Crook’s ensemble.
Hal is, without a doubt, one of the best teachers on this planet. And I just HAD to get into that group.
Now Berklee used this weird 4 number ensemble rating system. Every student would audition and get ‘rated’ with a 4 digit number.
And Hal’s ensembles all had really high ratings. Mine were nowhere near high enough when I first got into school. But I re-auditioned for ensemble ratings literally every single semester. And eventually I finally got my ratings high enough to register for Hal’s group.
Man. What a day! I was thrilled. Being in Hal’s ensemble meant ‘arriving’ as a jazzer. It meant being one of the cats at Berklee. One of the best players.
All of my blood, sweat and tears in the practice room was finally paying off!
I showed up. Got my musical ass handed to me. And promptly got thrown out of Hal’s ensemble.
Hal told me I didn't need to be a better instrumentalist, I needed to be a better musician, a better listener and that I needed more experience playing with other musicians.
Specifically, he told me to go play a session or two with other cats every single day for a year. Then I was to call him up, schedule an audition and POSSIBLY, get into another ensemble.
I’ll tell you. I was crushed. I had done exactly what I was supposed to do. I had completely bought in to the whole 'Practice Makes Perfect' line. And after years of doing what I was told this is how I was rewarded?
But I bounced back and did exactly what he said. I played at least one session every single day.
I hooked up with one cat in particular - Andy Voelker. He’s a mainstay and legend on the Boston area jazz scene these days. But back then we were both Berklee cats looking to play sessions.
Andy and I played together every chance we got.
As it turns out this was hands down the biggest turning point in my music. Getting thrown out of Hal’s ensemble was a blessing in disguise. It was the catalyst that helped get me unstuck. In hindsight it was my lucky break. My big lesson.
Thing is, most teachers wouldn't have done it. They would've gone soft on me. They would have let me ride it out and deal with it.
But Hal made the tough choice that taught me the most important lesson.
Well, the story does have a happy ending. After doing what Hal prescribed, I called him up, played a session with him, and got back into his band.
Big Take Away #1: Jazz Is a Music You Learn By Doing.
After that ensemble with Hal was over, I went on to study with him privately for…well…until now! I still take a few lessons with him each year. And now I would consider him my mentor and friend.
I remember one of my first lessons with Hal. He gave me one of the weirdest assignments I’ve ever gotten. He had me make a ‘Listening Tape’.
This assignment changed my playing almost as much as Big Take Away #1.
He had me create a playlist (On a tape cassette in those days) with a recording of one great soloist from each decade of jazz (I actually stopped at the 60’s)
Let me explain. Here’s what my listening looked like:
Track 1: 1920’s Louis Armstrong – Mahogany Hall Stomp
Track 2: 1930’s Count Basie – Swinging at the Daisy Chain
Track 3: 1940’s Charlie Parker - Now’s the Time
Track 4: 1950’s Clifford Brown/Max Roach – Blues Walk
Track 5: 1960’s John Coltrane – Mile’s Mode
Once I had my tape made, I was to listen to this ‘History Playlist’ everyday as part of my practice routine.
Man! I can’t even begin to tell you how this helped my music. First of all it blew open the doors of the jazz tradition for me. Suddenly I wanted to take in and absorb everything I could get my ears on from the beginning to the present.
Secondly, I started to become a better listener. This was the first time I was really actively and mindfully listening to music on a regular basis.
Thirdly, it made me understand how important it is to build listening into your daily routines.
Big Take Away #2: You gotta learn from the tradition! (Ya gotta be a good listener)
Well, as I continued to play with Andy Voelker, organize practice groups and sit in at local jam sessions my playing continued to improve.
As I built listening into my daily practice routine my ears sharpened and my aural imagination got deeper and deeper.
Soon I was getting called to play in the house bands at these jam sessions. Then more and more gigs followed and more and more opportunities to play the music I love.
And I’ll tell you, the one key lesson I can pull out of this whole weird musical journey is this:
There’s more to learning jazz than the practice room. A lot more than just the mechanical, play by numbers B.S. being taught by many cats these days.
There’s a big picture. A big jazz puzzle if you will.
And if you start to put these big pieces into play on your own musical journey you will see exactly what I mean.
Simply put there are some very key principles that you MUST apply.
- You have to maximize your practice time so you can really master the nuts and bolts– divide and conquer – and just get better each and every day.
- You have to learn by doing (The right way, by putting together effective practice groups and getting the most out of jam sessions and gigs)
- You have to feed your aural imagination and musical memory so you have an endless stream of ideas and inspirations.
Why Does This Work So Much Better Than The Usual Approach?
Listen. When you put these principles to work a funny thing happens. You start to get better. And you start to do it faster than all those other cats with their heads stuck in books and obsessing about scales and patterns (to the exclusion of everything else!)
And best of all you start to play ‘real jazz’. You start to have more fun. And you start to get the respect and opportunities that attracts.
- Suddenly practicing become something you’re driven to do because you know how to get results and you see, in real life, how it effects your playing and makes you sound better.
- You’ll get to experience getting up on that bandstand, letting go and flying…making the room vibrate and taking fantastic musical journeys with your band mates.
- You won’t be nervous to sit in at jam session anymore because you’ll know you can hang with the cats. Because you’ll have a blast doing it and because you’ll see it for what it is – a great opportunity to continue advancing on your jazz journey.
- Sure, you’ll still practice and hit the sheds. But you won’t feel like your hiding in them while you endlessly prepare for ‘someday’ when you’re gonna get out there and play some real music.
- Eventually you’ll love the process of playing, learning and advancing with jazz.
- On the rare occasion that you do get knocked around on a tune you’ll see it as a chance to learn, you’ll go home, divide and conquer it and come back next week and nail it.
- And you won’t ever long for the day that you ‘arrive’ as a jazz musician.
Because You’ll Realize That You’re Already There!
Listen. Thanks to Hal Crook, many other great teachers and many hard won lessons, I’ve had the opportunity to play with some absolutely killin’ players.
Cats like Andy Voekler. And also Ken Cervenka, Garrison Fewell, Rusty Scott, Andrew Stern, John Lockwood, Charlie Kohlhase, Edward Perez, Noah Jarrett, Joel Yennior, Jef Charland, Jeff Galindo, Eric Hofbauer, Timo Shanko, James Merenda, Mark Shilansky and On and On.
Here’s a little clip for ya of Andy Voelker and myself playing one of his tunes called Ponus Ridge. It’s from a record we did with a band called Gypsy Schaeffer called ‘Portamental’.
The legendary jazz critic and writer Nat Hentoff had this to say about the record.
"Gypsy Schaeffer has established its own distinctive identity- a lyrically swinging, immediately identifiable addition to the jazz scene. Freshly contemporary, it's nourished by the legacy of the music while adding its own collective voice, seamlessly shaped by its soloists, who know how to listen, learn, and enjoy each other."
What My Students Are Saying:
Chris is certainly the best jazz music teacher I've ever had, but he's more than that: he's one of the best teachers I've ever had--in any subject. He has a special talent for taking complex topics and breaking them down into the simplest possible parts. Chris' lessons have been a huge help for me.Ken Hiatt—Accordionist, Band Leader, Teacher, Waltham, MA
I've never come across a person who could explain what, and how to practice as well as Chris can.Mike Tucker—Drummer and Band Leader, Boston, MA
When I first saw Chris play at a jam here in Boston, I thought, that's the guy I want to take lessons with. Luckily for me, he's as good a teacher as he is a player.
I would recommend Chris to anyone looking to take their understanding of music to a deeper level, I don't know anyone who will give you a more honest, and passionate education.
You have a direct and genuine approach to the development and sharing of knowledge which makes the medicine go down with great ease. It is satisfying to have a kind of jazz-practice guardian-angel!Liam Fionescu—Multi Instrumentalist, Including Clarinet, Guitar and Others, London, England
Chris, You seem to always nail this thing down! Congrats to another great video that keeps us thinking different.
I also try to promote the art of playing music by ears as well on my website youcantrustyourears.com, but my focus is more on the aspiring or amateur musician to lay out a plan on how to accomplish this goal.
However, your method is highly recommended for the “serious” student.”Henry Krupp—Saxophonist, South Korea
The Monster Jazz Formula materials are in a class by themselves. Any musician would be miles ahead having these courses in their "repertoire".Darryl Ruff, Kelowna BC Canada
Your knowledge is great, but on the top of that, it is the way you present that makes it unique. You do not make any tricks or give away half-hearted information and I have learned a lot from your materials. It is great that you cover up the mental topics as well, not just technical stuff. We are lucky to be able to wade through your methods!Bruno T., Slovakia
If you're serious about learning jazz I highly recommend you check out what Chris has to offer.Braun Khan—Church Music Director, Private Instructor, Bassist, Greeley, CO
Now Allow Me To Introduce…
Getting Past Practice
How To Move Past Your Practicing into the Realm of Creative, Expressive and Swinging Improvisation
A Master Class With Andy Voelker and Chris Cooke
A While Back Andy Voelker and I got together and did a live online master class called Getting Past Practice.
It was a 2 part class. And a lot of cats paid upwards of a hundred bucks to attend.
Each class ended up being around 2 hours. It’s was the ultimate jazz wisdom brain dump.
Between us Andy and I have been playing jazz for about 43 years. And like I said, we've picked up a few life-changing musical lessons along the way.
And we’d like nothing more than to help jazzers like yourself 'fast-track' their own progress and avoid the same frustrating pitfalls we endured.
Some Of The Tips You’ll Pick Up In The Master Class Include:
- 1 "Weird" Trick To Get Super Flexible On Your Axe Using "Musical Puzzles"...Hits Your Technique And Theory In One Fell Swoop. (This Little-Known Type Of Practice Gets Your Brain, Your Chops And Your Ear A Good Workout. Do This Every day And You'll Also Get Much Better At Getting Around The Changes.)
- The "6 Pillars Of Musical Confidence" (Every Good Player Is A Confident Player. Applying These 6 Pillars In Your Music And Life Will Have Dramatic Effects On Your Musical Confidence And Your Playing Too!)
- How To Kill It At Jam Sessions So You Sound The Best You Can, Learn The Most And Get Invited Back To Play. (This Comes Straight From Andy's Experience Running Jam Sessions For Over 5 Years.)
- What The Masters Knew About Learning Tunes And How You Can Use A Little-Known Method I Got From Hal Crook To Do It The Same Way. (It's No Secret That Repertoire Is HUGE For A Jazzer. But The Masters Had Opportunities To Learn Tunes On The Gig That We Just Don't. But Now There's A Way To Recreate That Process. )
- The "Divide And Conquer" Method Inspired By Hal Crook & Kenney Werner That Will Allow You To Tackle Any Practice Topic You Choose (It's Also One Of The Only Ways To Acquire True Mastery. I Call This Version The "P.P.P.")
- The Huge Piece Of The "Jazz Puzzle" That Most Cats Don't Do Nearly Enough Of IF They Do It At All. (This Is Possibly The Most Important Step To Get From Stuck In The Practice Room To Swinging On The Bandstand. It's Also One Of The Biggest Stumbling Blocks.)
- Exactly How To Practice A New Tune For Maximum Flexibility. This Step By Step Method Will Make Learning Tunes A Simple And Logical Process That Makes Sense. (So You Can Get Away From Noodling And "Hope Soloing" - Meaning Wiggling Your Fingers And "Hoping" That Something Cool Comes Out Of Your Axe)
- How To Run A Rehearsal Group So You Can Get The Experience You Need, Get Feedback, Sharpen Your Ears & Musical Instincts And Have A Damn Blast Doing It! (To Quote The Great Hal Galper "Jazz Is Music You Learn By Doing". We'll Show You How To "Do It" The Right Way.)
- Where To Find Good Cats To Play With, How To Choose The "Right" Cats To Practice With (So They Don't Hold You Back!) And What Exactly To Do So You Get Maximum Results From Your Sessions.
- How To Get Through The Unsexy "Work" That All Improvisers Have To Do, As Quickly And Painlessly As Possible. (We All Know The Fundamentals Are Important. But There Are Best Practices For Getting 'Em Together. So You Don't Get Stuck On The Sh*T Forever!)
- The Best Ways To Practice The "Nuts And Bolts" Of Music - Scales And Arpeggios. (We'll Show You The Step By Step Method To Practice For Maximum Control Of Your Instrument And Also The Musical Method To Do It While You Play.)
- The #1 Best Way To Sharpen Your Musical Instincts And Develop A Serious Connection With Your Band Mates And Practice Partners. (This One Is Also Inspired By My Mentor And Berklee Prof H.C. What Can I Say, He's A Heavy Cat!)
- How To Use Strange And Bizarre Practice Techniques To Come Up With Some Truly Unique Sounding Stuff. (This'll Get You Thinking And Hearing "Outside The Box" So You're Not Just Another Cookie Cutter Band Or Player.)
- How To Virtually Eliminate Issues With Getting Lost On Form By Systematically Mastering It And Attacking It From Multiple Angles. (Who Likes Getting Lost On Tunes? That's Right...NOBODY! We'll Show You How To Finally Get Past That Aggravating Experience.)
- How To Bring The Concept Of "Musical Scenarios" To Your Band And Rehearsals So You Can Break Out Of The Boring Old "Time And Changes" Model And Get Into Some Inspired Improv Territory.
- How To Bring Congruence To Your Musical Activities So Everything You Do Musically Is Helping You Move Towards Your Playing Goals. (Not Only Will You Get Better Faster, It Will Be More Fun And Fulfilling.)
- Why It's A Big Mistake To Do These 3 Things At A Jam Session. (There's A Pretty Good Chance You're Doing At Least 1. The Bad News Is That These Mistakes Could Keep You From Getting Called Back Up And Having Good Playing Experiences. The Good News You Can Stop Doing Them Immediately.)
- Why The Blues Scale Doesn't Really Exist And What You Should Work On Instead. (The Beloved Blues Scale...Loved By Many...Hated By Andy Because It Can Make You Sound Like A Noodling Wannabe Who Can't Make The Changes!)
- 5 Key Principles For Playing And Progressing With Jazz As Quickly As Possible. (Somehow It's Possible To Get Through A $100,000 Music School Education Without Learning These Must-Know Lessons. We'll Drop 'Em On You In A Matter Of Minutes In This Master Class.)
And A Whole Lot More, Including...
How To Learn From The Masters And From The Many Great Records Available To Us...An Easy Way To Put "Target Practice" To Work For Your Playing And Get Better At Any Topic You Choose...A Simple Way To Develop Musical "Leadership Skills" (Hint: Every Good Member Of The Band Is Leading Sometimes)...How To Quickly Break Down Any Practice Topic In To An Easy To Learn "Next Step".
Sounds Good, Huh? So, What’s the Catch?
There's always a catch, right?
Well, not really in this case…okay, kinda.
Here’s the deal.
I used to love master classes at Berklee and elsewhere. I attended a lot of 'em with cats like Danilo Perez, Jeff Watts, Joe Lovano, Pat Martino, Kenney Werner, Dave Liebman, Rashied Ali, Gunther Schuller, Ben Schachter, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, etc.
I loved them because you would get a freakin’ ton of serious hard-won jazz wisdom from cats that more than paid their dues in the jazz trenches.
But, honestly, it was a little tough to digest sometimes.
I mean, I just wouldn’t know where the heck to start with all the ideas & concepts they shared. It was a little overwhelming.
And to be truthful. Getting Past Practice is the same. It's a straight up ton of information and it’ll be quite time consuming to go through the whole course, pull out all the gold and figure out how to use it.
Now, I recommend you go through it multiple times to get the most out of it.
But you won't even have to go through the entire course once to begin benefiting from it.
This Oughta Make It Easy!
You see, we've gone ahead and created 12 Getting Past Practice ‘Cheat Sheets’ that break down the most important key principles into simple to follow ‘maps’.
This way you can go through the course at your own pace.
But still get started using the information today.
Included With Getting Past Practice, When You Get Instant Access To The Course Today:
These cheat sheets alone are worth more than the price of admission. (In my humble opinion)
I mean, these things good seriously shortcut your musical path. And they will help you get way more out of the videos themselves.
Okay. The Big Question. How Much?
Like I said, each ‘session’ came in at over 2 hours. Actually, it’s about 4 and half hours of Master Class Video in total. If you wanted to hire Andy and I for 4 hours, to teach you these lessons privately it would cost you over $800. Between the two of us. But look. We’re not gonna charge $800. In fact you can get 'Getting Past Practice' today – 4 and half hours of Master Class Video, Audio Tracks AND the 12 Short Cut Cheat Sheets - for the one time cost of of just $97.
And It's Totally Risk Free.
We stand behind the lessons, concepts and wisdom shared in Getting Past Practice. 100%.
And we want to make sure that YOU are 100% satisfied with the class.
So, in the rare event that you don’t feel that you've gotten a ton of musical bang for your buck, we’ll refund your entire payment.
No questions asked. No hard feelings. No B.S.
Just send us an email and your refund will quickly be completed.
Get the entire 'Getting Past Practice Master Class' and All 12 ‘Cheat Sheets’ for just $97.
This Wisdom Changes Musical Lives
Using Chris’ course, I’ve made more progress in the last couple months than at any other time. I’ve also gained confidence in playing which feels great…thanks Chris!Troy H., B.C. Canada
I’ve made the transition from classical to jazz keyboard largely due to your monster formula as it help me set useful goals after many months of wandering in a fragmented way and getting nowhere. That was about 1 1/2 years ago.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your knowledge.Ginny Simonds, Pianist
Man, what can I tell you…I’ve been working with The Monster Jazz Formula for only 10 days now, but it changed the way I practice. I’m much more focused……2 weeks ago I bumped into one of your clips on the Internet. I actually believe that the whole thing was created for me:)Guy Shkolnik, Israel, Pianist
Hi Chris! I own the monster jazz formula since 2009, and it really changed my life!
Unfortunately, the modern life style is killing the wings of mind and free spirit, and people are not aware or do not believe what a human mind can do..Thank you for setting up my mind not only for musical, but life development also! True words of wisdom from a modern philosopher!Themis Nikoloudis, Violinist, Athens, Greece
As a teacher I see myself improving and also passing the knowledge in a more effective way!!!
Thank you for sharing jazz monster formula!!!!Javier Vargas, Jazz Studies teacher at the National Conservatory in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The Monster Jazz was nothing else than a fresh re-beginning of everything I learned since ever: My Music (and so my practicing) began to live and improved 10,000-Times!!!...thank you very much Chris now, practicing and performing is grand joy every day!!!...”Stefan, Zürich, Switzerland
I’ve been a fan of Hal Crook’s books and method. Chris’ videos are the next step to reinforce how to practice improvisation that compliment these books. ….a great addition to a jazzer’s library of learning …but more practical than most books that try to help you to play jazz..John Kozinski, Becket, MA
Are You Ready To Get Unstuck?
So if you’d like some help getting unstuck with your playing and putting together the pieces of that big ole jazz puzzle, you’ve come to the right place.
When you grab ‘Getting Past Practice’ today here’s what you’ll get instant access to.
- The complete Getting Past Practice Master Class with Chris Cooke & Andy Voelker.
- Both Sessions – Over 4.5 Hours of Content Pack Video
- Audio Tracks So You Turn Your Car Into A Music University On Wheels Or Listen Anywhere You Like.
- All 12 Quick Start Cheat Sheets
- It’s All Downloadable So You Can Keep It On Your Own Computer.
- Or You Can Go Through The Whole Thing In The Member’s Only Dashboard. You’ll Get Instant Access to the course in the online (Plus there are a few other goodies in there for ya…)
- You’ll Get Lifetime Access and free updates.
So If you’re tired of being stuck in the practice room and you’re more than ready to get out on that bandstand and kick some musical booty, Andy and I will head you in that direction.
Trust your gut, trust your instincts. You won’t regret it.
Simply click the orange button below, fill out the secure order form on the next page and get instant access to everything today. Get Started Now For Just $97.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read through this page. I hope to see you on the other side.
Again, I'm Chris Cooke and I wish you all the very best with your music.
Chris "Get Past Practice" Cooke
P.S. I hope you enjoy ‘Getting Past Practice’!
Remember. There’s no risk to check it out. It's totally covered by our 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee.
Hell, you could take your time and watch Getting Past Practice. You could start putting the concepts and ideas to work for your music. And you could be seeing some significant changes in your music by the time 30 days is even up.
You could try to figure this all out on your own through your own trial and error.
Or you can shortcut your musical path by tapping into our 43+ years of experience on the jazz path.
If you think you want this, it just makes sense to get it now.
So go ahead and take the plunge. We’ll see you on the inside.