Dave Braun Trio Live Performances

"Jazz is a creative process that not only involves the musicians, but engages the audience.  The synergy that you get from live performance can not be matched in a studio" ..... Dave Braun

Dave Braun Live

Invitation - trio with Tim Fox

You Stepped Out Of A Dream

Sweatin - with Ben Paterson and Pat Mulcahy

If I Had You

Lullaby of Birdland

Green Dolphin Street

Attributes of Jazz Musician

Develop Your Ear

Because hearing is more important than analyzing musical notes, I recommend you to continually develop your ear. You can do this by playing with and listening to as many musicians as you can. Excessively practicing scales will do nothing for your ear and make the music you play sound mechanical. Because of this, most of your time should be spent learning songs and listening to other players.

You should also experiment with your ear and always try to find new harmonies and sounds. Prevent yourself from being confined to using exact melodies and chords.

Serve an Apprenticeship

If you are still starting out, you should build a group with season professionals. In my early years, I always surrounded myself with musicians who were more experienced and advanced than me. This forced me to step up and learn as rapidly as I can.

Although I am proud of my relationships with Joe Pass and Barney Kessel, it was my apprenticeship with bassist Gerald Cannon where I really cut my teeth in the jazz idiom. The things you learn from an experienced player cannot be matched by just taking lessons or practicing.

Respect the Locals

I will never forget what Joe Pass said to me after one lesson I had with him. He told me that whenever he is asked about his influences, he gives the same answers: Charlie Parker, Bud Powel, John Coltrane, and the other icons. In reality, he said, the local jazz musicians influenced him the most because he was always striving to be able to play with them.

It’s not always true that musicians who come from bigger cities or out of town are better than others. Personally, I have found that there are many pots of gold in my own backyard.

You should avoid looking at people who play the same instrument or style of playing as you as competitors and shy away from them. Instead, I encourage you to get to know everyone in your area and become fans of one another. I have made a lot of great friends by always welcoming musicians who come to my gigs and want to sit in.

Learn From and Play With Pianists

I recommend that guitarists should play and learn from piano players. However, I don’t believe that a pianist should be part of your regular group because it is very easy to surrender your harmonic contributions and be reduced to a single-line player. Learn everything you can from piano players but force yourself to be able to stand on your own.

As a guitarist, I have never used the excuse that piano players have 88 keys and I only have six strings. After all, music’s main elements, motion and emotion, can be expressed with six strings or even just one.

I have always strived to be self-sufficient just like the piano players. My ultimate goal is to be more like Oscar Peterson who does everything that is humanly possible both as a pianist and a musician.

Learn How to Play Fingerstyle

Playing fingerstyle will open up the guitar to a pianistic approach. Studying classical guitar is the best way to learn the correct use of the right hand for this way of playing. It will also teach you how to bring out different lines in your playing. It makes it possible to emphasize the melody line while keeping the inner voices softer or bringing out inner voice movement. Carcassi had a great method book which is suitable for anyone who wishes to learn this style.

Learning picking or plectrum style is just as important. This is because it is useful for fast tempos and different effects.

Mastering both styles contributes to your range as a musician. If you want to maximize all of your abilities, you will need to be able to use all of your fingers. However, when you are playing in fingerstyle, don’t hold a pick between your thumb and first finger. Instead, use your thumb for bass notes.

Develop Relative Pitch Instead of Perfect Pitch

A true jazz musician is only interested in how sounds are related to each other and not in absolute pitch. Most people that I have met who have perfect pitch view it as a hindrance instead of an advantage.

Many musicians have perfect pitch, but more players do not have it. I have performed with musicians who could not read a note of music yet have great relative pitch and could hear everything on the spot.

Although Miles Davis is often said to have perfect pitch, sidemen who played with him disagree. He also does not mention having the ability in his autobiography. Many musicians with great ears are placed under the umbrella of those with perfect pitch, but in reality, what they have is great relative pitch. Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, and Bruce Foreman are some examples of musicians with great ears who I personally know do not have perfect pitch. You can learn more about the people who have perfect pitch through the Perfect Pitch People website.

Great relative pitch is a skill that can be developed. Ask yourself: “When I listen, do I hear?” If your answer to this question is no, work on training your ear.

Learn How to Communicate

Because great music is like having a proper conversation, it requires the participants to be open-minded and good at listening. You would not prepare a speech if you were going to a roundtable discussion. Instead, you would research in order to be able to offer something insightful. Music is not any different.

Don’t bring your ego and agenda to a gig. No one wants to hear someone dominate a conversation or tell everyone how great they are. You can leave a better and lasting impression on your audience by playing a tune that means something to you than to play a tune that is difficult just for the sake of showing people how good you are.

Have the Right Attitude as a Performer

The greatest gift that a musician has is the honor of playing the gig that one is hired for. For this reason, if the audience does not fully appreciate your performance, don’t use the excuse that they don’t understand. Take it upon yourself to adjust your playing to make them want to listen.

I have always taken responsibility for my performances and never blamed my audiences. This has forced me to stay in touch with them and find out how I can relate to them more effectively. If you play tunes that mean something to you and come from your heart, the people who watch your shows can’t help but buy into you. On the other hand, if you play to serve your own ego, the audience will read right through your intentions, and you will leave them nothing to take away with them.

Finally, don’t ever forget that there are many other musicians who would be glad to play a show in your place. Be thankful and appreciative each time you get a call for a gig.