Jazz etudes is all about helping and supporting music students new to the world of jazz improvisation.

We create fun to play yet challenging jazz etudes aimed at beginner to intermediate students of jazz improvisation.

The etudes are very melodic with limited tricky passages and no high sustained passages.

They are created in a way to help develop your jazz vocabulary in a fun progressive way!

Jazz etudes has been created by professional trumpet player and teacher - Darren Lloyd.

With a passion for jazz and music education, it is my hope that jazz etudes will engage and support all music students new to the world of jazz improvisation!

Check out the YouTube channel where there are fantastic interviews with world class jazz musicians as well as interesting insights into the world on improvisation, with lessons, tips and advice on developing your playing to its max!


Watch the video on how to get the most from the jazz etudes


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As a young teenager I had heard Miles, Louis, Charles Mingus, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughn, Art Farmer, Gerry Mulligan....




They were all on the first jazz record that I'd bought called 'I love jazz'. I loved that record but I didn't have a clue on how to get started with improvising!


My next encounter with great jazz came when a colleague in the Royal Marines Band Service (I served for around 7 years) lent me some of his records, he was a jazz nut!


The records were of Clifford Brown's memorial album, Dizzy Gillespie big band live in Berlin, Freddie Hubbard recording (I can't remember which) and a Bobby Shew recording called Breakfast wine. A recording that I have recently purchased myself on vinyl! I once had a lesson with Bobby and he told me it was his favourite recording he'd made! I can see why!


Again, I loved these recordings and longed to be able to play like these guys! But I didn't have a clue how to get started. Remember there was no internet, all the teachers I knew couldn't play jazz!


Not long after this, a friend of mine said that we should go to Ronnie Scotts jazz club to listen to this Cuban trumpet player. At the time I was serving in the Royal Marines band at Deal in Kent, so it was about a 1 hour 45 minute trip (in those days)!


This introduction completely changed my life. At the time I was also playing violin in the Marines and practicing around 3 to 4 hours a day where possible, it was what I wanted to do!


Until seeing the amazing Arturo Sandoval. It completely knocked me off my feet, almost shocking! I simply couldn't believe that a trumpet could be played like that!


He did things on the trumpet that I\'d never heard anyone do before or since but with such sound, grace, power, beauty.....


I was hooked and changed my focus from violin to trumpet. By this time I had started trying to sit in with a local jazz trumpet player in Deal, the legendary Ian Shawcross, he was a fantastic guy, very funny, entertaining and really encouraging! 


I had learnt (someone must have told me about it in the Royal Marines band) that you could improvise using a blues scale. I set about learning it! Shortly afterwards, I took my trumpet to where Ian was playing and asked if I could sit in. Luckily for me he said yes. I stood there and played a blues in C (concert Bb) and waggled my fingers and tried to sound like Arturo!


I thought I was great! I did this for the next couple of weeks (Ian had a residency at the Clarendon hotel on Deal seafront). Again thinking I was great.


I then was invited up to play (thinking that I was getting up to play a blues in C) I suddenly realised that we weren't in C but in D (concert C major). I had never tried a blues in D! I didn't know the blues scale in D but I was already up there and by the time I realised I didn't know it, it was too late. I was off, trying to solo. Well as I'm sure you can imagine, it was not pretty! In fact I felt a complete fool! 


Rather than be disheartened by this catastrophe though, it made me more determined to learn how to improvise!


I thought to myself, I'll never get caught out like this again!


I took it upon myself to learn a blues in C, D F & G!! Yes, in 4 keys, there would be no stopping me now!


Around this time I started playing in a group of young bandsmen where we played tunes like 'Summertime', Watermelon man' blues in C D F & G!!! As well as other 'easy' tunes! 


I thought I was great but in reality I wasn't! By now, I knew a few Arturo licks and some other bits and pieces but in terms of playing a good jazz solo, I was no where but what did I know, I was completely ignorant of this fact!


Shortly after this another colleague lent me a couple of Jamey Abersold LP's! Charlie Parker & Horace Silver. I can remember putting on the Charlie Parker record and reading through the tunes quite easily but when it came to improvising I didn't have a clue really. I was ok with some parts where they stayed in the same key (although I kept playing the same things all the time) but when the tunes went to the middle eight and changed key I was seriously left wanting! 


It was sometime later that I left the Royal Marines and went to the City of Leeds College of music. By this time my focus had changed and I worked on developing my range and becoming more of a lead player. So that's what I did!


I finished my year at Leeds and moved to London where I started rehearsing and sometimes playing with NYJO and NYJO 2 (national youth jazz orchestra). Through this I heard about the trumpet player and teacher Paul Eshelby. Paul was the jazz trumpet player with the BBC big band.


I learnt a lot from Paul and he set me on a good road but I managed to get a couple of lessons from him, for one reason and another! One thing that Paul gave me on that lesson was the Clifford Brown transcription book. He didn't really mention the word vocabulary or teach me any 'licks' but he did state the importance of being able to play in ALL keys (I now knew why I struggled trying to improvise in the Charlie Parker middle 8's, I couldn't really 'play' in those tricky keys). The exercises he gave me soon worked out those kinks!


Around this time I started working professionally as a commercial trumpet player and so learning more about improvising was a bit on the back burner. I was too busy either on tour around the UK on musical theatre productions or on a cruise ship somewhere very exotic!


It was actually many years later that I attended the University of Salford and completed a master of arts in music performance that I really started to progress as a jazz trumpet player and improve my improvisation skills! Firstly in a more dixieland genre!


The reason for this was a number of things. For my final dissertation I gave a lecture recital on Louis Armstrong and his influence on 20th century music! My tutor on the course was the amazing jazz pianist, arranger and composer Robin Dewhurst! He told me about finding Louis' 'musical thumb print'.


How did I do this, I did what every wanna be jazz musician should do! I listened, listened and listened to the recordings of Louis Armstrong! I transcribed many, many of Louis' solos including Willie the weeper, cornet chop suey, West end blues, potato head blues, Indiana, I can't give you anything but love..... I learn to play them completely from memory, trying to incorporate every nuance of Louis fantastic playing.


Through these activities I learnt so many things - 




















The list is endless (in a musical way) by listening and studying a musicians playing intently and with complete focus, it really helps us to develop our own way of playing.


Since that time I have studied the music (in the same way) of Blue Mitchell, Chet Baker and many other great players ....


I have learnt how to connect musical ideas, develop a solo, use motifs to good effect and most importantly (to me anyway) to play and improvise melodically. 


The one book that I can recommend above all others (it's certainly had the biggest impact on my playing) is the book by Hal Galper called 'Forward Motion'. This really helped me in the idea of playing the changes and learning to listen and hear differently.


In fact many of the techniques that Hal uses in his book I also use in my teaching to good affect, I just break it all down a little more! Especially when teaching students to develop their melodic improvisations! 


I have now been a professional teacher for 11 years. Because I am fully trained (qualified music teacher in the UK with a PGCE) and understand the power of scaffolding students' learning, I apply it in my teachings to help students not feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the process of learning to improvise. By learning to improvise with me, I think you'll understand what it is I am trying to teach you and why. 


I have personally always liked to learn in small chunks with a specific learning objective in mind, to me, trying to think about 8 different things at once when practicing improvisation doesn't work and I'm betting it doesn't work for the vast majority of people trying to learn it. Unfortunately, I see many, many people teaching it this way, only catering for the most advanced players!


I have found that by isolating certain things, rhythm, chord tones, articulation, licks, enclosures, motifs (sometimes bringing a couple together when really confident with each component) I make so much more progress in my improvisation.


Then when I try to play a solo, it seems to work! I realise this is a very holistic type of teaching and learning but the point I'm trying to get over is that we don't all learn the same way! A holistic approach (for me) is like a drip type method. There is not always one learning objective in mind, but many! The beauty of it is though, we only think about one thing whilst developing many!!


To take a lick or II-V-I phrase and learn it in all the keys is great and has it's place but for some of us we need to build up some skills to get to that point. We also need to understand why licks work, we want the ability to be creating our own licks! On the spot!


It is my intention to try and teach/show/inspire how it is possible for anyone to develop improvisation skills. Maybe not in a way that you may have been led to believe is the ONLY way. 


Check out my videos on YouTube, I try to keep them simple and get you, the student to concentrate on only one thing at a time!


Here is a link to my YouTube channel - MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL


Why not subscribe to my YouTube channel, I try to upload a new video once a week. At the moment I'm trying to concentrate on jazz improvisation tutorials/lessons aimed at beginner to early intermediate students.


Over the foreseeable future I will be trying to give lessons on as many different topics as I can to do with learning jazz improvisation, standards, genres, articulation, swing time... aimed at beginners through to intermediate players! 


If you have any burning questions or would like to learn more about a certain topic, please drop me a line and I'll try to include it in a video sometime in the future! 


Through passion, desire and tenacity, I have managed to develop my own playing to the stage where I have played with some fantastic musicians but remember, I wasn't a natural improvisor, I started out exactly the same as you, I have worked hard to improve my improvisation skills and it is still something I practice every single day! I love it! I love the challenge of it.

Why am I dong this? 

I love jazz!  


I love everything about it!

I want everyone else to love it as much as I do!

If I can help anyone develop their playing in the slightest way (especially players that say 'I'll never be able to improvise') it would make me extremely happy! 

I want you to be able to improvise, even if you think that you can't. You can and you will if you really want to!

I sincerely hope that my videos, emails, jazz etudes.... help you in some way whether that be big or small!


Warm regards




Jazz etudes




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