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Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Lesson: The Art of Phrasing with Martin Taylor


How you phrase melodic lines is one of the primary elements that defines your musical voice on your instrument. Much like speaking, how you phrase a musical idea and integrate subtle inflections, nuances in your cadence, and adjustments in your pacing all greatly impact the message that you convey to your audience and how you’re received. Your musical phrasing can be equated to your sonic fingerprint, and, as such, it should be calculated, monitored, and refined as you progress. It should be intentional.


In this online guitar lesson, Grammy-nominated guitarist, Member of the Order of the British Empire, and ArtistWorks fingerstyle guitar instructor, Martin Taylor provides his unique approach to and insights on phrasing in the context of both single-note lines and chord-melody playing. He even outlines a few different techniques that you can utilize in your jazz guitar playing to vary your phrasing and alter the expressive quality of your performance.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play fingerstyle jazz guitar from a master musician like Martin Taylor? Try some free online guitar lessons now!


“It’s not enough just to play a line or a few measures of a line. We have to phrase them,” Martin explains. “How you phrase a line is all based on your unique interpretation of the music. Once you bring phrasing into the music, even instrumental music, it can become very poetic.”


Regardless of your skill level, it’s important to begin integrating different performance methods into your playing specifically with your phrasing in mind. This accomplishes two things: it encourages you to implement various technical skills into a musical context and practice them, and it keeps you focused on your primary goal as a musician—self-expression.


“If you hear Stan Goetz interpreting a melody, he had a very specific way of phrasing,” Martin explains. “So, apart from his unique sound, his playing became very identifiable based on the way he would phrase something. He would never play a phrase just exactly as it was written down. He would always approach it in a manner that was uniquely his own.”


To learn more about how to approach phrasing and integrate different phrasing techniques into your fingerstyle guitar playing, dive into this online guitar lesson from Martin Taylor:


The Art of Phrasing with Martin Taylor:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play fingerstyle jazz guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Martin Taylor, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Martin’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, and jazz standards. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as fingerstyle guitar players and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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