How to apply a lick in just 5 steps

I've had a couple of friends, students and viewers asking me this question a lot lately; "How do I apply lick to my playing?" So I decided to tape this lesson on applying licks. I decided to break the process into 5 steps that I believe will allow you to apply any lick quickly and with confidence.

Step 1: Learn the lick; learn how to play it, learn the notes in the lick, and learn the context of the lick as a whole.

Step 2: Practice different lead ups to the lick. This way you have plenty of paths on the way to playing the lick while improvising.

Step3: Practice different exits to the lick. What are you going to play once the lick is done? This creates different paths that you can take to continue playing once the lick is done.

Step 4: Practice both lead ups and exits together. In this step you are melding both steps 2 and 3 and playing them simultaneously. This begins to give you a clear idea of what you can do to go into and out of the lick.

Step 5: Start applying the Lick. Get to jamming with the lick on top of backing tracks and with your friends and /or band. Use the lick often so that it is absorbed completely into your playing.

This is the basic lick used on the video. The lick itself stems from the Dm Pentatonic scale (D F G A C) and it goes outside a bit by moving the same pattern up chromatically until it finds itself within the Dm pentatonic scale again and it resolves on a bend.

I didn't add the examples on the video because the whole purpose of the video is to create your own paths onto this lick. Get creative with it!

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© 2015 by Juan Antonio Music.