Jazz Guitar Life Review of JBGI

by Lyle Robinson

The Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute

Time was, if you wanted to take a lesson from Jimmy Bruno, one of the leading Jazz Guitarists of our day, you most likely had to book a session way in advance, had to travel to Philly at your own expense and have a bank roll the size of Donald Trump's (no offense Jimmy). But now, thanks to the immediate connection of the Web, all you have to do is log in to "classes" at the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute and faster than you can say dot com your face-to-face with the man himself. Well... kind of... of course this is not a physical one-on-one experience but it comes pretty darn close.

So what exactly is the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute you ask? Well, first off you should know that Jimmy Bruno is one of the leading Jazz Guitarists of today and a wildly popular teacher/clinician of this, and the next, generation. Just ask any Jazz Guitar enthusiast and they will most likely agree with that statement. Bruno is definitely a master of the instrument and the music and what he has to share through the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute is his years and years of playing experience and knowledge of the instrument. Not just the everyday generic understanding of how Jazz functions, but his own personal in-depth insights of how to reach your musical goals via the most direct and effective approach possible. It really is as simple as Jimmy says it is... with some work and dedication of course.

Utilizing the latest in Web technology, the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute allows its students to see first hand, via smooth streaming video, the Jimmy Bruno method and its applications to tunes using Jimmy's own Five Shapes approach: "...a pretty radical simplification. No modes. No scales. Just 5 pictures, or what I call the 5 Shapes. With only five shapes, you can learn to do improvisation in any key, in any position on the guitar, through the chord progression."* Of course there's much more than that.

Not only do you get to watch Jimmy Bruno walking you through numerous lessons on improvising using the Five Shapes in living color, but you also get his own approach to tunes as a comper. Tunes like "Satin Doll" and "Blue Bossa", when I was checking out the site, were used as vehicles to work out the lessons, which as we all know, theory is nothing without the practical application of it. In this case, making music.

Now if this isn't cool enough, the real beauty of the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute is its interaction between student and teacher. The institute provides a one-on-one arena where you can send Jimmy a web-cam video of yourself playing through the lessons and he will analyze your playing and let you know what areas, if any, need work. To me that's more than enough incentive to sign on.

Another beneficial feature of the institute is that there is a forum that you can use to hang out and chat with Guitarists like yourself from around the globe as well as with Jimmy himself. Have a question? Someone's bound to have an answer. To me this is the beauty of this technology; you are no longer in the dark and alone. Knowledge is meant to be shared and the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute does that in spades.

But is this way of teaching conducive to actually learning? In my opinion I think it is way better. For one, you have all the materials available to you anytime you need them. You can go back and review lessons, check out how others are doing and even measure yourself up against them in a friendly spirit of competition. And once again, having the ability to address Jimmy one-on-one is something that can't be found anywhere else on the Web and I would highly recommend that you take advantage of this as quickly as possible. I can see this turning out to be much more a monster of a hit than it is already and you may be up against a ton of students vying for Jimmy's attention.

I really enjoyed my being able to browse through the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute and I can see how it could benefit students immensely no matter how advanced you are on your instrument. If you are a professional working player then maybe the institute is not for you at the present time. But if you are a beginner with some basic knowledge of the guitar and want to learn how to play Jazz and blow through changes, or if you're more advanced and want to bring your game up a notch or two then definitely check out the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute. And tell Jimmy that Jazz Guitar Life says "hi".

* Quote taken from an interview conducted by Just Jazz Guitar on the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institue website.