Watch the Melody online guitar lesson by Mimi Fox from Flying Solo
Melody is the most important part of any song because it defines the piece more than rhythm or harmony. It's so important to be able to play the melody as originally written by the composer. This is your starting point and it's essential. Then, as a jazz musician you begin to embellish upon the basic melody by using rhythmic variations, passing tones, arpeggios, scales, and finally chordal harmony to start to create something fresh. Always refer back to the original melody as you are creating new ones to be sure you have not lost the beauty/integrity of the original line.