Watch the Melodic Minor Scale online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Jazz Improv

One way to develop a vocabulary with the melodic minor (or any scale) is to learn some melodies that incorporate the sound of the scale or arpeggio. Chuck Wayne's "Solar" and Charlie Parker's "Segment" come to mind as short bebop melodies that draw on the melodic minor. Most modern jazz musicians reference the melodic minor often in their improvisations. Playing the melodic minor a whole tone below a minor (the 2nd mode of the melodic minor, Dorian b2 or Phrygian 6) is a nice sound in between Dorian and Phrygian. I particularly like the combination of major 6th and b2 against a minor chord, and I'll frequently use melodic minor chords a whole tone below a minor chord as well (i.e., Bb melodic minor as Cm7b9).