Hal Galper’s demonstration of results

In a world craving instant gratification and immediate results, players learning the craft of jazz live a somewhat frustrated existence. Results are slow to come. Spoiler alert: improvisation is hard. I watched a video today that I hadn’t seen in a while, and it reminded me that in the hands of a good teacher, instant […]

The key to satisfying jazz improvisation may not be learning all the scales.

A trombone player who bought Trombone Improvisation Savvy a while back wrote that as an orchestral player proficient at reading music, he feels overwhelmed when looking at chord changes. He wrote that the book isn’t giving him what he needs in terms of chord scales to practice until they become part of muscle memory. He […]

How to most effectively practice your musical instrument

I received an email from a subscriber asking an excellent question. He asks how he can optimize his time in the three hours per day he dedicates to practicing. Is it better to have fewer things to work on and spend more time on those, or to practice on more things and extend the total practice time per day.

How to prepare for sitting in on a jam session

One of the most important activities a jazz musician can take part in is a jam session. Spontaneity is the essence of jazz and if you’re not in a band that plays regularly, you probably don’t play live often enough with other musicians. Play live with and in front of people is what strengthens your […]

The five minute daily habit to make you a much better improviser

Writing yesterday’s post, I had no intention of writing a post script. But as I thought more about the section in which I suggested a 15 minute daily routine to build your jazz improvisation, I wanted to suggest an even easier routine. In the previous post, I laid out a 15 minute daily routine that […]

Master this discipline and be a much better improviser

A flautist (aka flute player) I’ve been working with wrote me recently that she is excited to notice that her “ear to instrument reaction time” is improving. She is habitually working on a few exercises such as the Brahms Lullaby in 12 keys and Jazz Patterns for Ear and seeing some delightful results. This article […]

An electronic orchestration of The First Noel

Knowing Christmas was coming, the time when I annually reach inward to give birth to a new rendition of a holiday tune, I first bought a couple of interesting synths for inspiration. One was Straylight by Native Instruments, a sample-based granular synthesizer. I’m a sucker for the X-Y modulation matrix. The other is Trailer expressions […]