How to get started with jazz improvisation

I received an email this morning from an enthusiastic sax player struggling to get better at playing jazz. He has started working with my book Jazz Patterns for Ear and wrote, “After playing the exercises in the book, I played a standard tune and immediately felt closer to the things I was playing”.

How well do you TRULY know these standard tunes?

You show up at a jam session and Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, and Bye Bye Blackbird are called in their standard keys. You know the melody for each of those tunes and make your way pretty well through your soloing. Looking back, however, how well did you know those tunes?

Here’s how to play the authentic improvised music that’s inside your head

I put out a challenge last week that was tied to a new lesson for my online course Improvisation Savvy. It involves singing an 8-bar improvisation over a provided rhythm track and then playing on one’s instrument a transcription of what was sung. The point is to hear your authentic music coming from your instrument.

Hearing and improving your time and rhythm

A jazz musician’s sense of time is one of if not the most important defining aspect of his or her playing. As a soloist, you can play “wrong” notes with a good time feel, and it will sound much better than “right” notes with a poor sense of time.

A simple test and training of your jazz ear

If you watched my masterclass entitled, The Magic of Deep Listening, you heard me describe something I like to do when I hear a non-musical tone out in the real world (airplane engine, train horn, animal, etc.) I sing that tone and play around with it.

Is jazz improvisation hard?

I saw this question online recently. The number of results for this question on Google is 6.1 million so it’s worth answering. Is jazz improvisation hard?  YES. There are two forms of jazz soloing. One form is comprised of stringing together scales, arpeggios, memorized licks, and patterns in order to skillfully weave notes over the […]