Improvisation Savvy

The premier ear-based online video training
that will elevate your jazz improvisation

Watch this one-minute video:
Does this sound strangely familiar?

Your THINKING and CALCULATING and PROJECTING could be exactly what is preventing you from playing as you imagine!

Are you ready to finally rid yourself of the barrier blocking so much of your innate ability to improvise well?

The online course: $67.00

I want to help you play jazz better. And I can.

Learn how to enable the music inside to finally flow out of your instrument

“My ear has improved since taking your course and have seen improvement in my improvising. Hope that more aspiring musicians find out about your course. They won’t be disappointed.” – Jim M.

What you will gain from this course

Tools for building your skills so that you are no longer locked into the written notes, memorized patterns, or the ‘correct’ scales.

Discover the real source of your music

Improvisation is not simply about playing a bunch of notes that sound like jazz. It is about expressing yourself through an instrument that is basically a tone producer and an amplifier for the music inside. (aka piano, sax, trumpet, bass, etc.) Learn how to put your musical mind before your instrument.

How to open up your ears and listen deeper

You probably first learned music with your eyes rather than with your ears like most of us. Unfortunately, too many musicians as they get older still think of music visually over aurally.  You might be amazed by how much more you can hear when you really listen.

Recognize what is getting in your way

Think about the possibility that the very things you think are helping you are actually standing in your way of improvising better. Learn what they are and how to eliminate them.

Fundamental music theory

Knowing a certain amount of music theory will help you more fundamentally understand the music. Learn through hearing the elements of music rather than just memorizing them. This is a very practical approach to theory.

How to practice effectively

Practice makes permanent, not necessarily 'perfect'. If you are stuck, it could be that you aren't practicing the right things. Learn how to find the most important things you should be practicing right now in order to improve much quicker.

Improve your sense of time and rhythm

You can play all the 'right' notes but if they are out of time and the flow of the beat, they'll sound bad. On the other hand, play all 'wrong' notes with great time and you will sound accomplished. Improvisation Savvy provides you with some unusual but very effective tools for strengthening your time and building a better sense of your groove and/or swing.

About Your Instructor Michael Lake

The jazz chops, knowledge, and communication skills to guide you into taking your playing to the next level. (Whatever level that means for you.)


Jazz and latin musician having played with Hank Mobley, Lalo Rodriguez, Ray Barretto, Nancy Wilson, and many more.


Written over a dozen books on jazz, trombone, & skill development. Composer of over 100 pieces of music for chamber groups and electronic orchestra.


Founder of the Jazz Master Summit as well as a 30-year producer of commercials, instructional videos, and communication tools.

MODULE ONE - Laying the Foundation

In the introduction, I help you think clearly about your musical goals and expectations. A questionnaire and assessment exercise provides a benchmark for beginning the course.

  • What are your personal musical goals?
  • How good is your ear?
  • A conversation about developing your unique musical personality
  • Four video lessons

MODULE TWO - Basic Jazz Thoery

An introduction to jazz theory that teaches you to hear the music rather than just see and memorize notes, chords, and scales.

  • Fundamentals of jazz harmony
  • The good, bad and ugly of learning chords and scales
  • The true value of the circle of fifths
  • Basic non-piano player comping
  • Eight video lessons

MODULE THREE - more Deeply Hearing the Music

The core of this course is the strengthening of your ear and its connection to your instrument. These lessons help you identify and eliminate internal chatter and reliance on analytical thinking that is getting in the way of your music. It really is!

  • What does it really mean to hear?
  • How to quiet your left brain chatter
  • Assessing and strengthening your note & pattern matching skills and harmonic anticipation
  • Putting the power of habit to use
  • 8 video lessons

MODULE FOUR - Time & Rhythm

An innate sense of rhythm is indispensable for a jazz player or for any musician. Believe it or not, your ability to keep the pulse of the music is more important than accurately choosing the ‘right’ notes.

  • You’ll assess the strength of your time
  • Strengthening metronomic rhythm
  • Developing your groove rhythm
  • Discovering your phrase rhythm
  • 7 video lessons

MODULE FIVE - Tool, Tips, & Tactics

As with any complex skill, there are physical and mental shortcuts for practicing and playing more effectively. Here, we identify and work on several that will improve your playing.

  • The proper use of anchor notes
  • The power of constraint exercises
  • Identifying and isolating problem spots in your improvisation
  • How to most effectively transcribe solos
  • What muscle testing can teach you about your playing
  • 9 video lessons

MODULE SIX - How to Practice Well

Regardless of the tools and teachers at your disposal, you must be your own teacher, and therefore, know how to most effectively learn to learn and to practice.

  • How to know what best to work on
  • How much time should you practice and how to find it.
  • Left versus right brain practice
  • Practicing the way your brain works best
  • 5 video lessons

Words on my methods from my students

"What a pleasure it is to finally have a method to follow that makes me work on my listening skills (working by ear)."
Envoyé M.
"I just want to say thanks so much for your teachings. They are crystal clear, practical, and valuable. They are like vitamins."
Marty S.
"I noticed after working on your materials that I am hearing things in music that I didn't hear before. I didn't expect that!"
Charles N.
"What your teaching is doing is increasing my ear to instrument reaction time. This is really exciting for me!"
Sharilynn H.


If after working through the course, you don’t get the results you expected, I’ll refund you every penny and wish you the best. And you keep the bonuses.

Beat Sweeper
Jazz @ 180 bpm
Beat Sweeper
Jazz @ 180bpm
Fast Americana @ 224 bpm
Fast Americana @ 224 bpm
Smooth @ 120 bpm
Smooth @ 120 bpm

This is just a fake book example for the type of website I can build for you. Just trying to use a little humor here!