Learning a new style of music is very much like learning a new language. Both tasks require regular habits of listening, practicing, and communicating. Jazz is a very sophisticated musical language, and learning how to play it has the additional challenge of developing improvisation skills.
Musical improvisation can be defined as composition in realtime. Learning to improvise jazz can be a very daunting task because it requires musicians to be aware of many aspects of music at the same time. It requires great skill as well as the ability to create music spontaneously. Many teachers undertake beginning jazz education with a scalar approach to improvisation, usually with the blues scale as a starting point. There are a few advantages, but many more pitfalls to using the blues scale.
This site serves as an alternative to the scalar approach to improvisation. It offers a step-by-step process with specific exercises designed to help students learn how to create interesting rhythmic riffs, develop melodic ideas, play within the given harmonic structure of a piece, improve listening skills and musical awareness, build energy and intensity while soloing, and more.
There is nothing revolutionary about this approach to improvisation, and some of the exercises have been practiced by jazz musicians for many decades. I have connected several exercises in a step-by-step method designed for students who have little to no experience playing jazz. However, even if you have some experience improvising, you might find these practice techniques to be useful.
The materials in this site are presented in a way so that they can be used in a classroom setting, for private lessons, or for individual study.
Read the explanation of the Basic Introduction to Jazz Improvisation.
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