How do you practice improvisation?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Michael Lake 6 months, 4 weeks ago. This post has been viewed 188 times

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  • #4214

    Michael Lake
    Keymaster

    I’m going to write a post in my blog about the wider topic of practicing. What are the most effective things you’ve done to practice your improvisation?

    Michael Lake
    mlake@altobone.com
    Sign up for free monthly music at www.altobone.com

    #4266

    daverice
    Participant

    I have never been what I’d call a good improviser. However, I think Michael has opened that as inreach or possable for me. He says play what you are thinking/feeling. To that, I find myself mind noodling to what ever music or sound aground me. A bit nerve racking to me at first but it is strecthing my mind to more and more variations of my noodles, It’s kind of fun to do. Now playing them on my horn, in tune,, in real time and in public is the ultimate rub. Well I figure head noodling jazz is at least a start. Thank goodnes I was good sight reader.

    Daverice

    #4363

    Michael Lake
    Keymaster

    Daverice, I recently wrote a post after spending time with a friend who came to my studio to record his submission for this contest.

    https://www.altobone.com/the-biggest-improvement-you-can-make-playing-your-musical-instrument/

    I think it relates to you in terms of grasping how to become a better improvisor. In the post, I advocate singing first. I have a saying, don’t lead with the horn. Especially for the less experienced improvisors, picking up the horn and expecting melodically and rhythmically satisfying music to come from it is probably less than likely. Now, I’m really just talking about practicing improvisation. Obviously on a performance, you have to pick up the horn and do what you need to do.

    But take one of these tracks for example. Before putting the horn to your face, listen deeply to the harmony and inner rhythms. Next sing what you feel. By singing, you remove so much of the complication of that complicated machine called a trombone (or any musical instrument). Sing single tones to get the harmony ingrained. Then sing simple scales that conform to the harmony.

    I’m much more of an advocate of singing scales than playing them since playing them tends to rely on muscle memory rather than musical inspiration or hearing. By singing first, then playing, you will strengthen the connection between your musical mind and your instrument. The separation between the two becomes a bit less. We all aspire to the level of Charlie Parker where there was virtually no separation between his musical mind and his instrument.

    Make sense?

    Michael Lake
    mlake@altobone.com
    Sign up for free monthly music at www.altobone.com

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