The hardware and software of an improvisation method

Even though Trombone Improvisation Savvy is officially published, I’ve continued to work on the audio files. I like practicing trombone with the book’s music files and as I do, I hear things needing improvement. So I open up Logic and tweak. For some songs, adding new instruments/sounds transforms the piece into better music for play-along. The music develops into something even more interesting and inspiring.

Here’s an example of an upgraded piece. It’s in C and called Island Mines. Use it to run scales, hold pitches for intonation, and by all means, blow over it!


Editing these tracks got me thinking. The book is finished and over the past two days people have bought dozens so I cannot change the book now that people have it in their hands. But I purposely set up the sound files so that they could be modified. For the files within the Soundcloud playlists, I simply upload a replacement file. The replacement goes on behind the scenes, invisible to the user.

I’ve also created three .zip files–one for all the part one mp3s and two others for the part two mp3s. All I need do is compress the folder containing the new audio files and upload the resulting .zip file as a replacement for the previous Dropbox file.

The book is the hardware and the audio files is the software. When I make upgrades to audio files I will upload the new audio file and .zip file to replace the previous ones.

The concept is that of a computer. The computer has hardware, and outside of graphic card upgrades or inserting additional RAM it’s pretty much fixed. On the other hand, the OS, applications, and plugins are constantly being updated. One contrast with the computer analogy is that the “software” upgrades for the book are live–at least on Soundcloud. That new file is immediately available with you doing nothing. You are also free to download a new .zip file that will contain the most up to date audio files, but unlike OS updates, mine aren’t mandatory and I’m not constantly nagging you about upgrading.

This ability to upgrade the audio files could never have been possible with CDs. The book would have required three or four CDs and the duplication would have added more cost to the book.

As file sharing and music platforms continue to provide the necessary flexibility, books like Trombone Improvisation Savvy can be published that accommodate content upgrades. In the end, costs are kept lower and the book becomes better with time.

Preview the book here.

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