Improvisation

Training your brain for both left and right brain improvising

Except for only the last couple hundred years–a sliver of time for us– human existence on earth has been hard. Very hard. Over 200,000 years, our brains have evolved to protect us from the dangers of being eaten by animals, surviving harsh weather, and attacks from warring factions. In order to survive, our brains have…

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Simplifying your jazz improvisation

I’m organizing my thoughts for my next video and I wanted to use this post as a way to flesh them out a bit and to share some concepts with you. Improvising over jazz is hard. You have so many choices as the rhythm section is flowing along that it’s hard to believe improvising over…

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Bach on jazz

Last I checked, Bach was not a jazz trombonist. He was a master of improvisation, trombone back in his time was called a Sackbut and wasn’t a very resonant instrument. But Bach does provide some insight into how to improvise well on the trombone. In the early 1700s, Bach wrote his six cello suites. Hundreds…

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Quick tip on improvisation

Here the audio file that I mentioned in my quick tip video. https://youtu.be/5StE2kQS2i4 It comes from my book Trombone Improvisation Savvy.: The point I make in the video is that it is common and typical for musicians learning to improvise to be told to learn the scales associated with the chords. As I say in…

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An online resource for learning the real book jazz tunes

There are a lot of online resources for learning piano and jazz improvisation but I want to recommend one site in particular for reasons beyond knowing how to comp B half diminished with two hands. After all, if you’re here you’re probably a trombonist or at least a brass player. Ron Drotos is KeyboardImprov.com. As…

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The biggest improvement you can make playing your musical instrument

A good friend and my most enthusiastic guinea pig for my books’ strange ideas and exercises came to the studio yesterday to do some trombone recording. Like most players, he’s not used to recording in my particular environment. A strange and sensitive mic, transparent monitoring through headphones, and unforgiving playback can make for an uncomfortable…

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How to improve your musical instrument playing much quicker

I think I have a somewhat unorthodox method of teaching trombone and improvisation. Instead of telling students what they sound like and commenting on the things I’m hearing them do wrong, I ask them what they hear. I’m of the belief that if I tell you what something sounds like, it relieves you of the…

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Eyes or ears for jazz improvisation?

A trombone player recently wrote me describing his struggle with improvisation. He’s recently acquired my books and is working on the ear strengthening exercises. After watching one of my videos on playing melodies by ear, he wrote, “I’ve been playing Happy Birthday in all 12 keys and trying to speed up a bit so I…

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