Improvisation

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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My improvisation method in Jazz Ear Savvy

I was recently asked to write out my methodology for improving one’s improvisation. I have certain assumptions and beliefs on the tools and exercises that will improve the improvisational skill of a musician. They’ve worked for me and for others with whom this has been shared. Premise: The major difference between struggling amateur improvisors and…

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Jazz reharmonization of Happy Birthday

What lead me to reharmonize the I-IV-V chords of Happy Birthday? Teaching improvisation, of course! And Happy Birthday is lesson one in my book on strengthening your ear for improvisation. It’s called Jazz Ear Savvy. I just published a video on my Youtube channel that demonstrates how the simple tune Happy Birthday can help you…

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