In preparation for my book Trombone Improvisation Savvy, I sent a survey to my subscriber list asking for opinions and experiences on improvisation. I received more responses than I anticipated and will be posting the results over the next several weeks.
Starting out, I asked how important it was for you to improve your improvisation skills. I did receive one “I don’t care” but when asked what part of their improvisation they wished to improve, they selected “Playing better over static harmonies”, so maybe that was a mistaken selection.
Clearly the majority of those surveyed do want to improve. The questions were arranged in a scale between “I don’t care” and “It’s the most important skill I can invest my time on”. The results we are follows:
44% I really want to improve this important area of my playing
27.6% I’d like to improvise better than I currently do
14.7% I’d like to learn
8.6% It’s the most important skill on which I can invest my time
As with most of the questions, I allowed space for “other”.
Most of the “other” comments were explanations about how other aspects of improving their playing were a priority. Improvisation for these people was a nice-to-have, but not a burning issue.
- I’m quite good at playing trombone, but do not have any improvisation knowledge and I want to change this.
- the most important yet utterly untouched area to improve on
My subscriber list includes a wide variety of trombonists from very part time or retired players to professional jazz and classical performers. I guess it’s good news that learning to improvise is important to the majority of those sampled.