Soloing Practice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by sunnydaze, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. sunnydaze

    sunnydaze New Friend

    Apr 11, 2009
    Ancaster, Ontario
    I'm currently trying to develop my soloing skills, and am looking for methods and tips in order to improve my practice. Does anyone have any tips for someone new to soloing that could help me along?

    Is there some backing tracks/ songs that can be downloaded or bought that allow for solo practicing over top?

    It not my scales that I need work on, it's my improvising. If I feel the song out for a while I can come up with some stuff, or if I solo back and forth with my band members ideas will eventually come out, but I really want to improve my soloing overall.

    Any tips or suggestions will be greatly appreciated! :-)
  2. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    get some Aebersolds. The program "Band in a Box" can be helpful too.

    Start with playing the blues (Blue Monk, Billlies Bounce, Mr PC, Freddie Freeloader, Bags' Groove, there's tons of heads to choose from)
  3. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Forget Abersold. Get a metronome. Put it on two and four. Play the chosen tune in time. Then play quarter notes on the chord tones until you can do it really well. Then play eighth notes on the chord tones. When you can do that, start adding passing tones, neighbor tones, suspensions, etc., and voila, you're soloing. Then learn five Louis Armstrong solos, five by Lester Young, Bird, Miles, Clifford. You're set.

    Michael McLaughlin
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Forget Aebersold AND the metronome.

    Let me clarify: For technical studies, the metronome is one of the best tools that a player can have. When tackling a solo however, play alongs and metronomes teach us to follow and not lead. When adjudicating, I can hear the followers every time.

    The proper oder of things in my opinion:
    get the skills required before you prepare a solo for performance. If you have a Haydn concerto coming up, then practice Clarke etudes in F up an octave, tongued and slurred - with the metronome! When the basic building blocks are solid, then resist the urge just to "blow through" the piece. Start practicing at a drastically reduced speed to perfect dynamics, articulation and breathing. Yes, you need to mark breathing. This is where most players make their biggest mistakes - their breathing gets out of sync and they have either too little air to support the phrase or too much air and no way to get rid of it. Memorize the difficult passages by practicing them slowly.

    For jazz soloing, it is not much different: get your changes in order. I'll ignore your comment on scales being less necessary. They are one of the base tools of improvising and even the pros NEVER stop working on them. Start slowly, work out everything in "slow motion" to keep the fumbling down to a minimum. Scales, interval studies with the metronome, straight, swing, latin................ There are TONS of rhythmic variations to perfect.

    A last comment: it is easier to learn notes than to learn "groove". A decent soloist has GROOVE regardless if it is jazz or classical. Timing IS one of the most critical aspects of making music. Work on the building blocks, develop precision and then unleash your soul. If your building blocks are solid, your MUSIC will be that too. Lead, do not follow!
  5. sonarerocks

    sonarerocks Pianissimo User

    Mar 22, 2009
    Omaha NE
    The only and best way to become a great soloer in jazz is to play a lot of them. Go sit in with your local monday night big band, ask for solos in band, the best and quickest way you will learn is just to go for it!
  6. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Sure you can.

    If you are lucky enough to find a rehearsal band that will let you sit in.....

    Then if they would even let you THINK about playing a solo.

    "This is MY book and this is MY solo!"

    That's what most people will hear.

    Here is a link to some (a lot) of backing tracks.

    Backing Tracks

    You can also just play ovet thracks on your CD or record player.
  7. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    soloing was something that just came to me after i tried it. i totally agree with Rowuk on the groove factor, and when it comes to scales, i may only have a rudimentary knowledge of scales, however, usually that is all i need, if i know i need any thing else, ill usually go over go over the scales. that may not be much of a help, but as you play with the backing tracks, i will come to you.
  8. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Are you sure it's not your scales you need to work on?

    Have you exercised a four page drill of chromatics several times? These are not for YOU, they are for your MIND. They are for improvising.

    Practice playing in front of people........anywhere.....anytime...If the News Channel Two truck pulls up,............. RUN!!!
  9. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    YEA! lol had me laughin...
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Some great advice has already been given. You need practice scales, arpeggios, and other jazz patterns. This is more imporant that "just playing", whether it's using backtracks or sitting in with a group.
    Here's my 2 cents.

    1. I use Aeberold's free Jazz Handbook (Jazz Handbook: It's not the most complete book. But the price is right. And it includes many of the basics on scales and jazz patterns, and on the correct way to approach new songs.

    2. I also use Jerry Coker's Patterns For Jazz. I practice the patterns in all 12 keys going chromatically, by whole steps, in cycle of 4ths, etc.

    3. Finally I spend time learning scales in all 12 keys (major blues, minor blues, dorian, dominant, half diminsed, diminished-whole tone, etc.). Aebersold lists many of them. The rest you can figure out for yourself, find online, or use a reference like Dan Haerle's Scales For Improvisation.

    Back to your original question, I do use backtracks to practice. But I try to follow the approach Aebersold lays out. See Learning New Tunes & Memorize Scales & Chords to Any Song in the Jazz Handbook.


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