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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Learning to improv in the General forums; I agree with following Eric Bolvin's site and his online lessons. However, like you, I am working on improvisation; and ...
  1. #11
    Piano User mrsemman's Avatar
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    Apr 2010

    Re: Learning to improv

    I agree with following Eric Bolvin's site and his online lessons. However, like you, I am working on improvisation; and another way is to get the S.P.I.T book by Dr. Mark and Jane Shellhammer. The S = scales; P = Patterns; I = Inversions; and T = Triads. With this book, all you have to know is the key whatever song you are playing is in. Then you find the key in the chords in the book, i.e. key of C and find chord of Cmaj or Cminor. Then pull out that page (book is loose leaf binder). Each page had the scales, the patterns WWHWWH, and the Inversions and Triads. You play each in quarter notes, eighth notes or triplets or a combination of all three.

    What it comes down to, is the fact that all the chords must be memorized eventually. My problem, as I get older is the memory. But, even then, if you have the sheet in front of you, you can most likely find something to play.

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  2. #12
    Mezzo Forte User graysono's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah

    Re: Learning to improv

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzyhaze View Post
    Get yourself some play along jazz books, like the Jamie Aebersolds and the Hal Leonards. These are standard tools for learning to improvise. Also play the blues in all the major and minor keys, this is the root of ALL popular music. Books covering bebop chord progressions and 2 5 1 turn arounds will get you familiar with the the standard key changes in jazz. Play with people, jam with people, pester other musicians to let you jam with them and finally be patient it takes time and frequent practise but it is a skill that anyone can acquire.
    What he said. But in addition, I would start with the blues. Aebersold's Vol 42 has blues in all 12 keys. For the most part the blues is the simplest form to learn to play. It is just a repeating 12 bars in its simplest form. It starts with the I chord (say C in Bb concert), goes to the IV chord (F in Bb concert), then the V chord (G) and back to the root I chord. Advanced has more subtle variations but always on this same theme. The tune lines in the Aebersold blues book are irrelevant, learning to play the chords is the most important part---and to do so by ear in all 12 keys, eventually. You will see in Vol 42 the blues scales and chords on p.4. Start by listening to the accompanying band on the CD so that you can begin to hear when the chords change in the 12-bar sequence. You want to be able to "hear" this on your own. You should be able to sing it too. Then play along. What sounds good will be right--do more of that; what sounds bad--don't do so much. Have fun. It will take time and patience.

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