Solo Transcription

As hard as it is for an author to admit, you can’t learn to improvise by reading a book or a magazine column. You learn the jazz language the same way you learned your first language: by listening and imitating. For most jazz musicians, this happens through the process of transcribing jazz solos. Read more »

The Language of Jazz

Let’s start with the premise that you are already an expert improviser. Every time you engage in conversation, you improvise. You don’t work from a script or recite memorized sentences or phrases. You can walk up to anyone in the world who speaks the same language and improvise a conversation. Read more »

The Fear Factor

In this post I address a common phenomenon amongst beginning jazz improvisers: fear. Fear is a potential element in all music performance; you fear that you will sound bad. Is jazz improvisation inherently scarier than playing written music? That depends on whom you ask. To one group of players, notes on a page represent security because they tell you what to play. To another, chord changes represent security because they let you choose what to play. Read more »

Return to Blog