Creating Successful Solos with Beginning Improvisers

Improvising can be an intimidating task for students, especially when they’re new to the process. The idea of having unlimited options of what to play can be overwhelming. It’s like going to a restaurant and being handed a large menu in a language you don’t speak. How do you even begin to choose? By placing purposefully chosen limits and guidelines on students, teachers can make the process more approachable and give students the direction they need to start building successful improvised solos.

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How Free Improvisation Benefits Playing Over Changes

When teaching improvisation, so much of the focus goes into harmony. Which chord tones sound best? How can we connect one chord to the next? How many ii-V-I licks can you come up with? Can you learn those licks in all twelve keys? We can spend so much time and effort addressing harmonic approaches that we sometimes lose sight of other very important aspects of improvising, notably playing melodically and expressively.

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