One of my favourite topics to teach is jazz and improvisation. I firmly believe that everyone has it within them to improvise naturally and musically. Over 15 years of teaching, I have developed an approach that, by focusing on melody, draws out the student's innate musicality allowing them to improvise freely without inhibition. The result is that improvisation stops becoming a frustrating battle against playing the right scale at the right time and starts becoming an enjoyable, satisfying, musical experience.
"Learn the changes, then forget them"
- Charlie Parker
First time improvisers
Learning to improvise for the first time can be an intimidating experience. Not only are there inhibitions to overcome, but traditional instructional books are filled to the brim with scales, chords and patterns all of which have to be applied in real-time in the right place at the right time. Chords and scales are important, but a mind clogged up with music theory is never going to improvise fluently. Through simple incremental exercises, my method gently introduces you to improvisation and helps you to understand what it feels like when done correctly.
My method will help you learn to:
Create a melodic improvisation over a simple chord progression using only a few notes
Recognise and understand basic jazz chord progressions
View simple scales in a way that makes them inherently melodic
Shape your phrases so they sound natural and melodic
Cultivate a state of mind that allows improvisation to flow uninhibited whilst remaining grounded in the harmony
Notice when your improvisation is musical and melodic and how to correct it when it isn't
My method is equally effective when applied to more experienced improvisers. Perhaps you've been improvising for a few years, have got a few scales, chord progressions and tunes under your belt but are not getting the results you want. Maybe you've reached a plateau with your playing and are stuck for ideas on how to improve. Or maybe you are frustrated that, despite playing the right notes on the right chords, your improvising doesn't reflect what you hear in your musical imagination.
My method will:
Help you approach chord progressions in a more melodic and musical way
Help you 'get out of your own head' and improvise fluently without overthinking
Give you exercises for internalising chord progressions and tunes
Help you cultivate a state of mind that allows improvisation to flow uninhibited whilst remaining grounded in the form and harmony of the tune
"The saxophone is actually a translation of the human voice, in my conception. All you can do is play melody. No matter how complicated it gets, it's still a melody." - Stan Getz