Beginning Improvisers

Everyone can learn jazz songs, style, and improvisation.  It’s a matter of re-thinking the materials we use and the method we start learning with.  A lot of people (myself included) have been discouraged by the material and learning methods that are available to learn jazz as a “beginning improviser.” Before we get into the discussion of materials that are already available and why we see a need for a new method of learning improvisation, let’s address the question, “who is a beginning improviser?”  Some examples may include:

  • Someone who likes listening to jazz without playing or singing who would like a better understanding of how improvisation works.

  • Someone who plays an instrument or sings but has never played or listened to jazz

  • Someone who is just starting off playing or singing in a school or community jazz group who has experience playing and singing.

  • Someone who has played/sung in a jazz group but only by reading notation

  • Someone who plays or sings professionally in a style or setting that relies mostly on composed music with little to no improvisation (classical, pop, choral, ect.)

Great news--with the right material and learning method all of these jazz beginners have the ability to become fluent in jazz songs, style, and improvisation. But how do they find the right material and method to grow as a jazz musician? If this sounds like you or your students, the IfCM is launching a new online course to provide engaging level-appropriate activities designed for beginning improvisers and the people who teach them. If you’d like to preview the first module of “Creative Jazz Fundamentals: A Course for Beginning Improvisers,” click below to get started.

The full 6-module course launches 12/26/16 and covers a variety of songs, style, and improvisational techniques through 1- and 2-chord songs, blues, ii-Vs, and modal material. We make this material approachable by providing aural examples and explanations every step of the way, allowing students to get the material in their ears and out of their horns. Stay tuned next week for a follow-up blog on why we need a new method of approaching improvisation.

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