[Dixielandjazz] Starting Improv

Larry Walton Entertainment larrys.bands at charter.net
Wed Jun 15 11:18:22 PDT 2011

Sounds like a good plan too.  The hardest thing seems to be tearing them 
away from the paper.  BIAB has a lot of progressions that are great to 
practice to.  There are many unfortunately that just can't seem to do it or 
maybe worse play gobbldy gook or very wooden solos.

I think that the answer is encouragement in the beginning from other 
musicians.  Encouragement is a two edged sword.  I play with a band 
occasionally that no matter what manner of crap is played there is always a 
pat on the back.  I'm not sure that helps in the long run.  The best 
encouragement that a player can get is his own when he knows he did good and 
wants more.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rick Campbell" <ricksax at comcast.net>
To: "Larry Walton" <larrys.bands at charter.net>
Cc: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Starting Improv

> Another effective way to start improvising has been taught by  saxophonist 
> Lee Konitz. He calls it "Ten Steps to an Act of Pure  Inspiration."
> It involves having the student play the melody at a slow pace ten  times, 
> adding variations each time.
> The first time is absolutely as written.
> The second time, vary the melody and perhaps add ornamentation.
> The third, more variation.
> And so on, until the tenth time is "pure inspiration" and may have  become 
> chordal arpeggiations (Hawkins Body and Soul), or an entirely  new melody 
> (Moonglow/Picnic).
> The charm of this method is that it is a gradual process, and the  student 
> builds on each successive variation, rather than leaping  suddenly into 
> unfamiliar territory. I suppose you could call it  learning through 
> transformation.
> In the process, the player also gains a deeper understanding of the  song, 
> both melodically and chordally.
> As previously mentioned, a program like Band In A Box provides an easy 
> way to build a music chord bed for practice.
> Mel Martin has written a more detailed description in Jazz Times:
> http://jazztimes.com/articles/26567-inside-out-part-one
> (It is not aimed at dixieland improv per se, but it speaks to our  topic.)
> Rick Campbell
> Milneburg Social and Pleasure Society Jazz Band
> Portland, Oregon USA
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