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Thread: Improving Improvisation?

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    Default Improving Improvisation?

    I am looking to get a little more variety in my improvisations and was wondering if anyone could point me to something I could read or had any advice on the subject?

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    I have some things to offer, but without having a clue of where you're currently at, and/or how you approach improvisation I'm not sure if they will be useful to you.

    But for whatever they are worth, here's three sources I've found useful.

    Improvise for Real

    Here's a course I recently bought from this online source called "Improvise for Real".



    Improvise for Real

    He claims that no music theory is required, and he has a unique approach to improvisation. However, he actually does teach a lot of "music theory" in disguise. And if you have some knowledge of music theory it's not going to hurt you. If you have no knowledge of music theory that may actually help though.

    The reason being is that his method is really focused on understanding all the concepts of music theory intuitively rather than intellectually.

    In any case, I bought both the e-book and downloaded the jam tracks and I've found them both to be quite useful and interesting.

    This course is not aimed at any particular instrument, although he does have special sections designed specifically for guitar, bass guitar, and keyboard where he explorers the musical landscape of those particular instruments. They are all covered in the single e-book.

    It's very well-organized information with very well-planned exercises that will take you from wherever you are currently at to wherever you would like to go in terms of improvising for real (i.e. NOT in terms of reading music)

    It's a course on how to improvise by ear, not on how to read music.

    So if improv is your thing, this course may be useful. It's not that expensive and with the jam tracks more than worth the price I think.

    Pete Sears On Piano Improv

    This course is a DVD video. Pete Sears sits at a piano and plays basically blues. He's really good. And his lessons are quite straight-forward and easy to understand. They may be too elementary for you, or they may be just what you're looking for. I certainly have no way to know that.



    It's a great video to watch in any case.

    Groove Workshop with Victor Wooten

    I also found the following video quite interesting. This video is actually aimed at Bass Guitar. However, the concepts covered can really be applied to any instrument. So it's probably worth watching too even though you play piano.



    ~~~~

    Note, before buying either video you might want to check with your local library, you may be able to simply borrow them, or get them through inter library loan. Of course you'd have to buy the Improvise for Real course as I doubt that you'd be able to get that through a library.

    That's all I can think of right now, other than to say that you may also find stuff on youtube. Have you searched youtube for piano or keyboard improvisation lessons?

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    No, didn't even think about it, but thank you for the suggestions, I've been fiddling with improvisation for years, mostly as a hobby when I get stuck on the "real" music that I've been working on, you may even be able to find a few of mine in previous posts under todays composers.

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    @Abracadabra: Those sound great! I've always wondered how to do improvisation, I might get one of those books/videos.
    If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaestroViolinist View Post
    @Abracadabra: Those sound great! I've always wondered how to do improvisation, I might get one of those books/videos.
    Actually for violin you might do better with something like these:

    Blues on the Fiddle by Darol Anger

    This is a DVD lesson covering several blues styles. It also contains a very small booklet "crammed into the DVD case" that includes the sheet music for the songs he covers. Although, even though he includes specific score, he also covers the art of improvising out of that box.






    Chop & Grooves - Rhythmic Explorations for Bowed Strings

    This is another DVD the same guy, Darol Anger, along with another fiddler and a cellist playing trios.






    Improvising Violin by Julie Lyonn Lieberman

    I haven't read the following book myself yet, but it sounds like it might be a good read. There's no CD or anything with it, but I think she points you to various performers who improvise on the violin and explains something of their styles. It would be up to you to then seek out recordings of those violinists on youtube or other sources. I might get this book myself. I already own the DVDs I mentioned above.



    By the way, remember that you might be able to get these through inter-library loan too. I probably should have done that myself, I spend far too much money on books and DVDs like these.

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    Here's a simple approach to improvisation which David Baker outlined. You're probably beyond this stage, but just to be informative:

    There are three approaches to improvisation:

    A scalar approach. You are less concerned with outlining chords as presenting a scale or mode that sounds the key area implied by the chords. (Like using the pentatonic scale in rock music or the blues scale in blues music.) George Russell's Lydian Concept of Tonal Organization explores this.

    A chordal approach. You articulate each chord, basing your thoughts on circling around the chord notes. Jazz in the '30s and '40s used this a lot.

    Using patterns. Post-bebop players do this.

    He then showed how all three approaches were used in John Coltrane's Giant Steps.

    I've read some improv books and memorized a lot of solos, but these three concepts have been the easiest for me to remember and use.

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    I have a series of videos I have produced on how to improvise...

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ature=view_all

    Also you can visit my blog for tips... http://davidpipermusic.wordpress.com/

    The key is reptition and simplicity.

    My latest piano improvisation...


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    Go to your local music store and ask for Gerre Hancock's book on improvisation. I heard him on several occasion improvise a complete sonata on two themes submitted at the end of the recital.

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