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Haven't played in 15 years, never "got" improv



 
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eduesterhaus
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Joined: 03 May 2021
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 10:56 am    Post subject: Haven't played in 15 years, never "got" improv Reply with quote

I'm many years removed from playing my trumpet on a regular basis, and I never got very "good" at it, especially not when it comes to jazz and improvisation.

Does anyone have any music book (or other learning resource) recommendations that will help me get started towards an end goal of actually understanding how improv works and being able to do it? I can still read sheet music and play most of my major scales from memory, but my understanding of music theory in general is... limited.

Also, any suggestions or guidance of any type is appreciated, even if it is "do X first, master it, then get started learning".
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Matt K
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jamey Aebersold Volume 54: Maiden Voyage (quite a play on words, because it's intended to be a beginner book) is where I started. It isn't super detailed but it gives you enough guidance to work on right away. It puts the scales at the bottom of each tune and comes with a great backing track so you can use the scales at the bottom of the lead sheet in the book to guide you through playing with the goal of ultimately memorizing those scales, having familiarized yourself with them by actually improsing.
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eduesterhaus
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! I'm going to give this one a shot and see how I do with it
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TrumpetMD
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a good question, which comes up from time-to-time here.

I started out on Jamey Aebersold Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Volume one is a gentle introduction, with a bit more "hand-holding" than Volume 54. (Although we're all different, and Volume 54 can also be a reasonable place to start.) Volume 2 and 3 cover the blues and ii-V patterns, which are foundational concepts.

Mike
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PH
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a thread in the Jazz Forum here on TH called "Jazz Improvisation, Jamey Aebersold." It is a sticky at the top of that forum. It is an excellent step by step guide to figuring this out that is as good as anything I've ever seen! Check it out. It's a treasure.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also, any suggestions or guidance of any type is appreciated, even if it is "do X first, master it, then get started learning".


Welcome back to trumpet playing! Make sure you are working on your fundamentals. You don't have to do that first -- in parallel is fine -- but your ability to improvise is related to your proficiency with the fundamentals.

If possible, work with a teacher. Put together a good practice routine and stick with it.

If working with a teacher is not possible, you can find the building blocks for solid fundamentals in Harold Mitchell's "Mitchell on Trumpet," or Bill Knevitt's "The Developing Trumpet Player," Claude Gordon's "Physical Approach to Elementary Brass Playing" (which also requires the St. Jacome Method), Eric Bolvin's "Variations on Great Trumpet Methods" (or his Arban Manual or St. Jacome Manual), David Hickman's "100 Progressive Lessons," etc.

Good luck, and have fun!
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eduesterhaus
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I've ordered a few new books based on this feedback, and I've bookmarked the sticky mentioned.

I'm looking forward to getting back in the "swing" of things. (heh.)
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eduesterhaus wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I've ordered a few new books based on this feedback, and I've bookmarked the sticky mentioned.

I'm looking forward to getting back in the "swing" of things. (heh.)


Who do you like listening to for improv?
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gwood66
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2021 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Food for thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-N3jqyRfZg
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Halflip
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2021 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to repeat a post I made quite a while ago in another thread about improvisation:

A long time ago when I took some night classes in jazz theory and performance at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, I was taught one principle that made improvising on popular songs and standards much easier.

Most standards have chord progressions which can be roughly translated into a series of cadences (ii-V7-I chord progressions) in different keys. (Since these are cadences in keys other than that of the actual song, they are sometimes referred to as 'false cadences'.) Once you do this for a given song, and you have developed patterns or "licks" that you can play over cadences in all keys, it becomes much more natural to construct a meaningful improvised solo.

This is why certain of the Jamie Aebersold practice recordings focus on the ii-V7-I progression in all keys. Of course, you have to account for minor key cadences, and some compositions will not fit the cadence pattern readily, but most do. As you become more fluent in playing interesting patterns (based on appropriate scales and arpeggios) over cadences, you can work on enhancing the pure tunefulness and creativity of your solos.

At one time I had a girlfriend who was a professional violinist with a symphony orchestra. I played some jazz recordings for her, and after she listened to a couple of improvised solos, she said, "It's just a bunch of false cadences!"
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