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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I could talk about the Zen gardens of Kyoto and how the arrangement of rocks show you that perfection is unattainable, but who am I kidding? It's all Yoda and the Matrix down this end.

    I think striving to be original is a self defeating exercise of ego. And yet, I still grapple with it. Good quotes anyway.
    Just as I said... you have to take the striving out of the equation. Just let go of conformities and play. It will come, it can't NOT if you truly let go of convention and play what is actually connecting you with the universe (LOL- don't want to get too new-agey here)

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Oh yeah , thought of another thing ....

    play the thing you hear (or as close as you can)
    (that's why you practice a lot)

    don't let your hand play what it wants ....
    the hand just wants to play the same old stuff
    it always plays , which is very boring

    I like how you are much more succinct than I am. I have to work on that. LOL

  4. #53

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    Yea... do whatever works for YOU. If you don't know yourself, get acquainted..

    If we're talking about creating melody style improv. on the guitar. Well nothings going to happen until you have your technical skills together.

    If in stop time your having trouble creating beautiful melodic lines. How would you expect for it to happen LIVE, at the speed of Jazz.

    Again and always... IMO, I'm old... I had to learn the old school way, slow and very inefficient, basically ignoring musical resources.. etc... I had to transcribe from the radio, really. And the pitch thing would drive me more crazy than I am.
    ...so my point is the approach about, learn the tunes, copy, yada yada yada... trial and error memory approach to learning how to play... is also very old school. It works, but the success rate isn't very high, takes a lifetime and you better have some natural skills.

    Why would you not use the obvious musical materials and knowledge about jazz to help teach yourself about what your trying to do. If your trying to use contrapuntal linear harmonic structural guidelines from traditional European or Western functional somewhat long.... extended Forms yada yada.... anyway... Good luck.

    Most jazz tunes have a blues connection, and the rhythmic organization trumps melody.... always. Beautiful Ballads are... well they take something from you when you get them right. But if you want to clear a room... play a few ballads in a row.

    Jonah... I believe your not a beginner, right. So I think Christian made a point above about.... Improv within an idiom... or something like that. Different styles and feels have characteristics with reference to Melodic targets, harmonic patterns and rhythmic applications.

    Practice creating melodic licks that imply different Styles. I'm taking it for granted that you can imply a single chord melodically... the standard 12 step approach of developing a line that targets each chord tone and extensions with harmonic and rhythmic characteristics of different styles... Then 2 notes as targets etc... very mechanical approach, but have very different results of what your melody will sound like.

    The next step is what for me... is where jazz improv happens... do the same thing with Chord patterns. jazz uses Chord patterns to imply ONE chord... think of a series of chords... like a I VI II V.... but with One Tonal Function.

    Don't spell chords, think of all the chords as ONE, one key of I VI II V even if the chords are all dominant chords'

    Example... take a AABA form in a latin style...typ latin jazz Mambo feel, I'm giving chords just for reference...

    "A"
    / F13 D7#9 / G-7 C7#9 / A-7 D7b13#9 / G-9 C7b13#9 /
    / C-7 F13 / Bb69 Eb9#11 / A-7 D7b13#9 / G-9 C7b13#9 .. 2nd time through on last 2 bars use a rhythmic chord like melody lick to get to "B"

    maybe use a Blues feel... / Bb13..../ F13...../ Bb13..../ F13..../ Bb13... /A-7 D7#9 /G13.../C7#9 //then "A"again

    So if you start spelling chords and try and use old school melodic resolutions and counterpoint guidelines... well that's what you'll get.

    But if you see and hear the Two bar Chord patterns as one Tonic or Key and use basic melodic lines that choose a style of melodic organization.... Blues and Min 3rd intervals, Maybe subdominant melodic movement or targets from subdominant chord patterns... II V's , I IV's, I bVII's, I II's don't get hung up on 4th degree or subdominant Key traditional leading tone guidelines.... think Montunos, right, latin melodic movement, and Blue Notes...

    Instead of lovely through-composed extended melodic line that goes through the changes... compose a line that creates a feel of movement, and maybe even, repeat with variation etc... And the most important aspect needs to be the rhythm. Rhythmic Function, will over ride any contrapuntal or harmonic Function. Always.

    Long story short... throw away all the musical guidelines you've worked on all your life. Let alone trying to force them to organize how your going to play Jazz improv.

    (you obviously can't throw away what you don't know)

    Disclaimer... I spent years composing and arranging music. Films, commercials, shows... and back when you actually had to notate everything on paper... no music programs, computers etc...Still have working Big band book with working band... and the worst... had to notate... instrumental parts and parts and parts.... and I still suck.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    A bit of practical musical philosophy here.
    The basis of classical melodicism is expressive intervalic movement with compensatory principle: i.e. jumps are compensated by scalar line, movement in one direction with movement in another direction and so and so on.
    I think that melodic jazz lines are lines that spell out chords and the movement of chords from one to another — either the chords on the “page” or superimposed chords — (such as playing an F#7 arpeggio over a C7 chord). And the best place to start creating melodies in this genre is to become proficient at bebop. There are common techniques in bebop that are well documented, such as enclosures, chromatic approach notes, arpeggiated upper tensions, guide tones and so forth. I’d start there. Students need to learn to bop before they can get more “modern” and the “rules” of be-bop melody creation will promote good melodic thinking that leads a melody through a set of chord changes.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsilver
    I think that melodic jazz lines are lines that spell out chords and the movement of chords from one to another — either the chords on the “page” or superimposed chords — (such as playing an F#7 arpeggio over a C7 chord). And the best place to start creating melodies in this genre is to become proficient at bebop. There are common techniques in bebop that are well documented, such as enclosures, chromatic approach notes, arpeggiated upper tensions, guide tones and so forth. I’d start there. Students need to learn to bop before they can get more “modern” and the “rules” of be-bop melody creation will promote good melodic thinking that leads a melody through a set of chord changes.
    i actually disagree. Teach bebop first and everything becomes about 8th notes and ii v Is. ‘throwing notes on chords’ as Peter Bernstein puts it. Because you will hear the harmony in Bird, say, but miss the rhythm and the melody.

    Also bop is pretty difficult to play, and I think good bop takes a long time to appreciate. The techniques you listed above were not originated by or unique to bebop, however, so can be learned elsewhere. Then, bop can be introduced later.

    so I think it’s a general case on the forum that people get very involved in the material you need to learn - such as the above - rather than the way you learn it. The idea that you could put all of the patterns and embellishments etc into a book

    Probably unwittingly, the way a lot of books out there seem to suggest you just have the empirical info and that’s all you need. Of course no musician today or past learned like that. So there’s two main problems.

    How you learn is as important as what you learn: So learning repertoire and studying solos is a highly integrated and holistic learning activity. You can also pitch it towards the level of the student. Symphony Sid is easier than Isotope, etc.

    The other thing I think is neglected in these discussions and what I have argued for in my essays and so on, is the old sense of jazz being rooted in a community, and for learning musicians to have a way of contributing meaningfully to that professional community. Which basically means playing something musical that sounds good and can form part of a musical performance.

    Playing meandering chord scale solos, or half formed bop lines is obviously not that. Wes started by playing Charlie Christian solos verbatim. Manouche guitarists serve an apprenticeship on rhythm guitar before graduating to lead (and basing what they do in learning Django solos) and so on. Even if you can only play the melody of a song well, that would be a more musically valid choice than some halting ‘improvisation.’

    it is typical of the arrogance of the pedagogical class that they would think a more formal way of teaching students would work better.

    There’s also a side helping of me generation new agey ‘explore your creativity’ rhetoric which is not a bad thing per se but obviously centres the individual over the communal music. We should be aware of what are trying to achieve and that we are always emphasising one aspect over the other. (For instance, Improvisation as therapy is actually a thing, but obviously wouldn’t lead to convincing jazz performances.)

    Demonstrably these teaching approaches mostly serve to produce ‘pseudo music’; the learners end up learning on the gig anyway, exactly as their forbears did. The ones that do well have already done this by the time they entered a jazz programme. Ask any musican to tell you how they think they actually learned.

    Do I think pedagogy is useless then? Probably not, although we do well to realise its limitations and the way it’s been shaped by individualism and scientism.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-25-2020 at 06:12 AM.

  7. #56

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    Tl;dr

    So I’m saying in general on this thread: with a newbie, you can work on the music, or the process of improvisation, but not both. One will always suffer. Be aware of which you are prioritising.

    (It does seem from the perspective of the tradition that the jazz community historically favoured music over improvisation.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-25-2020 at 06:07 AM.

  8. #57

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    I think that melodic jazz lines are lines that spell out chords and the movement of chords from one to another — either the chords on the “page” or superimposed chords — (such as playing an F#7 arpeggio over a C7 chord). And the best place to start creating melodies in this genre is to become proficient at bebop. There are common techniques in bebop that are well documented, such as enclosures, chromatic approach notes, arpeggiated upper tensions, guide tones and so forth. I’d start there. Students need to learn to bop before they can get more “modern” and the “rules” of be-bop melody creation will promote good melodic thinking that leads a melody through a set of chord changes.



    Well... those are common tools almost in every book. The issue of the student mainly is what to do with these tools. To be honset I do not think that melodic jazz lines are lines that spell out the chord.

    The connection of harmony and melody is obvious in European tradition (and I discribed it above) - but hearing harmony is crucial for making form and time feel... but thinking about melody in terms of harmony tends to turn things upside down imho.
    Yes, harmony is fundamental but it is also very general...
    melody is impersonification, melody is that very choice made right now - one of the solutions of life... you cannot make such things up from general.

    Maybe it is too extreme - but I believe one should be able to start immidiately from the sentences... I do not like comparisons with foreign languages...
    but as well as learnign foreign language it is better to learn and speak phrases.
    From my experience as a linguist only very gifted persons are able to learn language effectively by looking in grammar templates and vocabulary, they just grasp everything so fast that this structural material clarifies it all and supports them, they operate easily with it and within.
    In music such persons can easily adopt any theoretic tool too... adopt or discard it if they do not need it.

    Those who do not have such a gift get lost and perplexed.



    The problem I met that there are students that cannot say sentences because they have no ideas even... it seems you have to put first thoughts in their minds then words in their mouth.


    As for bop...
    there are people who do not like bop, or those who appreciate it but do not want to play it.
    Bop is a good school but you do not need to play bop to play jazz.


    PS
    Sorry - I did initiate the thread but do not support it and answer. I got terribly busy with ptehr activities. I appreciate all the answers.

  9. #58

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    Speaking of gifted people it sounds like that’s all Gwilym Sincock needed. He plays with Metheny now.

    mind you he sounds very chord scales haha. Jarrett school...

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Tl;dr

    So I’m saying in general on this thread: with a newbie, you can work on the music, or the process of improvisation, but not both. One will always suffer. Be aware of which you are prioritising.

    (It does seem from the perspective of the tradition that the jazz community historically favoured music over improvisation.)
    I still don't think we are disagreeing here, just differences in tack: couldn't you do both, which would definitely slow down the advancement of both true enough.... I wouldn't use the term "suffer", as theoretically you would still end up being at the same skill level in both concepts at the same time.... (e.g., rather than mastering music then mastering improve, you could work on mastering both... and in both scenarios have reached the same skill level at both, collectively, as doing it one at a time.)

    Another thing I thought of, is it depends on what your goal is. If you goal is to learn to play "jazz songs", and certainly if your goal is to "make money playing jazz songs", improvisation should be ignored for a good long while, at least from a teacher's standpoint. If, however, your goal is to just play jazzY music, for yourself, at home, and especially if you have a concept of the artists' connection with original music at all, improvisation should probably NOT be ignored, at all. This is really coming from a free artists' mindset, something you don't often see in most musicians.... who are concerned with being able to play "such and such" or being able to play like "such and such"... I'm talking about a connection with the muse here. And of course I understand 99.9% of students who come in to start learning jazz are NOT these people..... I just never like the eschewing of ANYTHING... except perhaps poor technique.

  11. #60

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    Vocalize/hum an improvised melody over the chords and then play it on the guitar.

  12. #61

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    [QUOTE=Reg;1011133]Yea... do whatever works for YOU. If you don't know yourself, get acquainted.

    Ha ha yes !

    Reg , you are the king of one liners !

    another fav Reg saying of mine is something to the effect of ....

    "if you're playing in the now ..... You're late"

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    I still don't think we are disagreeing here, just differences in tack: couldn't you do both, which would definitely slow down the advancement of both true enough.... I wouldn't use the term "suffer", as theoretically you would still end up being at the same skill level in both concepts at the same time.... (e.g., rather than mastering music then mastering improve, you could work on mastering both... and in both scenarios have reached the same skill level at both, collectively, as doing it one at a time.)

    Another thing I thought of, is it depends on what your goal is. If you goal is to learn to play "jazz songs", and certainly if your goal is to "make money playing jazz songs", improvisation should be ignored for a good long while, at least from a teacher's standpoint. If, however, your goal is to just play jazzY music, for yourself, at home, and especially if you have a concept of the artists' connection with original music at all, improvisation should probably NOT be ignored, at all. This is really coming from a free artists' mindset, something you don't often see in most musicians.... who are concerned with being able to play "such and such" or being able to play like "such and such"... I'm talking about a connection with the muse here. And of course I understand 99.9% of students who come in to start learning jazz are NOT these people..... I just never like the eschewing of ANYTHING... except perhaps poor technique.
    Well, you are probably good at the guitar and music, so you get to be more of a free artist.

    Again I don’t think I’ve quite communicated what I mean, but there’s two cornerstones to this - Edwin Gordon’s work on audiation, and Lave and Wenger’s work on situated Learning in the wider educational context, (as well as Berliner’s accounts of the NYC jazz scene of the mid century which represent a historical praxis of these two things basically.) These ideas are not something it’s easy to sum up in a post. TBH this way of thinking would be echoed in most music - Brazilian, Irish trad, Rock guitar etc etc - but on jazz we are super pretentious and hung up on this individual artist making great art in the moment thing, which is really not quite a myth, but not far off it. We are so hung up on it, it affects the way we teach beginners! 'Here's some notes, make up something cool NOW!' How fucked up is that?

    As a teacher, my experience has been yes, you DO have to make a choice at the first stages, you absolutely do, because your student 'can't play yet' in the words of Jimmy Raney. BUT - we don't ignore improvisation, we are sophisticated enough to realise how to phase in more and more freedom of choice over time. One way is melodic variation - advocated by Randy Vincent, Peter Bernstein and Lee Konitz of course and something we can hear in everyone from Eddie Lang to Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson. Another might be, moving over time from say - solo phrases and licks learned by ear - to variation of licks, to line construction and eventually much freer and less obviously derivative improv.

    So, if I had to put my finger on it the problem in many people's thinking here - including my own until recently - it is this implicit dichotomy that seems almost unwritten. Free, spontaneous Rollins style improv on one hand - Ellingtonian, complex composition on the other. Anything in between is somehow lower, less valuable, suspect. I have heard this many many times echoed by jazz people.

    Presumably these musicians aren't fans of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Joe Henderson, among others, because, as Steve Swallow points out many great soloists composed and refined their solos - even professional musicians did not necessarily see things in this very binary way. Ellington said 'if it sounds good, it is good.' That should be our lodestone in music education. As Keith Swanwick called his book; 'teaching music musically.'

    i just don’t think improv is something that needs to be taught by modelling the process of a mature improviser. We don’t learn languages like that. We learn useful phrases and go from there. Randy Vincent makes the same point in his book.

    So if you are being ‘creative’ as a beginner in this music - making something up in the moment from chord scale materials say - there’s three basic relationships you will have with the shitty sounding results

    1) the blissfully oblivious: it’s shit but you don’t know enough to hear it.

    2) the self indulgent blagger: you know it’s shit but you are confident/sociopathic enough to inflict it on all and sundry until it improves.

    3) the actually good musician: it’s shit and you know it is and you can’t see how it’s anything other than a total waste of time to continue.

    now I definitely fit into one of the first two categories, but there are a lot of people who don’t, including the majority of students who start lessons with me feeling they know all the info but actually play any actual jazz.

    In the case of my wife, a much better musician than me, cellist and singer with amazing ears and reading, can’t see the point of ‘just playing something on the blues scale’ in her guitar lesson. Her thoughts were ‘who would want to listen to that.’ Because she is a good musician who cares how things sound. She loves the playing of Clapton, Mike stern and Bill Frisell. Having to produce what she knows are poor, halting efforts in the blues scale and then - even worse - having the teacher encourage you to do this is just patronising, certainly not a creative outlet.

    so what started me thinking along these lines is i spent some weeks observing a jazz workshop - the melodies were all learned by ear and sounded really good, while the improvisations sounded weak. Soloists would volunteer to take solis in the gig. I thought - that’s got to be self selecting of categories 1 and 2. We are biasing the educational process against actual musicians who can hear the music even if they can’t play it. (Also the qualities of a 2 are more present in boys and young men, and there is evidence to show women are less confident in their abilities to improvise.)

    so as a counter proposal how about we ensure students concentrate on making musical statements from the outset.

    We are so hung up on improvisation as a practice that we characterise it a a unique aspect of jazz. Of course, it is not. The retreat from improvisation is a unique property of western classical music. classical musicians were astounded by jazz musicians ability to play music without a composed score, but didn’t necessarily understand the music itself from the perspective of its rhythm, structure and social organisation. So we are once again limited by the classical/European mindset. We owe students better than that.

    we owe them the chance to play this music
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-25-2020 at 12:14 PM.

  14. #63

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    Agree that improvisation can't be taught. So in that regard, don't try to. Teachers can teach theory, technique, application, licks, tricks, etc. But improvisation can only be developed - not taught. Because "teaching improvisation" is an oxymoron.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Agree that improvisation can't be taught. So in that regard, don't try to. Teachers can teach theory, technique, application, licks, tricks, etc. But improvisation can only be developed - not taught. Because "teaching improvisation" is an oxymoron.
    Well most jazz educators seem to agree with Paul Desmond, who you are paraphrasing. 'Jazz cannot be taught, but it can be learned.'

    Which brings us back to the basic question, what the fuck do we get paid for haha?

    So I think we can be very sophisticated and clever about this in a way that wouldn't necessarily look it from the outside. The aim would be to minimise the clunky, direct transfer of information and focus on creating learning environments where the students can explore things for themselves. This is actually the traditional way people learned jazz. And to emphasise the social and musical aspects over the theoretical.

    After all, all the info you need is out there for free on the net. The main thing students are lacking is real world praxis.

  16. #65

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    Well, anybody can improvise, right? I mean, my six year old regularly makes up tunes about how his brother smells, changing the words and altering the melody of popular tunes or whatever he's currently liking (I need to let my kids listen to more popular music, I'm gonna get them beat up in middle school, the other day they yelled "hey google, play Hank Williams)

    But anyway, it's this innate thing...so the cultivation part is doing it in a jazz context. And finding those notes you'd sing on an instrument. And then the ornamentation and phrasing that makes it "jazz." So that stuff I think you can teach...well, kinda. You can expose people to it. That's like 90% of teaching anyway...giving people access....

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    changing the words and altering the melody of popular tunes
    Hey!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    You can also make up lyrics on the spot when you've an idea of what sound and phrasing you want. Or adapt existing ones.
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    women are less confident in their abilities to improvise

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    if you're playing in the now ..... You're late"
    Dang, I thought that was a Country & Western song.

  19. #68

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    I once improv'd a vanilla-type chord-tone thing over some song... and then did it again playing basically anything I felt like. It was much better, more jazzy :-)

    As Beaumont said, anyone can improvise, obviously. But the question is how well.

  20. #69

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    the other day they yelled "hey google, play Hank Williams"
    YES!

  21. #70

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    This thread has me thinking about the Blue Note show by Robert Glasper, which I loved.

    But, I can imagine what some of my more doctrinaire teachers would say about it.

    1. Respect the composer, play the melody as written!

    2. Solo over the entire form! Don't pick out a few bars at random!

    3. Play more jazz vocabulary. If you call yourself a jazz musician, play like one!

    4. Spoken word clips? You're kidding me.

    5. A Cyndi Lauper sing-along? Don't insult your audience.

    6. Play songs! Don't just meander for 75 minutes!

    tbh, I don't understand some of the posts on this thread. To me, it's fairly simple. Imagine a melody that fits the background and play it, instantly.

    If you imagine and play a good enough melody, you're there.

    If you imagine a good melody and can't play it, you work on technique.

    If you can't imagine a good melody, or you're tired of what you do imagine, you work on developing a better musical imagination. That's where listening and/or theory come in.

    Some players sound like they're plugging licks into sockets -- and can sound great playing that way. But I find that I'm rarely interested in hearing the results for a second time. The players I like always strike me as composing a great melody on the fly.

    For example, Bossa Antigua by Paul Desmond. I resisted transcribing it because the melody seemed so long. When I finally saw a chart, it turned out that a lot of what I assumed was the tune was Paul's solo. It was so melodic I thought it was more of the head of the tune.

    So, one point that doesn't seem to have emerged in this thread is that how you approach improvisation depends on what you want to sound like. There's more than one possible result.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    Hey!

    ...
    Haha. Obviously on average, right?

    Here's the paper if you are interested:

    Wehr-Flowers, Erin (2004). Differences Between Male and Female Students’ Confidence, Anxiety, and Attitude toward Learning Jazz Improvisation. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54(4): 337-349

    Wehr-Flowers, Erin (2004). Differences Between Male and Female Student…

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    So, one point that doesn't seem to have emerged in this thread is that how you approach improvisation depends on what you want to sound like. There's more than one possible result.
    Sure, but - I think that's where we can be a little bit more meta level, more hands off, less invested in the 'what' of it (I know, I know haha, tell that to me 18 months ago) It's good to have stuff to suggest to students if they are stuck. Once students have advanced down the road they can make their own decisions on what is and isn't useful based on the music they are turned on by.

    (Although people who come to my door are usually want to learn about the more traditional styles of playing. Because they see it as different.)

    So: I'm taking hear about the process of learning to play jazz and improvise more than the process of actually playing jazz and improvising. That's like one level up, and there it becomes really, the same for all genres. I don't care if you learn Thundercat or Jelly Roll Morton. Doesn't matter, you do the same shit in this sense. The actual process of learning music is - identical. The style elements or repertoire aren't really a thing from this perspective.

    Tristano understood this, for instance. Joe Satriani recalls that Lennie would let him work on anything he liked - be it Wes or Black Sabbath so long as he was learning the music by ear to sing, and then play. Audition was the important thing, the process and the importance of becoming a real musician. Style, less so. (Although I think Tristano's way of practicing scales is definitely detectable in the way Satch approaches his legato runs.)

    Tristano was also interested in nurturing very free and spontaneous improvisation, unlike I think Barry Harris (who seems more compositional) but was well known for insisting musicians learned to play bop heads and Lester Young solos with good phrasing and swing before moving into the study of improv.

    Tristano would have got on really well with Edwin Gordon, though Gordon takes it about 10 levels above what Lennie was doing. And most people regard Lennie as a pretty demanding teacher lol. Gordon is scary.

    In terms of jazz education, I think basically what I'm seeing is a difficulty cliff for some students starting to improvise at all and a later difficulty cliff when basically all students embark on changes playing. Both of these cliffs can be managed smoothly, but the resources for doing so might not be obvious to the non specialist. (The irony is I think these approaches could be used for improv in any genre.)

    I read a paper where the author interviewed high school jazz ensemble leaders and they all said the improvisation sounded crap compared to everything else, but they felt they had to include it to be true to the tradition. I don't think those teachers were jazz specialists, so of course they use the most widely available approach, being - "here's some notes, mix it up" and probably unaware of the spectrum of jazz practice ranging from unwritten set pieces to spontaneous improvisation.

    Tellingly what they didn't talk about is how the students felt about their attempts. I bet students were aware of these issues too ...
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-25-2020 at 04:55 PM.

  24. #73

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    Another thought - Here's one thing I think has skewed our thinking. Once upon a time, tunes were learned aurally and arrangement details and shout choruses often agreed informally in the band. Bebop heads were learned by ear often on the date of recording. Solos could often be very set. For instance a swing era player might play a great solo in the studio and then be expected to learn it and play it verbatim every night as a feature of the song. You still have this practice in Glenn Miller tribute bands, for instance. And I have talked about the set piece and steadily refined nature of Miles Davis's solos, for instance.

    Later these things became written down in lead sheets, so there became more of a sense of the stuff written down being 'a composition' and everything else being 'spontaneous improvisation'. This makes the whole thing look like more of a binary distinction then a spectrum of musical practices.

    Of course real jazz musicians will often do things like play introductions of famous recordings and so on, without any charts, just because they know them... so even now in professional practice, this is not so.

  25. #74

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    If you imagine and play a good enough melody, you're there.

    If you imagine a good melody and can't play it, you work on technique.

    If you can't imagine a good melody, or you're tired of what you do imagine, you work on developing a better musical imagination.
    I rarely imagine a melody and then play it. If I do, it's likely to be stilted. Improvising is seat of the pants composition in the now. I think melody happens when we start something, adding to it as it develops, each note a judgement. The melody is amorphous and obtains form by developing. For that you need good ears and a lot of playing experience.

    Problem is, it's the stepwise melodies that are the easiest to imagine and play. If you want to play something angular, more leapwise - then your chord/arpeggio/position playing has to be good enough to be available to your creative mind. The benefit of the woodshed is most relevant there I feel.

    I am at stage three (b) above so I am trying to avoid doing all the stuff I would normally do. Rhythmic re-evaluation seems to be the best focus atm. Mind you I am not trying to sound like 'a jazz guitarist'. Talking of which anyone know James Blood Ulmer? He was supposed to be a jazz guitarist.

  26. #75

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    Talking about Robert Glasper... not strictly relevant but now's as good a time as any.


  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly
    I rarely imagine a melody and then play it. If I do, it's likely to be stilted. Improvising is seat of the pants composition in the now. I think melody happens when we start something, adding to it as it develops, each note a judgement. The melody is amorphous and obtains form by developing. For that you need good ears and a lot of playing experience.

    Problem is, it's the stepwise melodies that are the easiest to imagine and play. If you want to play something angular, more leapwise - then your chord/arpeggio/position playing has to be good enough to be available to your creative mind. The benefit of the woodshed is most relevant there I feel.

    I am at stage three (b) above so I am trying to avoid doing all the stuff I would normally do. Rhythmic re-evaluation seems to be the best focus atm. Mind you I am not trying to sound like 'a jazz guitarist'. Talking of which anyone know James Blood Ulmer? He was supposed to be a jazz guitarist.
    I do feel hearing a good melody on the changes is kind of the hard bit. The rest is just making the instrument work.

  28. #77

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    The rest is just making the instrument work
    How true.