Saxophone Forum

by Ziggyiggy
(6 posts)
9 years ago

So this improv thing.....

Well i'm just about finished with my freshman year in college. I've taken classical saxophone this year and i have been improving. I had spare time so I signed up for a jazz combo. While in combo i realized something. My improv isnt that great. So now summer is coming up and i'd really like  to improve my solo skills over the summer. Aside from lessons, what should my practice time consist of? I'd like to really get a better ear so i can play the ideas i have in my head. I know this isnt going to happen over the summer but what should i get started with? thank you very much


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  1. by Zaxman
    (31 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: So this improv thing.....


    You are about to embark an amazing life long journey.  The most important thing you can do is to always remain positive while you improve your ears and general improv skills.  That being said the next most important thing you can do is to listen to as much jazz as you can get a hold of.  Try and find some saxophone players that really speak to what you want to hear and that you find inspiring.  To learn any language it is helpful to hear people speak it.  Keep in mind while you are doing this that some saxophone icons can be totally overwhelming at times, especially if you are trying to analyze what they are playing. So it is handy to also seek out some recordings of people who are playing easily accessible material. (fewer notes and easier rhythms)

    One of the hard things about practicing is that there are so many books out there about how to improvise and play jazz that it is hard to know where to start.  Try to pick out just a few books to focus on at a time instead of working on a lot of things from a large number of books.  I recommend starting with an etude book by Greg Fishman or Jim Snidero.  Those books are fun to play and have solid accompaniment tracks included.  

    Transcribing solos may be one of the best activities to improve your overall ability to improvise.  By learning solos by ear you improve your ability to hear things as well as your personal relationship with your instrument and understanding of the jazz vocabulary.  This may be very difficult at first but you will notice the difference it makes,  and it does get a little easier with each solo you learn.

    General familiarity with all of your scales, modes and arpeggios is always essential as well.  The most important thing is that you always stay patient.  Improving your skills in improv is a life long journey, so there is never a need to be in a hurry.



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