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Tip #1 – Creating Exercises (video)
Tip #2 – Ron’s Tip
Misconceptions on jazz improvisation
Hey guys, gals, and trumpet enthusiasts! Last week I wrote a little about how and what it takes to go through the process of trying to improvise. During the last 6 months of writing my articles here on Keith’s trumpetresources.com, I tried to give you a step by step education by using the pre-fundamental and legitimate way of learning improvisation, the conservatory way. There are so many teachers using different techniques to get the attention of up and coming students – on you tube, etc. and as I read all the articles of different methods – I find many of them very confusing for the new jazz student.
Many “teachers” try to take the path of getting students to learn different blues scales and offer different courses online which basically say that after completing their course, or reading their book, the student will be ready to take on the big bad world of jazz improvisation… Are they kidding?
Unfortunately, these students may get a rude awakening. Some of the greatest jazz teachers and players that have come out of schools and / or conservatories that share the same ideas and teaching methods that I have learned, will tell you the same thing. It takes a number of years to become efficient and to build a library of tunes that you will be able to improvise on. It’s not to say that a lot of the methods out there are phony – but it is just common sense to know that as a teacher of trumpet and jazz improvisation for over thirty years, I can honestly say that the only way to do this is step by step.
What do I have to gain by writing this? Nothing! What am I writing this for? To help students understand that what they are going to embark on in their jazz studies journey, can hold a lot of detours by many teachers that are not going from A-Z. They are staring from a joint somewhere in no mans land and expecting you to be able to improvise over night. It’s not Happening! Take Chuck Mangione… not only was he (and still is) a great jazz player, he was on the teaching board of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. His hit song Feels so Good in 1978, won a Grammy. But that was considered “commercial jazz” or “pop” jazz. I love every note that Chuck plays on this great album, and it is one of the few commercial jazz albums I highly recommend to listen to for melodic trumpet enjoyment! It contains improvised jazz solos that i love to listen to… but before Chuck made it to stardom he had to study for years and years – listening to great jazz players with his brother, Gap Mangione and emulate their sounds and nuances. Not only is he a great player but he also played and composed on the piano.
So for weeks I have been trying to bring forth and instill the correct way to learn. That is not to say that there is no one out there teaching good methods, because you can always learn something from almost everyone. My suggestion as a professional player and educator is to review my course from day one (last September) and learn the Triads, scale inversions, and then you will get to the 8 progressions of chords on the weekly archives. If you do it as written then it will become fun and you will see the improvement. Below I have included a video of Marvin Stamm – one of the greatest players of our generation! Watch and listen to what he has to say after he plays “All The Things You Are.” Listen to it and you will say Oh my God Ron was right.