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Old 10-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #1
Arfey McFeeshy
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Need to learn how to improvise fast.

So I'm trying out for all state jazz band. And part of the audition is to improvise, and with auditions coming up in a couple of weeks I need to learn fast.

Here is the website where they've hosted the backing tracks. http://moaje.org/index.php/all-state-jazz-band/set-1 I'm playing bari sax by the way.

They've only hosted two of the songs, which will be easy to play and they will be using the same backing track to improvise too. They'll do this for 4 songs, play a bit of the song and improvise at the end. Playing I'll do alright, improvising is where it'll get me.

I guess I'm asking a lot, but give me some tips I guess. I'm really determined to do good in this since this is basicly my last chance being a senior in highschool. I understand a quite a bit of theory and how things work, so we can leave the basics out of this.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:51 PM   #2
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To be blunt, you can't learn to improvise in 2 weeks. Try and play a pre-written solo.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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Hi,

This website only links to the etudes, if you want to share the chord changes to the two tunes in question I can help you out. I assume oneof them is a blues, so you should be okay.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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Tell us about your skill and experience level. How long have you been playing? How's your ear - can you quickly pick out a solo by ear and play it? How much theory do you know?
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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I will try and get a scan of the music we will be playing as soon as possible.

As for my experience level, I know chord theory pretty well, as well as scales. I've only been playing saxophone and reading sheet music for 2 years which is my biggest set back. I've been playing guitar for around 7. I was self taught basically, and it took longer than needed to understand the things that I understand now. Right now I feel like i'm in between the begginer and intermediate range.

My ear isn't the best. I can pick out licks, but they don't always end up in the same key.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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prepare absolutely nothing and don't give it another thought

this way true improvisation will occur when the time comes
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:17 AM   #7
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prepare absolutely nothing and don't give it another thought

this way true improvisation will occur when the time comes

If, on your planet, the phrase "true improvisation" means the same as "train wreck", then yes.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:21 AM   #8
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If, on your planet, the phrase "true improvisation" means the same as "train wreck", then yes.


youtube "guitar improvisation" and try and discern a difference
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:44 AM   #9
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youtube "guitar improvisation" and try and discern a difference

Haha yes..... you can always go the "My music is not understood by mere tonal mortals" route.... the train wreck can be passed off as avant garde if you maintain eye contact and a straight face at the audition.....
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:05 AM   #10
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If, on your planet, the phrase "true improvisation" means the same as "train wreck", then yes.

did that appear to be a serious post to you
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:33 AM   #11
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F*** the chords in the background, just play Em Pentatoninc (open), Am pent at the 5th, and Bm pent at th 7th, then go back to Em pent. Something's bound to line up somewhere. Just make sure the piece isn't in Ab, Bb or Eb. F would suck up a storm also.

In hindsight, I'm not sure if I got the gist of the question.

Did you mean you had to learn the art of improvising on a schedule, or you wanted to learn to improvise by playing rapidly? The latter would be preferable, as if you play real, real fast, and don't dwell on a note, then people will not notice the clams as much as if you were trying to solo to, "Comfortably Numb".

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Old 10-25-2012, 03:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Captaincranky
F*** the chords in the background, just play Em Pentatoninc (open), Am pent at the 5th, and Bm pent at th 7th, then go back to Em pent. Something's bound to line up somewhere. Just make sure the piece isn't in Ab, Bb or Eb. F would suck up a storm also.

In hindsight, I'm not sure if I got the gist of the question.

Did you mean you had to learn the art of improvising on a schedule, or you wanted to learn to improvise by playing rapidly? The latter would be preferable, as if you play real, real fast, and don't dwell on a note, then people will not notice the clams as much as if you were trying to solo to, "Comfortably Numb".

That's going to be kinda tricky on a saxophone
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:42 AM   #13
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That's going to be kinda tricky on a saxophone

Indeed! Especially the pinch harmonics.......
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:00 AM   #14
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Indeed! Especially the pinch harmonics.......


I know whenever I try to play a recorder it sounds like pinch harmonics. Maybe that's possible on sax too.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:39 PM   #15
Arfey McFeeshy
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You can get some pretty funny noises out of a sax! Most noatable for funny noises with a sax would be this guy.

Here's the music I have to improvise too.





The Kenny'll make it pretty much spells everything out for me, the other one is different. What kinda chord is the D6/9? What notes should I be playing over that?
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:55 PM   #16
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What kinda chord is the D6/9? What notes should I be playing over that?

d e f# a b
1 2(9) 3 5 6
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:22 AM   #17
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did that appear to be a serious post to you

I've never known you to be anything BUT serious....
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:51 AM   #18
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You need to "punt" Junior, and go back to basic major scale theory to truly understand "extended chords".

Seven degrees of the major scale, with extension: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 , 7, (8/1), 2/9

Triad start on any note, count 1,3, 5.

The 7th of the scale can be either flat, 2 semitones below the root (or 1)

Or, "natural" or "major 7th, 1 semitone below the root.

A "6th" is just that, add the 6th of the scale. "C6" = C, E, G, +A (6th)

Add a 6th and 7th to the triad, you get a 13th.

Add a 4th plus a 7th, you get an 11 chord.

Add the 2d to the triad, you get "add 9", include the 7th, you get a chord of the 9th.

Delete the 3rd of the triad, play the 2nd, you get a "sus2" chord.

There's a lot to commit to memory in such a short period of time.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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I've been thinking about this one for a little while, and I've come to the conclusion that, at your skill and experience level, I don't think you can learn to improvise "fast."

I know of a high school jazz teacher was has had a lot of students go on to become pros, and he teaches improvisation right from the beginning. Basically, he gets the students playing pentatonic improvisation over basic chord progressions right away.

The pentatonic is a great place to start improvising because it's hard to hit a wrong note. This means you can have a lot of fun playing music while you figure it all out. The problem is that it's so easy to have fun without figuring it all out that too many musicians never take that next step (hence the periodic comments you'll hear about pentatonic wankers - it's not the pentatonic that's the problem, it's the wanking).

Ultimately, to be a good improviser you need to be able to hear an idea in your head and play it. You them expose yourself to a lot of music and generally incorporate the ideas you like into your playing. This can't be learned quickly. So my best advice to you is to practice playing pentatonics over the backing tracks, paying a lot of attention to how what you play is affected by the hanging chords.

Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:05 PM   #20
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wow good information.i think your idea is so helpful...............
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