#1
Hi there. For a couple of months, I've been trying to learn to play jazz. One of the biggest parts of my daily routine is to learn songs by ear. I am noticing that this becomes easier every time. The main reason i am doing this is to be a better improviser. Im not planning to stop learning with this method. But it would be nice to know a realistic time i can expect to do this before i can feel confident impovising over jazz? I am fairly new to the genre. Started playing jazz the end of last year!
#3
Quote by jazzlp
Hi there. For a couple of months, I've been trying to learn to play jazz. One of the biggest parts of my daily routine is to learn songs by ear. I am noticing that this becomes easier every time. The main reason i am doing this is to be a better improviser. Im not planning to stop learning with this method. But it would be nice to know a realistic time i can expect to do this before i can feel confident impovising over jazz? I am fairly new to the genre. Started playing jazz the end of last year!

I don't think your question can be answered accurately. It depends on so many things. Just keep going and you'll see when.
#4
Yeah, i guess it varies from person to person? Is it possible to expect one timeframe more than another? Should i expect months or maybe years before i feel comfortable? Started listening to jazz a little over 0,5 years ago. Used to play rock. Only learnt song by tabs then. Wasnt a very good improviser!

Is my daily practise routine good, or should i add something?

Daily routine:

Go through chords, learn new chords, chord ear training

Go through scales, memorize the sound of scales

Interval ear training.

Sight reading.

Learn song by ear (i learn the chord progression, then the melody and improvisation parts). A whole song usually takes more than one day.

I appreciate all the help i can get! Thanks
#5
Yeah, that's one of those unanswerable questions.

Bear in mind, however, that if you want to learn to improvise, you have to improvise. A middle-school jazz teacher I know of, who has produced an unreasonable number of people who have gone of to be successful musicians, tries to get students improvising as soon as they have any sort of basic competence on their instrument.

So keep doing it. And keep improvising.

One thing that may help: every month or so, record an improvisation that you feel reasonably good about as a representation of your current skills. And then, every couple of months, go back and listen to the older ones. A lot of times, we concentrate on what we CAN'T do, and feel like we're not making any progress ... but if you listen to what you were playing 3-4 months ago, you may find yourself going, "Wow, I sucked then! I've made huge progress!"
#6
Quote by HotspurJr
Yeah, that's one of those unanswerable questions.

Bear in mind, however, that if you want to learn to improvise, you have to improvise. A middle-school jazz teacher I know of, who has produced an unreasonable number of people who have gone of to be successful musicians, tries to get students improvising as soon as they have any sort of basic competence on their instrument.

So keep doing it. And keep improvising.

One thing that may help: every month or so, record an improvisation that you feel reasonably good about as a representation of your current skills. And then, every couple of months, go back and listen to the older ones. A lot of times, we concentrate on what we CAN'T do, and feel like we're not making any progress ... but if you listen to what you were playing 3-4 months ago, you may find yourself going, "Wow, I sucked then! I've made huge progress!"


Thats some great advice. I often feel lost when improvising over jazz because of the many chord changes that happens. One second a note sounds good, the next it doesnt. Do you recommend improvising over a song i know the changes to, or just put on something completely random?
#7
Quote by jazzlp
Thats some great advice. I often feel lost when improvising over jazz because of the many chord changes that happens. One second a note sounds good, the next it doesnt. Do you recommend improvising over a song i know the changes to, or just put on something completely random?

I'd recommend knowing the song and the chords well first.
#8
Quote by jazzlp
Thats some great advice. I often feel lost when improvising over jazz because of the many chord changes that happens. One second a note sounds good, the next it doesnt. Do you recommend improvising over a song i know the changes to, or just put on something completely random?

You need to know the backing track before playing over it. If you don't know the changes, I don't know how you could hear anything over it (unless you can predict how the backing track goes). So first learn the backing track. When you are really familiar with the backing track, soloing over it will be a lot easier. You will more easily hear stuff over it because you know it. If you don't know the backing track, you have to focus on the chord changes and you can't really focus on your melody. But once you have the chord changes in your ear, you pretty much automatically follow them because your ear is used to them.

I would maybe suggest first learning to play over simpler chord progressions (that don't require changing scales all the time). Try something like Chameleon. It's just two chords (Bbm7 and Eb7). You don't need to even think about the chord changes because the progression is so simple - you can just play melody all the time.

Oh, and it's also good to have the main melody of the song in your ear (and fingers). The melody is a good starting point to start developing your ideas. That way you don't need to think how to start your solo. Start building it over the main melody. Though sometimes it's cool to play something different. Try different things. But if you know the melody well but feel lost when improvising, you can always come back to the melody.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 18, 2014,
#9
Quote by MaggaraMarine
You need to know the backing track before playing over it. If you don't know the changes, I don't know how you could hear anything over it (unless you can predict how the backing track goes). So first learn the backing track. When you are really familiar with the backing track, soloing over it will be a lot easier. You will more easily hear stuff over it because you know it. If you don't know the backing track, you have to focus on the chord changes and you can't really focus on your melody. But once you have the chord changes in your ear, you pretty much automatically follow them because your ear is used to them.

I would maybe suggest first learning to play over simpler chord progressions (that don't require changing scales all the time). Try something like Chameleon. It's just two chords (Bbm7 and Eb7). You don't need to even think about the chord changes because the progression is so simple - you can just play melody all the time.

Oh, and it's also good to have the main melody of the song in your ear (and fingers). The melody is a good starting point to start developing your ideas. That way you don't need to think how to start your solo. Start building it over the main melody. Though sometimes it's cool to play something different. Try different things. But if you know the melody well but feel lost when improvising, you can always come back to the melody.


Thank you very much! I will add this to my daily routine
#10
Quote by jazzlp
Thats some great advice. I often feel lost when improvising over jazz because of the many chord changes that happens. One second a note sounds good, the next it doesnt. Do you recommend improvising over a song i know the changes to, or just put on something completely random?


I recommend starting out over really simple things.

Like one chord, repeated, with nice rythym to it.

And once you're comfortable with that, move to a two-chord progression.

And once you're comfortable with that, move to a three-chord progression, etc, etc.

It feels like baby steps, but you really want to LISTEN - to hear what you're doing and how it relates to the underlying chord structure. You start with one chord because it forces YOU to create the movement and energy and momentum. Then you move to a progression with two chords so you can start to feel how that change changes what you do - but you've got the foundation of being able to carry the energy yourself.

Baby steps. Itty, bitty, baby steps.

I'm working with a friend of mine - we hang out, he buys beer, and jam around, and I give him some lessons. Last night, I was forcing him to only solo in no more than four-note phrases. If you wanted to say something more complicated, he had to find a way to say it in a series of four note phrases that made sense together.

Baby steps. If you can't create an interesting four-note phrase, nobody is going to want to hear you play a 10-note phrase.
#11
My advice is to never stop learning songs by ear. Ever.
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.