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12 - improvisation

(Yes, gentle reader, I missed  a post yesterday - again! As these 100 days draw to a close, I find it more and more difficult to bring up the necessary quiet time to sit down and write and also I don’t have the urge anymore to write something while totally tired and bleary eyed… It is going to be interesting to see, what cadence in blogging I will reach when in 12 days, when the experiment has ended…)

In the meantime, the next Coursera course has started: Introduction to Improvisation taught by Gary Burton. I have watched the first weeks worth of videos and was quietly disappointed by the lack of teachings about improvisation. Gary spoke about online course, how to do assignments, lots of logistics but only a few minutes on what he thinks is important in improvising.

But then the assignments came: Analyse a solo by Gary over “What is this thing called love”

and then recording an own improvisation over the chords of the song.

I realized that I just by doing the first part of the assignment, I will be able to learn a lot. As usual, I will only get back as much as I put into this. I then decided to record one improvisation over this song every day - to see, if and what kind of progress is happening.

So if you want to listen to some really mediocre playing, here’s the set (currently consisting of only one recording).

When I recorded this first improv, I had never played over that song before - I probably have heard it before, but I didn’t remember it. I didn’t look at the chord progression (and even if I did, I wouldn’t know which scale to play over which chord). This was all played by ear (including two times accidentally plucking an empty string) and I am actually quite happy with how it turned out. Let’s see how this is going to sound tomorrow…

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician