conscious control during improvisation

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Re: conscious control during improvisation

Post by jeffn1 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:54 am

I tend to like the theory, as long as it makes sense so I feel comfortable attempting to incorporate it into playing. That's why I appreciate the chord tensions chart. It feels more intuitive and easier to apply than substitute chords.

The first attempts at trying to apply theory are very difficult. As Dave always suggests (I think), you need to slow down the piece a lot. (Unfortunately, things that might sound good at the appropriate tempo might not sound quite as good slowed down.)

Then they key, IMHO, is to get the theory closer to muscle memory.

For example, I spent a fair amount of time trying get comfortable with comping that dropped the root, usually with a 3rd or 7th on the bottom, usually adding a 9th (or altered 9th) to the chord. (I know this is not a rule, but I think my playing sounds better). Now this comes out more comfortably.

I spent time trying out various alterations on dominant chord (I especially suing it as a passing chord from the non-altered Dominant chord). This has become more comfortable.

I spent some time working on (usually small) note patterns within chords that sound more jazz like, often including some chromatic and alterations.

The good news, I definitely think I am getting batter. The bad news, when I listen to Dave, I realize I still suck! Dave, you rat bastard!;)


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Re: conscious control during improvisation

Post by Ted » Wed May 11, 2016 9:07 pm

My own view on this very important question is that the conscious mind forms a chaotic (in the mathematical sense of that word) feedback loop with the unconscious. Therefore I consider the conscious and unconscious both essential to meaningful, transporting improvisation. Improvisation in general, it seems to me, is a huge collection of feedback loops of many types in the brain. They all feed one another, just as all the properties of music, phrase, rhythm, harmony etc feed one another, cannot be taken in isolation, and to assert that one or two ought to have dominance over the others is a mistake. For example, many people reject what they call "noodling", presumably the production of sounds by haptic events. But the fingers, being also operated by the brain, have a mind of their own, and often their wanderings produce more interesting results that those obtained by directed ratiocination. In short, no process ought to be off limits. In my own playing, I always begin at the conscious level, usually finding it takes me around ten minutes before the feedback loop gets going. Sometimes I wish I could shorten this time, but I appear unable to.

I believe improvisation to be the finest form of music making, but most of the huge heap of advice about it on the internet is an unhelpful, gross simplification. Improvisation is both very complicated and very personal, and develops over a lifetime. To attempt to subordinate it to this or that set of arbitrary rules is at best silly, and a good way of shooting a beginner in the foot with the starting pistol. This is where Dave's tutorials excel - a cornucopia of stimulating ideas unfettered by "shoulds" and "musts".

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Re: conscious control during improvisation

Post by Dave » Tue May 17, 2016 12:16 pm

The coolest part of the whole thing to me is that nobody really knows how this all works. The process of getting to it can be presented, and without fail the student will catch the flame of improv and be able to find that ability in him/herself. But when all is said and done, nobody knows how jazz improvisation happens)

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Re: conscious control during improvisation

Post by jazzman1945 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:03 am

In light of recent researches of dr Charles Limb, and based on my own experiences with the students, I suggest before you start improvising tell or even sing out loud some story - for two minutes. Is good , if someone will listen to you in silence.
At the end of your story play instantly without thinking.
If you can, please tell us here about the effect!

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