Improvisation Tips

dark jazz Basic Improvisation Exercises

Rhythmic Improvisation Exercises

Ask the student/s to:

  1. improvise any different rhythm pattern that fits within the meter and tempo of your example.  (with neutral syllable or rhythm solfege)
  2. improvise a different rhythm pattern using only a mixture of macrobeats and microbeats.  ex.: quarter and eighth notes in 4/4 (with neutral syllable or rhythm solfege)
  3. improvise a different rhythm pattern using only a mixture of macrobeats, microbeats, and divisions.  ex.:  quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes in 4/4.  (with neutral syllable or rhythm solfege)
  4. improvise a different rhythm pattern using syncopations.  (with neutral syllable or rhythm solfege)
  5. improvise a different rhythm pattern using any function that’s different than the one I’ve given.  ex.:  if I use a rhythm with microbeats and macrobeats only the student can respond with syncopations or division function rhythms.  (with neutral syllable or rhythm solfege)

 

Tonal Improvisation Exercises

Ask the student/s to:

  1. improvise any different tonal pattern that fits within the tonality and key of your example.  (with neutral syllable or tonal solfege)
  2. improvise a different tonal pattern of the same chord function.  ex.:  if I sing a tonic pattern (I chord) they sing a different tonic pattern.  (with neutral syllable or tonal solfege)
  3. improvise a different tonal pattern of a different chord function.  ex.: if I sing a tonic pattern (I chord) they sing a dominant pattern (V chord).  (with neutral syllable or tonal solfege)

 

Applying Improvisation and Creativity

to Songs and Activities

Applying Rhythmic Improvisation

Ask the student/s to:

  • Choose a different way to demonstrate the macrobeat or microbeat (depending what you’re working on)  through movement other than the example you gave.
  •  Choose a partner and demonstrate the macrobeat or microbeat through movement using shared space.
  •  Create a different repeating 3 or 4 movement pattern than you depending on whether you’re in triple or duple meter.
  •  Choose a partner or group of 3 or 4 and create a different repeating 3 or 4 movement pattern than you depending on whether you’re in triple or duple meter.
  •  Improvise a repeating rhythmic pattern within the meter and tempo of the song…..vocally and then on a rhythm instrument.  Then have the student write their rhythm on the board.
  •  Improvise a repeating rhythmic pattern based on a rhythm they’ve read.
  •  Improvise a different repeating rhythmic pattern than their neighbor which fits within the meter and    tempo of the song…..vocally and then on a rhythm instrument.  This can be done with small groups or everyone for more advanced students…….JAMMING!!!!  

 

Applying Tonal Improvisation

Ask the student/s to:

  • Create a different ending to a given song by singing.
  • Apply the bass line of a song to a tonal instrument.
  • Play “team chords”…….one student plays “do” another plays “mi” another plays “sol”.  Altogether that’s the “I chord”.
  •  Change to the next closest note of the next chord……from the “I chord” to the  “V7 chord”, “do” would have the choice of changing up to “re” or down to “ti” etc…..
  • Create “I chord” patterns during the “I chord” measures and “V7 chord” patterns during the “V7” chord measures.

 

 Applying Creativity

Ask the student/s to:

  • Arrange the sections of the song in an original form
  • Create 4 bar or 8 bar movement/dance patterns to go along with the musical phrasing

 

Guidelines for Improvisation

1.  Listen to others and to yourself.  Play what you hear inside.

 

2.  Play in the spaces and create spaces.  Rests are our friends!!!

 

3.  Use repetition and sequencing to link small rhythmic and tonal patterns together and

create phrases that sound really good.

 

4.  Use variations of other people’s patterns to create your own.  This will add cohesion to the

whole piece.

 

5.  Blend your volume with others.

 

6.  Have Fun and Express Yourself!!!!

 

 

 

*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

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