Reply To: Improvisation!
Starting small is an excellent way to teach improv. When presented with the entire scale, young soloists tend to drown in notes and ignore the rhythmic interest side of soloing. I start with just 2 notes and 2 measures. Students are then presented with the challenge of making 2 notes sound interesting and the balance between sound and silence. Young soloists are often afraid of silence. Our gut instinct is to fill up every single moment with sound. As student’s progress, we add 2 more notes and so on focusing on both rhythm and direction in a solo. As we go along, I will add little challenges such as, this solo has to end down or add an articulation such as a slide or bend. By semester end, most students can confidently and effectively play an 8 or 12 measure solo with both melodic and rhythmic interest.