Reply To: Teaching Improvisation

Frontpage Forums Jazz Teaching Improvisation Reply To: Teaching Improvisation


One of our jazz mentors, dcsax, opened one discussion:

As I visit schools to work with jazz ensembles, I have noticed a disturbing trend. That trend is to not introduce students to the art of improvisation. One of the things I suggest to teachers who do not have expertise in jazz is to attempt to improvise themselves (not in front of the students at first). This way the teacher can express to his/her students the feelings that take place as one attempts to improvise. Overcoming the fear of improvisation is the first step.

I’m curious to know how many members of this forum who are not jazz performers or who are not familiar with jazz encourage their students to improvise in class or jazz rehearsals. As a jazz performer and teacher, I think it is important that jazz students are at least exposed to the art of improvisation.

dcsax, Ron Kearns, covers jazz improvisation in his NAfME book, Quick Reference for Band Directors (