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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds This whole section has been on rhythm changes. So, not surprisingly, the key thing I want you to be able to do is improvise, at this stage at least, on rhythm changes. But you can sort of at least trying to play the tune of “I’ve Got Rhythm”, and then move on to the tune of “Oleo”. And what we’re looking at in particular is using our voicings in both the lower position and the upper position and using them first legato and then stabbed. You could use “I’ve Got Rhythm” to do some motivic improvisation where you use elements of the tune as your source for your motivic improvisation. And certainly, you can do the same thing with “Oleo”.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds What I’m mostly interested in is scalic improvisation, because what I really want you to know

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds are the notes that are available to you: in our case the major scales – the notes of the major scales which are available to you – because that’s really going to be our starting point for a deeper discussion of improvisation.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds Chordal improvisation: most people find that fairly straightforward, bouncing up and down notes that belong to the chord, or arpeggiating the notes in the chord. Generally speaking, people find motivic improvisation more challenging.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds But, as I say, I’d like you to have a go at motivic improvisation, but it’s the scalic improvisation that I’m mostly concerned with at this stage. And then finally, have a go at the double octave version of “Oleo”. If nothing else, try and learn the tune playing double octaves. Again, you may or may not find improvisation using double octaves a possibility. Find out.


This step includes some tips on the exercises for this week.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London