Gary Burton, jazz musician extraordinaire and master teacher is giving a free course on line this month.
I'm taking it. I've watched the introductory videos tonight. Tomorrow I will submit the assignments for peer review. I will also have an opportunity to assess fellow students as they will have of me. It should be interesting.
First main points:
Improvisation is like language. It has a vocabulary which is sounds (chords and scales). A grammar, which is a harmonic progression and your ability to follow it in a logical fashion. And finally, a there is the content. Namely your ability to develop a story, in sound, in real time.
Second main point:
Sounding like a jazz musician through memorising licks is similar to memorising French phrases and heading to Paris. You may sound temporarily like a Frenchman, but it won't take long before your inability to converse becomes obvious.
I look forward to taking this up tomorrow in class with my students.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.