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By johanne James

Good day to you all and hope all is well?

Today let’s talk about improvising.
You know, that stuff that is usually reserved for Jazz musicians whom many believe only play out of tune simply because they can’t play! Or so you may think and therefore you end up hating it because it may be misunderstood. I grew up listening to jazz and other forms of alternative music, so how I ended up playing in a Prog metal band is beyond me! LOL! Improvising can be done in any genre of music, as you just have to know how and is not only the privilege of Jazz. Having a degree of the technical expertise, which can be called upon is paramount in this case and also being at one with your instrument. Listening to the others around you is vital. As you know so many great compositions have come from this very exercise and it can stretch you to the very limits of your ability if you know where to go. This can also lead you to a place that almost goes beyond just playing music and can take on another dimension and for those of you who know what I’m talking about, then you know what I’m talking about. It is a wonderful experience being able to play what you hear and possibly be stretched beyond what you thought was possible. Ha ha! And now you know what’s possible a whole new world has been opened. That door you have now walked through is only the beginning, the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

It does take a lot of practice.
And as mentioned before, needs a degree of expertise or not depending on the level you’re at. The ultimate in this arena for me was a Mr John Coltrane. Yep, a jazz saxophonist. For me he took this to a level that most definitely went beyond the human experience as he would go from the sublime to the very ridiculous. I would often ask myself what on earth is he hearing, where is this coming from? Only he knew. If I could play a fraction on my instrument as he did on his I would be a very happy man, but in saying that Threshold would certainly kick my butt out the door, along with my favourite snare drum, of course! There is so much more I could say on this subject, but you don’t have the next six months to listen to me rabbit on about something you may not even be interested in.

So for now, thanks for listening.

Johanne James



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