As a language, music is a means of communication between you, other musicians, and an audience. Like any language, music has its own vocabulary, rules of grammar, conventions of use, and standard themes.
If you can relate music to a spoken language, consider how you learned to speak, and transfer that into your soloing. When you were a child, you learned how to communicate through imitation and repetition. It was a very slow process that required years of conscious effort. First, you learned individual words which you repeated over and over again until you became comfortable with them. Then, you learned how to combine a series of words with punctuation to form a complete statement or sentence. Sentences soon became paragraphs and so forth. Over time, your vocabulary developed to the level it is at today. The same is true of learning how to improvise and solo. Since improvisation involves using a musical vocabulary to express and develop ideas similar to studying the vocabulary of a language, you have to initially limit your focus because there are simply too many variables to take into consideration. At first, you must confine yourself to playing simple themes using basic rhythms over single chord changes.
For the most part, we all tend to use the same words when we speak, but there is great diversity in how we use those words as we form individual statements. Just as when you speak, you are going to have to use some of the same words to state things when you solo, but you will be able to rearrange your vocabulary to fit practically any situation. You simply can't create a brand new vocabulary every time you improvise or solo. It's impossible. Frequently, you will repeat similar phrases using slight variations from one solo to the next, just as you utilized the same words when you first learned to speak.
Even though you may express the same words during a conversation, you can imply different feelings through various inflections. You must be able to speak the language of music on a subconscious level just as you would carry on a conversation with hardly any notion. When you are thinking about the words you are using while speaking including definition and pronunciation, you are still learning a language because you need to make conscious decisions on what does and does not sound correct. Improvising is very similar because you have to make detailed assessments regarding the organization of information and how to associate even the smallest ideas to each other. Becoming a great improviser is a building process that employs the same basic principles as mastering a language, but with experience, your vocabulary of phrases will expand so that you can communicate every thought with minimal or no conscious effort, and your improvisations will sound more sophisticated as a result. Once you have internalized the vocabulary of improvisation, you will then be able to speak more eloquently through your instrument.
Improvising is a form of composing which is done with little or no preparation, and the best improvisers are able to imply an almost inevitable quality in their phrasing similar to how a great composer expresses a concept. You start with a simple theme or motif and gradually expand upon it. This skill is developed by beginning your solos with small statements. If we again relate improvising to a language, a sentence starts with a single word. When you combine a series of words, you have a statement, and a series of statements conveys a complete thought.
When you listen to someone who is in the early stages of learning how to improvise, it is kind of like listening to a child who hasn't yet identified the basic words. They may understand some of the essential alphabet including scales and chords along with the fundamental grammatical rules of chord/scale theory, but they still seem to be inventing their own language. In a spoken language, you must learn to recognize many words before you can make them flow smoothly and utilize them with any sort of mastery in a conversation. The same concept applies when learning how to improvise because before you have the ability to solo at a high level of proficiency, you must be able to state basic themes and form simple sentences.
Thematic development is a process that involves creating a theme or motif which is then varied and expanded through a wide range of different techniques. One of the most traditional examples of thematic development is exercised when a soloist begins by integrating a small fragment of the composition's melody. Another conventional example of thematic development often occurs when a soloist picks up where the previous solo has ended. This is a particularly effective usage of thematic development if you view all of the solos taken within a composition as collaborative parts of a larger collective solo. Themes can be developed through repetition with minor rhythmic modifications and also by starting the solo with rhythms featuring longer durations which gradually change to shorter values such as phrases beginning with quarter or eighth-note rhythms that then become eighth-note triplets or sixteenth notes later in the solo.
To make your phrasing sound more lyrical, imagine that you are a horn player or singer, and play what you sing. Take a breath before you play a phrase and then when you are out of breath, end the phrase. Pause for a moment to take another breath and then continue with your next statement. Imitating the phrasing of a horn player or your own voice forces you to breath and leave space. You can also sing along with your improvisations in a fashion similar to that of a scat solo performed by a jazz vocalist, and strive to mimic the sounds you produce with your voice on your bass. Experiment with different dynamic levels, and create horn-like articulations by employing expressive devices such as vibrato, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slurs, and grace notes. ... Subscribe Today & Read More!
Following a step-by-step methodology with instructor Cliff Engel, you will acquire the essential skills and vocabulary which are necessary to connect your ears to the fingerboard, develop ideas, interact with other musicians on a deeper level, and expand the traditional role of the bassist. With these live video bass lessons, you will expand your fretboard familiarity and knowledge of chord/scale theory, improve your sight reading and ear training, and also increase your technical proficiency on the instrument. You will be presented with the fundamental tools that are required to improvise great bass lines and solos on any chord type, chord progression, or song form in any style of music.
These lessons are structured for bassists of all levels from beginner to advanced who are passionate about becoming a more proficient bass player and are seeking an indispensable resource for the contemporary study and analysis of techniques, theory, and principles on bass guitar. Why waste transit time and money while moving to and from private lessons when you can study one-on-one with a live instructor directly from the comfort of your own home? Many people who are current or former students of the IIB online bass courses enroll in live video bass lessons to help compliment and reinforce the concepts introduced in the courses. ... Enroll Today!
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