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You might know how to solo, and may be very good at it… for a couple of bars. But if it doesn’t go anywhere, the listener quickly loses attention. Here are a few steps to help you avoid this…
- Don’t give the improvisation everything you’ve got straight away- start it simple and relaxed, and give it somewhere to go.
- Try building upon a motif/idea- for example, a simple rythmic or melodic phrase that is repeated, and then slowly altered in a manner which is interesting and sounds good.
- Quote! In other words, reference another song that is in the same key, or you have transposed to be so. Don’t overdo it, you could even just play a few lines from, say, star wars, or a well known pop song.
- Learn a few “tricks” you can use if you run out of ideas half way through- for example, melodic lines or even impressive sounding, simple exercises- for example, the hanon exercises.
- Alter the way you play passages. For example, you could lay back on the beat for effect, or even push ahead to do similarly.
- Listen to many jazz artists to get the idea, and even transcribe some of their passages and use them in your own solos! It’ll sound good to those who don’t know the passages, and you’ll be respected by those who do!
- And, finally, do whatever you enjoy, and whatever sounds good.
- The key is to practise, practise and practise! Play along to some Jamey Abersold CD’s in order to get the idea of what to do, and don’t be afraid to try anything out when practising- better to slip up when practising than when in concert!
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