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MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf 2014 v1.2

My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

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Page 1: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

MY APPROACHTO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION

Wim Dijkgraaf2014 v1.2

Page 2: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

What music is to me

interaction

Page 3: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

What jazz is to me

interaction

Page 4: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

You will sound like …

• what you have studied and mastered

• the music you listen to

• the musicians you play(ed) with

• how you develop as a person

Page 5: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Your ultimate goal is …• sound fresh every time, always ->

endless creativity

• study and play without fear -> carelessly playing!

• no longer “think music” but “live music” -> flow!

• freedom and fun

• not to replicate but to innovate -> be the next you

Page 6: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

An endless journey• music is a journey of a life time; there is no end

• you will always be a student of music,just like anyone on the same journey

• what you like today, you will probably dislike in the future -> your musical taste is dynamic

• enjoy the journey, embrace the result

• don’t make music too important -> nobody really cares if you play or not … except yourself

Page 7: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Mastery• you have mastered something if you can play it

effortlessly -> without thinking, without feeling resistance, effortlessly!

• you have to familiarize yourself with something

• music itself is not difficult -> you are just not familiar with it yet

• first master, than forget

Page 8: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

The key to mastery is

Limit your WIP • WIP = work in progress

• Limit what you study!

• Mastery is your goal

• Master small things -> building blocks

• Build on top of building blocks that you already master

Page 9: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

What to master?

• Musical lego bricks -> building blocks

• The process of instant composing -> building with the blocks

• Craftsmanship -> reading music,music history, composition, arranging, other instruments, …

Page 10: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Types of building blocks

• technique

• melodic

• harmonic

• rhythmic & time feel

• repertoire

Page 11: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Examples of building blockstechnique melodic harmonic rhythmic repertoir

staccato embelishments arpeggios pacing tunes

vibrato chromaticism outlining 3rds&7ths density quotes

high register large intervals upper structures odd meters styles

low volume synthetic scales substitutes swing feel forms

horizontal coordination etc. etc. etc. etc.

Page 12: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Pitfall: Lack of focus

Page 13: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Solution: a practicing board• Work Items on post-it's

• Your overview of Work Items:

• Ideas

• To Do

• Doing

• Done

Page 14: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Online practicing boardwww.trello.com

Page 15: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

IDEAS: which ideas?

• transcribed solos, books

• transcribe what you resonates with you

• find new ways to use building blocks like no-one has done yet

• choose your building blocks carefully -> ask a mentor

• the blocks should be connectable -> how useful is your idea?

• ask other musicians, independent of their instrument

Page 16: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

TO DO: What to study?

• Build on top of building blocks that you master

• Select what is related to what you recently mastered

• (Re-)Order your TO DO list from time to time

• Pick the one that feels best / inspires most

Page 17: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Pitfall: too many things

Page 18: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Solution: limit WIP

!

• Set yourself a rule:

• Maximum x work items in the DOING queue

max. 4

Page 19: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

DOING: feedback

Page 20: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

DOING: Effortlessness

guidelines 1. always play effortlessly 2. add any other variable 3. don’t add more

than 2 variables

goal never to be sacrificed:

can sacrifice goal:

can sacrifice goal:

can sacrifice goal:

www.jazzheaven.com

Page 21: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Pitfall: disconnected building blocks

Page 22: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Solution: Re-use & connect• the blocks should become connected -> you are creating!

• connect Doing with what you have Done

• also work on the connection between types of building blocks

• technique

• melody

• harmony

• rhythm

• repertoire

Page 23: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

!…

building blocks & instant composing

instrumental technique

harmony rhythm

melody time feel

motives phrasing/ articulation

concepts of tension and release

construct / composition

depth

logic

ease

timing

balance

flow of concert forces

energy

variety

chaos

Page 24: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Pitfall: hurry

Page 25: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Solution: definition of done

• When to move from DOING to DONE?

• Do you really master it?

• Is the sounding result valuable to you?

• find out how others use the building blocks you study

• Do you really master it as the masters do?

• What is your definition of done?

Page 26: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

My Definition of DoneI test my mastery of a building block against:

• does it come out convincing and natural?

• can I play it without hiccups - fluency?

• can I let the material swing ?

• am I able to use the material creatively?

• can I play it at a high enough tempo - x bpm?

• can I play it over various time signatures? 4/4 , 3/4 , 5/4 , 7/4, …

• can I play it over various styles? swing, latin, afro, cuban, …

• can I apply the material over tunes that I know?

Page 27: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

DoD <> perfectionism• “perfectionism” is a by-effect that takes years

• Years of what?

• not years of practicing but

• years of usage!

• “perfectionism” -> mastery comes from using the building blocks, not from endless study

• DoD should be aimed at internalization, not at perfectionism

• “perfect” should mean “natural” -> imperfection is natural too

Page 28: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Repeat regularly

repeat

Page 29: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Ear training• everything IS ear training -> listening, playing,

studying, transcribing, reading, …

• don’t remember the facts (movements, note names, theory, …)

• remember the sound -> check if you can sing it

• do you recognize the sound in recordings you like?

Page 30: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Musical development• Play other instrument(s) - piano!

• play in a group, lead your own group

• Discover styles

• Arrange, compose

• MIDI Mockups, sound libraries

• Drum libraries & drum tracks

• Mix & Master

• Be part of a scene; visit gigs, concerts, jam sessions, master classes

• Dance, act, read, meditate, …

• Does music come from music?

Page 31: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Music and Your Brain

Page 32: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Personal development

Page 33: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Why music?

• What is the relevance of what you do?

• What is the meaning of music to you?

• What does your music “speak"?

Page 34: My Approach - to studying jazz and improvisationjazzharmonica.org/learn-how-to-play-improvise-jazz-harmonica/wp... · MY APPROACH TO STUDYING JAZZ & IMPROVISATION Wim Dijkgraaf

Enjoy the journey!

www.reverbnation.com/wimdijkgraafwww.jazzharmonica.org