When I was first starting out, I was terrified to improvise! I would freeze up when asked to do so by my teacher, I just felt like I didn’t know what I was supposed to play. Of course, after all these years, I’ve come to realize that there is no “right” way to improvise and that all you need to do is listen, imitate, and practice creating your own ideas too. You are a composer – just composing on the spot!
One of the things that really helped me, was creating exercises for myself where I set some limitations and tried to create simple clear ideas – trying not to do too much. On Nov 1, I shared a bunch of these ideas, alongside my partner Jodi Proznick at Music Arts Collective, in a webinar called “Improvisation Games.”
Yes, games! It should be fun! We created some fun games called “Painting By Numbers,” “Opposites Attract,” “Rhythm ‘n Riffs,” and “Phrase Bingo.”
It’s sounds light-hearted and fun, and while it’s delivered that way, these games are gold for anyone looking to get started with some fundamentals of improvisation.
You can purchase the recorded video and handouts in the link below.
Happy (fun) improvising!
I’ve launched an online education and arts website with the award winning bassist/educator Jodi Proznick, who is also my old friend going back to even my high-school days! Arts administrator Francesca Fung, formerly of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Festival Vancouver, is keeping everything together as we develop online courses, workshops, YouTube videos, live stream conversations – and some very exciting musical collaborations.
Jodi and I have both been very active educators for many years doing workshops at festivals, universities, summer camps – as well private and classroom teaching at universities like Humber College and Capilano U. We are excited to take our knowledge of and enthusiasm about music online to share with the world.
Check out our current videos, workshops, and courses on topics like jazz rhythm section, improvisation, pop music, and online resources for educators: www.MusicArtsCollective.com
Or read some of the posts below to find out some of the fun projects I’ve been a part of with MAC.
In anticipation of our (Music Arts Collective’s) recent webinar “Improvisation Games,” I put together a live stream showing ways you can create variations on one simple idea – an important skill needed for any improvisor! Check out the recording on YouTube and get the handout from MAC, under our Freebie of the Month.. and make sure to sign up for our mailing list to, so you don’t miss any more Freebies!
Back in May I did a YouTube tutorial video for JazzYYC, who did a wonderful job creating some online opportunities for jazz musicians during Covid. I had a great time putting together this video on one of my favourite subjects: Reharmonization!
I won’t tell you all about it here, as I do so in the video above. Feel free to download the attached PDF of my reharmonization of “What Is This Thing Called Love,” which I deconstruct in the video.
Have fun exploring the many wonderful ways you can, as I like to say, “mess with the progresh.”