Summer Improv

Summer Improv Series


Summer is the time of year for birds, dragonflies, bike rides, pool parties. The time to soak up the sun. For musicians, it is also a time to explore new concepts, amp up your skills. Summer programs, like the Interactive Flute Retreat, are a fantastic way to do this. If you’re ready, here are tips for your personal growth this year:


Creating music without preparation. Or, on the fly

Who is Improvisation for?

Jazz. Definitely. But also, in band, chamber music ensembles, music therapy, music theory, composers, instrumentalists, vocalists – It’s for you.

Why would I use it? Because playing music with others is fun. Because scales are boring. Because you want to integrate music into your soul – not just on paper.

During this summer series, find ideas to incorporate improvisation into your musical life.

Let’s start by Including improvisation in your warm ups and long tones.

Playing Alone?

Practice warm-ups and long tones with play-along tracks. These are great, especially if you are resistant to using the metronome, or would like to have a serene experience during your warm-up. Check out two downloadable options here: Richard Boulger and Joshua Hauser

Joshua Hauser has PDF with warm-up examples. You will need to transpose but it is very helpful as you get used to using tracks during your warmups. Once you get comfortable,

change up the sequence and

try playing a beautiful melody like this free downloadable pdf featuring two melodies edited by Simon Hunt. Duets added by Melissa Grey.

Step it up a notch and play them in several keys

Play long tones with minor seconds, triads, and sevenths

Playing With Others?

Warm-up Activity from Jeffrey Agrell

While alert and relaxed, play a string of long tones at random lengths and pitches. Use comfortable, varied dynamics, including crescendo and decrescendo, Leave varying amounts of space between tones; one way is to rest as much as you play. Try this game freely choosing notes from either major or minor scales, major, or minor seventh or ninth arpeggios, diminished arpeggios, or major or minor pentatonic scales. Explore different registers and timbres.

Alone OR With Others

(though, its more fun in a group setting)

Create your own warm-up

Make music during practice, even during warm-ups. Choose 2-4 intervals and make up a slow piece. This simple collaborative exercise brings immense joy to musicians open to the idea of letting go of the notes on paper and listen to opportunities music has in you.

Did you try these exercises out? Interested in finding a group of like-minded musicians? Join us and PROJECT Trio at the Interactive Flute Retreat!

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