Jazz School News, Thoughts and Events.

The 3 Speeds of Improvisation

Posted by David Bloom on Jun 29, 2018 2:36:32 PM

by David Bloom
 
In improvisation, there are three elements of speed: the speed of aural comprehension, physical execution, and imaginative creativity. Attention to each is critical to successful jazz.
 
Most musicians spend the majority of their practice time on the speed of execution. However, musical artistry is more than muscle memory. It is critical that you spend an equal amount of time developing the other two aspects (which are often ignored or unknown).
 
The speed of comprehension is achieved by training your ear to quickly understand what you hear, whether the sound is imagined or from other musicians. Then, you must be able to play what you hear on your instrument.
 
Also, you must work on how fast you can access your imagination on the spot. It is much easier to create a solo on a blues with a metronome marking of 120 than 220. The slower tempo gives you more room. When it is fast, you have less time to integrate all three aspects.
 
If the speed of recognizing what you hear is slow, you won’t be able to find it on your instrument in real time.
 
Often, when musicians don't hear ideas in their head and play anyways, they will move their fingers without having a clear or articulated idea. The results will sound vagrant; sounds without a home. You must be able to have an idea in your head and know where to find it on your instrument immediately.
 
The goal is to woodshed on all three speeds separately until they are roughly the same. I highly recommend isolating each speed until it is fast and fluid in execution. In improvisation, you have to be able to comprehend, create, and execute in milliseconds.
 
One exercise I recommend to all serious improvisers is to play a given tune at 90 BPM, 130 BPM, 160 BPM, and 200 BPM. I have found that starting with a very slow BPM gives you more space for your imagination; then increase tempo from there.
 
Focusing on all three elements will help you not only to play what you hear and do it at faster tempos, but make you a better improviser all around. Record yourself playing a couple of choruses at each speed, then listen and assess for effectiveness.
 
To learn how to develop each of these speeds, reach out for a refresher course or consultation. Call (773) 860-8300.
Read More

Voice & Guitar Clinic June 25 2018 7:15 PM with Erin McDougald and Bruce Forman

Posted by David Bloom on Jun 18, 2018 3:12:05 PM

Presented by The Bloom School of Jazz and hosted by David Bloom, this clinic features world-renowned jazz guitarist Bruce Forman and Chicago-based jazz vocalist, bandleader, composer-lyricist and producer Erin McDougald.

The evening will center around the difference between just playing SAYING something important. Before you can say something you need to learn how to listen. All too often, instrumentalists will play differently for vocalists with an assumption handicapping the creativity of the music. And, all too often singers treat instrumentalists as if they are "in the background" instead of inviting an intertwined voice in a cohesive narrative.

Both Mr. Forman and Ms. Erin McDougald will bring our perspectives and tips for how to go from accompanying someone to really making music TOGETHER -- like a natural conversation. This is especially insightful for anyone looking to improve their improvisational skills.

All ages and skill levels welcome.

It is $20.00 per person (collected in cash at the door the night of the event-- doors open at 7:15pm)

RSVP Only - Call (773) 860-8300
or email hannah@bloomschoolofjazz.com.
Space is limited.

 
Read More

B.B. King Workshop July 29, 2018 2:00 PM with Guitarist Pat Fleming: RSVP Now

Posted by David Bloom on May 30, 2018 3:10:47 PM

B.B. King Style Master Class

1-Day Intensive with Guitarist Pat Fleming
Date: July 29, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Doors 1:45 PM
Location: Bloom School of Jazz, 226 S. Wabash Ave. #700
 
Find out what made his playing famous world-wide:
articulation, dynamics, rhythm, vibrato, bends, slides, and more. Learn techniques of "The King of the Blues"!
 
Specifics:
  • Chords: 6th, 7th, 9th, 13th
  • Scales: Major Pentatonic and Blues
  • Arpeggios: Dominant 7: Three shapes I IV V

Expression:

  • Vibrato 
  • Bends
  • Slides
  • Hammer on/Pull off
  • Articulation
  • Dynamics
  • Rhythm
Location:
Bloom School of Jazz
226 S. Wabash Ave. #700
$25 by RSVP Only
Read More

Workshop Announcement: Jimi Hendrix Master Class, Saturday 4/21/18 2 PM with Guitarist Pat Fleming: RSVP Only

Posted by David Bloom on Apr 9, 2018 5:51:27 PM

To RSVP, call (773) 860-8300 or email hannah@bloomschoolofjazz.com.

Read More

Understanding Storytelling and How it Can Dramatically Improve Your Music

Posted by David Bloom on Apr 6, 2018 4:03:16 PM

Many great musicians and music teachers have described good music as storytelling . A story is a series of events that usually involve overcoming an obstacle. Great stories set up a scenario and then surprise us with the ending-boring stories don't. People from every culture love stories, whether sharing what they learned or following the exciting journey of a certain character.
Read More

Jimi Hendrix -- Past, Present And Future

Posted by Pat Fleming on Mar 30, 2018 5:55:57 PM

by Pat Fleming

So much has been said, written about, or otherwise imparted about Jimi Hendrix that it is well nigh impossible to say anything original about him. However, I do think it might be useful to try to sum up some of the most insightful observations about Jimi, hopefully in order to gain a deeper understanding of his importance in music history. 

Read More

Practice Tips: One Week To Better Solos

Posted by David Bloom on Mar 22, 2018 1:20:33 PM

Practice Tips
Read More

Topics: inspiration, jazz intro

The Power of Slow: Tips for Beginning and Intermediate Players

Posted by David Bloom on Mar 13, 2018 12:00:00 AM

The Power of Slow

Read More

Topics: jazz education

Bloom School of Jazz Vocal Class Recital November 18th, 2017, 1:00pm at Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago

Posted by David Bloom on Oct 24, 2017 4:59:30 PM

 
Read More

Improvisation Workshop with David Bloom in Minnesota: June 23-25, 2017

Posted by David Bloom on Jun 15, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Join us for Weekend Workshop with David Bloom: Improvisation for all instrumentalists and vocalists in all genres, on June 23-35, 2017. 

This is David Bloom's second workshop in the Twin Cities as he expands his teaching nationally.

"I can hardly believe how far I progressed in such a short period."  -J.O.

"I learned a ton about teaching: it's art, science, and a little bit of soul." -N.N.

Students, band directors, music teachers, instrumentalists and vocalists, as well as professional musicians will experience dramatic results in their musical artistry. 

Thank you to Hot Spot Music in Northfield, Mn.

 

Read More

Topics: workshop