Jeff Stout is a professor at Berklee College of Music. In the video below he gives some excellent advice on learning to improvise. Memorizing patterns is a great place to start, no matter your axe. There are hundreds of specific patterns of each of these types.
For me, the important thing to remember from this video is that when you improvise, you’re hearing the music and translating it into the fingers. You’re not just playing patterns. That would be like spouting random words in any order in a conversation. It’s meaningless. Improvising like that–just playing patterns without hearing it first–you’re not “saying” anything. That’s where all the listening and transcribing of others’ improvisations helps. As Stout says early on, “It’s not easy.” The best things never are.
Stick with this vid to the end. Stout lays down a tasty improvisation over There Will Never Be Another You around 8:05.
Jeff Stout from Berklee, on Improvising
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