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Improvising - Focus Notes, Part 1

David Barrett Admin's picture

One of the most common questions posed by students is, "How do you know what to play next?" The answer is that we usually don't... it's very rare that we know what we're going to play next... it's what hole we start the new chorus on that determines which lick from our vocabulary is played.

For example...

After a couple of choruses of soloing you calmly say to yourself, "I haven't played the 5 draw yet" and you play the 5 draw and one of the many licks from your past studies that starts on the 5 draw comes out. You've played many, many licks that have started on 5 draw (this is why studying songs is so important, it provides you with lick vocabulary that starts from varying holes) and you have faith that something will burp out.

You can either consciously choose to play that 5 draw or be in the heat of improvising and a pickup leads you to the 5 draw on the downbeat of the new chorus, and it's now your focus note. So, either by conscious decision, or flow of improvising, it's the hole you start a given chorus on that determines the lick that comes out.

More on this tomorrow. Have a great week!