IFR blog > Practice tips
Be yourself and discover your own music!

The whole reason we are drawn to improvising is because it offers the promise of complete creative freedom. So isn't it ironic that the first thing we do with this freedom is to look for licks and formulas so we can sound exactly like everybody else?

The power of direct experience

You may have heard that you need to understand a lot of music theory in order to improvise. But what if it's the other way around? That might sound confusing at first, but I believe that getting clear about this could potentially save you YEARS of frustration and wasted time.

What's the best approach to ear training?

I have tried many different methods of ear training over the years and I'm totally confused. I have tried interval recognition apps, functional ear training and even a perfect pitch course. But I have yet to recognize a single note when listening to real music! Can you give me any guidance?

Practice in all keys or master one at a time

Is it better to start each improvisation exercise from a random note on our instrument? Or is it better to stay in one key until we've mastered it?

What makes IFR different?

Improvise for Real is now being used by both students and teachers in more than 20 countries. The method has been described as a totally different way to learn about music and improvisation. But what makes it so different?

IFR exercise demonstration - Melody Paths

Our favorite way to study any chord progression is with the IFR exercise "Melody Paths". Mireia Clua Geli teaches you the exercise in this video.

Finding your own voice vs. transcribing solos

I see the importance of knowing the sounds from the tonal map and being able to sing what you play. However, isn't improvisation also a matter of transcribing other artists' music to absorb the "feel" and "time" they have?

Learning to recognize chords by ear

Sometimes I have to listen to a chord progression between 5-10 times before I can recognize the chords. Is this normal? Or should I be able to do this instantly?

Learning to see your entire musical range at once

In Exercise 1 you describe "...looking down on this musical terrain from above..." Does this mean visualizing fingerings on your horn, notes on a staff, letters on a page or something else?

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