IFR blog > Practice tips
Special message for beginners

This is a special lesson for beginners to musical improvisation. I'll show you how you can begin improvising right now as a creative and exciting part of your daily music practice.

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?

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.

Is singing the tonal numbers a crutch?

I play the guitar and in order to avoid getting lost on the fretboard I say the numbers of the scale out loud. So I literally say "1, 2, 3" etc out loud as I'm playing. Will this be like a crutch in the future where I can't move around unless I count the notes?

How to avoid getting lost in songs

One of the most common frustrations that all beginning improvisers experience is getting lost in the middle of a tune. In this video I'll give you three concrete strategies that you can follow to make sure this never happens to you again.

Q&A - Hear notes relative to key or chord?

To understand music by ear, should we try to hear each note relative to the chord of the moment or relative to the overall key of the song?

IFR video lesson: How to study chords

In this video I show you a complete system for studying new chords so that you can improvise over them with confidence, use them in your compositions and learn to recognize them by ear in the music of other people.

How to practice difficult movements in Exercise 1

I'm wondering about the trombone? The image you use of the notes being connected as one long chain doesn’t really fit with the trombone because the notes are not evenly spaced. Do you have any suggestions?

How quickly should an improviser advance?

I'm currently practicing the IFR exercise Seven Worlds and I'm not sure how much time I should spend in each harmonic environment before advancing to the next. Is there any guideline?

2-5-1 ear training workout

In this video we are going to train our ear together, singing the tonal numbers over the famous 2-5-1 chord progression. This is the most important chord progression in jazz music and it also appears in pop, rock, blues and other styles. Sing along and explore these beautiful sounds creatively with me!