IFR blog > Practice tips
The relationship between technique and creativity

Instrument technique and improvisation are two practices that feed one another: we need technical skills to be able to express ourselves creatively, and when we improvise we put into practice and consolidate our technical skills.

IFR video lesson: Build the Map

In this video I'll show you two fantastic exercises for beginners to the IFR method. These two exercises will greatly accelerate your ability to visualize the notes of any key on your instrument.

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 four advantages of the tonal point of view

Learning to think relative to the key of the music is the most important thing you can do to accelerate your music learning. This article explains four immediate benefits to your music practice from adopting the tonal point of view.

What's the best approach to ear training?

I have tried many different methods of ear training. 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?

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: Always be composing

In this video tutorial we demonstrate several examples of one of our favorite musical principles which is to use every musical exercise as an opportunity to practice telling musical stories through our playing.

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.

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?