Blog | Improvise For Real
IFR blog > Student questions > How will IFR help me understand chord symbols
Exploring the 3rd harmonic environment

In this excerpt from the IFR Jump Start Program, Jelske Hoogervorst demonstrates a series of creative activities that we use to study each harmonic environment of the major scale.

Best way to analyze standards in a minor key

I have noticed that most songs and jazz standards over which I want to improvise normally have just one concrete environment, and so it might be easier to name the notes as starting from note 1 rather than from a note of the parent key (e.g. note 6). Do you think it's necessary to have the nomenclature named in a way which always connects it back to its parent key?

How do I get started in IFR?

I have heard a lot of good things about IFR. I want to begin practicing the method but I'm not sure where to start. Can you tell me what materials I need?

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. Finally we can express OUR music, and say what WE want to say. So isn't it ironic that the first thing we do with this freedom is to look for licks, patterns and formulas just 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?

Visualizing the tonal map on the trumpet

I have been practicing the IFR exercises for half a year and it's great how I am progressing! One of my obstacles is that I still imagine notes and lines from a music staff, instead of the numbers of the chord notes as you describe in your exercises. Is there any way to switch from one image to the other?

How to visualize musical intervals on the flute

I just purchased your book from Amazon and would like to clarify a point. When the exercise says to visualize all five notes at once on my flute, does this mean the sound or the letter name of the note?