Improvisation Basics – Rusty Burge 


What does harmonic improvising mean in 2024?

1. jazz, world music, contemporary music, etc.

2. employment! 

3. different from everything else in percussion


What instrument? 

vibes, marimba, xylophone, steel pan, toy piano, etc.


Improvisation – starting place for beginning improvisers (one key area at first…e.g. C major or F minor)


1. Rhythm – use what you already have


2. Melodic – embellish melody - anything you can sing or whistle – find color notes


3. Patterns – musical way to use patterns


4. Grace Notes – coloring


5. Borrowing phrases – transcribing



Next steps


Learn basic jazz harmony…chords and scales (at a reasonable pace)


Combine two chords (or more) and see how they interact with each other


Learn basic two note voicing (3rd and 7th) which then leads to four note voicings


Learn tunes (any style but not too difficult to start)









RB VF Mallets

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