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Lesson 75: Melodies

On Melodies

Playing jazz is about improvisation. Improvisation is ideally the spontaneous creation of melodies. It is extremely important to develop good ears. The ability to hear something and play it is the ultimate goal.

Learning Melodies

Learn to play melodies of all kinds. Make a habit out of learning to play everything you hear. This may be:

  • the melody of the ice cream van
  • the ring tones of mobile phones
  • tunes from games
  • jingles and film and TV themes
or even ( a bit more advanced):
  • watch TV for a couple of hours and don't let a single melody "get away"

Using Melodies

Sometimes it can be fun to quote from a well-known melody in a solo and try to make something out of it. I remember myself quoting from the head to Bemsha Swing by Thelonious Monk in a blues solo when playing in a party type r&b band a long time ago - something like this:

2005 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.