Music Teacher's Helper Blog

A Tip for Becoming a Better Improviser

Groove website-3

“Here’s my top tip for musicians interested in becoming better improvisers: Forget the metronome. Practice with backing tracks, those auto-accompaniment loops that inspire, keep you on the beat, and mesmerize you into practice loops.” -Bradley Sowash, jazz improv specialist.

If you aren’t sure how to find or create backing tracks, I’d like to personally invite you to a webinar called “Groove Your Theory. The idea stems from Bradley’s regular use of backing tracks in his lessons and his own practice. We also use them at our 88 Creative Keys keyboard improvisation workshops that Bradley and I co-founded four years ago.

The webinar will be packed full of ideas that will help you save practice (or lesson) time as you compress theory, timing and technique and creativity into one activity.

Bradley has designed unique exercises with accompaniments to help you (and your students) improve technique and improvisation skills which in turn, builds theory knowledge all within a groove.

I’ll start out by showing how I whittle down his ideas into bite-sized exercises for even the most basic skills. Here’s how my students are looping major 5-finger-patterns around the circle.

Then, Bradley will take the reins and demonstrate how to create your own backing tracks for practice and teaching using a range of tools from hand drums to drum machines, to apps including our favorite app of all, iRealPro. He’ll also share the specific exercises he uses daily to both teach and personally practice scales, chord drills and a unique way to combine these skills while improvising.

You see a little of this in action in the video below.

At the end, we’ll take time to answer your questions.

Join us for the two-hour webinar coming up Friday, April 22, 2016.


– If you don’t have time to make it the day of the webinar or if you want to go back and review, you’ll also be able to go back and view a replay video of the webinar afterwards.

– A comprehensive, well-organized handout featuring notation and links to the best apps and keyboards for backing tracks comes with the webinar.

The number of participants in our last webinar exceeded our expectations and the response so far suggests a great turnout for this one as well.

We’d love to spend some creative music making time with you.


Sign up here


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