Violin in Jazz and Rock

August 20, 2010 – 2:30pm

I’d like to blog with classical musicians yearning to improvise, particularly violinists.  Welcome to all the electric violinists of the world.  Improvising on the violin in rock or jazz requires a search of your sense of the blues.  The blues is the basis of all expressive improvising.

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  1. I often improvise when playing violin for salvation army outdoors, and I believe not many violinist can do real improvisation (meaning not drawing from your fixed library of motif). We are very interested in doing research on finding out how brain works when doing real improvisation. Please email me if you want to be the test subject.

  2. ViolinistJeff says:

    I was wondering how you learned how to improvise. Did you follow a specific method or was it just personal exploration? Were you able to find someone to teach you improvisation? Could you give any tips for improvising in the different styles?

  3. admin says:

    This is Noel Webb. I e mailed you directly Jeff, but to this blog I will say, everyone who improvises either learned patterned lines (a lot of violinists seem to stop with simply this effort) and/or they play the blues. All rock and most jazz improvising is based in the blues. I loved and learned the blues. I prefer expression to line/pattern playing, though sometimes line/pattern playing can be wonderful. You need both. I give seminars to help classical players begin improvising when I perform at colleges. If you’re at a college, I’m always looking to perform more and more.

  4. admin says:

    You can learn to improvise by doing two things:1. practice your scales over and over again; practice variations of the scales over and over again (patterns that you repeat by going up and down your scales). 2. Buy a CD of a great blues musician. Then copy his performance as closely as possible, with the nuances and subtle turns of his notes. Hopefully, you’ll then adopt your own sense of expression. If you combine your new fingering possibilities and your new emotional expressiveness, you’re on your way. I want to repeat here that every artist copies artist before him until he develops his own performance style. Noel

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