"Just Improvise"

As the holiday season draws near, I can already feel the pace of life picking up. While Southern California is one of the only places you can have your heater on with a sweater one day, and your AC with a t-shirt the next in winter, the seasons are nonetheless changing. Grateful that I don't have to drive through snow to reach my students, I still feel winter approaching.

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the music. It is a time when music can really bring people together. Families, friends. . . strangers. One of my favorite composers that I pull out to listen to every December is Vince Guaraldi (composer/arranger for the Peanuts cartoons). This year, I decided to do him one better, I decided to play his music. So I picked up the song book and started practicing, and even recruited a jazz drummer to play with me. But in my practicing, I got to a portion that said "repeat for all solos" and felt my stomach drop. I need to solo? Like . . . a jazz solo? -gulp- I know how, but that has always been an area I approach with great caution.

So, instead of leaving it to the pros any longer, I will be learning how to improv with confidence this holiday! I have also started to look into curriculum tie-ins that teach improv, ordered a couple books to try, and will be researching them to see which will be the best fit for my students. I am excited to expand both my own repetiore and that of my students to include musical training beyond the strict classical style.