Demystifying Jazz Improvisation

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“Demystifying Jazz Improvisation” is an in-depth look at learning and improvising on a tune from the ground up. I created this course in hopes of breaking down the process of jazz improvisation for those who want to learn to improvise or dig deeper, but feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start. This course would also suit someone who is curious about other approaches to jazz improvisation, or is looking for a concrete step-by-step process that they can implement into their own practice.

The main theme of this course is embellishment. First the student learns the melody, and then learns skills to embellish it to make it their own. As we continue learning the bass line, chords, and arpeggios, you’ll find that this is always the process: playing unornamented followed by ornamented or embellished. This gets us comfortable with departing from what we see on the page or are most familiar with. Through each exercise, we move steps closer to creating our own solos, which are essentially embellishments on the melody that we are playing. This process can be used on any tune, and I hope that you will transfer it over to the next song that you learn. And the next, and the next, and the next….

Your Instructor

Alexa Tarantino
Alexa Tarantino

“[Alexa is] a one-woman wrecking crew, […] an indomitable force for expression, education, and absolute excellence.” - Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant, young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. Alexa’s “lovely, ardent way of improvising,” and “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered straight-ahead jazz [compositions]” (The New York Times) establish her individual voice which shines through as a dynamic performer and educator. Tarantino was recently named one of the “Top 5 Alto Saxophonists of 2019” by the JazzTimes Critics’ Poll and nominated as a “Rising Star - Alto Saxophone” by Downbeat Magazine’s 2021 and 2020 Critics’ Poll.
She has performed regularly as a leader and sidewoman in a wide variety of ensembles and genres including the Cecile McLorin Salvant Quintet, Cecile McLorin Salvant’s OGRESSE Ensemble, Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Generation Y, LSAT (quintet co-led with baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian), Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Alexa Tarantino Quartet. Firefly, Alexa’s third record for Posi-Tone Records released April 2021, hitting #6 on the JazzWeek charts. Her previous album, Clarity, peaked at #9 on the JazzWeek charts and landed at #54 for JazzWeek’s Top 100 records of 2020.
Tarantino is currently on faculty for Jazz at Lincoln Center's Youth Programs (High School Jazz Academy, Let Freedom Swing/Jazz for Young People) and represents the organization as a Clinician and Educator for various schools, festivals, and workshops. She holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from The Juilliard School and Bachelor’s degrees in Jazz Saxophone Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. Alexa is Founder and Director of the Rockport Jazz Workshop in Rockport, Massachusetts and Co-Founder of A Step Ahead Jazz with pianist Steven Feifke. In February 2021, Alexa launched her new virtual community-style jazz education platform, The Alexa Approach.
Alexa Tarantino is a Vandoren Artist, Yamaha Performing Artist, and represented by Birdland Artists.
Instagram: @alexatarantino
Twitter: @tarantino_alexa

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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