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Jazz Improvisation Lessons

I offer customized personal, instruction in the various jazz improvisation styles: melodic, harmonic and modal approaches. And this is applied by playing Jazz song standards from the Swing, Bebop, Cool, and Modern eras.

The emphasis is upon playing the songs together, with me as your rhythm section and coach. Unike traditional music lessons where the student demonstrates their " homework " while the teacher sits and listens , this approach is more instructive and a lot more fun, because you learn by doing in real time. I will be guiding you both verbally but also by what I play as we both explore a specific aspect of improv, playing a relevant jazz song standard together.


My approach to teaching is to use your personal way of learning, and expand upon that.



A typical lesson could go like this: explanation of some new aspect , eg. Dorian mode, have you warm up with it to be clear on what notes are needed,  then play some specific melodic patterns , then we try it out in the context of a Miles Davis standard, " So What " .


For the actual playing, I play the walking bass and comp chords, while you play the head, ( if you need help, I can play the head with you )  then you begin to improvise based on the patterns we worked out in the warm up while I accompany you. Then we trade 4 bar phrases, where I can guide your melody improv with some of my examples . Then we play the head out. 

So as long as you can play your instrument to a moderate level, keep 4/4 time, ​then you can start to improvise Jazz from the very first lesson.

Garrett Leaver Jazz Trio, Museum of Civilization


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