When I Improvis I quikly find myself lost in the chord progression

Question by MrJackRozz
(Caen, France)


When I start to improvise, I am quickly lost in the chord progression, I mean I don’t know the chord I am playing over …

I can’t keep track of the beat count and bars count. I try to keep my foot tapping the beat but as soon as I start to decide what to play according to the chord this is to much thinking and then I’m lost. Do you have any advice or practice exercises to solve this ?


M-A’s Answer:

Oh. Yes. This is fairly common. The good news is that you can overcome this problem.

Since I don’t know you (and don’t really know how you play, how it sounds when you get lost, etc.), the only advice I can give you right away is to work on rhythms.

For instance, I uploaded a video recently about half-notes. Already there, just playing half-notes on a progression will settle some little (important) things in your mind and ear.

Then you can start to look at another video I uploaded called “5 key jazz rhythms”.

And of course, learning to “set” the metronome on beats 2&4 is of great help to keep you place… (there’s a video about that too!)

Simply by working on rhythm, you will establish a sense of “where you are” quite naturally. Then, the improvisation will become a little less difficult, and you’ll be less “lost” (or more solid so to speak). Then you may find other weaknesses (for instance, that you only get lost in 3/4 time), and then you can find more rhythmic exercises to solve that, etc. etc.

I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to ask more question. You can even send me audio / video recording of your playing and I will assess it and comment (maybe find the exact thing that guilty of getting you lost in the form!)


All the videos are on this page: key-jazz-rhythms.html

Marc-Andre Seguin

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Feb 08, 2012
by: MrJackRozz

Hi Marc,

I started to follow your advices: metronome on beat 2 & 4 and playing the displaced half notes on Tenor Madness Chord progression.

I start to feel the “sense of where I am”, I foresee to aply this to more tunes and to practice the 5 Key Jazz Rhythms also.

However, if I get blocked I will send you a recording of me playing.

Thanks a lot for your advices !

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