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#1187473 - 04/25/09 11:30 PM Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager
DaveInMichigan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 307
Loc: SE Michigan
Hi, sorry for cross posting, but I am looking for a good book as a birthday gift for a teenager. I guess "good" is hard to define, so here is some background:

He will be 15 in a week. He has been taking lessons in classical piano for 6-8 years, so he has some training. Recently his high school friends and he formed a jazz band just for fun, and he found he enjoyed it a lot. He plays keyboard and trumpet in this new band.

He doesn't enjoy classical that much although he will continue the lessons in piano. I do want to encourage him to use music for enjoyment. Currently they are doing some improvisation but mostly by feeling. I want to encourage him to read a little so that he can do more, but at the same time I don't think he is going to study like a serious musician studying improvisation, theory, etc.

And that is ok too. Afterall, he is not going to be a music major. It is just for fun.

Is there any book that you would recommend that would be interesting for a teenage to read and study a little so that he can use it to improve his improvisation a little?


Piano & Music Accessories
#1187504 - 04/26/09 01:35 AM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: DaveInMichigan]
YadielOmar Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 67
Loc: P.R.
Well there's Jazz piano from scratch, also there's a book from MI which is called "A approach to jazz improvisation" Berklee press also has an interesting series called "berklee practice method: getting the band together" which has a book for piano as well as nine other instruments including guitar, bass, drums, trumpet... there might be other books out there, but these are the ones I'm aware of that might serve your purpose.

#1187592 - 04/26/09 09:46 AM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: YadielOmar]
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Let him pick out something from a catalog like this one.

I've had good luck with Aebersold products, some were over my head, but with his background I think he will be OK.


Edited by majones (04/26/09 09:51 AM)

#1188143 - 04/27/09 07:40 AM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: majones]
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
For that age, I'd highly recommend Denis DiBlasio's "The Bop Shop" (there might be two volumes). It is a great introduction to improvisation, and is written in a teen-friendly manner.

If he were to actually follow the "method", I think it is pretty solid.


#1188250 - 04/27/09 11:20 AM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: Guy]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
I like this book by Randy Halberstadt published by Sher Music, the same company that handles the Mark Levine books. Check out the online samples at:


#1188687 - 04/27/09 09:44 PM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: Jazz+]
DaveInMichigan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 307
Loc: SE Michigan
Thank you very much for the suggestions so far. I have been doing previewing for those that have previews. I will make an order soon. smile

I figure not everyone have the same discipline to read and study from page to page, especially for a teenager; but if it is something that he can flip through and get some things here and there, and maybe go back when he becomes more serious, that will be great for him.

#1188700 - 04/27/09 10:05 PM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: DaveInMichigan]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Don't forget the free Jazz Handbook Aebersold offers at http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant...._Code=_HANDBOOK
Play New Age Piano

#1188913 - 04/28/09 09:08 AM Re: Jazz Improvisation Book for Teenager [Re: eweiss]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
It really depends on how motivated this teenager is for jazz. For me "jazz piano book" by mark levine is a must have. I really don't think you need any other book... (hopefully by the time you've went through that book you're transcribing stuff to get new ideas and not from books). The problem is that you kind of have to figure a lot of stuff on your own, like doing all the voicings in all keys.

I've seen other books, and they usually have all the chords and stuff written out in all keys, and those might be better if he/she is not going to spend that much time working on jazz stuff.

#1189251 - 04/28/09 04:54 PM Re: Jazz+ [Re: Jazz+]
h2obuff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 80
Loc: kansas city area
Jazz+, checked out the Metaphors book after reading your post. I had never really looked that closely at it before. After checking out the samples via the link I am probably going to pick it up. I am like etcetra in that I have been working with Mark Levine's book. There is a lot between the material he delivers that I think Metaphors will offer.
Charles Walter model 1500 upright


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