Learning how to improvise on your instrument can be a daunting task, especially if you were classically trained and began your career playing mostly classical music. Choosing to remain solely in the classical genre can seriously limit your growth potential as well as possibly make you less hireable for casual gigs and concerts. Further, not learning how to improvise could have a similar negative impact.
So how do I learn to improvise on my instrument? The musical journey may be very similar regardless of what instrument you play, but the technical journey will vary greatly from instrument to instrument. We are going to focus on the cellist’s journey because Karen began her own journey this summer by taking the 4-week course IGC Live via The Improviser’s Guide to the Cello (IGC). IGC was created by Jacob Szekely. Strings Magazine has hailed Jacob as “One of the leaders in the Creative String Community,” and Berklee cello professor and multiple Grammy winner Eugene Friesen has declared Jacob’s playing to be “The first time a cellist has made a convincing case as a leader in modern jazz!”.
IGC is the first interactive learning community for intermediate to advanced creative cellists and educators! No matter what style you play, if you’re serious about taking your cello-playing game to the next level, IGC is the place to do it. It starts with a comprehensive video learning series designed to address the unique challenges classically trained cellists face when approaching creative string playing. In August 2015, Jacob introduced The Improvisor’s Guide To The Cello Academy: the first-ever interactive online community for creative cellists which now boasts over 300 active members.
What makes this curriculum mind-blowing and sets it apart from other methods is the Rosetta System that Jacob created. The Rosetta System is a 4-part modular training series that is the first unified field theory for the cello fingerboard, going from least to greatest complexity. By using the Rosetta System, a cellist can improvise freely on all four strings and in all positions with very little shifting. The true genius behind the Rosetta System is that it is very similar to the fingering system that guitar players use called the Caged Method. Per Jacob, “The caged method unifies scales, chords, and arpeggios into one fingering and one position, starting with simple chord shapes and using them as a scaffolding, or framework, and then adding notes in between to create more complex scales later on.” Once you learn and integrate the Rosetta System into your cello-playing technique, the world of improvisation is yours for the taking. During the 4-week IGC Live course, it was amazing to see how much growth happened among the attendees in a very short time. They were improvising by week 1! Is your mind blown yet? We hope so! To begin your own journey into the wild world of improvisation, we urge you to sign up for IGC Live. Jacob only accepts 10 attendees from all over the world in each session so hurry while there are still spots!
Once you’ve completed IGC Live, we strongly recommend subscribing to the IGC Cello Academy. Here you will dive into a full year of courses, seminars, grooves, licks, practice routines, and resources. If you are looking to up your game and shred like a pro without having to shift all over the cello, this course is for you.