While on tour each year, Dmitri Matheny visits colleges, high schools and community centers to present MELODIC MASTERY jazz improvisation workshops for aspiring musicians of all ages.
Based on the teachings of his mentor, jazz legend Art Farmer, Matheny advocates a lyrical, melodic approach to jazz which stands in stark contrast to the chord scale and pattern-based methods currently in vogue.
"Your solo is an opportunity to express something entirely new and profoundly personal," Matheny says. "Create your own melody. Tell your own story. Sing your own song! This is no time for plugging in recycled, memorized material."
In each workshop Matheny explores the mental processes that take place while playing a jazz solo and the skills required for true improvisation.
With an emphasis on deep listening and jazz-as-conversation, part one of the workshop outlines the elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, tone, timbre and form) from the soloist's perspective, and why the melody should be your guide when improvising.
In part two, Matheny explains how to spontaneously create your own melodies and develop them in real time through a series of simple or complex harmonic changes. He provides recorded examples, demonstrates specific techniques on his horn, and shares relevant anecdotes from his professional career and years of tutelage under jazz legend Art Farmer.
In part three, Matheny discusses the importance of developing your own personal sound and style of playing, and offers some practical advice to keep in mind on your journey.