Life As Jazz: When You Hit A ‘Wrong’ Note, Improvise (via Hartford Courant)

When learning to play alto saxophone as a concert band musician, I was taught mistakes should be minimized on stage and anything less than a perfect performance is considered a failure. I was always told to “practice until I couldn’t play it wrong.” Imperfections were seriously frowned upon and even penalized.

On the flip side of the coin, when I play in the school jazz band, I find mistakes are not minded in the least — if they happen in the right context. Wrong notes are welcome as long as we can resolve them into the harmony that was given. In fact, the whole purpose of the style of jazz known as bebop is to do exactly that with improvisation.

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