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Lessons 3 - Make a Solo

In improvisation workshop, we were then required to create a 1 chorus solo using manuscript paper.


For this you will need to know your notes on the stave (use sight-reading primer for this) and also musical spelling (there’s a solid lesson on this in the lesson tool as well as a chapter in the Guitar SightReader Manual).


We would take a first year tune.

You could choose one of these.  You can usually find the chord chart for these by doing an image search using Google.


1. Autumn Leaves

2. Blue Bossa

3. Blues Heads: Tenor Madness, Now's The Time, Bag's Groove, Blue Monk, Straight No Chaser, Sonnymoon For Two

4. Doxy

5. Just Friends

6. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

7. Song For My Father

8. Summertime

9. Yardbird Suite

10. I Got Rhythm (original, with extra bars)


We would take some manuscript paper and divide the music into the appropriate bars for the chorus (a chorus is one time through the melody), and then write the chords above the stave.

Like this (Jazz Blues)

Then we would, using only 8th notes, compose a solo using only 1,3,5 or 7’s.


I came with this without my guitar (I was lying on my bed using Sibelius).  I could have just as easily used a pencil.  It’s using only 1,3,5 and 7’s of each chord:


You will need Manuscript paper, a pencil, a map of the notes on the stave (if needed).


Choose one of the year one songs and make a simple composition like this.


Be aware of the contours of the notes.  Most of my lines here go up and then down in the same bar.


After you finished, learn to play it!

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