Improvisation – a musical expression that needs to be re-think and thought through, even planned… Strange, isn’t it? After all, we are talking about a loose, spontaneous artistic activity. Creative and free. One that crystallizes our language and musical personality and, at the same time, impresses the listeners. And yet…
Working as a professor at art universities in Poland and abroad, I had the opportunity to meet many outstanding performers from all over the world, of different ages, playing various musical genres. Each of them boasted a monumental achievement and a masterful level of improvisation.
After lengthy discussions and common practice, they all agreed that they had reached such a high level of implementation because they knew their capabilities and the tools they possessed. Almost everyone said that they develop through daily practice and analysis, as with speaking out and taking a stand on a given issue. We speak when we know what and with what words we want to say. Later, the message develops in a slow yet conscious way. That’s why I know that even the ability to improvise has to be worked on.
I invite you to the course:
All and all instrumentalists who are preparing for jazz exams,
students and students in classical and jazz disciplines who want to develop the ability to improvise, persons without prior contact with the music education system who wish to awaken or develop the ability to improvise.
In the course program:
Improvisation classes combine elements of aural skills and harmony education from scratch. For those interested in the basic level, I propose the following issues:
- simple and compound intervals
- chod progressions
- upper structures
- basics of II-V-I progression
- pentatonic major, minor, and their applications
- blues scale, you will develop the theme of blues (molar, “parker” etc.)
- Modal scales, exercises
- symmetrical scales (enlarged, reduced, half-whole, whole-half bebop, altered
- playing bass lines over jazz standards
- playing specific components (e.g. expanding the ability to perform the specific interval throughout the standard)
- passing tones
- approaching tones
- harmonic analysis of songs
Through these classes, you will learn how to:
- prepare jazz standards in accordance with the requirements for candidates for music studies
- perform rhythmic exercises (polyrhythms, coordination exercises – arms, legs, voice)
- master atonal exercises
- effectively perform solos transcriptions
- improvise on a given rhythm pattern
- improvise rhythmically on certain fixed sounds
- create melodic improvisation emphasizing the harmony of the song, performed without harmonic background
- sing / play counterpoint
- reinterpret the theme in a way that preserves the narrative of the piece (awareness of leading the lead voice)
- extract sound textures and harmonic colors
I will develop the curriculum individually if you’re already an advanced player.
How will we work?
Every class I teach, both at the Conservatory of Music or within the universities in Europe, Asia, or the United States, is based on combining knowledge and basics with practical exercises. But most of all, I bet on training.
After completing the course, you can call/write to me with questions you have before the exams.
I am an academic lecturer with over ten years of experience. Learning is a process of continuous development that requires work from both the student and the lecturer. In 2012 I obtained a Doctor of Music Arts degree and a Habilitated Doctor Degree four years later, teaching as an Associate Professor at the Academy of Music in Poznań. I’ve always been interested in improvisation, the jazz style and the one resulting from combining different musical styles and even different types of art. I teach various courses at the music academy and gain comprehensive experience in music technology and the music industry. Thanks to this, I have gathered many experiences that help beginners to gain practical improvisation skills and overcome their musical limitations.
As an improvising artist, I never tried to close myself to any musical genre. I play solo and together with bands belonging to the leading Polish improvised and electronic music scene – Maciej Fortuna Trio (albums Solar Ring, Sahjia, At Home, Jazz), the multiple acclaimed Maciej Fortuna Quartet or the duo Fortuna/Dys, which has released two albums – Tropy (FM, 2013) and Maciejewski Variations (DUX, 2014). I perform music combining jazz with electronics – solo and in a duet with An On Bast (albums 1, Live and Electronic Transcription of Film Music by Krzysztof Penderecki). My Slavic project based on the Kolberg collection (Kolberg Fortuny; later Maciej Fortuna Słowiański) was an exceptional success. I have performed at many foreign festivals, including Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Heineken Jazzaldia (San Sebastián Jazz Festival), and Fringe Festival.
In 2016 I performed the first-ever jazz concert inside the volcano. In 2017 I reactivated the Poznań Fifteen Orchestra. A year later, I conducted the premiere of my composition for 100 trumpets and percussion. Since 2019, Poznań Komeda Marathon has taken place under my artistic direction. Jerzy Milian dedicated his last composition to me, which was released at the turn of 2019 and 2020. In 2021 I resumed the activity of my trio, with whom I recorded the album “Baltic” at sea. At that time, I started to perform solo trumpet meditations, a cycle of interaction with space recorded in abandoned places and among nature in Poland and Spain.
As part of experiments combining different art genres, I create and direct multimedia concerts and video productions.
I am an associate professor at the Academy of Music in Poznań. I run my own music publishing house, Fortuna Music, and I’m leading the Jazz Poznań Association.
Check out my improvisations: