Practicing Jazz Improvisation
Dr. Rik Pfenninger
Saxophone Professor at Plymouth State University

I work with saxophone students of all ages, and the question that I hear most is,
“how do I begin to learn to improvise?” While most students understand how to practice an etude or their band music, they really have no idea how to practice and learn jazz improvisation.

Welcome to
Practicing Jazz Improvisation. In the lessons that follow, you will learn how to practice jazz improvisation in a systematic, slow, and organized manner. By working through each lesson and practicing the exercises, you will learn techniques to become a great jazz soloist. Even if you have no experience playing jazz, you can learn how to become a great improviser! Please note that I am approaching your improvisation lessons through the jazz genre, but the concepts that you are about to learn apply to all styles of music!

Each lesson will introduce you to a new concept with playing exercises and play-a-long MP3 files so that you can practice along with a rhythm section at all times!

Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions. Remember, feedback of any kind is always welcome!

Please note that more Real Book Play-a-Longs will be added each week or so. Please check back often!This is a work in progress!

Learning to improvise is fun! Let’s get started.

Rik Pfenninger

Click on the link below to begin your lessons!

Lessons Page

Real Book Play-a-Longs

Saxophone Studies at Plymouth State University

Music Technology Degree at Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University Music Department

Rik Pfenninger Bio

My Blog: There’s No Crying In Music

Rik Pfenninger’s Music: