How One Note Can Change Your Ears and Spark Your Creativity

Can one note really change your ears and improve your musical creativity? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. But let me explain…A few years ago I took a lesson with the great trumpet player, improviser and composer Ingrid Jensen. As I hopped on the the N train and headed to the lesson I looked over my practice materials and began to wonder what we might cover. However once I arrived, I found that my wandering mind was completely off. Instead of the usual warm-up exercises and scale patterns I expected she turned on a drone machine, a little black box that emitted a single constant tone, and started to play on top of it.

For the next 10 minutes or so we focused on a number of different exercises along with this background tone – long tones, scales, trumpet etudes, and intervals.

Surprisingly these familiar exercises that I had done hundreds of times before were transformed into something different with the accompaniment of the drone. The effect even changed the way I approached chords and tunes in my practice years later.

Why?

She later explained that she often uses a drone machine as a practice tool to enable creativity, musical freedom and focus at the beginning of her practice sessions.

Ingrid jensen

To clarify, a drone machine is basically an electronic synthesizer that sustains a single note, but the same effect can be achieved with other instruments or even recorded tracks.

Musical meditation

The idea of focusing on a sustained pitch is something that has been practiced for thousands of years.

A drone is used in meditation (think of the “om” mantra) and is played using instruments like Tibetan Singing Bowls or the Tanpura in Indian music.

The drone has been used as a calming element and focusing tool in many ...

Hey, Sorry to interrupt...

I know you were really enjoying this article and super excited to learn something new, but we have to stop you right there because this is an article for premium members only.

(Already a premium member? Log in here)

You see, we write a ton of articles, some of which you probably know and love - articles that explore the intricacies of jazz improvisation in a way that you may have not thought about before, giving you the advice you need to break through your plateau...

Occasionally, we'll go into even more detail. But this extra special content is just for our premium members.

You can unlock access to all of this premium content, too. It takes less than a minute and it's only $5 a month.

When you sign up for premium, you'll get:

  • Unrestricted access to every article on the site
  • Embedded member-only article content
  • Ability to print out any article as a customizable PDF for your practice room
  • Good karma knowing you're keeping Jazzadvice alive!
  • And, a whole lot more to come...

And here's the truth…

We almost gave up multiple times. Closed shop. Took the site down and called it quits. We've been really close a few times. You have to make some difficult decisions when you're doing something you love.

But we pushed through and kept going. And now with your help, we're rising to the challenge to make Jazzadvice even better!

So if you've ever shared one of our articles, or if you've ever learned something new from us that inspired you, propelled your playing forward, saved you from quitting or throwing your instrument (or yourself) out the window, consider joining premium to say thanks.

It's just a few bucks to make Jazzadvice even better, so we can focus on creating the most awesome jazz improvisation material on the planet for you.

Here's how it works:

  1. The $5 a month is billed yearly using PayPal or credit card
  2. You'll create a new Jazzadvice account, or if you've purchased from us before, use your email and password you used previously
  3. That's it! Log in, and you'll have premium access

Click the lovely button below to sign up to premium

Get Premium Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What payment methods do you accept?

A: You can easily pay by credit card or Paypal.

Q: How do I access my Premium Membership?

A: Once you sign up to Premium, you simply log in to your account. Then, all of of your premium content will automatically be unlocked for you.

Q: Do the Fundamental Courses come with Premium?

A: No. The Fundamental Courses are standalone, completely separate from your premium membership.

Q: I'm not a jazz musician. Will I still benefit from Premium?

A: Yes! No matter what style of music you play, you will benefit from Premium.

Q: Is there a money back guarantee or a refund if I don't like Premium?

A: No. We do not give refunds or money back guarantees. We hope you like Premium and we're constantly improving it, but you can of course choose whether or not to renew your annual subscription.

Q: I'm a beginner. Should I sign up to Premium?

A: Yes. While some of the articles in Premium are super advanced, Premium gives you the extra guidance and in-depth details that are especially useful for a beginner.

Q: I'm an intermediate or advanced player. Will I benefit from Premium?

A: Absolutely! Premium was made for you - the musicians that want the extra tips and direction to get to the next level.

Q: What instrument(s) is Premium for?

A: All instruments can use Premium

We're here to help...

If you have any questions at all about Premium, we're more than happy to answer them.