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Hey this is my first post here, so I'm sorry if someone else already posted a story similar to this.

When I'm just going through my day, I'll sometimes think up these cool solos, but as soon as I pick up my horn I'll forget it all. Anybody know how to remember all the riffs and to implement them into solos? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.
 

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Welcome to SOTW. Yes, if you search you will find a heap of past threads on improv. Lots of really terrific advice and some contraversial views.

As for remembering what you've already made up, don't sweat it. If you've made up something once that fits the tune and swings then you'll make up more and better stuff next time. That's the lure of improvisation. Pretty soon though, some phrasing and and the way you approach a tune will start to be consistent an you'll have discovered you have a recognizable style. If it sounds good other players will start trying to copy what you do. Then you'll keep trying new things that take you out of your regular bag to surprise your colleagues and audience that thought they had you pegged.

It's a great game and you'll enjoy it. Improvisation means always playing without a safety net, not trying to remember some cool lick you made up in the past.
 

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That is a very good question!
What I do is play that phrase or solo in my mind, but on my fingers too if I don't have my horn handy. I will do it until it becomes muscle memory. My wife sees that look in my eye and declares "He's in improv mode". You can also whisle it over and over even if it bugs the people around you, lol. Get it under your fingers and in your mind burned into your hard drive.
 

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What I like to do, if you have a voice recorder on your phone, is if something pops into my head, i try to sing it and keep singing it. in the meantime, i bust out my phone and try to record the lick onto my phone by singing it and when i get home i try to work it out on the horn. often times i forget i even recorded stuff on my phone and when i finally get back to those ideas, they just sound absolutely weird so i just delete them. otherwise, i also agree with pat that if you forget it, its fine. it just means that youre creative juices are flowing and thats always a good sign that youre thinking like an "artist". hehe. :)
 

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Thanks for all the replies!
I'll start trying to do the finger thing William mentioned, I can't whistle so that's out. The thing is, when I start trying to improv, my mind goes blank, and I can't think of anything to play, and I feel like an idiot.
 

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I know what you mean about going blank at solo time. Usually my first phrase is a lick or just a note or two. From there it's easy, I just make music of the first idea. Make it mean something. Make it go somewhere.
 

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Hey this is my first post here, so I'm sorry if someone else already posted a story similar to this.

When I'm just going through my day, I'll sometimes think up these cool solos, but as soon as I pick up my horn I'll forget it all. Anybody know how to remember all the riffs and to implement them into solos? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.

Hey there Samtheman96. Try not to have an agenda or preconceived solo. Play what's happening at the moment. Eventually all the riffs and solos will enmesh with what you hear. At first it may sound trite to you but eventually you'll resort to all the practice riffs and solos. And one of the hardest things to do at first is to play with the correct rhythm and meter.

If you respect the rhythm section they'll help you find your way. They know when you're listening or when you're in your own world. Establish a rapport with them by enhancing the rhythm. when you make it easy for them. They'll make it easy for you.
 

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Samtheman96, that is such a recognizable thing. My whole life I've heard great solos in my head, and yet every time I play it goes differently. The thing is that in your head you're alone - and in reality you're playing with other people. Which means there's an interaction that is both unexpected and inspiring. Don't jump in with preconceived licks, but start simple and build from there.
 

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The problem here is that the mechanical aspects of playing an instrument
get in the way of your ideas.

When you sing through some things in a quiet place, there is nothing restricting
your musical ideas. However, as soon as you pick up the instrument, you begin
to fall back into the patterns that you have played and practised over a period
of time.

To have total freedom on your instrument and be able to play instantly anything
that pops into your mind is the ultimate goal. Achieving that is not easy, but I am
sure if you work at it, you will certainly improve in this aspect over time.

The usual process is to sing some phrases then immediately try to play them.
Keep doing this until the process becomes natural.
 

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Bela Fleck calls himself and leaves a message on his voicemail singing the tune that popped into his head. :)
That is freaking awesome advice. Bela writes good tunes, and is a monstrous musician overall. I'm going to have to try this. I've recorded myself singing into my phone on long car trips, but voicemail would be even better-- I'd be reminded to check it out!
 

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Thanks for all the replies!
I'll start trying to do the finger thing William mentioned, I can't whistle so that's out. The thing is, when I start trying to improv, my mind goes blank, and I can't think of anything to play, and I feel like an idiot.
It seems like the horn is hampering your flow of ideas, which is totally understandable.
My very personal tips to get rid of that:
a) When playing, take the horn out of your hands if your mind goes blank. Relax and come up with a phrase and then try to find the right notes on the horn. Voilà, that's improvising, but you eventually need to get to a point where you translate the ideas from your mind to the horn instantaneously.
b) play a lot!!!!! Anything that you like. Scales, Melodies that you like, the cool ideas that you talked about: try to get them on your horn! That's what you want to do: build up a vocabulary so that you have a whole bag of ideas that you can play without thinking when you improvise. For this, there is no shortcut, you have to PLAY A LOT to get it all in your ears and under your fingers! If you practice a lot, you will quickly notice how things that seemed uncomfortable at first start to feel natural: go for that!
 

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The problem here is that the mechanical aspects of playing an instrument
get in the way of your ideas.

When you sing through some things in a quiet place, there is nothing restricting
your musical ideas. However, as soon as you pick up the instrument, you begin
to fall back into the patterns that you have played and practised over a period
of time.

To have total freedom on your instrument and be able to play instantly anything
that pops into your mind is the ultimate goal. Achieving that is not easy, but I am
sure if you work at it, you will certainly improve in this aspect over time.

The usual process is to sing some phrases then immediately try to play them.
Keep doing this until the process becomes natural.
Another one:

Think about a simple song that you can't play but know very well. Then pick one note as a starting note and try to play it and do that in all keys. It's quite hard at first but the feeling of your ears guiding your fingers is really addictive
 
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