That video is very helpful. Thanks for posting it because after all these years it gives me a fresh approach to my own practice and improving and not surprisingly it coincides with what my my son is doing in learning guitar. He wants to do it himself and not take lessons from a teacher. So what he has been doing is learning licks that he finds on you tube as well as ones he knows from songs he listens too....he is into 70's and 80's rock......and learns them. In this way he is learning his way around the guitar, where the sounds that he wants are and how to get them. He can read TAB, at least from the dots (not the chord names), so he knows where to put his fingers on the neck. I find myself wanting to get him to learn theory, the scales, the circle of 4ths and 5ths, etc but he says that he'll do it later on when he knows how to actually make something that sounds like music that he likes. I think what he is intuitively doing is what those musicians on the video are talking about, especially the first bassist. Imitation is not a bad way to learn the language and internalize it.
I think anything that helps you along the way is good. If learning licks, or memorizing licks leads you to improvising well then that's great. Learning licks is not how I was taught but it wasn't discouraged either. I think that there is more than one way to approach teaching and learning to improvise and if one way doesn't work than maybe a different approach will. I struggled for quite some time trying to learn how to play jazz, but it wasn't until I found the teacher that was right for me that led me to finally improving. This is why I object when I hear someone say that the only way to learn is their way, or how they learned. Do whatever works for you, whatever gets you to your goals the quickest, life is short. My own experience is that learning some theory will help you in the end. You don't have to be a Professor of music theory, just some basic stuff. Eventually it all comes together, the teaching, the practice, the theory, the understanding and the improving.
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