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I have a couple ideas for training aids that I thing would be highly marketable to people like myself.

First is a CD for " Play and Response" exercises. I went to a Jazz Workshop as an introduction to Jazz, and one day the instructor did an exercise where he played a short phrase, and then we repeated it back to him. Another day he did an exercise where he told us what key he was in and he played a short phrase, and we had to answer back with our horns. Those were both great exercises that forced me to listen, and challenged me to respond quickly. I have tried to find something like that on CD or DVD, but have not been successful. For the sake of variety, this could also be put into a computer program so the keys, changes, tempo, etc could be manipulated.

Another thing that would be helpful is a computer program that drills a player on Chord Changes to develop spontenaity and quickness in moving from one key to another. The concept would look something like this: A person could select a chord pattern and a song key from a menu, or input a list of chords he/she is working on. Then select the speed at which the chords will randomly come upon the screen and a time signature, or two bars at a time, etc. Once the person pushes start on the computer, the chord would flash on the screen kind of like flash cards, thus drilling the person, and them having to respond instantly not knowing which will come up next. this would be helpful if a person was just learning their scales and chords, or to help a more advanced person who was struggling with specific key changes.

I have tried the flash card thing before, but it lost the effect because I couldn't change the flash cards on my one, or adjust the speed at which I had to response. This could even by embelleshed by adding a metronome and providing suggested phrases to play across the changes.

I had a programming course awhile back, so I know that this would not be that difficult to create, but I personally do not have the skill.
 

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A good idea, and you certainly get points for thinking, but relax. Your goal is to learn to play and improvise right? Not to get great at pedagogical games.

In answer to your first question, there's a program called "Best Practice"

You loop a lick or phrase and play it back. Otherwise known as transcribing. It's a tried and true method and exactly the same as what the instructor was getting you to do at the jazz workshop.

As for number 2, you could do as Susan suggests and fart around with "Band in a Box" until you create the perfect random chord generator. But why would you bother??? One of the cool things about chord changes, is that they aren't random. There's a relatively small bunch of patterns that keep recurring. Practice tunes and you'll soon be familiar with the common patterns that make up the majority of songs. Everything else is "swimming on dry land."

PS: I've just saved you a fortune in software and time. :D
 

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I am working on something you may be very interested in.
 
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