Berklee’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies

Improvisation: the great skill that makes a musician a jazz musician. The ability to improvise fluently over changing harmony opens up an exhilarating array of creative expression. Learning to master it can seem overwhelming. That’s why Steven Kirby—a guitarist, award-winning jazz composer, recording artist, writer, and associate professor at Berklee College of Music—has written Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies. After following his strategic outline, players will be able to play over selected changing harmony with musical logic and growing confidence and creativity. They’ll be able to “flow” through the changes.
This book/audio combo provides written instruction alongside music examples and worksheet-style exercises that will teach guitarists how to improvise fluently over common jazz progressions; use simple source material, such as four-note “cells” and characteristic bebop motifs, to help make them progress towards “making the changes;” develop creative, flowing, balanced solos in the bebop and post-bop styles exemplified by artists such as Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, and John Coltrane; develop fingerboard knowledge and facility, matching guitar technique with concepts of improvisational theory; and much more.
The book includes full band audio demos of concepts throughout the book. Separate play-along tracks (minus the guitar part) are provided so players can practice their new techniques as they progress through the book. The audio files are accessed online and include Hal Leonard’s exclusive multi-functional audio player PLAYBACK+ that allows players to slow down audio without changing pitch, set loop points to aid in practice, change keys, and pan left or right.
Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies retails for $24.99. To see sample pages and to order, visit
“Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies is a comprehensive, beautifully organized guide to developing fluency and mastery in improvising over a variety of harmonic situations. Steven Kirby provides us with a clear guide to the what, where, and why involved in playing a great solo. The musical examples are clear and detailed and there is a wonderful balance between technical concerns and artistic considerations.” —John Hart, Director of Jazz Guitar Studies at University of Miami; Blue Note, Concord recording artist; and session player.
About Hal Leonard
Founded in 1947, Hal Leonard is the world’s largest educational music publisher, with the #1 methods for learning guitar (the Hal Leonard Guitar Method), piano (the Faber Piano Method), and school music instruments (Essential Elements for Band and Strings), plus publications for learning virtually every instrument imaginable. In its catalog of more than one million available titles in print and digital formats, Hal Leonard represents many of the world’s best-known and most respected publishers, artists, songwriters, and arrangers. Its products are sold in more than 65 countries throughout the world through Hal Leonard offices and a large network of distributors.