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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Jazz Improvisation by Berklee College of Music

613 ratings
190 reviews

About the Course

Learn the basic concepts of improvisation from Gary Burton, one of the most renowned improvisers in the jazz world, including the mental, melodic, and harmonic processes that contribute to the instinctive skills that an improviser puts to use when taking a solo. While many people are fans of jazz and understand that musicians are often “making up” the notes they are playing during a performance, most people—often including musicians, themselves, who are beginning to learn improvising—aren’t clear about what exact processes take place to enable this to happen. The purpose of this course is to introduce the basic concepts of modern improvisation and how to go about mastering the different musical and mental skills involved. Course author Gary Burton codifies a sought-after approach to improvisation that has been at the core of Berklee College of Music's curriculum for decades. Students who complete this course will know what to practice and how to practice the various aspects of improvising, in addition to understanding how the improviser spontaneously communicates to the listeners through their musical creations....

Top reviews


Nov 20, 2016

This was a truly great course, I learnt so much. And I have been playing piano for almost 60 years! Thanks to a wonderful teacher and musician (brilliant rendition of Chick Corea's Crystal Silence)


Jul 03, 2019

It showed got me real close to a personal tutor combined with its active class discussion network, keeping me on my toes and giving me a boost in my Jazz learning. I am happy I took this one.

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26 - 50 of 187 Reviews for Jazz Improvisation

By Daniel T

Sep 28, 2015

This is a really hard course for an intermediate player. But it is an outstanding course, and it is amazing, if you think about it, to have hours of free access to Gary Burton. Students of Jazz will enjoy it, but it requires advanced chord theory, the ability to sight read, and a damned good ear to follow along. Some of the materials are strictly by sound, so if you can't follow chord changes you might be lost.

That said, this course helped me improve my playing in several ways. I was kind of blown away by what I was able to achieve in the later lessons.

By Patrizia A

Oct 06, 2016

it's a basic course but very useful to access the world of jazz.

By Sergio M

Sep 28, 2015

Amazing! Gary Burton open a new world developing skills with direct and easy speech. Recommended.

By Jesús M

Jan 16, 2016

Excellent, It is a privilege take a course with this teacher, thanks.

By Miguel A V

Feb 17, 2018



Nov 19, 2015


By Cristiano R

Mar 26, 2016

A must!

By willislau

Sep 18, 2015

Magnificent Class! But I'm just a newbie to Jazz so it takes time to absorb the material!

By Wil K

Jul 21, 2017

Awesome class! Gary is the real deal. His depth of understanding on the subject is rich and the way the course is organized is well-thought-out. I do wish the improv assignments were graded directly by the instructor and not TA's or peers, however.

By Ulla L P

Jan 25, 2016

A tough but rewarding course!

Especially if you are a beginner with respect to playing jazz, as I am, and if you are also a beginner with respect to music theory (which I am not, I have a master's degree in musicology), I guess it is more than tough. It's been more hard work than I expected, and I have spent more than 6 hours per week, but I also learned much more than I expected: a complete method for understanding jazz harmonization and developing solos.

I know for sure that I shall benefit from this course for years to come.

By Michel C d

Jan 31, 2016

Great, thank you! Would be even better with:

- more analysis videos (like there is one on the last week)

- partitions available in intelligent formats (e.g. musescore) so that transposing instruments can avoid encoding the partitions

By Logan E

Jan 19, 2016

Excellent. Learned SO MUCH ABOUT JAZZ IMPROVISATION. Mind Blown.

By Gaston A J

Sep 21, 2015


By Jens S

Aug 16, 2015


By Luis C P D l R

Aug 14, 2015

Great course. A great chance to start improvising!

By Daniel P

Nov 14, 2015

Very good... Thanks!!!

By Anirudh V

Dec 27, 2015

The most challenging music course of the 5 or 6 that I've done on Coursera. After 6 weeks, it's all worth it. Very well taught. Succinct and informative. Thank you so much Gary Burton. You're just great!

By Zakaria A

Aug 23, 2015

Great and difficult course! I like it. Need more of this genre!

By Prabal H L

Feb 04, 2016

I helped me a lot how to play and i think i have improved a little bit.Thank you so much Gary Burton and the Coursera team.

By Nikolaj L

Apr 18, 2017

The lectures are very short but convey all the necessary information to solve the peer-graded assignments. And the assignments are really what this course, and musicianship in general is about: practice. Doings the assignments involves recording yourself playing, and analysing a few songs on paper. Depending on your skill level the assignments may take you between 1-4 hours per week.

This is not a course for beginners. You should be able to play the melody of a jazz standard from a sheet, make sense of chords beyond simple major/minor, and ideally have some basic knowledge of music theory.

By Esteban G

Dec 17, 2015

It totally worth it...thank you Berklee, thank you Gary!

By Daniel S

Jan 11, 2017

It was a great course for those who know a lot about music and want to start in jazz improvisation. However, I don't recommend it for people who start in music. This course is more for intermediate-advanced players and musicians.

By Davide C

Oct 26, 2015

Great course, a completed summary of main concepts to start your own "journey" to Jazz improvvisation

By Roberto Z

Oct 09, 2015

Fun and really instructive!