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

617 ratings
192 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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151 - 175 of 189 Reviews for Jazz Improvisation

By Alexandr K

Sep 24, 2015

This course is amazing one. Take it if you want to learn jazz improvisation

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 Nic

Feb 20, 2018

Excellent. Thank you

By Ivan M

Jun 24, 2018

very good course to improve your musical skills!For me, like EDM producer it was really useful and necessarily to look in a new way (Jazz way) on music. I think this course is very useful.

By willislau

Sep 18, 2015

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

By Fatih Y ( F F

Nov 28, 2017

Pretty Helpful. Liked especially the part where he explains the modes - 10 scales used in jazz music. The importance of scales/modes and what to look out for on modes to what play over what specific chord and so on... Found that very detailed. Good Work!

By Diego A R H

Jun 12, 2019

Muy bien explicado desde el inicio

By Graeme H

Apr 10, 2018

Very good overview of how tonal methods intersect with analysis of music. I learned a lot here.

By Carlos F

Feb 11, 2016

Really great course. I am currently working on the Jazz Guitar Professional Certificate program at Berklee online, and I will definitely take this class for a more detailed dive-in. Gary opened my mind on the keys skills to improvise, his chord-scale method explanation, and demonstration is simple to understand and provides a great way to continue practicing and developing the skills thought.

By Mattia C

Jul 07, 2017

Awesome and very clear explanation about all arguments!


Mar 08, 2017

this is a wonderful course thought by a wonderful tutor

By Albert M

Jul 12, 2016

It's amazing to be able to learn from such a high standard artist and educator as Gary Burton

By Balaji N

Nov 16, 2015

to want to became master of jazz watch it

By Derrell J

Aug 31, 2019

Absolutely amazing,

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 Kangrui X

Jan 02, 2018

As a newcomer to jazz (classical background), it took me a while to figure out how to apply the concepts and sound good. I particularly would've liked demonstrations/ analysis of these improv techniques by musicians over real music. Also, the quality of peer evaluations was sometimes inconsistent (this may be inherent in peer learning). Other than that, my musicianship improved and I would recommend this course.

By David Z

Feb 17, 2017

Great course, the peer-editing could be improved or find a different mode of judgement.

By Tilen

Jan 18, 2016

Great lessons i would hope it would be more extensive in terms of lessons. I hoped for more detailed technical music theory.

By John S

Oct 08, 2016

I definitely learned some new things during the course. Some of the explanations were a bit concise for someone with limited experience wth improvisation. That is understandable given the length and cost of this course. I would recommend it to others to gain some new knowledge and get a feel for taking online courses from Berklee via Coursera.

By Arpana D

Feb 25, 2016

Excellent and Challenging! Learnt a lot and if you are working toward a certificate you really need to set aside time to earn a pass for each assignment.

Few glitches when it came to grading and assignment instructions. BUT the discussion board is really helpful and interactive. The TA's also provide timely help.

By Paulo J M d S

Aug 16, 2015

Informative and interesting.

It could be more complete in my opinion.

Burton is great.

By Ognjen Š

Nov 19, 2016

It is generally a good course. What I didn't like was the fact that the assignments were too hard.

By Kunal D

Jun 07, 2016

Great Course !

By Scott W B

Apr 18, 2016

Kinda have to learn to Improvise yourself, he teaches you tricks to make it better, but not *how* to improvise. However, it's impossible to generally state how to improvise, you just eventually learn.

By Carlos B

Nov 17, 2015

Very good!

But it isn't for beginner players.