I would like to learn and improve my jazz improvisation and soloing skills. Many places I am reading about the importance of singing along to improve my ear. It is completely reasonable, however I have serious problem with it: My voice is max one octave (the lower octave of the standard G major scale on guitar) so I simply can sing anything else.

Otherwise I do not think there is any problem with my ear as I can hear correctly the simple and even medium ear training exercises with no special previous serious practice.

Now it seems my voice prevents me to improve learning improvisation. I never learned to sing, so I do not know even my voice can improve or not.

Any thoughts about is this issue important or not, and if it is how to overcome?

  • By learning to sing properly you can almost certainly extend your range. Plus falsetto is fine for the purposes of singing along with your playing. Aug 26, 2015 at 10:48
  • Note, I had a standmate at one time who squeaked while she played. This was in the cello section in a symphony (so no improvisation). She was a fantastic cellist. The squeaking was only audible to the person sitting right next to her. It worked for her! --- Look, not everyone sings while they play. If it works for you, great, if not, don't sing. --- Do you ever imagine some random jazz melodies just as you are starting to drift off to sleep? It might reveal to you how much musical imagination you really have behind the inhibitions we all carry around -- and it's fun. Aug 27, 2015 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


Most folks can sing, after a fashion, but if you feel you can't, don't worry. Use your internal voice. You can listen to phrases, then try to copy them. Record your own - then you know what key they're in - and play them back to copy. As you do, you'll probably mentally map out what they will play like. This is more important. Chances are that with higher register phrases, you wouldn't be able to reach them anyway, so could sing them an octave or two out. Might as well just do it internally.

  • This is a good advice certainly. Singing is not detrimental. It's the ability to imagine the melody in your head. I think that actually being able to imagine the melody is harder (and therefore "better") than singing it, because you have to do it without the listening feedback.
    – yo'
    Aug 26, 2015 at 13:50
  • Sounds all true. So we are speaking about this aural thing.However that is really without feedback, then how can I even judge/control I am on the right track? Aug 26, 2015 at 20:23
  • @g.pickardou - record the copies of the original phrases, as suggested. Then listen and compare. otherwise you're going to have someone listen to you, and be constructive. someone who knows music would be best. A teacher, maybe?
    – Tim
    Aug 26, 2015 at 22:16

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