Do i need anymore than just the book?

I bought the improvise for real book back in January, do i need anymore than the book? I paid $56 for the book and dont really want to spend anymore money i made it to about page 50 and it hasn’t done much for me unless I’m not understanding it fully.I haven’t opened it since about March I been just learning songs and trying to improvise with scales but I’d like to give this book another chance… I’m open to any help or suggestions. Thanks

Hi @rob0781 and welcome to the forum.

The IFR approach is so different from other methods and practices that it may you some time to get your head around, it certainly did for me. But, it advocates such a simple, sensible and natural way of understanding music and practicing music, it’s definately worth the time and effort.

My advice would be to start reading the book again, but also watch some of the many sample YouTube video on the IFR channel. Some are instructional, others are demonstrations of the material.

It may seem a lot of work, but it’s not “hard work”, it’s a lot of fun, and for me that is what music is all about.

+1 to that & the rest of what @mem wrote, especially

IFR is not a tick box exercise that you do once & move on. It’s a whole way of thinking about & approaching music. If you get into it, you keep coming back to ideas again & again, each time with greater understanding & approciation; cyclical learning & development.

The book is essentially a full description of the IFR approach, so provided you are self motivated and willing to really think about what you’re doing, and do it diligently, reflecting on the ideas and how your ears and mind are reacting to them, and patient, you don’t need anything else. The other materials provide worked examples, amplification, backing tracks (& ear training tracks) to aid your study, and a host of other stuff that helps keep up the momentum. Things like the Jazz Study Group also provide ‘community’ (as does this Forum, but here we’re all doing different stuff, each at out own pace, whereas in the Jazz Study Group everyone is looking at & interactiing around a specific topic at any given time, under the guidance of David Reed ( @ImproviseForReal ) & @MireiaClua).

Thank you for the replies, thank you for the suggestions i think i will do that i will start by reading it starting from the beginning again and i will continue with my practice routine but I’m going to add 10 minutes per practise session dedicated to improvise for real and not stress over it. I think i may be expecting to much to soon. The reviews are excellent and i do think its well written and i do like the approach that does make sense to me. I am very happy i found this forum. I will also definitely watch some YouTube videos along the way. Any suggestions on a good video to start with?
Thanks Rob

A thing I’ve written before and will probably write again is that IFR is the lens through which I now see/feel/hear music.

PS. There are people here who have been using IFR for years. I don’t think that any of us, not even David Reed (@ImproviseForReal ) & @MireiaClua, consider that our studies are complete?

General intro

about the learning materials

becoming a music philosopher

should get you started, but lots more on the IFR channel

Hi @rob0781 and welcome to our forum! You’ve already found two of the most valuable IFR resources which are @DavidW and @mem. :slight_smile:

There are other wonderful people who regularly post here, so I’m glad you found the forum. Marie-Elaine shared the video that I was going to propose first. It’s an overview of how the IFR method works and how the most important practice tools fit together. Here’s the complete URL to this video on our blog:

I also wanted to share one word of caution about our YouTube channel. This channel evolved over many years, and for much of that time we were struggling to keep up with the growing IFR community. So a lot of those videos were just very informal demonstrations or Q&A videos responding to specific things that our students were asking. Marie-Elaine is right that there is a lot of great content there, but I have to apologize in advance for its lack of organization.

But the most important practice to create in your life is the one described in the video I linked above. In that video, I described this practice in terms of the IFR practice tools that we have created to support each part:

  1. You’re using the IFR book to understand how music works.

  2. You’re using our Sing the Numbers course to get to know the sounds of our musical system and discover their melodic possibilities.

  3. You’re using the IFR Jam Tracks to explore the sounds creatively on your own.

But I totally understand your feeling about not wanting to invest more money, and you don’t have to. Thousands of people were using the IFR book and method before we had any of these other practice tools available.

@DavidW explained perfectly how these other resources can enrich and accelerate your learning. As @DavidW said, if you have the patience and the curiosity to work well on your own, then you don’t need any of those additional resources. And actually I think that the most beautiful way to study music with IFR is to use nothing but the book. The book will guide you to creating the sounds yourself on your instrument. And this gives you literally everything you need. You can hear the sounds coming from your instrument, you can sing them to yourself, you can move freely around our musical system and explore the sounds at your own pace, you can combine the sounds into chords and chord progressions as your learning progresses, etc.

When I was learning all of this myself, my only resources were a guitar, a tree and some grass. I’m only half kidding about the tree and the grass. The calming effect of playing the guitar in nature was probably the single greatest advantage I had. I don’t know what instrument you play or how you can create this same meditative practice in your own life. But music is the ideal art form for self-directed learning. With just a little bit of knowledge and ability, you can already make very beautiful sounds. And guided by an organized method (e.g. IFR), you can explore the world of harmony endlessly and find new discoveries and meaning at every step.

So if this kind of solitary, self-directed exploration is appealing to you, then honestly I wouldn’t encourage you to invest in anything else right now. But if you find yourself struggling for direction or inspiration, I think the very next resource to consider is IFR Jam Tracks Level 1: Seven Worlds. It’s currently only $24 so it’s a trivial expense compared to the value of the time you’re going to invest in your music practice. (Even if you only value your time at minimum wage, a few days of practicing is already more expensive than the entire IFR catalog.) So don’t be overly restrictive either. And remember that we offer a 60 refund policy to everyone, no questions asked. So if you’re curious, just pick up a couple of jam tracks products and maybe a Sing the Numbers product, and just see how it feels to have all of those tools at your disposal. And if you find that they’re not adding anything to your enjoyment, just write to our support team for a refund, and no hard feelings. If the more meditative, self-directed approach is better for you, I’ll even give you directions to a fantastic tree in Barcelona which I highly recommend. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reaching out and for joining our community. If there is anything else that I or anyone else can do to help you get off to a great start in your new music practice, please keep the discussion going.


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First thing i want to say is i am very happy i found this forum, honestly i had no idea it existed i was searching the internet looking for guidance to use my improvise for real book , i must say i feel very welcome and have a good feeling about this attempt. To give some more information the instrument i play is guitar, i am not a complete beginner but i am getting better. Also i actually do have the 7 worlds level 1 jam tracks when i purchased my book it also came with a e copy of the book as well as the jam tracks, i just logged in to comfirm. I am going to begin by watching the video David shared in his post, i am really happy to have access to the e book to because this will allow me to read anytime i have a few spare moments without having to carry the actual book around. I will start with this, i know i said i don’t want to spend but i may get the sing the numbers after abit if i can fully grasp everything i have to work with right now… Thanks for all the replies i am sure i will have some more questions along the way.