Intermediate Jazz Improvisation

I recently began reading Intermediate Jazz Improvisation (George Bouchard, Jamey Aebersold Jazz) and came across this paragraph which resonated with what Andrea has been working on with us in the class. So I thought others might find it helpful, too:

“Maintaining a strong focus on what you are trying to accomplish is paramount to a successful jazz performance. You need confidence, which comes from preparation. In the intermediate stages of readying yourself as a jazz player, you must develop an intense concentration with respect to what you are doing. Try to block out “the past” and “the future” and take care of business “now.” A sports analogy might work here. Imagine a baseball pitcher on the mound, with 20,000 people in the stands. The only way this guy is going to survive is to block out everything but the task at hand—facing the batter—and, if he is to have any hope of getting him out, this pitcher is going to have to ignore any distractions and direct all his attention to that particular purpose. You have to be able focus like this when you are playing. Just you and the music. You and it. Start there. Stay there.”