Fundamentals Are Fundamental
To work on becoming a better improviser you need the desire to get better, self-motivation, clarity of practice and a willingness to be willing. There are certain disciplines that must be worked on and MEMORIZED in order to take the next steps…certain aspects will overlap but you must have your basic fundamentals together or, at some point, you won’t be able to go much further in your development.
Why do you need to know basic harmony? Think of the roots of a tree. Without roots, the tree will fall almost no matter how easily you push it. With strong roots, even the mightiest machine has a difficult, if not nearly impossible, task in uprooting the same tree. The root system is much larger underground than what you see up above. The same applies to music. Your understanding of your instrument and of basic harmony must be strong enough to give you the roots necessary for your “tree” to stay grounded and strong even in the most adverse conditions. Always have more together than you need.
You have to use a metronome when you practice and you will need to work with focus and precision. Go through the exercises SLOWLY and PATIENTLY and be sure to listen to what you play and understand how things relate to one another. All harmony is connected in some way and it will begin to come clear after a while how it interrelates. PATiENCE… FUNDAMENTALS ARE FUNDAMENTAL.