In order to improvise well you will need the ability to identify the tones that you hear. To keep it basic, you need to be able to duplicate tones that you hear on your instrument. This is also holds true when jamming with others. The ability to learn from listening and transcribe are essential to understanding the efforts of those around him. Without this skill it is difficult to fulfill his obligation towards group improvisation.
One might employ a friend to play a note then the listener will attempt to replicate that note. Practicing in this manner will result in the increased ability to recognize tones. Memory is key, therefore, it is prudent to be lucid during this practice period.
To develop this most invaluable aid to improvising; it is suggested that you adopt the following methods:
- Being observing the slight differences in the tone quality of various pitches and registers on your instrument.
- Meet with another player of the same instrument and practice tone-matching exercises, beginning with one pitch at a time and gradually working toward longer series.
- Begin transcribing from recording of solos of your instrument, playing them on the instrument rather than committing them to paper.
Remember that developing a sense of pitch is a long term project and that progress might be slow. Be patient and practice often!