My new book, Jazz Ear Savvy is almost finished. It’s dedicated to strengthening the connection between the musical mind (inner ear) and the instrument. This music comes from one of the book’s many musical exercises and audio files.

Deep Cheese Movement is the book’s final audio exercise. It consists of four sections, each in a different key and style. The reader is asked to dive into the sounds and improvise freely, listening to the varying harmonies and musical direction. “Let your ear be your guide.”

Because the book is focused on the ear, I leave it up to the reader to determine keys and chord progressions, opting not to provide written music or chords any more than necessary. The title of this piece comes from the iconic business book, Who Moved My Cheese, thinking that the challenging contrasts between musical sections becomes a metaphor for life’s unpredictable changes in circumstances and our ability to cope with them effectively.
I improvised over each of the four sections to provide an example in the book of just one approach for these diverse musical backdrops. If you’d like to practice over the rhythm track, download the file from:


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“Michael Lake’s Trombone Improvisation Savvy is as comprehensive as it is insightful and practical. I can’t wait to delve into it further and look forward to sharing it with my students. I highly recommend this book for all levels of trombonists and improvisers alike.”

Steve Davis, Trombonist/Composer/Educator

I really like this interesting and well-disposed book. So many good thoughts, facts and tips on alto trombone. Good guidance for the searching alto souls out there. A must-have for the shelves.

– Håkan Björkman, Principal Trombone at Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

I highly recommend Alto Trombone Savvy for players around the world wanting advice on handling the alto trombone at the highest level. Classical and jazz players both share the same challenges, and it’s great to have this book in either bass or alto clef to help answer some of those challenges.

– Carsten Svanberg, International Trombone Soloist and Professor of Trombone at the University of Music and Arts Graz

For anyone interested in learning to play the alto trombone, whether for classical or jazz, this book is a must. Clearly written, with excellent exercises and links to audio examples, Michael Lake has provided the trombone world with a wonderful new resource.

– Ralph Sauer, Former Principal Trombone, Los Angeles Philharmonic

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