musical improvisation method

Nicola Sergio, why SOS Impro?



“My name is Nicola Sergio, I’m a jazz pianist, composer and arranger. I perform in clubs and at festivals, in France and abroad.

And for 20 years I’ve been teaching individuals as well as in schools and conservatoires.

Improvising means creating as you play, so it requires an apprenticeship. This is why I created my method, which is called SOS IMPRO.

The method is for beginners and intermediates, and all instruments.

We’ve made every effort to use simple language, to develop a gradual discourse, step by step, and to use one single point at a time, so that the student can concentrate on that point and integrate it through repetition so that it becomes instinctive and a natural necessity.

The method has five chapters.

  • The first is a general look at triads and tetrads in all their possibilities.
  • The second deals with harmony and analysis, to understand the relationship between chords and the original scales.
  • The third chapter is the heart of the method: it concerns melodic creation.
  • The fourth is about how to construct rhythm in jazz and how to construct phrases of different density. 
  • And the last chapter is a recapitulation of everything covered in the previous chapters, applying it to some standards.”

But is it possible to learn jazz with a method?

“That’s the question. Everyone knows that jazz is an oral tradition, very instinctive and personal.

So how can a method get that feeling across? Well, after teaching for 20 years, I’m convinced it can.
Convinced that, while it’s essential to listen to records, transcribe solos, play with others and find your own sound, it’s just as essential not to get lost in the ocean of possibilities, to have a direction and very clear guidelines regarding the construction of melody and rhythm.

By combining the two approaches, each one of us can find our own way.

Have fun as you improvise.”