All The Things You Are: 15 Jazz Improvisation Tips

Regardless of where you are on your journey as a chromatic harmonica player, here is a practical way to improve your jazz improvisation . Quickly. Through these 15 simple exercises on All The Things You Are. Topics: Pevot Technique, Arpeggios, Modes, Guide Tones and Patterns.

Watch the full lesson
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Tribute to NEA Jazz Master Charli Persip, April 30th

I am extremely excited to perform on April 30th at St Peter’s Church with Charles Persip Ensemble. I have been fortunate to study with Charles Persip during my stay at the New School. Not only Mr Persip is an excellent teacher but he has played with the greatest name in jazz.

Here is a program for this special night:

A tribute in honor of this legendary master drummer will be held at 7:30p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2012 at Saint Peter’s Church, corner of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street, New York, New York. Hosted by WBGO’s Rob Crocker, invited guests include musicians Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Roy Haynes, Anthony Nelson, and Kenny Washington; writers Amiri Baraka and Nat Hentoff; and Martin Mueller, Director of the New School jazz program.

Charles Persip was the drummer on Sonny Side Up recorded in 1957. This historic session featured Dizzy Gillespie( trumpet), Sonny Rollins (tenor), Sonny Stitt (tenor), Ray Bryant( piano) and Tommy Bryant (bass).  It is one of the recordings that changed my life along with “Charlie Parker’s Now the Time”, Olivier Ker Ourio’s “Central Park North”, Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”, Jean-Jacques Milteau’s “Live” and John Coltrane “Crescent” among others. I worked for several months on Sonny Stitt’ solo. It is a beautiful swinging piece of art, check it out!

He deals the cards as a meditation…

This is my transcription of Shape of my Heart by Sting. I like the song a lot and I have performed it a few times with my band. Some of you have asked me to make a harmonica tab. I have been busy lately but I promise to do it soon! In the mean time you can check out the music sheet here )

Here is my cover, recorded at the New School last December with my quintet.

Meeting with L.K

My first jazz records were Now’s the Time by Charlie Parker and The Sound of Surprise, one of the best Konitz’ album of the 1990. Today I found his playing unfailingly joyous, melodic and soulful. I have been enjoying his music since I was 14 years old. Over his rich life Lee Konitz has set an example for younger musicians to trust his intuition and follow his idiosyncratic artistic vision despite external pressure. He is one of the very few who have escaped the dominating influence of Charlie Parker and developed his own style. Despite coming from the bebop area, he always strived to maintain a distinct voice, which bear the influences of Tristano, Young and Armstrong among others. Konitz has played in a variety of musical settings from solo performance such as in Lone-Lee a fine recording made in 1974, to Big band configuration. At 84, his interest for spontaneous improvisation has not declined. He is still trying to contribute to good music and sounds like he is in total command of his alto. Konitz, hip, dreamy tone, surprising phrased are more than ever up to date. Listening to him you feel like an explorer embarking in a trip through virgin terrain.

In 2010, I wrote a Master’s Thesis in French at Sorbonne University on him , entitled “Lee Konitz The Art of Improvisation”, 140 pages. My goal was to point out the evolution of his playing from his collaboration with Tristano to his recent concert at the Birdland in 2009. I transcribed, analyzed and compared multiple versions of “All the Things You Are” which is one of his all time favorites Broadway Standard, taken from different period over the span of 70-years career. One of his most concerned has been with what comes out of the musical situation, what new ideas can be found and what the unexpected nature of the art will bring. I am fascinated with his ability to create fresh new melodies spontaneously. Moreover I am impressed with his strong rhythmic sense and his unique sense of swing. He is definitely one of my musical heroes along Lester Young, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Kenny Garrett, Tom Harrell and many more.

Then, I had the tremendous opportunity to study with Konitz during the fall 2009. Our lessons took place at his apartment in the Upper West Side.During that short period, I worked hard and hopefully grew consistently. It was an extremely rewarding experience. Those are precious moment when I felt learning both as a musician and as a person. To improve my knowledge of jazz being he asked me to learn what the great solo feels like and then try to rearrange it somehow. I remember spending hours practicing singing and playing “Koko” by Parker, Bud Powell’ “Oblivion” or Young’s masterpiece “She’s Funny That Way”. From that moment I have understood that the fastest and most efficient way to grow is to transcribe and study the example of the masters. He always talked straight with me and encouraged me to gain a wealth of vocabulary and setting ever-higher standards for myself. I am trying to be true to his level of dedication all the time.  He always talked straight with me and really inspired and gave me confidence in my playing. I feel fortunate to be given the privilege to play an unusual instrument that brings a smile to people wherever I am. As a miscellaneous instrument player, I have sometimes felt as an outsider playing an instrument that is not universally accepted. But he always considered me more as a musician than a harmonica player who he regarded as showmen. Konitz is humble, thoughtful, fun, creative and fun and arguably the best teacher I ever had. He is a musician- philosopher. Through him I got to understand and feel how to approach music most sincere way. Since then, stimulated by the greats Toots Thielemans, Stevie Wonder and Gregoire Maret I have strived to develop a new voice on the harmonica that is authentic and original.

Harmonica Lessons

Learn the harmonica with Yvonnick 

The harmonica is an easy and fun instrument to learn. I have taught in both France and the United States, specializing in diatonic and chromatic harmonica as well as in music theory, jazz harmony and improvisation. I was a jazz theory, rhythm and ear training tutor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary during his senior year. Since 2012, I have joined the faculty of Brooklyn Music School, First Flight Music and New York Jazz Workshop. I create custom lesson plans for each individual to insure the best learning environment for each student.


Do you teach total beginner?

Yes! Students begin with the fundamentals of learning the harmonica and developing good practice habits. Emphasizing on breathing, single note techniques and bending, students also learn sight-reading skills and music theory.

What styles of music do you teach?

The harmonica is a versatile and popular among many types. All genres of music, folk, blues, country, rock, jazz and classical can be played. As you can see in my bio, my tastes are eclectic and I love to explore different aspects of the music world with my student.

Do you teach kids?

I believe learning harmonica should be fun, creative, flexible and educational.  For those new to music, harmonica is an excellent start as it is one of the easiest instruments to play. It helps children to focus and develop their attention through exposure to music. I present the lesson in a very accessible way and encourage them to explore the many possibilities of the instrument. In addition, they learn fundamental music skills and simple songs.


If you live too far but you would like take a lesson with me, we can still arrange it online through SKYPE. Feel free to contact me.


1. Download Skype for FREE

2. Buy a webcam or computer microphone

3. Add me to your SKype contacts.

My SKype ID is: Yvonnick Prene