8 Bar Reggae Improvisation Based On A Groove

This lesson should be a approached as a continuation of our Groove Based Reggae Improvisation Lesson. On this page I will be briefly discussing how to approach a similar exercise that is spread over 8 bars. You will also need a copy of This Free MP3 that is used as a backing track for this lesson. We also have similar lessons for the Rock, Funk and Jazz genres.

The intention of this lesson is to prepare you for the improvisation section of an exam but you may also find it very useful in general part and phrase construction.

Note: The backing track starts with a two bar quarter note count in.

This lesson will be very straight forward if you have covered the exercise linked at the top of the page. All you will be doing is taking the same ideas but applying them over a long phrase. The basic exercise will look like this:

The sheet music for the exercise

In previous improvisation lessons the first thing we discussed was structure and part placement. Obviously for this longer pattern you could just play the same thing twice, but that won't earn you as many marks as creating a full 8 bar phrase. What I would recomend doing is placing the 'B' and 'C' sections at the end of each line in the example shown above. That would give you an 'A A A B A A A C' type structure. If you haven't come across this pattern it would be well worth looking through the linked lesson.

As you can see you will be using the same ideas, 'A' being the groove given to you at the start of the exercise, 'B' being a variation on that and 'C' being a fill. There is just more groove this time between each change in the part. In the lesson linked at the top of the page I discuss ideas for both varying a groove, fills and making them appropriate to the reggae genre so have a go now at working out a part that would fit with this exercise.

Below I have included two examples of what you could play for this exercise. Try making your own part before looking at my ideas as this will be far more beneficial in the long run. When you have done that compare them to my examples.

Full Phrase 1

A full four bar phrase for this improvisation

Full Phrase 2

A full four bar phrase for this improvisation


  1. Create your own part for the improvisation exercise presented at the start of this lesson.
  2. Play your part to the backing track and see if you think it fits well.
  3. Think about different ways you could approach this exercise.

Up Next

I recomend covering our 8 Bar Reggae Rhythm Based Improvisation lesson next.


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