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Cutting the Changes:
Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers

"This book is perfect for the beginner to intermediate improviser who may be daunted
by the multitude of chord changes found in most standard material.
Here is a path through the technical chord-change jungle...."

David Liebman, saxophonist, founder of the International Association of Schools of Jazz

I am pleased to highlight my book published by Kjos Music--actually, FIVE books!

*C Treble Clef Edition (W51C)/ISBN Number 8497-2590-9

*C Bass Clef Edition (W51BC)/ISBN Number 8497-2591-7

*B-flat Edition (W51B)/ISBN Number 8497-2592-5

*E-flat Edition (W51E)/ISBN Number 8497-2593-3

*F Edition (W51HF)/ISBN Number 8497-2594-1

It lists for $19.99 (subject to change). You can order it from any music store, regular bookstore, the Jamey Aebersold catalog, J.W. Pepper, Hickey's, Sheet Music Plus, or even from Canadian retailers Long & McQuade and Tom Lee Music also carry it. And if you're in the Richmond, Virginia area, the Virginia Commonwealth University bookstore carries it for you as well.

"This method takes away the FEAR of not being able to play all the chord changes...and still sound good! Students that use Cutting the Changes will improve performance skills in the concert setting because students will be reinforcing major-scale development in their jazz studies.... It's simple; it's for everyone; and it WORKS!"
Skip Perry, Piedmont Lakes Middle School (Florida)


I am so delighted with this project, which I worked on for over 15 years, fine-tuning it by presenting clinics on it overseas and across the U.S., demonstrating to jazz students, music educators, Jazz Pedagogy and Music Education majors, and enthusiasts. Partnering with Kjos Music the last three years of the project to make this book series a reality was a delight. I'm hoping that it will fill an important need in Jazz Pedagogy and Music Education courses as well as in many Improvisation classrooms and practice rooms for all ages.

Those of you who know my background know that I've written around 100 articles for various journals and periodicals. But in over 20 years of writing, Cutting the Changes is one of only two topics I have felt called for a complete book approach. After you check it out, I hope you will agree.


"Between the book, Play-Along, and CD-ROM set, García has covered all the pedagogical bases. Cutting the Changes is an invaluable new resource to all of us in jazz education. Enthusiastically recommended!"
Janis Stockhouse, Band Director,
Bloomington High School North (Indiana)

There are countless, wonderful resources available to an aspiring jazz improviser these days. But so often such musicians are told that they must know all scales and keys before they can improvise lyrically, and as a result most students of the music give up before ever improvising successfully. And so many of their instructors are too intimidated by endless chord symbols and scales to offer experiences for their students beyond the Blues and Dorian-mode tunes.

I believe we should reverse the typical order of focus in jazz education—away from the "micro" of the chord symbols and back to the "macro" of the larger key centers they represent—to pass on to our students the perspective that every experienced improviser already has: the "big picture" of the tune's key centers.

After all, how many significant accidentals are in the melodies of the Great American Songbook...standard bossas and sambas...even classic Afro-Cuban tunes? If the home key(s) worked a long time for the composer, why not for your first solos or your students'? Allow them to improvise lyrically now using the vocabulary they already have! (More information here...)


Kaia Parenti, a seventh-grade alto saxophonist
from Lincoln Middle School (IL), smiles as she tells
The Midwest Clinic attendees how great it feels to improvise a
fine solo over a standard tune she's never heard of before
—using the concepts of "Cutting the Changes."






"Cutting the Changes demystifies the learning process for beginning and intermediate aspiring improvisers, teachers, and beyond! It works most positively with both instrumentalists and vocalists.... The accompanying Play-Along CD and exhaustive CD-ROM explanations and analyses offer substantive information and support regarding each tune's style, form, and related performance considerations.... The CD-ROM also offers expanded analytical and advanced improvisation materials, as well as chord-symbol explanations, additional improvisation references, recommended recordings of the 13 selected standards, and related articles by the author."
Dennis J. Tini, Distinguished Professor of Music, Wayne State University (Michigan);
Past President, International Association for Jazz Education

The book series, Play-Along CD, CD-ROM, and rhythm parts were created in part with the substantial support of a Virginia Commonwealth University Arts Faculty Grant in Aid. The rhythm section of pianist/VCU Jazz alumnus Daniel Clarke, VCU Jazz faculty bassist Victor Dvoskin, and drummer/VCU Jazz alumnus Robby Sinclair was also recorded at VCU by Curt Blankenship (Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall Manager) and produced by yours truly. The CD-ROM was developed with technological assistance from VCU Arts Computing. Music colleagues Ross Walter and Mike Ess also assisted, as did VCU Jazz alumnus Ryan Corbitt.


"The concept is simple, the explanation detailed, the rewards immediate.... Cutting the Changes is very singer-friendly.... Tony has given an invaluable tool to singers and all beginning improvisers."
Sunny Wilkinson, vocalist and jazz educator,
Michigan State University






Thanks for reading! I hope that this book will become a valuable resource for so many people to enjoy improvising over some of the most lyrical tunes ever written.

Read comments from people who have explored the book and related articles and workshops!

"Cutting the Changes works."
George Broussard
International Trombone Association Journal

Read the full review here!

Demonstrating "Cutting the Changes" concepts with a participant at
the International Trombone Festival 2007.

photo credit: Chris Fower
Copyright International Trombone Festival, Inc.


"...The methodology offered is a winner, well worth investigating.... This process actually makes standard tunes as easy to play as blues and modal tunes. This method is great for students who are just getting started with theory and for teachers who need pedagogical insight for teaching improvisation, without stress.... Cutting the 'hot.'"
Dr. John Kuzmich, Jr., Senior Columnist,
IAJE Jazz Education Journall

Read the full review here!








Read a Down Beat article about the concepts of the book: "Unlocking Standard Tunes: Use Your Keys!"


"Tony García's Cutting the Changes is a welcomed addition to the jazz improvisation educational library.... Being the excellent musician he is, Tony's wealth of jazz knowledge allows you to understand and apply his concepts without having to know a lot of theory and harmony.... Cutting the Changes will allow music educators to present jazz improvisation to many students who would normally be scared of trying to improvise."
Jamey Aebersold, Founder, Jamey Aebersold Jazz






Read a profile on Tony related to the book in the periodical of The American Federation of Musicians,
The International Musician: "García Takes the Confusion Out of Improv."


"This new jazz method is packed with information and practical ideas for improvising over 13 standard tunes using only major scales.
Methods are separately available for all transposed and C instruments. A thorough and accessible introduction is included,
making it easy to 'jump right in' without any technical difficulty...a fantastic new improvisation method that fills a gap
for those classically trained players that are overwhelmed with numerous chord-change symbols in traditional tunes."

International Trombone Association Journal

Read the full review here!


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