Throw Away Your Real Book: Tonic Wants You To Lose The Baggage And Improvise Like A Child Again


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I wanted to take an intimidating concept and make it more accessible for everyone. Improvisation goes beyond jazz, and Tonic gives all musicians the confidence to make mistakes and learn. --Scott Hughes, Creator
Sonny Simmons
"Tonic", a card game that helps all musicians learn to improvise without theory or advanced training, is now available on Kickstarter.

Designed to teach students and seasoned players how to relax and improvise freely and naturally, Tonic is an unconventional approach rooted in the free jazz and modern classical movements.

It takes the form of a card and dice game that requires no theory or prior experience to play. Instead, each card has a prompt that challenges players to create a short piece of music on the spot according to easy-to-understand guidelines.

“As a student, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information out there," says creator Scott Hughes. “Every book and every well-meaning teacher was telling me to practice something different. It caused me anxiety, and the more I talked to people, the more I realized I wasn't alone. Improvisation shouldn't be complicated. My goal is to make it simple again."

Intended for musicians of all types, Tonic aims to make improvisation more accessible by showing all musicians that the world of improv is much more than bebop lines and jazz standards.

After its digital release several months ago, the game has been used by thousands of players and educators to bring fresh and unexpected ideas into their art. The digital version is available at the link below, which can be downloaded and printed free of charge.

Tonic is available on Kickstarter until August 13th.

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