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Vibraphone Lessons with Rusty Burge, Part 2: Using Patterns in Improvisation

How to develop a jazz vocabulary on the vibes.

Here’s the second installment in our series of video lessons on vibraphone performance technique by Yamaha Performing Artist Rusty Burge.

Percussionists are taught patterns at their first lesson. They use patterns to learn paradiddles, flams and other rudiments. Their usage can also help in developing a vocabulary for jazz improvisation, as Rusty shows in this video:

Below are the first two patterns from the video. Make sure to practice these in all keys and modes!

Pattern #1:

Four measures of musical annotation.

Pattern #2:

Four measures of musical annotation.


Rusty Burge is Professor of Percussion at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is also a member of Percussion Group Cincinnati, with whom he has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He was formerly principal percussionist with the West Virginia Symphony and plays extra with the Cincinnati Symphony. Burge received his undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from CCM, where he teaches percussion and jazz vibraphone in addition to directing the CCM Steel band. He has performed with Peter Erskine, Ted Nash, Rich Perry, Dave Liebman, Rufus Reid, Steve Allee, Roland Vazquez and Michael Spiro. His new book, Method for Vibraphone, will be released this coming fall.

Click here for Part 1 in this series: Pedaling Technique and Grips.

Click here for Part 3 in this series: Basic Jazz Voicings.


Click here for more information about Yamaha vibraphones.

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