Keyboard Variations by Cathy Ulrich

Life is like Jazz.
You make it up
as you go along.

A few rules,,
an underlying structure,
and lots of practice.

Mark taught me the blues scales,
Then intervals – thirds, fifths, sevenths, sixths.
Then how to improvise.
“Hum the tune in your head,”
he said.

And remember:
There’s no wrong note,
just the one after.

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

21 comments on “Improv

  1. taseotjul says:

    Thank you, your poem gives me confidence.


  2. Gorgeous picture, Cathy! And an inspiring poem.


    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thanks, Weebs! The art is a Zentangle – a wonderful, meditative form of drawing that anyone can do. I did this one on my computer using the Corel Painter 12 software and Wacom drawing pad, but they’re usually done on watercolor paper “tiles” with fine tip art pens. It’s really fun!


  3. Cathy, I really enjoy your blog. I really like the sentiment at the end of today’s poem: there’s no wrong note, just the one after.


  4. As a veteran cynic I think that there may not be wrong notes per se, but there can be plenty of downbeats.


    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      I like that. Jazz is so fun and interesting, because there really aren’t wrong notes, per se – although it’s possible to get too discordant with that “next” note if one strays too far from the key and scale. Even Jazz has a structure. And yes, there can be downbeats, too.


  5. Sydney Fong says:

    Hi cathy, you are so inspiring, i code you name as my teacher.thank you !


  6. Wonderful poem and really interesting art work Cathy. You are on a roll! xoxo-Julie


  7. Le Clown says:

    God I love this. If I had a print, I would frame it and put it in my living room.
    Le Clown


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