several years ago, when i started seriously and systematically working on improvising, everything i played (except blues) sounded like sh.. to me.  i knew improvising was supposed to be playing what you hear, but i just didn't hear much.  much to my surprise in the last year, i find melodies popping up spontaneously in my head, and it really has made a difference in my improvising.  i'm not sure exactly what brought it on, but i would like to know how to intentionally nurture it.  it seems like such a basic thing, but i have not seen or heard much on it.  i know you are suppose to listen to the greats, learn your scales, etc, but how do you foster the emergence of tunes from your subconscious?  i would like to hear about your experiences on this.  thanks - ken
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note choices based on psycho-acoustic factors
sometimes things like this happen as you mature musically.  you can try to nurture these things along and it can help, but really, it's based more on your familiarity with music.  the less brain power you spend on figuring out the technical aspects of how to play music, the more your brain can help you out with the artistic aspects of what you are playing.

one of the best players i've ever heard who can take a melody and make it fit over the changes, no matter what they are, is stan getz.  take a listen to his older stuff and the stuff he was doing for a few years before he died.  he was a melodic master and i'm not sure if there's anyone else quite like him.
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i believe in the natural method (practicing and listening until it happens), or as louis pasteur said "chance favors the prepared mind."
"only humans make music, and the very first melody instrument was the human voice."

this is from 7's link...i strongly disagree.  
many bird songs are similar to human music, and many other species make noises which sound like what we would call music...this may be an issue of semantics (i not exactly sure what you are saying here 7,) which brings about an interesting question about the proper criteria for calling something 'music'  any thoughts?
disagree away, but thanks for taking the time to read the articles.
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