It's been a while since I've posted, but I've been doing a lot of playing. As I mentioned in some other threads, I play in church a fair amount. Some of that music is, of course, hymns, which tend to be pretty straightforward (but not always easy) in terms of rhythm and chord structure, but some of the music is more contemporary, with syncopated rhythms and more interesting chord changes. In fact, I play some of this contemporary music on the tenor sax too, depending on what the particular piece sounds like.
Anyway, the church also does a monthly Friday night free dinner with music, for the community. In this setting, the music can be anything, not necessarily "church music." Sometimes the music director has sheet music for me, but sometimes it's just lead sheets. Lead sheets just have melody and chords. The chords are useful for improvising.
I've been playing a long time, so I'm pretty used to playing this way. I'm not a master of it by any means, but I'm comfortable with the general approach. Even so, I'm always looking for ways to improve, and I know that some people would like to try improvising but don't know how to get started. There's a lot of stuff about this on YouTube, but most of it gets pretty dense with music theory pretty quickly. But I've discovered one teacher, named Scott Paddock, who has a gift for breaking it down into bite-sized elements. He uses alto sax but the method works for any melody instrument.
Check out, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbv3IK6VscU
, after first looking at the other two videos he mentions. He walks you through some really basic material and gradually adds to it until it starts to get interesting. As I say, there are some other good channels for this, such as Jeff Antoniuk - Educator, but Scott Paddock really starts from square 1, which is what a lot of people want. I've used some of his exercises on Coda, just to get the same kinds of patterns under my fingers that I have on the sax. I think a lot of people here could find it useful as a way to start improvising on Coda, if that's something that appeals to you.