Improvisation means~ winging it ~
You leave behind the “security” of written notes and dependency of practicing a certain spot in your music over and over again until you get it right.
For musicians that are strictly note readers, this can be a very large leap in terms of getting out of your comfort zone.
While we do spend time practicing the basics of piano playing; such as learning our notes and scales, improvisation asks us to combine those skills and create music…on the spot.
We can’t practice ahead of time and we don’t even know what we’re going to be playing in most cases. We have to rely on what we’ve already learned and practiced to produce spontaneous notes that fit in with other instruments.
This is what is so fun actually about learning the piano and getting those basic skills mastered, so you can do a “walk about” with your playing and start experimenting with your own music and expressing your own voice through your piano instead of someone else’s.
Whether you’re new to improvisation or already winging it, these tips will help your focus on the most important steps to improving your improv so that you’re not only creating your own music, but loving it at the same time!
The BasicsLearn your notes, scales, key signatures, chord structures and rhythmic patterns for the style of music you want to play. This is where practicing is important for being an improv wiz.
Most times, when you play with someone else in an improv session, you’ll learn what key you’re in before you start, and the basic style of the music. Always keep your fingers familiar with scales, as they are what all music is built upon.
For a review of basic Music Theory please watch these 24 videos on my YouTube channel that will help you learn…all free!
Start Improvising Your Attitude Once you feel pretty secure with most scales, it’s time now to focus on what your inner feelings and thoughts are about improving on your own. Ask yourself…
Fear, is probably the biggest factor that keeps people from improvisation. So many what if’s…and…we worry a lot about what people will think of us, if we mess up. Musicians that play with music also feel fear when performing in front of a live audience.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Not only can you embrace your fear about improvising, you can overcome it by just doing it. Put your fear in place, and just move out and start playing by ear. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and you won’t even hear the nagging voice of fear after a little bit.
Remember to have fun! Fun and a light – hearted attitude…being patient with yourself and not freaking out over a few little mistakes, will make the journey much easier.
Reach Out and Play with SomeoneWhen you know most of your notes, a good bit of Music Theory and you’ve dealt with your fear, it’s time to reach out.
Find some other musicians that know how to improv and ask them if you can jam with them a bit. Don’t worry about what they’ll think…just let them know that you are either starting out or else trying to get better at improvisation, and you’d really like to make music with them.
You can find a lot of musicians by just going and listening to ones that play the type of music you’re interested in playing, and introducing yourself to them after the gig.
If you can’t find any musicians in the beginning to play with, put on your favorite music and just start playing with it…you’ll be amazed at what you can do when you do this!
Want to Learn More? Check out one of my videos on Improvisation!
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