Why is improvisation so scary?
Why Improvisation is considered by a lot of beginners like the Grail of music?
Is it really made for people with natural talent and instinct?
The good news is that everyone can reach a very good level of improvisation and develop an instinct for it.
What is improvisation?
Improvisation is the art of creating a piece of music at the moment. You don’t really know what you will play, at least to an extent…
When you improvise, everything is about the context. You are creating a context or you are using a pre-existing context to help to shape your improvisation.
Let me explain:
If you improvise totally free, you are creating a context. You might have one or two quick ideas on how to start but you are no tight by any context of a piece.
If you improvise in a tune, what we call a solo, you are using a pre-existing context to shape your improvisation.
I would like to say that the second option is the easiest but actually, they both have their advantage and disadvantage.
When you are free, you can do what you want, be as creative as you want, meaning that there is no limit to your creativity.
You will express things that you would never think about being able to express with your instrument.
But you can also be very limited by yourself. You are walking into the unknown and you can discover amazing scenery or a very flat and boring one.
But you know what? Flat and boring scenery is the best way to learn and progress!
When you improvise inside a pre-existing tune, like a jazz solo, you are limited by the tune, and that gives you an unlimited choice of improvisation…
To quote Einstein: “If you understood me, it means that I wasn’t clear enough.”
How to start to improvise?
Well, by improvising…
Seriously! Just go for it, don’t try to imitate Oscar Peterson’s solo on your first go, but play very simple things. Just a simple motif that sounds nice. You have to let go and Jump!
The hardest thing, especially for an adult is to let go. Children don’t try to be the best, they just improvise, adult feels frustrated for not being able to improvise like their favorite musician, who is improving for a very very long time.
Don’t compare yourself, because the great thing about music and improvisation is that everyone is unique. There is no good or bad way, just your way.
If it sounds good to you, it will sound good to others.
Yes, it is as simple as that, but it takes 4 lives to totally master it!
So what are you waiting for? Take your instrument and go for it!
If you need advice about improvisation and piano playing, don’t hesitate to contact me for piano lessons here.
I teach in Derby but also online!
I can’t wait to hear your personality developing through music!