How to Improvise Using a Few Chords

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When a painter is getting ready to paint, a color palette is usually chosen first. For example, if a forest is to be painted, the artist may choose browns, greens, and blues for the sky. Once the palette is chosen, it makes it easier to create the painting. Why? Because color decisions are now out of the way.

We can apply this concept to music as well. In particular, New Age piano playing. In your lesson, Reflections in Water, we have four chords to play with and we have the order in which they are to be played. Now, all that is required "to paint" your sound portrait is the ability to take these chords and play around with them.

Once the decision about what chords to play and how to play them are out of the way, you can now focus on making music. This is how I created Reflections in Water. I knew that the piece would be in the Key of C. I then chose a few chords from this key and fooled around with them.

It can be very confusing for the beginner in improvisation.

There are so many choices and ways to go about making music. This is why limiting choice is important. Also, it is equally important to begin by using simple means. Many students think that if they can't compose like Beethoven or Mozart, they are untalented. Get rid of this idea quickly. Everyone starts from simple means and it's a good idea to begin your experience in improvisation the same way.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at for a FREE piano lesson!

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