Those of you who have been reading my articles for some time now know that I believe improvisation to be the cornerstone of musical creativity. Why? Because without the ability to just play, we become stifled and the "real" music that is within each of us withers and dies.
Now, if you're a writer, you have lots of support in this area. There are books, (many, many books) that explore the topic of freewriting to its fullest. There are plenty of exercises and advice from professionals in the field. There are even classes designed to "free the writer within."
But what about music? Where can the aspiring piano improviser go to get help and advice on this topic? Traditionally, they would turn to Jazz - a word synonymous with improvisation. Jazz is a big believer in learning scales and chords. In fact, there are 1000's of scales and 1000's of chords to learn. This can be a turn-off for the beginning student who simply wants to dive in and express through music.
Learning how to improvise need not be difficult. There are only 2 things required:
1. The ability to trust your intuition
2. Knowledge of a few chords
Learning a few chords is the easy part. The part that gives more students problems than anything else is getting over perfectionism and the fear of making "mistakes."
I remember when I first started playing the piano. I wanted very badly to "create" something. Little did I know that by wanting so badly to create, I was blocking the creative impulse. You see, we must learn to play first!! Very hard for many adults because they want to make something "worthy" of performance. If they only would ease up a little and relax and not worry so much about what was coming out of them, then they would begin to experience the joy of improvisation.
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 http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!