Many students love to improvise. But I'm often asked... When can I learn how to actually create a complete piece of music?"To which my response is when do you want to begin?"I often tell students that they should wait to learn how to compose until they can freely improvise on the piano. And when I say freely" improvise, I mean being able to sit down and just play without criticizing what's coming out of you.When you can do this, you'll be able to compose a piece of music without having to stop every 2-bars ...read more
In her bestselling book The Artist's Way, Julie Cameron suggests keeping a journal. She refers to them as morning pages where each morning, you just write off the top of your head.This free writing exercise is nothing new. It's been done and popularized for quite some time now. But The Artist's Way" really brought this practice back.I was wondering why musicians, specifically piano players might apply the concept of free writing to playing piano. It then dawned on me that if you time your improvisations, or more accurately, set a time limit for how long you're ...read more
Some music just has it. You know the kind I'm talking about. The kind of music you can listen to over and over--and it never gets old.So, what's the secret? How can music remain fresh after multiple listens? I'll tell you. The secret is the performer was in the present.You see, music is an instant transmission of feeling. Whatever mental state" the performer is in while playing can be detected by careful listening. That's why some performances, although technically correct, lack feeling or emotion. The performers' mind was somewhere else.The key to creating fresh ...read more
The idea that you can create a complete piano improvisation in five minutes seems undoable to most. After all, aren't you supposed to have years and years of theory and experience under your belt? Not if you follow this step-by-step video.Reflections in Water is a piano improvisation I created to show students how easy it is to use something called the open position chord to create music with. In fact, it's so easy all you really have to do is finger the chord and music comes out. How is this possible?It all has to do ... read more
There's something about being able to just sit down at the piano and play. Especially when the music isn't planned. We allow ourselves the freedom to just be at the piano and wonderful things begin to happen.To create your own piano improvisation journey, you need to know a little about chords and how to play them. That's pretty much it. I never understood why teachers make their students wait so long before they can dive in creatively at the piano. Especially since all it takes is giving students the right kind of limits so they can freely express ...read more
When I first started playing piano, I looked everywhere for information to help me play what I felt. And, much to my disappointment, I was left floundering in the library aisles.One of things I'm good at is just knowing if something works or not. In fact, I can look at a book and within a few minutes, determine if it has anything useful in it.It just so happens that during my library visit, I ran across a small book, barely 60 pages or so. This book contained nothing but chord progressions laid out over small 4 ...read more
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