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 themselves.
For example, in the lesson Reflections in Water
, you have four chords to play around with and you have a way to play them. The lesson is in the Key of C Major so it's all on the white keys. The chords are learned, practiced, and then the student is allowed to explore these materials and see what comes up.
Explore is really the idea here as too many students want to force their way into improvisation. You see, it really is all about attitude here. And I can't think of a better quote to illustrate this than "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few."
It really is true and it's also a good thing because it means you don't have to be an expert to experience the joy of piano improvisation. On the contrary, the freshest sounding music can come from someone who does not have years of theory and training under their belt.
In fact, you can, if you listen closely, hear the mindset of the person playing. Some have no problems emptying themselves at the piano and can allow the music to take them places that they've never been before. These "journeys" are precious for they really are inroads into our selves.
To take your own piano improvisation journey remember that's it's not about how much you know. It's really about how willing you are to let go and let the music itself take over.