All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
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 and 8-bar phrases. The goal of the book was to get you to play these chord changes and develop a sense of structure.
Well, it was brilliant. They say good things come in small packages and this was pure gold to me. I took the book home and started to play through the chord changes.
After all, here was something that was pretty easy to do. And it didn't require a lot of experience. Just knowledge of a few chords.
So what's the easy piano improvisation strategy here? Simple. You have to find the right kind of limits that will set your playing free.
You see, the problem for most students is not that they can't improvise. It's that there are way too many choices to begin with. By playing a few chords within a set framework, I learned that I didn't need a lot of material to begin creating my own music.
A great example of this is the lesson "Reflections in Water. Here you have four open position chords to play. The chords are played in a certain order and music is made. It really doesn't have to be anymore complicated than that!