Are you a mom or dad who is having trouble getting your son or daughter to practice? You ever hear your little musician say he or she is tired of playing the same music? Is practicing a chore? Well, I will admit that it’s difficult to always go to your instrument and have to “work” on something. While it’s very satisfying to play a song, learning a song isn’t always so entertaining.
The solution to that, even when you can’t come up with anything to play and you’re tired of playing the same thing is improvisation! Sometimes it’s better just to play what’s in your head, instead of trying to read what someone else has written.
Improvising Music can be massively fun, but seem very daunting and like it will be impossible to learn. Well, there are ways to make improvising much easier and not seem so scary. Here’s how.
Listen To Music
This is by far the most important aspect of not only being a musician but learning to improvise. Don’t just listen, but try to understand what’s going on. Listen to the changes in the music and how it’s moving. If all you can grab is the melody, do that and hum the melody to yourself in your head. Try to play that melody and see if you can change it slightly and make it your own. Don’t be afraid to just play with one hand if it’s fun and it makes you happy. Practice doesn’t have to be work. You ever heard the saying “there’s nothing new under the sun”? Well, this holds true in music as well. Most music is rehashing of what’s already been done. Maybe not in the case of John Cage who put screws and bolts in the piano to create new sounds, something I don’t recommend, but vast majority of music is just something that’s been reworked into something else.
Get The Basics
When taking lessons, many times the teacher will emphasize the importance of certain techniques, which may seem strange or meticulous, but they’re necessary. Even when you sit down and have nothing to play, knowing your basics will allow you to do more amazing things on your own. Lebron James didn’t become one of the greatest basketball players before he knew how to properly pass or dribble a ball. A simple major scale works on timing, finger placement, articulation and musical alphabet knowledge. These allow you to play your song by Katy Perry or Maroon 5. So, don’t forget to pay attention to and practice the basics.
Write It Down
Heard something you liked, or even sat down and did something that you liked? Write it down the best you know how. Play it for your teacher, and have them check what you wrote. Learning how to write music out is one of the best ways to understand music. On the technical side, it teaches you about chord progressions, connecting your ears and your instrument and about musical language. On the fun side, it gives you more tools in your belt. When you write it down and play it over, you’re getting more comfortable with how to play your instrument, and with music in general.
Doing these three things will make you a much better person at improvising. It will give your brain the knowledge it needs to be a great musician. Picasso may have painted some rather childish looking paintings to the untrained eye, but he was massively talented at color control, placement of his strokes, and actually made beautiful classical paintings as well. The basic understanding of music is what allows the truly great popular artists to be set apart and become great. So, you don’t want to practice your song? Then practice these three things above.