Have you ever wondered how some people just seem to have a knack for being able to sit and improvise at the piano something “off the cuff” that they never even attempted before? When you ask them, “What was that you played?” you might get a reply such as “I don’t know. It’s the first time I ever played it. It just came to me.”
It’s often been said that some people have what it takes to improvise and some don’t. However, putting it that way makes improvising on piano seem like something unreachable for some people. Perhaps it would be more accurate to suggest that some people have been in touch with resources that have helped them learn to improvise and some people haven’t.
There are other factors that can come into play, too. For example, a person who is interested in learning to improvise at the piano can certainly give himself or herself an advantage by taking some self-initiative. Much can be done in developing a “musical ear” by enjoying the habit of listening to other musicians regularly. There is also something to be said for the individual who engages in self-study on the topic on improvisation.
That said, the idea of getting some help from those who are trained in the area of improvisation and ear-training is worth entertaining. Such a person can share insights based on personal experience can that can really shorten the learning curve when it comes to both listening more effectively and creating original ideas on those keys.
Although it is often said that a person has a “good ear,” the truth is that the ear is simply the passageway through which enters. From there, the brain makes certain musical distinctions. These can be of either a melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic nature.
One example could be in the area of harmony. An individual may seem to have a particular talent for recognizing one type of chord from another, like major versus minor. This capacity for being able to hear can, of course, be a bit more comprehensive. A person may have an easy time distinguishing Major 7th chords from Dominant 7th chords, Diminished 7th chords from Minor 7th chords, etc. Such a person has been made aware of these sound distinctions via doing an adequate amount of listening and conscientiously making comparisons. This is an ability that can certainly be nurtured and further developed with a music instructor who specializes in this area.
Being able to improvise at the piano goes hand in hand with a “musical ear” that has been developed to a point. A direct relationship is formed between those sound distinctions that have been stored in the memory and what the fingers are able to reproduce from that “mental library” of ideas. Along with more and more practice and experimentation comes more and more satisfying results.
Again, the process of nurturing this relationship results in ever-growing confidence in areas including melodic development, making chord choices, implementing jazz piano voicings, creating improvised lines, and more. It truly is a journey that, once taken, leads one down many avenues that guarantee many happy returns for the efforts put forth.
Posted in: Choosing A Piano Teacher, Piano Improvisation | Tags: ear training, improvise at the piano, jazz piano lessons, piano improvisation, piano lessons in Sarasota, piano lessons Sarasota, play by ear, play piano by ear, practicing piano, Sarasota piano lessons, Sarasota piano teacher