Beginner Piano Improvisation Lessons
An astounding number of piano players know nothing about improvisation.
Some think of it as that quirky place you go to with friends on weekends and comedians take suggestions from
the audience, but don’t think it has any relationship to piano.
Others think improvisation is what you do when you’re at a recital and forget how part of your music goes. Still
others consider improvisation as belonging solely to jazz, and not part of a “normal” piano education.
Unfortunately, one of the most diverse and useful elements of piano playing is hardly understood by teachers
themselves, and therefore rarely gets passed on to students.
Improvisational piano means that pianists do not only learn how to read notes and chords, but that they are well
acquainted with the foundational structures on which the all of music rests, like progressions, styles, and
Having intimate understanding of not just reading music, but knowing
how much works allows players to break away from their addition to reading music note by note and instead let their
own feelings and preferences serve as the driving elements behind any song.
Improvisation lessons depart from traditional piano lessons in that a
teacher likely will not present their students with finger exercises and books of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. In
fact, seeing traditional music might be a rarity in some lessons.
Instead, the art of improvisation comes from lessons regarding finding
chords, transitioning between chords, adding interesting notes like a 2nd or 7th into appropriate moments, and
finding specific ways of organizing these sounds into particular styles. Teachers then are more prone to focus
on theory and the study of the fundamental elements of music that make improvisation work.
One frequently misunderstanding about improvisation is that it is unique to each individual artist’s spirit and
therefore unteachable, which is a foolish claim to make. Others might believe the improvisation is a unique style
in and of itself, and not as important as the style and theory of classical music.
This misunderstanding greatly miscalculates what improvisation is. Teachers of improvisation emphasize the range
of styles and skills needed to play piano. Improvisation helps you with your Bach and your rock.
Many teachers do not know the fundamentals of improvisation and therefore cannot pass that on to you. However,
many teachers do. If you are looking to learn the essentials of piano improvisation lessons then you need to make
sure that you explicitly ask teachers if they are knowledgeable and capable enough to instruct you.
If time or availability of teachers stands as an obstacle to your improvisation lessons, then searching online
for free videos or downloadable programs is a viable alternative option. The key for players looking to expand
their improvisational skills is the same for anyone looking to improve any skill: find those who can adequately
teach you, and spend as much time as possible practicing those skills until you perfect them.
Learning piano improvisation from lessons is very possible and very
worthwhile. You’ll find very quickly that improvisation improves a player’s overall understanding of music
knowledge, and within a short amount of time previously unfamiliar styles, progressions, and concepts will be under
your fingers and well within your bounds of application.
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