How to Improvise on the Piano - Enjoy Yourself and Relax
Sometimes, as a piano teacher, I get people who want to learn the piano to relax. I wouldn't recommend it as a way to relax when learning piano, particularly when learning to read sheet music. You always have to figure out the names of the notes on the music, remember which keys to click, and remember how long that note can be played between different things. It can take many years before you reach the "relaxation" point.
But I've got some GOOD NEWS for you!
Through these methods of improvisation I'm about to show you, you're going to be able to sit down and enjoy yourself in no time. You'll find NO SHEET MUSIC here!
I taught my private pupils these concepts and they have been able to improvise fluently within 20 minutes. In the first lesson I'll teach you two simple methods to get you improvising on the piano. I've tried to keep this lesson short, so it might be more appropriate for piano beginners, though if you're already playing piano, this lesson might also be useful if you're new to piano improvisation.
I begin by teaching you a few simple chords in the left hand, in particular A Minor, G Major and F Major triad chords, using a simple and memorable pattern. Then we take a look at the A Minor Pentatonic scale. If you play any of those left hand chords, along with any of the notes from the A Minor Pentatonic scale, it will sound really cool. All you need to do is play around and improvise with the notes and rhythms.
These two simple methods will get you improvising FAST!
I hope you found that fun.
In the next lesson I'm going to show you three methods to improvise modern piano. These techniques will help you to take your improvisation to the next level. The left hand pattern is a bit more difficult, and so probably more suitable for intermediate players, but these methods can be used by anyone who wants to learn how to improvise on the piano.
If you're in the early stages of piano improvisation, you can always try using simple chords in the left hand instead of the pattern I'm teaching and it still sounds cool. If you learn these tricks, before long you'll be improvising beautiful sounding contemporary piano.
The first trick you can use is to use the intervals 1st, 5th, 9th, 5th, 8th and 5th to construct a really modern sounding left hand pattern. This pattern can be applied to any chord and it will sound good. I'm using A Minor and F Major as examples in this tutorial.
You can't really go wrong if you play the A Minor Pentatonic Scale over the top of the first trick's left hand pattern. With that pattern, any of those notes will sound good. The Pentatonic Scale of A minor is A-C-D-E-G.
Have a go at playing around with the rhythms when using this scale in your right hand.
Using a 6th Interval is a really easy way to harmonise over a melody you play. In this tutorial I am only using the white keys, so you can lock your hand in the 6th position and move the notes up and down. I would suggest moving up and down in steps rather than jumping around with the 6th hand shape. This way it's going to sound really nice.
When improvising melodies, try to throw in some octaves. It really makes the tunes your playing sound dramatic and epic.
So finally, if you like what you're studying here on the piano, this final lesson should be the icing on the cake.
You'll learn 3 amazing tips for piano improvisation. Well, I think they're amazing, and having taught them to muy own private pupils I can confirm that everyone that's had a go has loved applying these techniques.
If you want to improvise you don't just press randomn keys, you need to know certain things first. Because of the left hand pattern, this piano lesson is for more intermediate / advanced players, but begginers might simplify it by playing the basic triad chord instead in the left hand.
The first tip is a pattern in the left hand that can be used and applied to any chord. Here we will apply it to the E Minor, C Major, G Major and D Major chord progression, which I think sounds epic.
The second tip is some suggested scales that can be used to improvise over the top of the left hand line, which are the ones I use in the video begin improvisation.
And finally, the third tip, I'll show you a way of improvising harmony with organised intervals.
Pretty cool huh?
It may take time to sink in all the improvisation techniques I teach in these lessons. So continue to practise the patterns in your left hand until you learn them off by heart, and the same goes for the scales. When you get to the stage where you can play the scales, patterns and exercises without thinking too much (essentially having learned them through muscle memory) you'll be at the point where you can begin relaxing and enjoying yourself.
This may only take one practise session for some individuals, for others it may take a couple of months. It all depends on your current playing ability. Whatever you are, I hope you enjoyed these piano lessons.
I would love to hear in the comments what you think, and this is my first blog post ever, so please share it.
Check out www.birdspianoacademy.com for more of my lessons and educational material.