How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing

Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer number of choices becomes a burden. Should I play this note? What chord next? Where do I go from here? All valid questions newbies (and oldbies) at improvisation sometimes ask themselves.

The number one reason people have problems creating in the moment is that they won't let up on themselves and just play. They knew how to do it once as children but now that memory is gone and with it, a void has taken its place.

Fortunately, there is a solution. It's really a two-pronged solution because once we do learn how to ease up and just play, we are left with another problem and that is, what game are we playing.

The game of improvisation is a game like any other. We have a few rules, some guidelines, and then the game is played. You see, we must have some kind of structure to play the game of improvisation. Why? Because without it there would be way too many choices and this would prevent most people from even beginning.

Here's a perfect example. In Lesson 5, "Winter Scene," we have 2 chords, a scale, and a way to play these chords. With these choices out of the way, we can now focus on and enjoy the act of improvisation. We can play around with the music and feel good about our play.

Some think working within a set of limitations is uncreative. I thought so too once until I realized that until I learned how to do this by following the examples of others, I couldn't be free to create my own set of limitations.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at s.html for a FREE piano lesson!

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