Do you sometimes feel like your piano improvisations all sound the same? Or that you’re just playing the same thing over and over and over and over?
If so, here are 5 ways to keep your piano improvisations sounding fresh:
1. Change the direction of your melodic lines
Everyone has melodic shapes they tend to use more than others. If you find that all your phrases start up high and come down the keyboard, do the opposite: start low and go high.
2. Play shorter or longer phrases
This affects professionals as well as beginners. Many improvising pianists can use a little more variety in their phrase lengths. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do! Just play a few short phrases and follow them with a longer idea. Or vice versa.
3. Think of a color
This may sound a little abstract, but it really works! If you picture light blue in your mind, your playing will sound different than if you imagine, say, dark green. Keep the new color in your mind and your whole sound will instantly change.
4. Do what the classical composers did
Another way to freshen up your playing is to study a Mozart sonata movement and see how he did it, and then do the same thing. In his famous Sonata in C, for example, he begins with the simple melody that outlines the triads. And then he moves onto fast scales. You can do the same thing in Footprints. Or like Beethoven where you alternate between two contrasting ideas.
5. Give it a fresh impulse each time
Think of it like this: when you say ‘hi’ to a friend every day, it never gets stale. Analyze exactly what you do to keep your daily conversations constantly fresh, and apply these lessons to your piano playing.
Any one of these 5 ideas will help your piano improvisations stay fresh and interesting, day after day. Taken together, they will transform your piano playing.
Enjoy the journey and “let the music flow!”