Are you trying to learn piano improv backwards?

Are you trying to learn piano improv backwards?

If you are, you’re not alone. Most people try to learn piano improv in exactly the wrong way. They think they need to memorize all 7 modes in every key, or they buy a book with “advanced” jazz chord voicings.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sound good, of course. It’s just that memorizing good music isn’t going to get you improvising with any degree of ease of flow. I see a lot of pianists who use all their mental energy trying to remember what was in their scale book!

You’ll get a lot further if you start learning piano improv “forwards.”

Begin with something very easy. A blues melody. A simple pop or folk song. A jazz chord like Dm7. Then start improvising and enjoy it like it’s the only music in the whole wide world. Live it. Own it.

Don’t worry; you’ll get to those modes and advanced voicings in time. But if you start with them too soon, without learning to improvise with a flow and ease, you’ll never sound good playing the hard stuff. We learn to improvise by improvising. Not by memorizing complex chords.

Above all, have fun and enjoy each moment you’re at the piano 🙂

Here are some videos to get you started improvising the way you envision yourself playing, with ease and a sense of flow. Enjoy and good luck!


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