Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what holds people back from learning to improvise. And every week, with all types of pianists, I’ve noticed that it’s not due to a lack of talent, or a lack of time, or any of that.
In fact, the number one thing that holds most people back is that they can’t imagine themselves every actually “getting it.” They can’t picture themselves in their minds eye improvising on piano. They can’t emotionally feel themselves doing it.
Form decades of experience, I’ve learned how to ignore these feelings when they come up in relation to my music. When I sit down with a complex chord progression and can’t imagine ever “hearing” my way through it while improvising, I know that if I slowly and patiently start improvising over one chord at a time, there will be a moment when it begins to “click,” almost despite myself, and the music will begin to flow.
The important point here is that I can’t really imagine it ahead of time, but I’ve seen over and over again that I’ll learn how to play the difficult tune or chord progression if I approach it in the right way and patiently stay with it.
Yes – it feels like magic!
From what I’ve seen with myself and countless piano improv students over the decades, the #1 key to learning to improvise is to simply begin in the right way, while ignoring the fact that you can’t envision yourself ever really doing it.
Yes, you can, and all you need to do it to get some good direction and trust your innate talent.
That’s when the true fun begins!
Take the plunge, enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”
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