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Piano improvisation. Need advices. #2431267
06/13/15 05:13 AM
06/13/15 05:13 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 6
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Pianist101 Offline OP
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Hello everyone. I've recently joined this forum.

About me:
Been playing piano since 7 (I'm 18 now)

Graduated musical school (8 grades)

Been playing by myself last 3 years. Mainly Pop Music arrangements by Kyle Landry.


So the thing is I want to learn how to improvise on piano. They didn't teach me that in musical school, only some basics in theory and sight reading. I played only classical music.

Now I'm frustrated I can't do anything creative on piano. Only playing from sheet music. I don't really understand how harmonies work. Except some simple I-vi-IV-V-I and so on.

I want to improvise with ease like Kyle Landry does in his videos. But I don't know where to start??!?!

I have my own piano channel, I would be happy if you could check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfWXf5EvbPUxrN7vFDspDQQ

I don't have really good technique, it's hard for me to get fast passages up to speed.

How can I learn improvisation on piano? I know improvising from chords with melody line, but not as nearly as good as Kyle Landry.

I've been thinking of buying this book:
Piano Improvisation: A Powerful Practical System
By Frank Caruso and Karl Mollison
http://www.pianoimprovisationsystem.com/

Here's contents of book:
http://www.pianoimprovisationsystem.com/table-of-contents.php

Any suggestions for me?
Or experiences with book? Should I buy it?

Thanks for reading.
Toms. smile

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Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2431319
06/13/15 09:17 AM
06/13/15 09:17 AM
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beeboss Offline
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I would think that a few lessons with a good jazz teacher would be a lot better than getting a book. If you can't get lessons for whatever reason then there a tons of good instructional videos on youtube. All the information is out there but a teacher can really help you apply it usefully.

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2431565
06/13/15 11:30 PM
06/13/15 11:30 PM
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Groove On Offline
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I think you might be surprised to hear that improvisation is a lot easier than it looks, you just have to practice it. And it makes playing the piano really, really fun! I've been studying improvisation for about 3 months with my teacher and it just starts to naturally bleed into your everyday playing, even repertoire.

My main book is called 'Improvisation At The Piano' (for the classically trained Pianist). It has been very enlightening and I think it develops a nice foundation for improvisation. It starts very, very simply, one note at a time, then develops concepts using classical music before it moves on to jazz techniques. The exercises are progressive and easy to follow, but you do need to read basic music notation and know some music theory.

On my own, I practice improvisation with an app called iRealPro. I use it with exercises assigned by my teacher or just by myself for fun and curiosity.

You can always improve your technique, but I wouldn't worry about 'playing up to speed' I'd let the virtuosity in your improvisation develop naturally. From the pieces you've posted online, I'd say you have good enough technique. You play very nicely.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Groove On] #2432133
06/15/15 02:45 PM
06/15/15 02:45 PM
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Pianist101 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Groove On
I think you might be surprised to hear that improvisation is a lot easier than it looks, you just have to practice it. And it makes playing the piano really, really fun! I've been studying improvisation for about 3 months with my teacher and it just starts to naturally bleed into your everyday playing, even repertoire.

My main book is called 'Improvisation At The Piano' (for the classically trained Pianist). It has been very enlightening and I think it develops a nice foundation for improvisation. It starts very, very simply, one note at a time, then develops concepts using classical music before it moves on to jazz techniques. The exercises are progressive and easy to follow, but you do need to read basic music notation and know some music theory.

On my own, I practice improvisation with an app called iRealPro. I use it with exercises assigned by my teacher or just by myself for fun and curiosity.

You can always improve your technique, but I wouldn't worry about 'playing up to speed' I'd let the virtuosity in your improvisation develop naturally. From the pieces you've posted online, I'd say you have good enough technique. You play very nicely.


Thanks for reply! smile

Yes, I need fun for piano cuz I'm in kinda rut. I usually learn from sheet music and it sometimes gets really frustrating and boring - repeating again and again the same notes to learn a piece.

This is the book?
http://www.amazon.com/Improvisation-Piano-Systematic-Approach-Classically-ebook/dp/B004HIMX4C
Reading from reviews the book is really good for classical pianist (like I am! :D). I'm really considering buying it!

Just out of curiosity: Do you play for fun or professionally? How long have you been playing and how old are you? laugh

Last edited by Pianist101; 06/15/15 03:10 PM.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2432207
06/15/15 06:05 PM
06/15/15 06:05 PM
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Pianist101, I watched your Chopin Nocturne video and you can play. You're already much of the way there. I just whipped up an idea to share. I opened up the Nocturne book and found #6 in Gmin and improvised over part of it in a jazzy style. You have the some nice chord changes going on here. And you are allowed to take liberties. Trial and error will open up discoveries for you about chord movement. And I believe your main scale is a dorian on G. But you are allowed to experiment and take liberties. Don't believe what some guy in a book tells you you cannot do.

This was a quick effort to illustrate...

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38191102/MusicalIllustrations/Chopin6ImprovMp3.mp3

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2432352
06/16/15 03:50 AM
06/16/15 03:50 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Pianist101, I want you gladden - you're already know how to improvise! Your OP is proof of this: you typed your voice on the monitor. Ie sublimation your improvised speech in letters. Musical improvisation - the same thing, but instead of speaking you are using singing.
It's really simple: combine singing and improvisation into one; when singing is primary and improvisation repeats it on instrument. For the beginning, take only first chord of melody and start to improvise on it with voice by halves, quarters and eighths, and then repeat these pitches on piano. So you're working until you will able to sing and play. almost simultaneously.
However, the important role of the teacher will not disappear, he will direct you where you need to.

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2432762
06/17/15 05:03 AM
06/17/15 05:03 AM
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Nahum Offline
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For example, something like that: from 16:44

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: indigo_dave] #2432803
06/17/15 08:41 AM
06/17/15 08:41 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 6
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Pianist101 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by indigo_dave
Pianist101, I watched your Chopin Nocturne video and you can play. You're already much of the way there. I just whipped up an idea to share. I opened up the Nocturne book and found #6 in Gmin and improvised over part of it in a jazzy style. You have the some nice chord changes going on here. And you are allowed to take liberties. Trial and error will open up discoveries for you about chord movement. And I believe your main scale is a dorian on G. But you are allowed to experiment and take liberties. Don't believe what some guy in a book tells you you cannot do.

This was a quick effort to illustrate...

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38191102/MusicalIllustrations/Chopin6ImprovMp3.mp3


Thanks! I think I have the feel of music. Buy my theory knowledge is very limited, I don't know why notes go the way they go. Same with harmonies.I even don't know blues/jazz scales. laugh Without a guide I don't think a nice improvisation is possible. smirk And if i try to figure out myself everything without theory I think it will take much more time.

Last edited by Pianist101; 06/17/15 08:50 AM.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2432937
06/17/15 04:46 PM
06/17/15 04:46 PM
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indigo_dave Offline
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Well, a good teacher could point you in the right direction. There are a few who excellent ones who hang around on these forums.

You probably should find a few good "how to" books. But the one most important thing I would suggest is to try to internalize - in your mind's ears - what you play. Try to hear the chord changes. Play some old Stevie Wonder on youtube and try to figure out the bass part on with your left hand on the piano. Try picking out some of the chords on the piano as the recording plays. The Beatles have some really interesting music. Try to play along with some. This will help to develop your ears.

This is a really fun tune...it's in Eb minor..don't know if it's the best one to start with.



Last edited by indigo_dave; 06/17/15 04:59 PM.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2432970
06/17/15 06:20 PM
06/17/15 06:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
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36251 Offline
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I just shared this video on KF. I like finding easy simple ways to think, which IMO is easier and faster to integrate into ones's own playing. You, of course need teachers early on.

I think everyone can take something away from this video. Enjoy.





AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2433005
06/17/15 08:10 PM
06/17/15 08:10 PM
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Do you have an understanding of chords, meaning how they are constructed? I taught a clinic several years ago where we did some basic improvising on the tune C Jam Blues, which could just be a C major or C7 chord. We practiced two things. First was playing different notes of the chord major scale, the scale method, and then we practiced improvising over the C7 chord, using the notes C E G Bb. It was just a short clinic, but the beginning players attending really had fun with this tune. When I improvise, I really think more in terms of chords vs. scales, just my preference.




Kawaii ES-110, Kurzweil MPS-20
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2433063
06/18/15 12:56 AM
06/18/15 12:56 AM
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Nahum Offline
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Any music begins with singing; the Improvisation starts with jazz singing - scat:




"No concept" about what said DiBlasio is the lack of clear and precise phrasing of spoken language, which is the basis of improvisation .In order to breathe meaning into a musical phrase, you can take for example such a verbal phrase: "Improvising on piano is a piece of cake! "; replace the words into syllables of scat, and keep the rhythm and articulation. It turns out "Di-du-ta-du dat- ba-da-du bap ha dat du dab"
It remains only to find a natural melodic line and transfer it to the piano. .

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2433255
06/18/15 01:13 PM
06/18/15 01:13 PM
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I thought it worth mentioning that if you want to improvise in standard right hand solo melodic line thing, a scale regimen maybe should be a regular part of your piano diet. You should practice them in both hands of course.

And secondly, I am playing the Dave Frank in an effort to catch what he's doing in a couple of tunes. The blues tune begins a couple of seconds before 10:00 minutes in. I attempted to pick out the left hand part.

I also want to try to play "American Gothic" which I liked. It starts around 24 1/2 minutes in.

But I recommend trying to pick out at the piano some of what he's doing in the blues tune. Right at about 10:00 mins. I believe it's called "Broadway Boogie".



Last edited by indigo_dave; 06/18/15 01:44 PM.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2433323
06/18/15 05:37 PM
06/18/15 05:37 PM
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Albunea Offline
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Musicians are the most confusing people on earth laugh They are funny though.

Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Nahum] #2433328
06/18/15 06:02 PM
06/18/15 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Any music begins with singing; the Improvisation starts with jazz singing - scat:




"No concept" about what said DiBlasio is the lack of clear and precise phrasing of spoken language, which is the basis of improvisation .In order to breathe meaning into a musical phrase, you can take for example such a verbal phrase: "Improvising on piano is a piece of cake! "; replace the words into syllables of scat, and keep the rhythm and articulation. It turns out "Di-du-ta-du dat- ba-da-du bap ha dat du dab"
It remains only to find a natural melodic line and transfer it to the piano. .
Nahum, thanks for adding another Diblasio. I never saw this one. Great. I also love how he talked about Hal Galper, who I love, when he talks about "how the music sounds." This is what really care about. I'm trying to improve like the cats did back in the 50's. It's a sound that really needs a different approach then the theory, which you still need. Again, I have to remind that it's all about combining anything that you relate to, which helps create your sound.


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: indigo_dave] #2433598
06/19/15 05:57 PM
06/19/15 05:57 PM
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Pianist101 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by indigo_dave
Well, a good teacher could point you in the right direction. There are a few who excellent ones who hang around on these forums.

You probably should find a few good "how to" books. But the one most important thing I would suggest is to try to internalize - in your mind's ears - what you play. Try to hear the chord changes. Play some old Stevie Wonder on youtube and try to figure out the bass part on with your left hand on the piano. Try picking out some of the chords on the piano as the recording plays. The Beatles have some really interesting music. Try to play along with some. This will help to develop your ears.

This is a really fun tune...it's in Eb minor..don't know if it's the best one to start with.


Thanks for replying! smile

Oh yes... I have really bad ear. ;D It's hard for me to listen to music and replicate it on my own keyboard. I've been thinking of Mental Play practices to improve my hearing. Maybe you know any other exercises for ear training?

Last edited by Pianist101; 06/19/15 05:57 PM.
Re: Piano improvisation. Need advices. [Re: Pianist101] #2433643
06/19/15 09:26 PM
06/19/15 09:26 PM
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36251 Offline
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Here's another Denis Diblasio video I found while exploring his other videos. This is a live version of him soloing on Bari and then scatting.



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