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Improvising tips
#2941917 02/02/20 09:24 PM
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Gday all..I have played around with a digital keyboard for years.
I play songs off lead sheets and generally go okay.I am what I would call a "hack".
This means basically a slight disregard for timing.
The left hand will do broken chords,stride or arpeggio.
The right hand plays melody single notes with the occasional chord under that note.
I also do some triplets or Grace notes but basically that's it.

In the mountains of information on piano help I have never seen a short list on say 10 right hand improvisation tips that would suit any key and to build on any basic lead sheet song.
I know their are many vids etc on impro but just a short 10 or so tip sheet would Make my day.
Help pls
Cheers Mick

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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2942361 02/03/20 09:37 PM
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Anybody out their pls

Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2942378 02/03/20 10:14 PM
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Hi
I would suggest you also post this on the ‘non-classical’ forum. Those guys should have some tips for you.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2942442 02/04/20 03:53 AM
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I’ll be watching as I’m interested too. I think the timing has to be fixed first, though.


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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2942662 02/04/20 03:39 PM
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What kind of tips are you looking for? Are there specific questions you have about improvising?

Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2942869 02/05/20 06:02 AM
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Just after some general improvising tips for the right hand.
Ways to flesh out the melody..
Ta

Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943004 02/05/20 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by willywagtail
Just after some general improvising tips for the right hand.
Ways to flesh out the melody..
Ta

Are you talking about play cocktail piano where you are taking a simple melody and chords of, say, a pop song, and elaborating on it? If so, I don't believe that is improvisation.

Or are you talking about creating something completely your own, not necessarily based on anything that already exists? That's definitely improvisation.


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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943341 02/05/20 09:47 PM
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Melody and chords and elaborating on it

Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943346 02/05/20 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by willywagtail
Melody and chords and elaborating on it

Ok, then that isn't improvisation, such as used in jazz.

Perhaps you should get a book on cocktail piano? For example, on Amazon, there are many books like this one or like this one.

Also ... I was just about to suggest you repost this to the non-classical forum where it would attract the attention of people who can help you with the cocktail piano style, but... I see you had already posted there! thumb


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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943379 02/06/20 01:50 AM
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It's a skill I'd love to learn also (as mentioned); I should pick up those books.


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Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943821 02/07/20 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by willywagtail
I am what I would call a "hack".
This means basically a slight disregard for timing.

The right hand plays melody single notes with the occasional chord under that note.
I also do some triplets or Grace notes but basically that's it.


Hello,

I am less than 2 years into the piano, but I have played banjo on stage. Learning banjo took longer than usual because of a lack of structure. I finally prevailed. I am moving at a much faster pace on the piano.

I BELIEVE THAT I HAVE THE EXACT ANSWERS THAT YOU NEED! I even organized the information that you need with numbers, just for fun! It is, however a list of 10 overall tips, not just left hand tips.

You aren't a hack. You may have been lured down a seemingly faster and easier path that has left you unsatisfied with your progress. You have a good foundation with some clear weaknesses that need work. Your post reminds me of my path to learn banjo.

1. Immediate gratification can't be your top priority. This will keep you engaged, but it will not get you where you want to be, in a timely manner.

2. Timing isn't fun, but you need to back up and WORK on it. Learn to play properly with other instruments or a metronome. This will mean slow and tedious work, not play. If you refuse to put in proper work, then you can try singing(with good timing!). I started singing and strumming guitar years ago. This helped me develop an innate sense of timing. When you can turn on a metronome and play properly, you WILL be a much better player.

3. Slow down and work specifically on those right hand chords. Work on being able to play more complicated partial chords with the right hand. You have the idea, but you need to back up, slow down, and improve this part. Get faster and more advanced at it by going slower for now.

4. Structure your practice. Dont sit down and play the same things in the same way every time. Back up, slow down and pick apart what you are doing. Spend a good amount of time practicing what you dont know.

5. Learn left hand chord patterns. Use youtube or there is a newer book called 100 Right hand Patterns, I believe. I'll get the name if you want. Learn two or three good movable patterns and work on them. Slowly add them into the songs you already play. Dont try to play 50 different patterns. Play one until you are sick of it and work on being able to incorporate it on the fly. This may take longer than you think. It is an important part to good improvising down the road. It can help timing too.

6. Pick one simple song that you know well and play it often. I'm sure you do this now, but slow down and learn to play it in many different way. This will include more intricate right hand work and new chord patterns with the left hand. This will keep you from getting bored. I can play songs on the banjo and not even know how I played them. I may play a song in different ways everytime, without thought.

7. Spend time practicing the left hand. Play solid chords, moving through inversions, with good timing. Focus on details, like sounding all notes at once. Know how to play the chord you want in multiple ways instantly. The left hand is important and shouldn't just follow the right. Go back to left hand basics and learn from there.

8. Watch other people play.

9. Don't go too far in the other direction. Dont become so structured that you lose enjoyment. Balance is the key.

10. Buy a better instrument. Ok, this may not be good advice, but it always makes playing more fun and interesting!


Let me know what you think of my list!







Last edited by Jack Moody; 02/07/20 09:14 AM.
Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2943996 02/07/20 05:21 PM
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Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? By that I mean playing whatever sounds you enjoy without “rights”, “wrongs” or conscious imitation of existing convention. You can still do all the other rule based stuff as well. Just start with a few minutes a day and let your mind run free. Over the years the process slowly becomes curiously and immensely rewarding.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2944124 02/08/20 12:54 AM
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Jack...excellent tips...love your approach.

Nice point Ted..have done that occasionally

Re: Improvising tips
Ted #2944213 02/08/20 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Ted
Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? By that I mean playing whatever sounds you enjoy without “rights”, “wrongs” or conscious imitation of existing convention. You can still do all the other rule based stuff as well. Just start with a few minutes a day and let your mind run free. Over the years the process slowly becomes curiously and immensely rewarding.



There's nothing wrong with that, but if I wanted the fastest track to improvise, I would improve timing first. I think anything he practices while using bad timing will have less than optimal return. Don't you?

I have improvised a lot. When you carry in a banjo and start playing with people you've never met, you have to be versatile. Improvising came slow for me. As a beginner, I could play a song at home but not with others. I only played the song one way and when I got out of time with everyone else, I was a mess. Learning to stay on beat and being able to anticipate chord changes made the difference.

It might help to define what is meant by improvising. Any practical definition that I can think of centers around playing within establishing limitations.

For me, this means that you have to use notes, chords, and timing that sound pleasant while working within (respecting) the basic structure of the song. Playing with no established limitations and structure would be more like composition. There's a difference between composition and improvisation, isn't there?

In my opinion, the acquisition of such skill comes much faster if you take time to understand the basic limitations that you have in each song first. In other words, understand the timing, chord structure, and appropriate notes (scales) for that song. Use these things to create pleasant improvised music.

Improvising, especially at first, is not as wild and reckless as it appears. When you see incredible musicians improvise "wildly", understand that they didn't start there. Also understand that they absolutely know the basics of the song they are playing.

When he says his timing is bad but he wants to improvise better, I know exactly where he needs to start. I know my thoughts are broader than he requested, but you cant improvise (right hand or left) properly, much less well, with bad timing.

All of this is meant to be helpful and respectful. 👍




Last edited by Jack Moody; 02/08/20 09:37 AM.
Re: Improvising tips
willywagtail #2944491 02/08/20 09:23 PM
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Wow..Jack you are a great help

Re: Improvising tips
Jack Moody #2944691 02/09/20 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ted
Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? By that I mean playing whatever sounds you enjoy without “rights”, “wrongs” or conscious imitation of existing convention. You can still do all the other rule based stuff as well. Just start with a few minutes a day and let your mind run free. Over the years the process slowly becomes curiously and immensely rewarding.
That is, to do as a child who for the first time saw the keyboard?This definitely makes sense; however, subject to the conditions: endow playing sounds with the properties of singing or speaking. This means playing sounds in the rhythm of pronunciation, which may not be associated with any rhythm of the metronome; dismember what is played in the form of phrases and sentences - i.e. breathing, commas, and end points and most importantly - to bring a sense of tension and decline, which is expressed in the ascent and descent of the melodic line, and its acceleration and deceleration.

https://yadi.sk/d/lbbKWx2y3Wo4Ak

Re: Improvising tips
Jack Moody #2945000 02/10/20 02:24 AM
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When I say I am not good at timing..I guess I should explain.
I find it easier to stretch out the left accompaniment to suit my own head as to how I play the melody.
As soon as I try to finish say 4 notes in the bar with 2 melody notes in the next bar while only hitting the left hand with say 4 beats of a stride accompaniment for each bar I lose place.
Is it a real problem to play more improvisations on some bars and therefore taking a little longer.
I know jazz is less structured..why not simple pop sons etc
Mick

Re: Improvising tips
Ted #2945018 02/10/20 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ted
Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? .
You can start free improvisation with this:
https://yadi.sk/d/gbKQP96rboYjqA
It is not necessary to attach particular importance to the accuracy of rhythm and pitches, but the ratios short-long, high - low.

Re: Improvising tips
Nahum #2945034 02/10/20 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Ted
Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? .
You can start free improvisation with this:
https://yadi.sk/d/gbKQP96rboYjqA
It is not necessary to attach particular importance to the accuracy of rhythm and pitches, but the ratios short-long, high - low.


Nahum
You may be aware, but Ted is not asking the question for himself, as he is eons above doing entry level free improvisation. You might want to listen to some of his recordings


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Improvising tips
dogperson #2945041 02/10/20 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Ted
Had you considered starting free improvisation at all ? .
You can start free improvisation with this:
https://yadi.sk/d/gbKQP96rboYjqA
It is not necessary to attach particular importance to the accuracy of rhythm and pitches, but the ratios short-long, high - low.


Nahum
You may be aware, but Ted is not asking the question for himself, as he is eons above doing entry level free improvisation. You might want to listen to some of his recordings


Sorry for the omitted word. This should read ‘ you may NOT be aware’


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
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