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Joined: Aug 2011
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Here is a link for all who are interested in improvising at the piano from the beginning.

https://www.pianist.academy/a/16478/H2Wx5M9n

I hope it pleases you.

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Wonderful, a 2nd classical improvisation course that I've seen!

Just want to mention the first:

Cedarville University music department's Professor John Mortensen and his Improv Planet:

https://www.patreon.com/ImprovPlanet

I'm not taking it as I still have basic piano playing to get down and there are only so many hours in a day, but I do wonder how Ioana Ilie's course compares with that of Professor Mortensen's?


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I watched the free lessons from the IOANA ILIE course. This is very good! I am now really tempted to buy the whole course (499 Euros), and just deep dive into classical improvisation. From the free videos I am pretty sure i will get my money worth of really high quality content.

Thanks OP for the tip. Never heard of this course before.

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
..., but I do wonder how Ioana Ilie's course compares with that of Professor Mortensen's?

Yes! Anyone tested both?

So we now have two very good courses (I am pretty sure they are both really good). One at 5$ (or 2$) a month, the other at 49 Euros a month (or 499 Euros one time fee).

Pretty hefty price difference!

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I've been tempted to take the Mortensen course. I used to do some composing - 50 years ago. Now my creative skills have dried up and I was hoping something like that would get my creative energy flowing again, if possible in my old age. Has anyone actually tried it and could report? I've watched his demonstration videos on partimento (something I never heard of before) and he is impressive - but I can't envision myself doing that well!

Sam

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I was planning on taking the Mortensen course as I have interest in improvising in various styles and not just jazz. $5 a month is a no brainer. For someone taking piano lessons it's a tiny amount. On the other hand €49 is pretty expensive. This is what I pay for two private lessons over here. I haven't looked at what exactly is included but at this price point I expect some personalised interactions with a teacher and not just a list of video lessons.

Maybe we can all sign up for ImprovPlanet and start a thread to share our experiences?

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Originally Posted by Sam S
...I used to do some composing - 50 years ago. Now my creative skills have dried up and I was hoping something like that would get my creative energy flowing again, if possible in my old age....
Sam

There is no age barrier to the creative side, Sam. The most interesting creators are profoundly themselves though. They take what they can from others, past and present, learn everything by all means, but they absorb and subordinate it to their own musical worldview, never emulating anybody, no matter how famous, to the point of living someone else's dream.

Originally Posted by Sam S
...but I can't envision myself doing that well!
Sam

In fact, that is probably the biggest block to improvisation. Getting rid of comparison and inhibition and embracing complete freedom is frightfully difficult for many beginning improvisers, and the more musically trained they are the worse the obstruction seems to be. No learning prerequisites actually exist for it other than to discover the sounds which move and interest you, those sounds alone, and play them. In a certain deep sense that really is all there is to it, and you can do it at any time, at your own piano and without reference to a single soul. Good luck, I wish more older people would try it, the long term rewards are immense.

Last edited by Ted; 05/08/20 03:56 AM.

"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
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Originally Posted by Ted
In fact, that is probably the biggest block to improvisation. Getting rid of comparison and inhibition and embracing complete freedom is frightfully difficult for many beginning improvisers, and the more musically trained they are the worse the obstruction seems to be. No learning prerequisites actually exist for it other than to discover the sounds which move and interest you, those sounds alone, and play them.
There is nothing more interesting for individual than telling a story to the audience, and there is nothing more natural than combining spoken language with musical language .

In Music Is My Mistress (1973), Duke Ellington writes of a more general narrative or ‘‘story-telling’’ impulse behind the very process of creating music, arguing for the necessity in music of ‘‘painting a picture,” or “having a story to go with what you were going to play.’’ Ellington further posits that soloists could ‘‘send messages in what they play,’’ articulating comprehensible statements to one another on their instruments while on the bandstand.
The audience didn’t know anything about it, but the cats in the band did. Our stories were sometimes necessary to the composition and arrangement process, and often verbalized in language ). A more vivid description of Ellington’s process of composition that intertwines music and poetics can be seen from Richard Boyer’s The Hot Bach (1944) that is worth quoting at length.Duke, sitting at his piano and facing his band, will play a new melody, perhaps, or possibly just an idea consisting of only eight bars. After playing the eight bars, he may say, ‘‘Now this is sad. It’s about one guy sitting alone in his room in Harlem. He’s waiting for his chick, but she doesn’t show. He’s got everything fixed for her.’’ Duke sounds intent and absorbed. His tired band begins to sympathize with the waiting man in Harlem. ‘‘Two glasses of whiskey are on his little dresser before his bed,’’ Duke says, and again plays the two bars, which will be full of weird and mournful chords. Then he goes on to eight new bars. ‘‘He has one of those blue lights turned on in the gloom of his room,’’ Duke says softly, ‘‘and he has a little pot of incense so it will smell nice for the chick.’’ Again he plays the mournful chords, developing his melody. ‘‘But she doesn’t show,’’ he says, ‘‘she doesn’t show. The guy just sits there, maybe an hour, hunched over on his bed, all alone.’’ The melody is finished and it is time to work out an arrangement for it. Lawrence Brown rises with his trombone and gives out a compact, warm phrase. Duke shakes his head. ‘‘Lawrence, I want something like the treatment you gave in ‘Awful Sad,’’’ he says. Brown amends his suggestion and in turn is amended by Tricky Sam Nanton, also a trombone who puts a smear and a wa-wa lament on the phrase suggested by Brown . . .. Now Juan Tizol grabs a piece of paper and a pencil and begins to write down the orchestration, while the band is still playing it. Whenever the band stops for a breather, Duke experiments with rich new chords, perhaps adopts them, perhaps rejects, perhaps works out a piano solo that is clear and rippling, into little slots of silence, while the brass and reeds talk back and forth. By the time Tizol has finished getting the orchestration down on paper, it is already out of date .

( Dissonance as Protest:
Interpreting the Antecedents of Barry Harris’s Concept of Movement as a Multidimensional Tool for Improvisation, Prolongation and Expansion

Dr. Brian J. de Lima
Toronto, Canada
October )

Last edited by Nahum; 05/08/20 06:42 AM.
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I have been throu most of the course. I know, the price is quiet high, but fortunately there is also som pdf material included you can work with.

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How much piano experience do you think is required before attempting a course like this? I'm a beginner - one year of lessons.

Hard to say what level I'm at....I'm currently working on a few advanced beginner or intermediate pieces like Alexis fFrench's Blue Bird and Ludovico's Primavera if that helps.

Also, if I decided to do one of these courses, would you recommend I let my teacher know? I don't plan to stop private lessons - I just would like to add more. I think I'm impatient to learn more. Or do you think doing both would dilute my learning?

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Originally Posted by KrisR
How much piano experience do you think is required before attempting a course like this? I'm a beginner - one year of lessons.

Hard to say what level I'm at....I'm currently working on a few advanced beginner or intermediate pieces like Alexis fFrench's Blue Bird and Ludovico's Primavera if that helps.

Also, if I decided to do one of these courses, would you recommend I let my teacher know? I don't plan to stop private lessons - I just would like to add more. I think I'm impatient to learn more. Or do you think doing both would dilute my learning?


As a general rule, I think you should have more background in musical theory and execution of ornaments, arpeggios snd scales. However, I would recommend asking your teacher.

Another suggestion, if you start a course, Is to start with the John Mortensen course at $5 per month; he is a superb pianist and teacher


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Originally Posted by KrisR
How much piano experience do you think is required before attempting a course like this? I'm a beginner - one year of lessons.

Hard to say what level I'm at....I'm currently working on a few advanced beginner or intermediate pieces like Alexis fFrench's Blue Bird and Ludovico's Primavera if that helps.
After a year of class, you can, with the help of your teacher, start improvising at a level lower than Alexis French's Blue Bird and Ludovico's Primavera. According to my system (I do not offer myself as a teacher at all), the student receives precisely measured doses of theory in the process of work in order to understand what to do. So it's not in heaven.

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You can start after a shorter while, I think and it depends on how much time you will invest in the single lessons. If you are new to piano playing, it probably seems a bit difficult to understand everything at once. But remember that your time learning it is unlimited. I wich you all the best for your success! Keep me informed.


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