Found in: Composition & Improvisation
Sheri R., California
A couple of things I’ve been having fun with lately: Night Arr. 1 chords in the left hand while improvising with an “A” blues scale–sounds great!
Also, playing Night Storm and Deep River with lots of solo breaks and improvisations within the melodies and having both melodies run into the each other in a completely random way. Another fun thing is to play Sonata in C and then make up variations with the same LH.
And to think that such a short time ago playing a note that came from me rather than the written page was something I thought was just not going to happen in my lifetime. . .
Students love when I show them black note improvisation–I get them to throw ideas out for the scene in a movie, and if they’re hesitating I throw out ideas that absolutely don’t work, like a basketball game, which always makes them laugh since the obvious serenity of it doesn’t conjure that up at all. I often describe a jungle scene with plodding elephants in the lower registers, chattering monkeys or birds in the upper, frogs hopping along as I jump down the notes, or meandering streams, and the occasional white note that might be a something scary. The kids and parents and adult students all love this.
The tendency I have found is that if not told, they just play lots of notes without stopping and say it doesn’t sound as good as mine, so I show them that to make it musical, they’ll want to sometimes hang out for a while on a note before moving along, or repeat a note more than once, or repeat a phrase, and play loudly and softly with different rhythms.