You have everything at your fingertips…but new ideas aren’t coming into your mind. Here are boosters for improvising.
- Fool around with the melody.
- Improvise while listening to your favorite records.
- Learn music theory
- Alter the rhythm
- Use chord substitution
- Jam with friends and at jam sessions
- Play a piece in a different time signature. For example play a tune in 4/4 time in cut time and a tune in slow 6/8 time in fast 6/8 time ( the counting is a bit different.)
- Play the song in a different key. For added difficulty, sight read and play that song in a different key by from what is printed. You’ll be arranging the music in your mind while the music on the paper is different…all during play.
- Use the same melody and same chords in the musical framework, but use different harmonic devices. Change a block chord into a broken chord, arpeggio, or either using passing tones to add musical interest.
- Arrange a piece of music into a different music genre, then play it.
The song below is in this composer’s original framework. If one improvised on or arranged this piece, instead of playing it in A-flat major, one could play it in D-flat major. One can change common time into split time. You can substitute chords or add tensions to the chords. The 10 improvisation techniques listed can help you get started. These are not the only things you can do. As you improvise more, the possibilities seem endless.
Try these websites for other improvisation techniques: