Components of Musicality – Part 3 – Improvising
Here we are on month three of inspecting different components of musicality—what does it mean to be musical? This month, let’s dive into the world of improvising.
Improvising is the musician’s term for making up new ideas on your instrument—without having them written out. Improvising can be intimidating, but it is a learned skill built on many others! I do the following exercise with my 5th grade beginning bands to introduce improvising, even though they may only have learned 5 notes! I give them a theme, like “fireworks” or “the ocean”, and they play something on their instrument that relates to that theme. It’s fun to hear them take the role of the creator of their own music and sometimes they come up with really interesting ideas. I would encourage this exercise for any music student.
Another way to start improvising is to learn a major scale and then put the notes in a different order—repeating the same note several times while changing the rhythm, or jumping around the scale, not just moving one note up or down. Search Youtube for “C Major Backing Track” (or whatever specific scale) and play along. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll hear how different notes fit into the chords.
As always, LISTEN to other musicians improvise. Try to mimic some of their ideas or make them your own. Clark Terry, a great jazz trumpet player uses the teaching phrase, “Imitate, assimilate, innovate!”
If you’d like to go further in your improvising, contact us to set up lessons with one of our teachers!
Good luck! Happy improvising!
-Matt Crandall, owner KCRB
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