Piano Solo Chops
Learn how to solo on the piano! Improvisation is easy when you know the tricks…and we HAVE THE TRICKS, BABY! I can’t wait to show you sweet licks and how to jam on the fly.
No one will know if it’s right or wrong if you just make it up as you go!
Learning how to improvise on the piano is simple if you have the right tips and techniques. Beginners may think of improvisation as something that only the professionals can do, but that’s just not true. There are patterns and tricks to everything and once you get them under your fingers the sky is the limit! Follow these great lessons to learn to solo.
NEED MORE STRUCTURE? Check out the Curriculum for Improvisation
Key of C
Key of D
Key of G
Key of E
Is improvisation really improvisation??
I’ve always been amazed when watching a person ride a unicycle. Then you try it yourself and become even more amazed! How in the world could they balance like that? Of course, no one is born riding the unicycle. It takes a lot of falling down and training the body for you to uniquely balance yourself on just one wheel.
A lot of people see those that can improvise very well on an instrument as a person that just jumps on the unicycle for the first time and rides it. Not true. I’m good at improvisation because I’ve done it a lot—in certain styles. In those styles I’ve developed patterns that sound really sweet…and my hands can play those patterns without any effort. The styles that I have not spent much time on, honestly, sound pretty bad.
In the blues I might jump between 10 different patterns during the same solo, but they are still just patterns. All this makes me believe that improvisation is a lot less about making something happen out of thin air and more about pulling from your abilities (bag of tricks) so quickly that is seems like “Magic”.
Even great jazz artists are pulling their “improvisation” from somewhere. The brain is only so powerful and unless our bodies are thinking ahead and somewhat working on autopilot then we would for sure fall of the unicycle.
What Patterns Are
I’ve played so much blues piano now that it is rare that I hear something a player does and can’t visualize what pattern they are playing.
I’ve seen some teachers tell their students to use the pentatonic scale to solo. They show them the notes then say “Go”. This is not a pattern yet, it’s just some random notes. Which fingers do you play them with? What order sounds the best? You need to know how to set your hand on the notes and what order to play them in.
Patterns are a specific path that your hand can learn and repeat over and over. It wouldn’t make since to hand someone who couldn’t read or write a bag of letters and then tell them, “This is what you need to write a book. Go!” No, we have to learn one sound, then one word, then create sentences with those words.
Patterns are the words. Put them together to make musical sentences. Once you know enough musical sentences you can put together a great sounding solo.