Have You always wanted to learn how to improvise on the piano?

Are you fascinated by pianists who are able to create music out of nothing?

Do you want to learn the secrets of improvising on the piano with world-class piano instructors who know how to teach piano improvisation?

Anyone can learn how to improvise on the piano

Improvisation is an art that can be taught.

You just need to understand how the tools of the trade work.

The fact is, everyone can learn how to improvise on the piano.

You simply need excellent tuition, an open mind and a willingness to learn.

You also do not need any prior musical experience before you start on your journey to piano improvisation!

The first steps toward piano improvisation

During your first improvisation piano lessons, you will learn the basics at how harmony and melody interacts.

Improvisation is all about playing musical phrases (or sentences) over the underlying harmony.

In order to do this confidently, you need a good understanding of which melodic lines to play over which harmonies.

In the early days of learning how to improvise, this will be achieved by learning how to play and improvise over the blues.

Improvising over the 12 bar blues

Learning how to improvise over the 12 bar blues is a wonderful way to get started with piano improvisation.

The basic 12 bar blues contains only three chords, namely the 1st, 4th and 5th of the scale.

In the key of C, the 12 bar blues contains C7, F7 and G7.

It is a really easy structure to get familiar with and to get your head around.

When you improvise over the 12 bar blues, you will generally use the blues scale.

In the key at C, the notes of the blues scale are:

  • C – 1 or root
  • Eb – b3
  • F – 4
  • Gb – b5
  • G – 5
  • Bb – b7

The blues scale is indeed a wonderful first step towards learning how to improvise on the piano.

In addition to using the blues scale for your piano improvisation, it is also recommended that you learn a repertoire of blues licks that you can use to improvise over the blues.

Licks are small melodic fragments that can be applied over the underlying harmony at will.

Licks are crafted to be catchy musical phrases (that works well with the underlying harmony) ready for musical deployment.

Master piano improvisers have their own dedicated set at musical licks that they can rely upon in a live music setting.

Jazz piano improvisation

Jazz piano improvisation is very similar to blues improvisation.

The primary difference is that jazz music contains a lot more harmonies and is based around swing. (Blues is based on shuffle rhythms – a little different to swing)

Once you have developed well in your blues improvisation abilities, your instructor may get you started on jazz improvisation.

The first step in learning how to improvise in jazz is to become an expert in jazz harmony.

The improvisational line is merely a melodic outline in a fluid form of the harmony.

You therefore need a very good understanding of harmony in order to improvise effectively in jazz.

As jazz music moves through the cycle of fourths, the following chord progression is very important to memorise throughout all 12 keys :

I – IV – VII – III – VI – II – V – I (The Divine cycle!)

In the key at C, the chords are:

  • I – C Major 7
  • IV – F Major 7
  • VII – B minor 7b5
  • III – E minor 7
  • VI – A minor 7
  • II – D minor 7
  • V – G7

By having a working  understanding of the chord progression above throughout all 12 keys, you will seriously increase your harmonic knowledge.

This in turn will help you to become much better at improvising over time!

Improvisation piano lessons in London

If you want to learn how to improvise with piano instructors who are outstanding at teaching piano improvisation, then you are at exactly the right place.

You can choose to study with us in the City of London or Marylebone.

During your piano improvisation lessons in London, we will take you on a step-by-step journey of how to improvise with skill on the piano.

Improvisation can definitely be learned, but you will need to do some private practice each and every week. (In order to get a solid grasp of the material involved.)

Remember, you do not need any prior experience to get started.

We accept all levels from total beginners to advanced pianist looking to expand their melodic and harmonic vocabulary.

To find out more about our improvisation piano lessons in London, please contact Stefan (our manager) at enrol@londonpianoinstitute.co.uk

Alternatively, send us a message using our contact form on our contact page.

Some important articles about piano improvisation

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