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Published by victor_musiclover

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Published by: victor_musiclover on Apr 02, 2011
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Imagine asking a beginning writer to write a short story

from scratch. Our writer does not yet have much experi-
ence in writing but accepts the challenge and begins to

plunge ahead.

He has to start somewhere, so he begins to examine how
to construct a short story. He learns all about plot, character,
and structure and now believes he is ready to begin writing.
As soon as he begins to write, he discovers something.
He can’t move forward. He is blocked. What’s the problem?
He knows how to construct a short story and should be able
to forge ahead right? T e problem is he has not allowed his
“voice” to unfold naturally. His internal critic is blocking the
natural voice inside his head and the pen stops cold. What
to do?

Our writer must learn to freewrite so words can f ow
freely and not be stopped by the editor voice. T e same prin-
ciples can be applied to us as musicians!
We may want to compose our own music and we may
also know all about how to do it, but unless we are able to
improvise freely and allow our own natural “voice” free reign,
the music stops and we lose the ability to move forward.
T is is why learning how to improvise is so important. It
allows us to move forward! T is benef ts us in two ways. One,
we begin to understand that the joy of music making itself is
its own reward. Second, we begin to trust our voice and feel
conf dent in our ability to move forward without judging the
“quality” of the music.


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You Can Create Your Own Music
- Even If You’ve Never Touched a
Piano In Your Life!

A few days ago I was going through some student emails
and one question really popped out at me:
“Edward, I really want to just sit down at the piano and
improvise but I don’t think I know enough to begin. Can you
help me?”

Here’s my answer to this student:

Dear P.,

T ere are really 2 issues going on here. T e f rst is
the belief that you don’t know enough. T e second is
the idea that you need to know a lot in order to begin.
Let’s deal with the f rst issue -the belief that you don’t

Many students share this belief. T ey think they
need to understand a lot more than is necessary before
they take the “plunge” into improvisation. T e truth
of the matter is they’re actually scared they might be
able to do it af er all... and that would quickly elimi-
nate their belief that they can’t.
T is seems strange but it really has to do with fear
of the unknown. Many of us can do things we previ-
ously thought were impossible -and are impossible
-unless you actually give it a try!
T e real stigma has to do with thinking that
what you’re producing isn’t good enough. Because if
you truly didn’t care about the outcome, your focus
would be on pleasing yourself f rst and enjoying the
process -something so many adults wish they could

a 145 b

do, but are reluctant to do for fear of creating some-
thing “bad” or “unworthy.”
I always tell students that it’s far more important
to actually enjoy yourself at the piano than to cre-
ate something others can approve of. Some have an
extremely hard time letting go of the need to gain
others approval and this itself can cause a lot of anxi-
ety and needless striving.
All you really need to begin improvising are 2


Knowledge of a few chords
Willingness to take the plunge

Af er students begin to improvise without wor-
rying about whether the music’s good enough they
begin to tap into their own creative source. When
this happens, a small miracle has occurred. Once you
actually taste how good it feels to let go and allow
the music to move through you, it becomes addictive.
T en you’ll want to play the piano more and more.
And the more you play, the more you learn. Not by
accumulating knowledge but by allowing yourself the
freedom to explore.



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