Blues is a musical language. The overall blues sound comes from imposing a set of…
How to improvise on the guitar
Five reasons why it feels good to learn to improvise on the guitar.
1. Create fresh replenishing emotions
To improvise on the guitar, is a creative way of telling a musical story. Let´ s imagine we have a paragraph of 24 words that we narrate, with the objective of explaining a feeling. Consequently, we may also keep on repeating the paragraph, but with different degrees of variations, to further develop the emotion.
To improvise on the guitar is to create variations of the musical story. It gives you the pathway to extend the interpretation, to modify, adapt and change it to your needs and on the go. As a result, improvisation on the guitar, can produce extremely satisfying emotions, as I believe it is the true gateway for personal expression.
2. Interaction with others
We all know how much fun we can have, when we play with others. Music can also be a lot of fun, and improvising can be the ultimate game of enjoyment.
I relate guitar improvisation to the perfect communion of souls, in all possible conscious dimensions. Furthermore, our musical interaction just fills up the space around us, as we bond with fellow musicians and the audience.
Music and guitar improvisation is another humble path to an experience, where we all come together, to share our beloved human values. When we improvise on the guitar, in any style of music as blues, jazz, funk, rock, flamenco, we create the opportunity to interact emotionally with others, without the need of words, nor values, nor judgements of any kind.
Guitar improvisation will make you feel extremely unique, because you freely express yourself in a context, where you are accompanied and heard.
3. To explore ones inner self
I believe life can feel good when we break the rigidness of daily obligations. Therefore, a bit of controlled chaos feels good; learn to improvise on the guitar and you will enjoy a refreshing musical adventure of colours, sounds and emotions. When we improvise, we take on this adventure our dreams and souls.
When we play music knowing exactly what is ahead, and what we have to do, then it feels like we are on a road, set by others to achieve a boxed goal. However, if we are able to explore other pathways, other boundaries, other colours along the way, and interact with joy with others, the creative guitar experience will be emotionally rewarding. This non programmed road trip will become the real musical adventure. We will arrive at the same destination as the programmed road trip, but feeling very satisfied, and eager to wake up the next day to jump on board and explore another pathway.
From my experience, when I improvise and create variations, as a consequence of my interaction with my other band members, I feel very satisfied afterwards. Satisfaction is not an easy feeling to come across, and it is the feeling that most will regenerate my whole body and soul.
Also, the more I improvise, understanding the emotional goals, choosing the right harmonic melodic tools for the job, the greater the final satisfaction.
Let’s improvise together. Come and join us at the Creative Guitar School, in Sydney, and learn to play the guitar, to improvise in contemporary musical styles on electric guitar, acoustic guitar or nylon string Spanish guitar
5. To be unique
Music is not a visual experience, nor a competition, it is an auditive experience, that you can enjoy with your internal rhythm, soul and with your closed eyes, unless you are driving.
However, there is a lot of guitar music our there, that is a reflection of what we can do, and not what the musician is trying to express, tell or convey. Music is the gift we can use to develop a virtue, to share with others; our uniqueness, our story.
A story is not about how quick you can run, or how much you can scream. A musical story is really about sharing an emotion. Yes, when we scream we portray an egoistic feeling, but the true virtue would be to make the audience feel the need of this excitement, and get them to scream with you.
It feels good to improvise on the guitar and to be unique in our story telling, as we can accomplish a very special human interaction, that no other musical form of expression will allow.
What tools do we need to improvise effectively
As a guitarist, you will need to master all the musical tools required to know inside out, the melody and harmonic structure of the song. This means, that at any time and moment, you are playing a song, you can effectively, switch from the role of the soloist to the accompanist, or vice versa.
Once you have the song mastered, then you are now ready to start creating variations, to keep the song flowing, based upon the interaction with other band members, the audience and your feel, either as the soloist, or the accompanist of the lead guitar.
In order to improvise on the guitar efficiently, you need to learn specific melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic tools, to create variety in tension, in dramatic intensity, as the song develops.
For example, let ´s say you have played your song once, and you want to be able to play the melody, (the lyrics of the song) with more intensity the second time through. A change of octave, an increase in rhythmic intensity or harmonic tension, will give you all the desired momentum, to produce your climax.
There are literally hundreds of tools at your disposal, to help develop your creativity on the go, but all you need is just a few, to get going, and to start feeling the flow of creating music.
Improvisation and Guitar Courses
All students, in all guitar courses, I impart at my Wollongong and Sydney Creative Guitar School, learn to improvise. At a guitar beginners level, you will learn to create basic variations of melody and harmony. As you progress throughout the levels, you will master a vast array of tools, to accomodate all your emotional needs.
I encourage learning through group interaction. Therefore, I teach all basic courses in Group environments . These classes have a maximum fo 4 students per class.
I further encourage the group interaction with the concerts I schedule throughout the year. All students perform live every 3 months. Before the performance, we also organise a nice barbecue to get the stomachs activated and the energy levels up high.
Students will also have the opportunity to enjoy feedback of all their musical accomplishments, since I hold the classes in my recording studio. Therefore, we are able to record the group progression, and enjoy how much we have learnt, at the different stages of the musical journey.