Improvising means creating music spontaneously. Improvising with words and phrases is how children become fluent in their native language. Likewise, improvising with notes and chords will help you become a fluent (i.e. capable and natural) musician. Improvising will also enrich your musical understanding, fun and self-expression.

Improvising is by definition spontaneous and unplanned. Remember, when you’re being creative, mistakes aren’t possible. So relax and have fun!

In this exercise you’ll improvise using three RH notes and three LH notes. Place LH 1 on Middle C and play these notes:

Place RH 1 on D above Middle C and play these notes:

Practice the six notes you’ll use by playing them up and down:

Try creating brief phrases. A phrase is a musical “sentence” consisting of a series of notes. Pause briefly (or longer) between phrases.

Listen as you play, letting your music be guided by your ears. Listening keeps you focused on the music and keeps you from getting stuck in self-judgment. Try closing your eyes as you play, just listening.

Now, start the play-along track and go for it!

While it’s acceptable to play two or more notes together (i.e. a blocked interval or chord), playing one note at a time for now is recommended.

Need some ideas? Listen to this example track.