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  • Writer's pictureJon Nolan

Improvisation Leads To Artistry

Musicians share the same language of music. It is important not only to understand ones instrument, but to understand how music is used through the instrument.

Developing levels of musicianship takes time, but the artistry of a musicians craft and style can be practiced through improvisation exercises.

After years of piano lessons, I decided to give the guitar a try. Having known an extensive amount of music theory and scales, I attempted to use the same knowledge of music for the guitar. I wanted to simply play the instrument rather than go in the direction of playing with sheet music (which came later).

I understood quickly that playing with improvisation creates a lot of freedom to experiment with all kinds of styles.

Back in the day before YouTube, I used to play songs in many genres on my iPod and figure out a couple of key points: What key signature I am in; and which notes and chords exist in that key?

After practicing different styles of improvisation, I started to develop a comfortable style.

The video below showcases years of practicing the same improvisation styles to the solo from Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

One of the exercises that can help get you started with improvisation is to play the backing track below and randomize the notes on your instrument....

F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F

Mix up the rhythms; mix up the notations. Use the F major chord if you want to create a backing rhythm. You will be surprised by what will be created.

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