My method was closer to Eric Barnhill‘s method for today’s improvisation, where I played around for half an hour or so establishing themes. In one way it was nice, because I could do more complex themes. In another way it wasn’t as nice, because I had a much stronger idea what the song was going to sound like before I started, and my favorite thing about improvisation is that my fingers just do what they will and some music comes out of it. I’ll probably do some assortment of this method and the “sit down and play” method of earlier improvs in the future.
Today’s improvisation was a little too sloppy for me. I made some errors which I couldn’t smoothly recover from. But I have to do things like this, because I will never grow if they are always slow and I get a chance to think before each note.
Last Friday during the jam session with The Moment, Connor, a lead guitarrist, mentioned some improvisation exercises. If I recall correctly, he said that we all sit or stand in a circle, and one person leads with an idea; a musical motif of some sort, not complete on its own. Then people go around and gradually add layers to the idea, so that together we are playing a piece of musical cohesion without any individual playing anything interesting on his own. He seems to think that it’s like work to get better and not very fun. It sounds pretty fun to me.
I have been watching a fair amount of Whose Line Is It Anyway? It occurs to me that they’re doing with acting precisely what I want to be doing with music. Nolan wants to introduce a few new songs into the mix during our practice tomorrow. For my contribution perhaps I will not introduce a song, but introduce a few slips of paper with “improv games” on them, akin to whose line. Once per practice, and (it is my hope) at concerts, we will pick a game from the hat and do it for a few minutes.
Now I have to come up with a few games.
In other news, I found an astounding site called The Daily Improvisation. This is a guy who posts piano improvisations in classical style every day. He far exceeds me in his pianistic ability, but I think I’ll do precisely what he’s doing. If anything it will be a way to quickly grow as an improvisationalist.
Here are the recordings from yesterday. #1,#3, and #7 are improvisation, yay! I really enjoy #7, but as usual with this band, it’s a little too busy. I accidentally encoded #1 and #2 in 32Kbps, so you may notice some high frequencies missing.