This week was all about improvisation. Although it may seem an advanced skill, our new resources provide easy ways to get started: improvisation minus the intimidation!

Plus, if you’ve wondered what it takes to produce a successful music performance or what exactly a rimbatube is – read on and find out…

All About Improvisation

Here are three great new resources to help anyone get started in improvisation. Whether you play rock, blues, jazz or even classical music, we have information, tips and techniques to get you started improvising confidently.

Introduction to Improvisation

Let’s start at the beginning. What is improvisation? Where did it come from? How does it fit into the wide world of music-making?

Introduction to improvisation-800In this first article of a new series we explore some improvising fundamentals and demystify the art of improvisation.

You might have wondered if improvisation is just spontaneous composition. The answer? Yes and no… Bill Plake explains.

Should musicians learn to improvise as part of music lessons? Fairfax Network explains how learning the art of improvisation can teach students to find their musical identities:

Improvisation Insights

We recently interviewed improvisation expert Jeffrey Agrell, on the topic of improvisation games. Jeffrey shared such wonderful insights we went back this week to pull out some of the key lessons from the interview and produce this quick summary for you.

5 Improvisation Insights from Jeffrey Agrell 800Discover why improv isn’t just for jazz musicians, and how you can actually improve at improv by playing games: 5 Improvisation Insights from Jeffrey Agrell

One of these insights is to not let fear of mistakes stop you from improvising. Jake Falce for the Hartford Current explains more about in this interesting article: Life As Jazz: When You Hit A ‘Wrong’ Note, Improvise.

As well as games, one of Jeffrey’s specialities is introducing improv in the classical music setting. Ever wonder why classical musicians don’t improvise? Once upon a time they did… Joshua MacCluer reveals the Lost Art of Classical Improvisation.

Start Improvising Today: 10 Mini-Challenges

Improvisation is almost by definition wide open. There are endless possibilities, and that can be exciting – but it can also be overwhelming.

Start improvising today-10 mini challenges to try-800If you’re looking for some specific, easy ways to get started improvising try one of these 10 improvisation mini-challenges. No prior improv experience required!

Want more mini-challenges to get you started improvising? Play Jazz Now has a great beginners guide with easy improvisation exercises to try. In this video masterclass, Julian Bradley offers a range of ways you can approach improvisation, asking the question: “What can you vary?”

How to Use the Circle of Fifths

In a recent post we introduced the Circle of Fifths and gave you a useful shortcut for memorising it fast. Need a recap on why you should bother learning the Circle of Fifths? Basic Music Theory gives you some practical uses for the Circle.

how-to-use-the-circle-of-fifthsIn this week’s followup we examine several of the ways you can use the Circle to help you in your everyday music making. From keys, to chord progressions, to song writing – the Circle can make your life easier.

Oh – and yes, the Circle of Fifths can help you with improvisation too!

For more on using the Circle, here’s a great video tutorial by Michael New.

5 of the World’s Most Unique Instruments

It’s easy to think that the family of musical instruments is set in stone. There are the classical orchestral ones, invented hundreds of years ago, and those rock ones like electric guitars. But for the most part, there aren’t really any new instruments to invent, right? Wrong!

unique-instrumentsDiscover five of the world’s most unique instruments – you’ll be surprised at the human ingenuity that continues today!

Ever wonder what unique instruments sound like? Have a listen to five unique instruments brought to life by musicians.

Want even more unique instruments? Here’s a comprehensive list of the world’s most unusual instruments, and take a look at the World’s Weirdest Music Instrument Competition.

Performing Live: Rehearsals

Performing-live-part-1-rehearsalsThere are many important steps required for a successful live performance: rehearsals, planning, booking, promotion, and the show itself… Let’s start at the beginning. What should you be doing at the rehearsal stage to ensure a successful final performance? Find out in Performing Live, Part One: Rehearsals

Before your next band practice check out Soundfly’s great tips for making the most of your rehearsal process and Performer Magazine’s guidelines for setting up the best rehearsal space.

Actually, maybe your band shouldn’t “practice” – but rehearse instead? Musician and entrepreneur Simon Tam explains the difference between practice and rehearsal.

I hope these new resources help to demystify the amazing art of improvisation and encourage you to give it a try yourself.

Maybe work some improv into your next rehearsal session – or pick up a new and unique instrument that doesn’t even have sheet music available yet. Happy improvising!