Piano Improvisation

Posted by: GregSTB

Piano Improvisation - 01/08/13 06:10 AM

Hey, everyone. I have been one of those flies on the walls here. Decided to start sharing too now.

First let me introduce myself. My name is Gregory, i'm 26 years old. I have started studying piano in the summer of 2011.. about 1 year 6 months ago. Unfortunately i haven't had the best of luck yet to find a private teacher, but i keep searching. I hit brick walls way too often. I haven't had much feedback about my pianoplaying so i really don't know how well my practice has benefited me. (except from close friends, but they don't really wanna be rude lol) I hope i'm on the right track!

I'd love honest feedback.

A dear friend of mine requested me to create something like this intented for contemplation & relaxation.

Not much going on here. Just 2 chords switching back and forth with a pentatonic scale in Cminor for the right hand mostly.

https://soundcloud.com/gregory717/piano-improvisation-january

I will be posting more improvs here soon. Thanks!
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/14/13 06:18 PM

Hello... Most piano teachers teach classical and that is that. Composition and improv are a talent some teachers have and most do not. Your local symphony should know a quality piano teacher who also teaches improv. Give them a call if you want. Sandra M
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/15/13 01:36 PM

Thanks, Sandra. I've taken note of that. Wish me luck. Have a great day.
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/15/13 03:44 PM

Hello and I wish you luck due to the many blessings surrounding you. Sandra M
Posted by: cubop

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/25/13 06:46 PM

Hi Greg. I get the impression that you are an honest person, so I believe you when you say it is you playing. But I can hardly believe it is possible to play like that after only a year and a half of playing. I really like your improvisation, but what I find amazing is your phrasing, sense of rhythm and dynamics, so you must be on the right track. I hope you find a teacher who can take care of your talent, but you seem to be one of those people who can manage on their own too.
Looking forward to hear more of your playing.
Posted by: HisKidd

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/25/13 06:57 PM

Greg...
Since your post is an improv... I take it you are playing this by ear? Am I correct?
Nice job. Your description of what you've created, and your use of the Pentatonic scale leads me me to believe you already knew a lot about music theory? Yes? No?
I'd be curious to know... what is your music background?
Regards!
H.K.
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/26/13 09:47 AM

Thanks!! I hope so too. That is most kind. Although i don't agree haha. My phrazing is very weak i feel, rhythm is OK, dynamics could be a lot better, but i'm working hard to improve.
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/26/13 09:57 AM

Thanks H.K. Not sure playing by ear is correct. It's just the moment. Perhaps inner ear, yes.

Working hard on expanding music theory knowledge. I don't know if i know much already. I know how to build chords, create arpeggio's, some scales as i don't like practicing them seperately, ... Probably i know a lot more, but don't know how to translate yet to language. Pentatonic scale is very recent. Last month i began experimenting with these. Love the feel it gives.

My musical background began in 2011, i suppose. Not much happened before that. I had 5 lessons max (ruff guess) when i was 9 or so, but quit because of certain problems i don't need to share here.. Haven't touched a piano since then until recently. No musical family. Hope that answers your question.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/26/13 11:08 AM

Welcome GregSTB, that is an impressive first work to share. There are some interesting runs and phrases in there. As is, it would made a decent meditation or yoga piece. Some might believe that is an easy target, but personally, I have found it elusive.

You have very good musical instincts. Others may take years and years to get to that point of trusting their ears and fingers to the extent that you already seem to.

Looking at the SoundCloud graph, some might want more of the quiet sections early and more the louder sections later, but as with most musical decisions there is no right or wrong with that choice.

I started playing with Pentatonic scales recently. In my case, the very simple one of the five black keys. I find it to be freeing and gives the music a more natural flow, more of a primal feel. Good job, I'm sure we will all hear more in the future.

A few side comments: as for time, 18 months of fifteen minutes a day, is far different from an hour a day, or three hours a day. There are those that take to piano like ducks to water, others are more like frightened house cats, most are in the vast middle. Almost all have to put in significant time to get significant results. For the most part, it is the same with composition. I always tell newcomers to this forum, to dedicate time to writing music and results will surely follow.
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 01/31/13 11:57 AM

Thanks, Sand Tiger? lol, great name! What's it from?

I'm a bit shocked because of all this positive feedback. Certainly didn't expect all this. For sure there are things that really need improvement. Anyone wants to crush me?? I invite.

Yes, i'd prefer the quiet sections also in the beginning mostly, but given the situation... I could not really put someone in a state of relaxation to then go to a climax.. that'll probably be annoying i think. To be left undone. For me personally. My biggest mistake here was to end it too soon. I could've induced more dreamlike emotions near the end. More drifting away.

You're so right.. An hour a day vs 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference.. if it's efficient practice that is..? My limit is 2 hours a day. sometimes 3 depending on my mood. Anything more i start to feel robotic and tired lol. Then 1 year and 6 months is a wrong way of counting.

Pentatonic IS freeing, yes! We both have come to the same understanding about it haha.

If there's something that could've been better here, let me know.

Greetings.
Posted by: Chris Goslow

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/01/13 12:56 PM

Wow, Greg:

This is really cool! Where did you record this? And on what instrument? Grand piano/ up right/ keyboard?
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/02/13 04:25 AM

Thanks Chris. Recorded at home through pc. Yamaha digital piano ydp161. A piano i don't recommend buying, but it's great for starters.. Keys feel really good, but sound doesn't match up.

Taken the liberty to go on and listen some of your compositions. Very relaxing. Are u still writing new material?
Posted by: Chris Goslow

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/04/13 04:32 PM

Yes, absolutely. All the time, in fact. I plan to put up an piano improvisation onto my blog soon, thanks for the reminder.
Posted by: Chris Goslow

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/04/13 04:34 PM

By the way, Greg, I just saw that you subscribed to my e-mail list. Thanks so much!
Posted by: eboats

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/07/13 10:50 AM

Hmm, something doesn't add up here. This piano improv sounds a lot like an acoustic rather than digital piano. I have a Yamaha digital piano and it sure doesn't sound like that. I would also wonder whether someone playing for a year could do this.
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/09/13 08:36 PM

Hey, eboats. Mine is Yahama ypd161, concert hall 2 settings with reverb at +-15. Skillwise this improv is rather simple. 2 chords repeating, basic runs up and down the keys, a bit of dreamy rhythm added, intention and a whole lotta love lol. Of course lots of practice to feel comfortable enough to swim around in these things. For sure there's people who do better than me lol. What type of Yamaha piano do u have?

If i was lying, i'd probably lie about a better piano lol :p
Greetings.
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Piano Improvisation - 02/09/13 08:39 PM

My pleasure. I'll keep an eye out to your improv.